Smith bemoans stuttering attack

Ireland women’s coach Darren Smith admitted his side must sharpen their attack after they failed to qualify for World League 3.

Top seeds heading into a five-team tournament and needing to finish in the top two to qualify, Ireland had made life difficult for themselves with a shock 2-0 defeat to Belarus on Tuesday.

That meant they needed wins against both Spain and Italy, with their hopes rising after a dogged defensive performance and an Audrey O’Flynn penalty stroke gave them a 1-0 win against the hosts in Valencia.

But Italy — who also unravelled Ireland’s Olympic qualification bid in Canada in 2008 — were spoilers supreme once more, Elisabetta Pacella nailing a reverse 15 minutes from time to secure a 1-0 victory.

It left Ireland in fourth place, with Italy and Spain going through.

Smith said: “This tournament showed us that we were found wanting in attack and that defensive mistakes at this level usually get punished.”

The upshot for Smith’s side is that only a very unlikely overall victory at this summer’s European championships providing a ticket to the 2014 World Cup, hockey’s second biggest international competition after the Olympics.

Domestically, UL caused the shock of the weekend as Steph Peters starred in their 3-2 Irish Hockey Trophy quarter-final win over Cork C of I at Garryduff.

Elsewhere, Catholic Institute’s 5-0 away hammering of Cork Harlequins gave them a Munster Senior Cup final berth and laid down a marker for the sides’ upcoming league clash.

The Munster men’s title is Cork C of I’s to lose after Andrew Daunt’s crisp backhand shot from a tight angle settled a tetchy game against rivals Cork Harlequins 1-0.

C of I can make mathematically sure when the sides meet next weekend but they also have two games in hand against struggling Bandon to seal the deal.

UCC hammered C of I B 6-0 at Garryduff.

More in this section

Puzzles logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up