Room for improvement as Ireland women's hockey team look for Olympic qualification victory over Turkey

Ireland women's coach Darren Smith: Win needed to keep on road to Rio

Ireland coach Darren Smith admits there is plenty of scope for improvement as his side continue their Olympic qualification campaign with a clash with Turkey at UCD today.

Needing to reach the final of this World League 2 competition to advance to round three in June — where the places for Rio 2016 are doled out — Ireland are on track with two wins from two over Ukraine (5-0) and Canada (2-1).

Turkey are expected to provide less resistance than either of those opponents and victory will give Ireland top seeding for the quarter-finals, where the real business starts.

Nonetheless, Ireland have made things harder than they might have been. The Ukraine win was routine but a myriad of chances were wasted, while Emma Gray had to save a penalty stroke early on against Canada.

“I thought we probably had the run of the match (against Canada),” said Smith. “If we had of taken one of three earlier chances, it might have relaxed us and we could have played more naturally. It got a little bit tight and tough after that.”

Meanwhile, a couple of domestic cup finals are down for decision this week. Cork C of I meet Bandon in the men’s Munster Senior Cup final at Garryduff (4.15pm), the second time they’ve met in a decider this season.

Mark Deane gave Bandon a shock lead that day but they eventually succumbed 4-1, and having been routed 6-0 by C of I in the league last weekend, it’s hard to see them upsetting the form book, despite the likely absence of Ashton schoolboy stars Simon Wolfe and Philip Brownlow. Both are set to be rested by coach David Hobbs, who is also their schools coach, ahead of tomorrow’s Munster Senior Cup final against Villiers.

Women’s World League 2, UCD: Belarus v Lithuania, 10.15am; Austria v Chile, 12.30pm; Ireland v Turkey, 2.45pm; Ukraine v Canada, 5pm.


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