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Irish Women’s Hockey Team Are In World Cup Semi-Final After Penalty Shootout

It took a penalty shootout after an hour of goalless action for Ireland to advance to the World Cup semi-final.

Ireland had advanced to the quarter final automatically by topping Pool B, while India, who they beat 1-0 in the group stage, had to overcome Italy in the Crossover.

The conditions were hot in London, and Ireland’s approach at the start was similarly frantic. That 1st Quarter represented a good start, but more patience was needed against a resolute Indian outfit.

There were no shots in that period, but Anna O’Flanagan had Ireland’s best chance of the first half hour midway through the 2nd quarter after a great cross from captain Kathryn Mullan, but the Indian keeper saved it from point-blank range.

O’Flanagan was at the centre of the action again, complaining that she was pushed in the circle at the very end of the 2nd Quarter, but the referee dismissed it.

Ireland were very much on top, but had nothing to show for it in terms of goals.

Both sides continued to prove difficult to break down in the 3rd, and chances were few and far between.

In the 4th, the ball struck Hannah Matthews following a mistrap inside the Ireland circle. After a video review, India were awarded the first penalty corner of the match with 12 minutes left. Ayiesha McFerran made a great save from the PC, and after a brief goalmouth scramble, cleared it out of danger.

The sides tried in vain to break the deadlock before full time, but to no avail, so it was time for the dreaded penalty shootout, a summary of which is below.

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Savita saved a prolonged dribble from Nicola Daly for the first penalty.

McFerran made a fine save from Indian captain Rani’s shot to the left.

O’Flanagan seeked a referral for a foul, but the tackle from the keeper was judged to be clean.

Monika shot well wide, 0-0 after two penalties each.

Roisin Upton scored after wrong-footing Savita, Navjot Kaur had her shot saved, giving Ireland the lead after three each.

Alison Meeke approached with a quick dribble, and megged the keeper into the far corner, though India’s fourth shot was successful to stay in it at 2-1.

Chloe Watkins dragged Savita out wide, with the keeper losing her footing, allowing Watkins a free shot at goal to send Ireland into the semi final.

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They will face Spain, who upset Germany, and the Irish will fancy their chances of advancing further on Saturday afternoon.

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Author: Chris Kelleher

Student whose interests lie in sports ranging from Darts to MMA, with the likes of Golf, Boxing and Soccer in between. Closet wrestling fan and a lover of sports psychology and stiff jabs.