Women’s hockey: India juniors go down to Ireland

Despite the 4-1 margin of defeat, the Indian team gives a good account of itself against Ireland’s senior team.

Representative Image: The Indian team next plays Canada’s junior team.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

In the first contest of its tour of Ireland, the Indian junior women’s team suffered a 4-1 defeat against Ireland’s senior side here. Despite the heavy margin of defeat, the Indian team gave a good account of itself, holding its own against its more fancied opponent.

In a tightly-contested first quarter, the host broke the deadlock, scoring in the seventh minute. A lone goal had separated the two sides at the end of the quarter. Ireland won a penalty corner early in the second quarter, but a smart save from Bichu Devi in the Indian goal denied the host a chance to double its lead.

On the charge

India pressed hard in the second quarter, Ireland’s resolute defence ensured the Irish went into half-time with its slender one-goal advantage intact. India came charging out in the third quarter, and got the equaliser via Sharmila. It seemed to be a boost the team needed.

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A subsequent penalty corner attempt was thwarted by the Irish goalkeeper to keep his team in the game. With India pressing forward to seize the advantage, Sarah Hawkshaw scored right at the death to give Ireland the lead at the end of the third quarter.

Counter-attack

From then on, Ireland defended effectively even as India looked to score an equaliser in the final quarter. Ireland capitalised on the counter and scored two more goals to secure victory.

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India next plays Canada’s junior team on Thursday.

These warm-up matches will be followed by the Cantor Fitzgerald U21 International Four-Nations tournament that runs from Ma 31 to June 4.