UCC's Caoimhe Perdue on target but Ireland lose out to England

Green Army must now beat South Africa to advance to Junior Hockey World Cup quarter-finals
UCC's Caoimhe Perdue on target but Ireland lose out to England

Caoimhe Perdue, on right, celebrates with team-mates after scoring Ireland's opening goal in the Women's Junior World Cup 2022.

Ireland 1 

England 2 

UCC’s Caoimhe Perdue was on target for the Irish junior (U21) hockey side in their first ever Junior World Cup fixture as they took on England at Potchefstroom, South Africa.

But it wasn’t enough to give her side victory as they came up against a rock solid English defence who kept the co-captain and the rest of the Irish side at bay for the rest of the game.

In a late volley of attacks, Ireland ended up with eight penalty corners but goalkeeper Millie Welch and her defensive team repelled everything Ireland could throw at them to secure a precious victory.

Tomorrow they now face South Africa needing a win to guarantee them progression to the quarter-finals, although a draw may suffice as well pending on scoring averages.

David Passmore’s side had started brilliantly, taking the lead in just the fourth minute through Perdue but strikes from Millie Giglio and Vikki McCabe in the second half saw the English prevail 2-1.

“You can be the better team and play the better hockey for much of the game, particularly the last quarter, but it is about taking your chances,” Passmore reflected afterwards.

“I was really pleased with how we started because it was a historic day, our first performance at a World Cup. England had already got their tournament nerves out of the way yesterday.

“The English corner defence was excellent and, hands up, the better team won in that respect. Overall, really happy with the performance and conviction of the team - we will come back fighting on Monday to get a result against South Africa.” With this group shortened due to Ukraine’s inability to travel, it means England are assured of top spot thanks to a 3-0 win over host South Africa on Friday. Ireland need a draw or better to join them in the last eight.

“South Africa have to come out to win it and there’s no way we will just come out to draw,” Passmore added.

“That’s not our mindset or mentality. Being a host can be a great thing other than when you are under real pressure so we have to exert more pressure on them.” Early on, Ireland got off to a dream start when Wesley schoolgirl Mikayla Power drove through the middle to win a penalty corner which Perdue slapped powerfully, taking a wicked ricochet into the top corner.

The advantage did not last long, though, as Katie-Jane Marshall was deemed to have pushed Maddie Axford in the circle illegally and Giglio stepped up to score from the penalty spot.

England had the best of the second quarter with Ellie McLoughlin making some key blocks down low while Claudia Swain deflected over the bar.

But were unbowed and they built a lot of momentum in the second half with Aoife Taaffe’s direct approach drawing some big fouls. There was panic stations when an Emma Paul corner shot spun led to a melee and twice England were left scrambling the ball off the goal line as the chance would not stick.

Rachel Kelly also could not take in a ball when well-placed as England clung on for their win and Ireland face a big Monday showdown.

Scorers for Ireland: C Perdue.

England: M Giglio, V McCabe.

IRELAND: E McLoughlin, E Paul, S O’Brien, M Power, C Perdue, A Elliott, Y Pratt, C Hamill, L Mulcahy, S McAuley, K-J Marshall Subs: H Micklem, E Reid, A Taaffe, S Murdoch, R Kelly, A Horan, C Sherin.

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