Ireland hit top of goup after goal feast against Singapore at FIH Series final in Banbridge
Ireland were emphatic 11-0 winners over Singapore at Havelock Park on Tuesday as they moved into the semi-finals of the FIH Hockey series event with consummate ease.
Now a win in Saturday’s last four tie will secure Gareth Grundie’s team a place in the final stage of the Olympic qualifying process.
However, that game will represent a step up in class for Ireland who made it three wins from three yesterday after earlier victories over Malaysia and the Czech Republic.
Ireland were in total control for most of yesterday’s game bar a scoreless third quarter as they hit seven goals in the first half and four in the final 15 minutes.
After sending an earlier penalty corner over the bar, Roisin Upton’s second effort was saved but Megan Frazer was on hand to volley in the rebound.
Two minutes later, Mullan doubled the lead with a deft deflection after Anna O’Flanagan had delivered a teasing cross from the right.
Gillian Pinder added number three in the 11th minute with a clinical backhand shot after the Singapore defence had failed to clear its lines.
Upton hammered in a set-piece to make it 4-0 seven minutes later and, at that point, it was a matter of how many Ireland would score.
Lena Tice added a fifth from Ireland’s next award within 60 seconds with another direct shot as the floodgates began to open.
Sarah Hawshaw made it six shortly afterwards when she got a touch to a left wing cross from Shirley McCay, who was winning a record 281st cap.
Upton added her second with a carbon copy of her first with five minutes left in the first half.
Ireland continued to be in total control after the break carving out several chances without being able to convert although Nicci Daly hit the post in the 41st minute after receiving a pass from Barr.
To be fair to Singapore, they defended better from a low base point and, clearly intent on damage limitation, frequently pulled 10 women behind the ball.
After a scoreless third quarter, in which Ireland failed to force a penalty corner, they scored from their next set-piece in the 48th minute, Hannah Matthews on target at the far post from a switch after pushing the ball out.
O’Flanagan made it 9-0 with under five minutes remaining from another set-piece, diverting McCay’s slap home with a finish reminiscent of her two World Cup goals.
Mullan brought up double figures a minute later with the best goal of the day, slamming home an Upton pass from the edge of the circle.
There was still time for number 11 as Zoe Wilson stole possession from a defender and slipped the ball home with the last play oif a totally one-sided game.
Singapore finished bottom of Group A and will go forward to the 7/8th place classification game on Saturday morning against Ukraine, who finished bottom of Group B.
The Ireland team will be keen onlookers at Thursday’s crossover games particularly the Scotland v Czech Republic game as they will face the winners of that tie in the semi-finals.
Korea topped Group B on Tuesday with a 1-0 win over France to secure a semi-final against either Malaysia or the French who meet tomorrow in the other classification match.