India’s junior women’s hockey team began their tour to Ireland with a 1-4 loss in a spirited performance against Ireland’s senior women’s team. Despite the scoreline, for a majority of the game, the junior team held their own against their fancied senior team opponents — World Cup silver medallists Ireland. In a tightly contested first quarter, it was the hosts who broke the deadlock, scoring in the 7th minute. The lone goal separated the sides at the end of the first quarter. Early in the second quarter, Ireland won a PC, but a smart save by Bichu Devi in the Indian goal post denied the hosts a chance to double their lead.
Despite India pressing hard in the second quarter, Ireland’s resolute defence ensured that the hosts went into half time with their slender one-goal advantage intact. India came charging out in the third quarter and got their equaliser via Sharmila Devi. The equaliser was the boost the team needed and a subsequent PC attempt was thwarted by the Irish goalkeeper to keep the hosts 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.
From then on, it was a matter of the hosts defending as India looked to score an equaliser in the final quarter. The hosts capitalised on the counter, scoring two more goals to secure the victory. India plays the Canada junior women’s team on Thursday. These two warm-up matches will be followed by the Cantor Fitzgerald U21 International 4-Nations tournament from May 31 to June 4.