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Dublin: 11 °C Thursday 18 October, 2018

Two goals in two minutes keep Ireland's slim World Cup dream alive

Graham Shaw’s side battled from behind to beat India in the 7th/8th place World League play-off.

Ireland 2

India 1

IRELAND HAVE BATTLED from behind to beat higher-ranked India 2-1 and claim seventh place at the World League semi-final in Johannesburg.

After defeats to Argentina and South Africa during the week, their 2018 World Cup qualifying dream was hanging by a thread, but today’s result keeps hopes alive.

The top five sides gained automatic qualification to next year’s World Cup in England, but extra places could yet be awarded via World League placings.

Ireland started on the stronger foot, taking full advantage of India’s slow start, but still it was the latter who drew first blood.

Gurit Kaur converted a penalty corner in the 15th minute to put her side 1-0 up.

Graham Shaw’s side rallied, but were stopped in their tracks soon after as keeper Ayeisha McFerran was dealt a 10-minute yellow card for charging out of her goal and obstructing.

Nothing came off India’s subsequent penalty stroke however, as Grace O’Flanagan denied Rani with her first contribution to play.

Ireland were fortunate not to be dealt another blow minutes later, as India had a goal disallowed while half-time approached.

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Just under two minutes into the fourth quarter, Ireland leveled matters. Elena Tice’s penalty corner found Katie Mullan, who deflected past India’s in-form keeper Savita.

The goalscorer won another penalty corner less than two minutes later, and this time Lizzie Colvin was at hand with the goal.

India raised the tempo in the final minutes as they went in search of an equaliser, but the Ireland defence stood strong.

“I thought the performance was superb, we just didn’t get results out of the dominance we had in the first half,” head coach Shaw said after the game.

“But this team has shown incredible character to go down to 10 players and have that resilience. We’re over the moon to score two great goals.

“This team deserve it, they work incredibly hard and deserve everything they get.”

The Ireland men’s side face New Zealand in the 5th/6th place playoff at 5pm this evening, where a win means a guaranteed place in the World Cup.

Ireland: K Mullan (captain), S McCay, E Tice, G Pinder, R Upton, A McFerran, C Watkins, N Daly, A O’Flanagan, Z Wilson, D Duke.

Subs: G O’Flanagan, Y O’Byrne, N Evans, E Beatty, S Loughran, L Colvin, H Matthews.

India: D Ekka, Monkia, N Pradhan, Savita, V Katariya, N Toppo, A Barla, S Lakra, S Pukhrambam, Rani (Captain), L Minz.

Subs:  N Kaur, G Kaur, R Khokhar, R Etimarpu, R Rani, R Yadav, P Dubey.

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