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Dancer's Ireland cut loose against Belarus to set up German showdown

The Green Army scored 11 in Antwerp this afternoon to get their European Hockey Championships campaign back on track.

Belgium European Hockey Championships Anna O'Flanagan celebrates her first-half goal. Source: Virginia Mayo

Ireland 11 

Belarus 0

IRELAND WOMEN GOT their European Hockey Championships firmly back on track this afternoon with an 11-goal evisceration of Belarus to set up a final game showdown against Germany.

Having suffered a narrow defeat to England yesterday, Sean Dancer’s side responded emphatically in Antwerp on Monday to pick up their first win of the tournament ahead of the crunch tie against Germany.

Roisin Upton scored four goals for Ireland, as Anna O’Flanagan and Nikki Evans helped themselves to braces, while Bethany Barr, Deirdre Duke and Zoe Wilson all got in on the act during a ruthless display.

Nine of Ireland’s 11 goals came from short corners and they will now head into the final pool outing on Wednesday knowing victory over Germany would be enough to secure a passage through to the semi-finals. 

“We started quite well in the first quarter, obviously really pleasing to take an early lead,” head coach Dancer said.

“I felt we became a little complacent in the second quarter and we let Belarus back in to the game — not from a score point of view, but from a playing point of view. But a really pleasing second half, we stepped it up and played some good hockey.”

Upton got Ireland up and running as early as the fourth minute, before O’Flanagan doubled the lead shortly after. 

The Green Army failed to covert a number of second-quarter chances as Belarus came into the contest, before Ireland cut loose in the second period with nine goals, including six in the third quarter. 

Upton had secured her hat-trick by the end of the quarter, while Evans added two to the overall tally with her second coming from a saved penalty corner rebound.

O’Flanagan added her second in the final quarter, before Duke and Upton tacked on late scores to complete a good day at the office for the World Cup silver medallists. 

Ireland: Ayeisha McFerran, Katie Mullan (captain), Shirley McCay, Lena Tice, Chloe Watkins, Lizzie Colvin, Nicci Daly, Hannah Matthews, Sarah Hawkshaw, Anna O’Flanagan, Zoe Wilson. 

Subs: Liz Murphy (GK), Roisin Upton, Nikki Evans, Gillian Pinder, Beth Barr, Deirdre Duke, Ali Meeke.  

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Ryan Bailey

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