Ireland 3 (O’Flanagan x2, Mullan)
Spain 2 (Cano, Riera)
It was the Green Army who had the first attempt on goal of the afternoon as Anna O’Flanagan won her side a penalty corner in the opening minutes. Zoe Wilson’s straight strike from the top of the circle was run down and cleared, and from there Spain seized some early momentum.
The hosts retained possession and patiently worked their way up to the Irish circle where, in the 9th minute, Carmen Cano gave her team the lead. The Spanish continued to press high and attempt to put the Irish defence under pressure. Their second goal came courtesy of a stroke from Lola Riera after the initial ball in from the left resulted in a goal mouth scramble. Grace O’Flanagan was called upon to make two superb saves in quick succession but the Green Army finished the half in control as Lena Tice had Melania Garcia beaten in the Spanish goal but saw her shot ricochet off the post.
The Irish started the second half in the same vein in which they finished the first as a first time pass from Gillian Pinder saw shots come off the post and the crossbar inside the opening 90 seconds. Less than a minute later and O’Flanagan got Ireland on the score sheet as she finished calmly from the penalty spot, following a vital interception and pass from Deidre Duke inside the circle. Duke drew a strong save of her own from Garcia following great link up play between Hannah Matthews and Katie Mullan to get the ball into the circle.
The equaliser came as Mullan made a super interception and the pace of Ellen Curran caught the Spanish defence out as she slipped the pass back to her captain who duly rifled a reverse into the corner. The teams exchanged penalty corners in the dying minutes of the game with Lizzie Colvin preventing Spain from retaking the lead as she cleared the shot. O’Flanagan secured the Irish victory from the final penalty corner of the tie as Shirley McCay’s shot was sent goal-ward and O’Flanagan‘s deflection took it past Garcia.
The comeback means the teams share the spoils and split the series with a victory each. A busy year continues for the Green Army as they travel to both Scotland and England next month for more international fixtures.
Starting: G O’Flanagan, A Naughton, N Evans, K Mullan (Captain), E Tice, G Pinder, L Colvin, H Matthews, A O’Flanagan, Z Wilson, E Curran
Subs: E Buckley, Y O’Byrne, S McCay, S Torrans, D Duke, A Meeke, L McGuire
Match Details vs Spain in CHP Benalmadena:
February 6th at 4:30pm Ireland 0 vs 7 Spain
February 8th at 1pm Ireland 2 vs 0 Spain
February 10th 1pm Ireland 1 vs 3 Spain
February 11th 12pm Ireland 3 vs 2 Spain