Irish women beaten 3-1 by USA in first of three games

Emily Beatty
Emily Beatty scored the Irish goal

The Irish women's hockey team were beaten 3-1 by USA in the first of their three-match series at the Spooky Nook Sports Complex in Pennsylvania.

Emily Beatty gave Ireland the lead in the first quarter against the side ranked sixth in the world.

However goals from Michelle Vittese, Jill Witmer and Julia Young saw the United States win the opening game.

The sides meet again at 23:30 BST on Friday 26 May as they prepare for World League 3 in Johannesburg in July.

Ireland made a positive start to the game and took the lead when Beatty, who plays her club hockey for KHC Dragons in Belgium, pounced on a rebound to give Graham Shaw's side the early advantage.

Early in the second quarter USA equalised from a penalty stroke that was confidently dispatched by Vitesse and minutes later they went ahead ahead when Witmer defected the ball past Ayeisha McFerran.

The Irish goalkeeper made a number of excellent saves while at the other end Nikki Evans saw her effort cleared off the line.

USA extended their lead in the 53rd from a penalty corner converted by Julia Young.

After the game Irish Coach Shaw said, "We are pleased with our performance but disappointed with the result. We played very well in phases and created many good goal scoring opportunities."

"We must concentrate in turning these chances into goals. USA were just better in the circle. We are really looking forward to the challenge in the next game."

Ireland Starting XI: A McFerran, K Mullan, S McCay, L Tice, G PInder, S Loughran, R Upton, N Daly, H Matthews, E Russell, A O'Flanagan Subs: Y O'Byrne, N Evans, E Beatty, C Watkins, Z Wilson, D Duke

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