Loreto’s McLoughlin plays key role in Irish series win

by Gazette Reporter

Ireland’s Under-21 women’s hockey team produced wins on Saturday and Sunday to see off Scotland at Queen’s, using 30 players across three games as they continue their Euro preparations.
The Scots started the series well, winning the first tie 2-1. Loreto’s Hannah McLoughlin, pictured above, was at the heart of the Irish goal, setting up Edel Nyland for what proved a consolation effort.
In game two, Ireland came back from 2-0 down to score a 5-2 win over Scotland and put the series right back into the mix.
Scotland started the stronger with Millie Steiger and Lorna Cruikshank both scoring before the end of the first quarter.
Ireland improved in the second quarter, holding the majority of possession and creating all the chances with Nyland and Rachel Burns combining brilliantly for a first major chance while a Scottish defender cleared another Burns shot off the line.
Hermes-Monkstown’s Ellen Curran’s crash ball yielded a corner that went unconverted while another chance came when Nyland fired just wide from Emma Kernohan’s pass.
Scottish keeper Megan Inch denied UCD’s Abbie Russell’s powerful shot before McLoughlin got one back from a penalty corner breakdown, making it 2-1 to the Scots at half-time.
They carried that momentum into the second half when Nyland drove around the last defender before drawing another save. Ireland drew level when Erin Getty and Jessica McMaster linked up to play in Russell whose forehand shot found the bottom corner.
It left the game poised at 2-2 going into the final quarter when Ireland took full control. McMaster put them in front from a corner, rebounding off McLoughlin’s initial shot.
The Queen’s striker added another when she drove through the heart of the Scottish defence before slotting home for 4-2.
Tori Hastings then played in Railway Union’s Michelle Carey on the p-spot and she slipped her shot over the line.
Game three saw Ireland win out 2-0. They controlled much of a scoreless first half. Michelle Barry gave them the lead early in the second half. McLoughlin closed out the win with her second goal in as many days, finishing off after a nice exchange with Carey.

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