Ansley ‘delighted’ with winning start for England.

England defender Giselle Ansley could not hide her joy after her goal – and a first England strike for Suzy Petty gave them a win over Ireland in their opening match of the EuroHockey Championships.

“We’re absolutely delighted to kickstart our tournament with a win and against Ireland as well – we know local derbies are always going to be tough games, so we’re absolutely delighted.”


Ansley fired home a rocket of a penalty corner just before half-time to put England 2-0 up and despite Beth Barr pulling one back in the third quarter for Ireland, England were able to hang on and pick up a vital three points in their opening game.

As you might expect, chances were scarce in the opening quarter and it looked like the teams would go into the first break all square. On the stroke of quarter time, Ansley’s penalty corner was saved by Ayeisha McFerran but Anna Toman smuggled the ball back to Petty who turned in her first goal for England to make it 1-0.

England doubled their lead thanks to Ansley’s stunning goal – her 21st in international hockey and went in at half time 2-0 up.

Although England threatened through Ellie Rayer, it was Ireland who scored the next goal. Barr finished off a slick penalty corner routine to set up a tense finish to the match.


The final quarter was the most open of the game with Ireland searching for an equaliser and England looking dangerous on the counter.

Maddie Hinch was called into action to make a good reflex save to keep out Anna O’Flanagan and then Sean Dancer’s side were a whisker away from levelling via a Shirley McCay penalty corner. Despite a late barrage from Ireland, Mark Hager’s side held out for the win.

The England coach said afterwards:

“It was really good to get three points on the board from the first game. We knew it would be a tough, physical game and I thought we started really well. It was good to score from our penalty corners and we want to build on that performance for tomorrow as we know that too will be a tough one.”

England’s next match is against Germany, who beat Belarus 13-0 in their first game of the tournament, on Monday 19 August at 12:30pm BST.

About thetopofthed

Columnist for The Hockey Paper and the man behind The Top of the D. Writer, podcaster, goalkeeper and BBC Sport man. Used to work for Great Britain Hockey and have covered the sport at every major tournament.
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