Saturday, August 29, 2009

70 minutes

More Cregan dribbling in the corner, coutndown starts, 10, 9, 8... Sargent holds onto the ball and the draw is secured. It was not pretty at times but Ireland get the result they need to maintain A division status. They now wait to see if they come fifth or sixth in the final reckoning.

Both sides had their sighters on goal. Ireland certainly had more chances to win it, leading to the nervous final 20 minutes but primary objectiive achieved. Nice.

70 minutes

60 seconds to go, a misplaced Russian pass sees Sargent flick into the corner yet again...

68 minutes

Flinn brings it clear and Symmons plays keep ball in the corner; now Cregan is winding the clock down - 100 seconds to go.

67 minutes

The corner isn't stopped though and Kuzmina is forced wide with the ultimate concession of a long corner.

66 minutes

And they win a corner as Sorokina controls onto Michelle Harvey's foot.

65 minutes

Russia camp in the right-hand corner. Nervy times

64 minutes

Shirley McCay takes one to the shoulder. Emma Gray subsequently readjusts her pads giving everyone a chance to breathe. The Irish crowd liven up as the ball gets back into play.

62 minutes

Symmons bashes a loose-ball wide with a snap-shot. Ireland with more chances but a niggling concern they are levaing too much space at the back.

59 minutes

Jacob fights through two tackles to play in Lizzie Colvin. Under pressure, the Loreto youngster miscues her reverse but McKean wins a corner. It switches right and then in to McKean's path but the deflection is easily saved.

57 minutes

Still 1-1, still on a knife-edge. Ireland creating plenty of chances but, in a typical end of tournament fashion, the game is becoming more and more open with chances at either end. Jacob has been in top form and deserves more than the one goal she has to her name.

55 minutes

Cracking Lisa jacob reverse well-saved and she wins another corner soon after but the switch move comes to nothing.

54 minutes

Ireland's turn to have a clear opening. Lisa Jacob latches on to a scrappy ball through, gets away from the goalkeeper and flicks goalward only for Cherkasova to save off the line. Corner results but comes to nothing.

52 minutes

Gilt-edge chance for Russia; the corner is easily saved by Gray but the clearance is poor and gives Grigorieva a chance from 8 yards. SHe smashes high in McCay and the rebound falls to Sorokina who flashes over with an open goal beckoning.

52 minutes

Russia win a corner off Cliodhna Sargent, well-worked by Shumilina.

50 minutes

Lats gasp tackle from Cleland denies Shentsova at the circle's edge in a promising position. All action. Next goal is key, Russia desperate to win to keep elite status, Ireland need to put that prospect beyond them.

48 minutes

Good Symmons ball from the top of the D finds Frazer on the flick spot, she can't dig the ball from under her feet though and the keeper smothers the danger. Russia break quickly only for McCay to pull off a top tackle - game on here, much livelier

47 minutes

Brilliant chance for Frazer to give Ireland the lead but Cregan's cross bounces over her stick. Cregan stole the ball on the right wing and was left one-on-one with the goalkeeper. The cross took out the net-minderbut the bobble decieved Frazer.

46 minutes

Stewart surges out of defence, finds Cregan on the left edge of the circle in good position but two solid tackles prevent the attack going any further.

44 minutes

Symmons flies down the left wing but does not connect with he reverse-stick cross.

42 minutes

Ireland galvanised, Frazer dances around two tackles before being hacked down. A tougher umpire may have awarded a corner but free-in a good return. It comes to nothing but Ireland in better shape.

41 minutes

Osipova cannot continue

41 minutes

Much better stuff from Ireland - they string eight passes together in Russian territory to set Smyth free down the right, feed Flinn who finds a foot.

Symmons' drag flick catches Irina Osipova and there's a break to tend for her injury.

38 minutes

Ireland get a bit lucky, the ball clips an Irish foot in the circle bu the umpire waves play on, the ensuing attack sees a reverse-stick shot batted away by Gray and some more nervy moments are eventually cleared by a long ball into space.

Half-time - Ireland 1 Russia 1

The Irish return to the pitch to a boisterous reception, flags, balloons and leprechaun hats the order of the day. Check them out on Monday on RTE as part of an OB Sport special at 7pm.


Russia 1 Ireland 1

A bright start replaced by an off-kilter second part of the half has seen Ireland surrender the lead. They have created little since the Russians moved to a more aggressive press. Still, 1-1 is not a disaster and if its stays like this, A division status will be retained.

33 minutes

GOAL - Russia 1 Ireland 1

Russia are back on terms as Gray's first clearance finds only Grigorieva. Gray saves brilliantly from her snap shot but the second rebound falls to Shentsova 10 yards out and she find the corner of the empty net. To compound matters, the rain is now bucketing down.

31 minutes

Shirley McCay left with no one to pass to from an auto-pass and an Emma Clarke pass goes way off course. Frustrating stuff.

Friday, August 28, 2009

28 minutes

Typical Eimear Cregan run down the endline, cross finds Cathy McKean's stick and is well blocked by Oxana Serezhkina.

A few choice words being exchanged in the Irish camp...

28 minutes

The composure mentioned earlier has deserted Ireland as a misuced ball around the back is almost intercepted on the circle's edge by Yulia Ashurova

26 minutes

Great ball in from the left wing and cpatain Olga Shentsova slides in full length to deflect just behind the post. Real danger there. a stronger touch and that was the equaliser

24 minutes

Russia have the lion's share of possession and territory but have yet to threaten to the Irish circle.

19 minutes

Sun now fully out, cracker of a day. A clever overhead almost finds Irina Kuzmina on the right endline and Ireland have gone off the boil a little, unable to get a stick on the ball.

18 minutes

First touch of the tournament for Emma Gray as she guides out an overhead. Russia have switched to a three-quarter press and are getting some joy from it in terms of pitch position

16 minutes

Good composed stuff at the back, McCay, Stewart and Cleland playing the ball around well and have not really looked under any pressure since the first minute.

13 minutes

Don't worry, no internet connection problems as yet. Game being played between the 25s to little effect... oh hang on, Lisa Jacob with a brilliant run in from the right wing, sees acres of space on the left side so throws it out there, chases after it and smashes in a reverse stick shot and U2's 'Beautiful Day' gets its fourth airing of the tournaments - brilliant strike.

GOAL - Ireland 1 Russia 0

10 minutes

Russians revert to half-court. Time stopped as umpire Murphy (from England) readjusts her skirt.

8 minutes

Russia on the attack, umpire McRae considers giving a corner but thinks better of it as Sargent scrambles clear. No real pattern or structure to the game as yet.

6 minutes

Symmons' drag saved, the rebound comes up but Shirley McCay fresh airs. Play brought back for the danger created and a second corner.

Switch left and Symmons' drags. Saved again and Roisin Flinn's rebound deflected wide by a good defensive block.

5 minutes

Great ball by Sargent down the right side-line to Roisin Flinn who turns her marker on the baseline and wins the first corner of the game

1 minute

Russia launch the first attack down the right wing via Grigorieva but Michelle Harvey clears the danger.

0 minutes

Sun is just peaking through the clouds. There was an incredible thunder storm last night but cleared way at about 5.30am for a beautifully still morning. The thunder kept me awake all night but apparently the player's Dorint hotel has excellent sound-proofing!

Team news

Emma Gray comes in for his first appearance of the tournament between the posts. She comes in place of Mary Goode.

Cliodhna Sargent celebrates her 50th cap.

Ireland: E Gray, R Flinn, C Sargent, E Cregan (capt), E Clarke, E Stewart, B Cleland, S McCay, C McKean, N Symmons, E Smyth
Subs: A Speers, L Colvin, L Jacob, M Frazer, M Harvey

Russia: O Serezhkina, E Sorokina, G Timshina, E Cherkasova, M Nikitina, N Vershinia, O Shentsova (capt), Y Ashuurova, I Osipova, S Grigorieva, M Drepenkina
Subs: O Boyko, K Shamina, K Shumilinia, I Kuzmina, E Butina

Welcome to the live match-tracker for Ireland vs Russia

Ireland look to equal their best ever finish in European competition with a win over Russia guaranteeing fifth place – a position Ireland reached once before in Dublin in 2005. Margins between glory and despair are tight, though.

A draw will keep Ireland in the A division while a loss means Ireland could be relegated to the second tier of European hockey, depending on the outcome of the match between Azerbaijan and Scotland.

Follow the live action here from 7.30am (Irish time) on Saturday morning.