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Ireland come from behind to beat New Zealand and reach Nations Cup Final

Ireland celebrate reaching the Nations Cup Final in Spain

Ireland have reached the final of the Nations Cup after coming from behind to beat New Zealand 2-1 in the semi-final in Terrassa.

They’ll face either Spain or Chile on Sunday with the winners gaining promotion to the Pro League.

It was a well deserved victory for Ireland who dominated possession and created more chances.

Despite going behind to a goal from New Zealand’s Rose Tynan, Ireland turned the game around with strikes from Sarah Hawkshaw and Sarah Torrans.

Ireland began the tournament with a 5-1 defeat by Spain but have progressed with wins over Italy, Korea and New Zealand.

”We thought it would be a bit of a battle and it was and I thought the girls showed a lot of resilience to come through that game,” said player of the match Hawkshaw.

“That wasn’t the real us again Spain but since then we’ve learnt a lot. We knew that result wasn’t going to define us in the tournament and now we can look forward to the final. We’ll be ready for it.”

Both sides were certainly not cagey in the first half as they played attacking hockey trying to get the early advantage.

A break into the circle from Torrans saw her ball across the goal get taken off the stick of Niamh Carey.

At the other end Hannah Cotter was guilty of missing an open goal as she failed to convert Liz Robertson’s cross.

Carey was at the heart of all the good play Ireland were producing and from a penalty corner, her deflection was just a little heavy and the ball went wide of goal.

In the early moments of the second period it was Carey again who stole the ball off a New Zealand defender in the circle but saw her shot turned away by goalkeeper Brooke Roberts.

Against the run of play it was New Zealand who took the lead early in the second half.

A defensive mistake allowed New Zealand to attack inside the circle and from a scramble it was Tynan who forced the ball across the line as the Irish players stood and watched.

The equaliser came just four minutes later.

From a penalty corner routine that didn’t go according to plan, the ball inadvertently found its way to Katie Mullan who squared it across goal for Hawkshaw to tap in.

As the final quarter began so did the thoughts of another shootout for Ireland.

However with nine minutes remaining in the game, Hawkshaw drove along the goal line and her pullback was superbly turned into the corner of the net by Torrans.

Ireland held on for a famous win and the opportunity to play for a place in world hockey’s premier competition.