Hosts Ireland and Chile head up their respective pools after the first weekend of the UDG Healthcare World League Round 2 in Dublin with two wins out of two.
Ireland started off in flying form with a 5-0 win over Ukraine on Saturday with goals from Anna O’Flanagan, Cliodhna Sargent, Megan Frazer and Aine Connery.
They followed up with a much closer 2-1 victory over Canada. Set piece goals from Aine Connery and Kate Dillon grab the result, holding off the maple leafs for whom Thea Cully got one back two minutes from time.
The Canadians – who won their opening game against Turkey 5-0 – had the better of the early phases but saw Sara McManus denied from the penalty spot by an excellent diving save from Emma Gray.
Ireland duly hit their stride in the second quarter with Connery scoring her second goal of the tournament with a neat deflection to Sargent’s penalty corner hit. Dillon then scrambled in a second from another corner variation with five minutes remaining before Cully’s late reply.
Ukraine beat Turkey on Sunday evening 3-0 with Olena Derkach scoring twice to get their first three points of the tournament.
In Pool B, Chile are the leading lights thanks to a 4-0 win over Lithuania on Saturday with Daniela Caram bagging a brace. Belarus were the other winners on day one with a 2-0 success against Austria.
The South American side duly won their showdown with Belarus on Sunday 2-1, coming from a goal down to move on to six points.
Maryna Pakhanava gave the Belarussians the lead in fortuitous fashion as she was quickest to react to a crash ball that bounced off the post and back into play.
Chile had to save another chance off the line but eventually found their feet and drew level in the 24th minute from a penalty stroke, awarded for a stick tackled in the circle.
Denise Krimerman then got the winner in the 39th minute when she slapped home a penalty corner direct from the top. Belarus could not sustain their challenge and two late yellow cards meant Chile held on to their win in strong fashion.
Austria started day two with a 4-0 win over Lithuania to get their first points of the competition. Viktoria Kruger’s powerful penalty corner hit squeezed its way home in the 18th minute for the only goal of the first half.
Corinna Zerbs made it two with the best goal of the tournament to date, a great run from the 25 before shooting a backhand effort to the top of the net. Daria Buchta and Marta Laginja adding two more goals in the closing nine minutes to run up a confident victory.