Ireland beaten by Spain in Nations Cup opener

Defeat by hosts makes victory against Italy on Monday all the more important

Ireland’s Nations Cup campaign got off to a losing start in Valencia on Sunday when they were beaten 2-0 by Spain. The result puts pressure on them to beat Italy on Monday if they are to have a realistic chance of making the semi-finals of the tournament.

Sean Dancer’s side suffered the worst possible start when they went a goal down in the second minute, Clara Ycart firing past Elizabeth Murphy to give the hosts the lead.

Ireland fought back well, though, Zara Malseed and Roisin Upton both forcing the Spanish goalkeeper into saves. But the game was all but settled at the start of the second half when Alejandra Torres-Quevedo converted a second corner.

Italy, the lowest ranked side in the four-team pool, produced a surprise by drawing with Korea earlier in the day, a warning for Ireland before a game they really need to win. The top two in the pool advance to the semi-finals, with the prize for the tournament winners a place in the 2023 Pro League.


Ireland: E Murphy, S McAuley, R Upton, N Carey, S Hawkshaw, K Mullan (capt), H McLoughlin, S Torrans, E Tice, N Carroll, C Beggs. Subs: H Micklem, Z Malseed, M Carey, C Perdue, S O’Brien, E Curran, C Hamill.

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan is a sports writer with The Irish Times