Ireland’s women saw off South Africa 2-1 to secure a spot in the Champions Challenge 1 final against either Spain or the USA while Ireland’s men were narrowly beaten 2-1 by South Korea in their semi-final.
Ireland women went behind in the eighth minute of their game when Celia Evans successfully got an open shot away.
Ireland rallied well, Megan Frazer levelling the sides from a cracking penalty corner strike that took a deflection high into the net in the 15th minute.
Both teams worked hard in the remaining minutes of the first half but they could not be separated in the first 35 and the sides went in at half-time at one a piece.
Ireland started the second half well, enjoying periods of pressure and possession, but South Africa had their own chances to test the Irish defence.
Ireland got a deserved lead in the 45th minute when super work by Katie Mullan along the baseline led to her dropping the ball back to a waiting Nikki Evans, who made no mistake from the close range shot to make it 2-1.
Ireland continued to goal hunt, some fantastic team work creating chances, man of the match Shirley McCay showing great form with the long ball.
South Africa looked sure to equalise in the 59th minute when Tarryn Bright stepped up to take a stroke but an on-form Emma Gray in goals saved well to keep her side’s lead intact.
Ireland will now pay the winners of Spain v USA on Sunday.
Commenting after the match, Ireland coach Darren Smith was proud of his team’s efforts.
“Defensively we were pretty sound, I thought,” Smith said. “This is a group of young girls that work so hard who want to play good international hockey and to be in the final is fantastic.”
Ireland: Emily Beatty (UCD) Naomi Carroll (Catholic Institute) Nicci Daly (Holcombe HC / Loreto) Kate Dillon (Railway Union) Nikki Evans (UCD) Megan Frazer – Captain (Holcombe HC / Ballymoney) Emma Gray GK (Hermes) Michelle Harvey (Leuven / Pegasus) Shirley McCay (Old Alex) Ayeisha McFerran GK (Randalstown) Ali Meeke (Loreto) Katie Mullan (UCD) Anna O'Flanagan (UCD) Audrey O'Flynn (Hermes) Gillian Pinder (UCD) Cliodhna Sargent - Vice Captain (Cork Harlequins) Emma Smyth (Railway Union) Chloe Watkins (Club de Campo / UCD).
Ireland's men will play in the bronze-medal match against hosts Malaysia on Sunday after losing 2-1 against South Korea.
Ireland trailed early on when Korea converted on the drag flick thanks to Jang Jong Hyun’s handiwork in just the 3rd minute.
Ireland had a great equalising opportunity in the 15th minute when their initial goalward-bound shot secured them a penalty corner but the strong Korean defence was up to the task.
In the 31st minute keeper David Harte had to work hard to keep another goal out, but the hooter sounded signalling half-time, Ireland trailing by a goal at that point.
After the break, South Korea almost doubled their lead in the 47th minute, but great Irish defending plucked the ball off the line to relieve the pressure.
Korea did make it 2-0 in the 53rd minute, when Hyun Sung got on the scoresheet, and although Ireland pulled one back thanks to Chris Cargo’s efforts in the 63rd minute, the clock ticked on and Ireland couldn’t manage an equaliser in time.
Ireland will have it all to play for again tomorrow taking on hosts Malaysia in the 3rd/4th play-off at 12.15 Irish time.
Ireland: David Harte GK (Kampong) David Fitzgerald GK (Monkstown) John Jackson (Captain) (Reading) Paul Gleghorne (Instonians) Johnny Bell (Lisnagarvey) Richard Shaw (Glenanne) Mathew Bell (Banbridge) Bruce McCandless (Banbridge) Eugene Magee (Banbridge) Drew Carlisle (Banbridge) Michael Robson (Annadale) Peter Brown (UCD) Chris Cargo (Reading) Alan Sothern (Pembroke Wanderers) Steven Dowds (Banbridge) Kirk Shimmins (UCD) Philip Brown (Banbridge) Maurice Elliot (Pembroke Wanderers).