Ireland 0-7 Spain
Naomi Carroll earned her 100th cap for Ireland but it was unfortunately a game to forget for those in green as Spain ran riot in the first of a four-match series.
On the day the Irish Hockey Union marked the 125th anniversary of its formation, it was the hosts who turned on they style, hitting the Irish for seven in Benalmadena.
Spain very nearly opened the scoring inside the first 90 seconds when a goalmouth scramble from their first penalty corner saw the ball go in but the umpire disallowed it much to Ireland’s relief.
But in the third minute Lucia Jimenez swept home from close range to give the hosts the lead.
Katie Mullan and Kate Lloyd linked up nicely down the right side and into the circle to earn the Green Army a corner of their own but the defence were out quick to smother Roisin Upton’s shot and send it wide.
Grace O’Flanagan was called upon at the other end as the Spanish earned another PC but she made a smart low save.
The lead was doubled by Berta Bonastre in the 10th minute as she slotted home from close range following a darting run along the baseline into the circle.
O’Flanagan was again forced into another reflex save as Bonastre’s close range shot bounced high and looked destined for the net before O’Flanagan flicked it away with her stick.
Chloe Brown won Ireland’s second short corner as she spun the ball into her marker but again the Spanish were out to deal with the danger.
Brown very nearly got the Irish on the score board on the cusp of half time following a first time pass from Lloyd but the close range shot was well saved.
The Green Army came out stronger in the second half, commanding more of the possession with Deidre Duke and Lloyd gliding into the circle to draw the save from Melanie Garcia.
Berta Bonastre got her second goal courtesy of a stroke high into the right corner following a shot stopped on the line by an Irish body. Shirley McCay and Lena Tice were directing passes through the heart of the Spanish mid field but the Spanish defence, fresh off three impressive draws against world No 5 Australia, were alert to the danger.
Carroll continued with the Irish effort and Zoe Wilson was dispossessed by three defenders moments before she could release her shot.
But the Spanish put the game to rest with four goals in the final quarter, Begona Garcia scoring twice on her reverse, Lola Riera nailing a powerful PC drag flick and a well-worked field goal from Maialen Garcia in the final minute wrapping it up.
Ireland: G O’Flanagan, Z Wilson, L Tice, S McCay, L Colvin, R Upton, G Pinder, K Mullan, N Carroll, N Evans, K Lloyd
Subs: C Cassin, H Matthews, Y O’Byrne, A Meeke, E Beatty, C Brown, D Duke
Ireland v Spain, 8 February, 1pm, Benalmadena
Ireland vs Spain, 10 February, 1pm, Benalmadena
Ireland v Spain, 11 February, 12pm, Benalmadena
*All times are local