Ireland 2-0 Spain
Ireland bounced back from yesterday's hammering to Spain with a fine win in the second of their four-match series in Benalmadena.
It was a marked improvement from the Green Army against a team ranked 11th in the world after coming out on the wrong side of a 7-0 thumping.
The match series marks the first international tests for Ireland since November, while the Spanish squad are just back from a series against Australia, themselves in the midst of their Commonwealth Games preparations.
The pace of Thursday's encounter was significantly higher throughout and Ireland put the hosts under pressure from the opening whistle, with Deidre Duke winning a penalty corner inside the first two minutes.
The shot drew a superb save from Maria Helguera in the Spanish goal to prevent the Green Army from taking an early lead.
Soon after, Aisling Naughton was unlucky not to get the scoreboard ticking following a pinpoint pass from Nikki Evans. Spain grew into the game as the half went on with Berta Bonastre looking a threat as she linked up with Begona Garcia but good Irish defending kept any real chances to a minimum.
The opening goal came in the 29th minute as sharp passing from the back line found Gillian Pinder who fizzed a cross-field ball into the circle for a diving Katie Mullan to send goalward just before half time.
Ireland dominated most of the second half with Zoe Wilson and the experienced Shirley McCay filtering passes through the Spanish line to awaiting Irish targets.
The deserved second goal came courtesy of a penalty stroke from Lena Tice; awarded following a well-worked penalty corner routine that was stopped on the line by the body of a Spanish defender.
"We must build on the performance of today and carry it forward throughout the camp," said head coach Graham Shaw afterwards.
"We played a lot quicker today, at international pace. We now need to build on that platform."
Ireland: G O’Flanagan, H Matthews, L McGuire, L Tice, R Upton, Z Wilson, G Pinder, K Mullan (Captain), D Duke, A Naughton, S Torrans
Subs: E Buckley, Y O’Byrne, S McCay, L Colvin, R Barry, N Evans, E Russell
Ireland vs Spain, Saturday 10 February, 1pm, Benalmadena
Ireland v Spain, Sunday 11 February, 12pm, Benalmadena