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Ireland women earn 4-1 victory in opening game of five-match series against Spain

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Deirdre Duke hit two of Ireland's goals in Sunday's 4-1 win over Spain in MurciaDeirdre Duke and her Ireland team-mates will be involved in four further games against Spain over the next week

Deirdre Duke was on target twice as Ireland earned a 4-1 victory over Spain in the opening game of a five-match series in Murcia.

Nikki Evans scored Ireland's opener with Duke's two goals then coming before Anna O'Flanagan notched the visitors' final strike.

Covid-19 meant the 2018 World Cup silver medallists have not played any games since last January.

The sides will meet again on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Spain are seventh in the world rankings – one place ahead of Ireland.

Last month, Ireland coach Sean Dancer announced a panel of 23 players from which the 16-strong Olympic squad will be selected later in the year.

Eight Ulster players were named in the initial panel including World Cup silver medallists captain Katie Mullan, Ayeisha McFerran, Lizzie Colvin, Shirley McCay, Megan Frazer, Zoe Wilson.


Ards' uncapped Zara Malseed and Beth Barr, who was part of the squad that dramatically beat Canada in November 2019 to clinch qualification for the Games in Tokyo, were also included.

It is a huge year for the Irish women who, before the Olympics, have the European Championships in Amsterdam in June.

That competition now doubles up as the only qualification event for the 2022 World Cup, which will be hosted jointly by the Netherlands and Spain, with the top six countries from the continental championship qualifying for the World Cup.



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