It’s been quite the world cup for the Carlow-Kilkenny trio of Ellie McLoughlin, Rachel Kelly and Yasmin Pratt
Four second-half goals against Austra on Monday, including a strike from Carlow’s Pratt – fresh off her player of the match performance against Malaysia at the weekend – ensured Ireland finished in strong style to their first-ever Junior World Cup campaign, finishing out the tournament in South Africa in ninth place overall.
“We really enjoyed this!” said player of the match Sarah McAuley after Monday’s game.
“We treated it like our final and did ourselves proud, finishing ninth. I am so proud of all the girls. It was the last game; we just said ‘go out, give it a lash and relish this opportunity’.”
Ireland’s victory brought the curtain down on a dramatic World Cup campaign, one which was initially postponed from December and then realigned due to Russia’s exclusion and Ukraine’s eventual withdrawal.
Nonetheless, it was an unforgettable experience for the Junior Green Army to compete at this level for the first time, winning three out of five fixtures in South Africa.