Irish Women to play Korea in Final tomorrow in Havelock Park

Irish Women defeat Czech Republic 4-0 to enter the final of the FIH Series Final in Havelock Park this afternoon. This result has earned them an Olympic qualifier place for October/November later this year.

A drenched pitch meant a slower pace in the opening quarter. The Czech’s started strongly, with 2 penalty corners in the first quarter: foiled once by pitch conditions, which helped Katie Mullan bring the ball back up the pitch, while the second was saved by McFerran, with Hannah Matthews on hand to take the re-bound back out of the Irish circle.

The first chance of the opening quarter came from O’Flanagan, after being set up nicely by Deirdre Duke, however the shot went wide. Duke was back again shortly with the last chance of the quarter, although Czech goalkeeper Cechakova prevented her from putting Ireland on the scoreboard.

The second quarter saw Ireland take the lead. A penalty corner, inserted by Hannah Matthews, provided the opportunity for Shirley McCay sweep it past Czech defence and Cechakova to put Ireland on the scoreboard. Zoe Wilson added to the lead shortly afterwards from another penalty corner. The shot looked wide but hit the post and bounced in to see Ireland 2-0 up. Ireland seemed to come into their own again in the second quarter with far more attacking, threatening the Czech Republic a lot more throughout.

Ireland remained dominant in quarter three, carrying the majority of possession. Upton, Tice, McCay, Barr all playing well throughout to bring ball up to threaten but the Czech defence was much stronger in this quarter. Despite no additions to the scoreboard, Ireland seemed comfortably in control. A short venture into the Irish circle was quickly countered by Chloe Brown who joined the squad this morning as Megan Frazer unfortunately had to withdraw from the tournament due to injury.

Sarah Hawkshaw takes a shot but Cechakova saves it. Ireland were back attacking almost immediately with Shirley McCay retrieving the ball on the line and passing nicely to Sarah Hawkshaw to bring the lead to three goals. Anna O’Flanagan brought it home in the final minute with the fourth and final goal of the match.

Speaking on the match, Interim Head Coach Gareth Grundie said, “I’m very pleased with that performance, it was controlled and disciplined.

We played good, attacking hockey and their keeper had a few good saves.

We’re looking forward to recovering and preparing to go again tomorrow.”

Ireland: A McFerran, K Mullan, L Tice, G Pinder, B Barr, L Colvin, H Matthews, A O’Flanagan, Z Wilson, D Duke, A Meeke

Subs: R Upton, C Brown, S McCay, C Watkins, N Daly, S Hawkshaw, E Buckley

Czech Republic: B Cechakova, K Lacina, J Reichlova, A Koziskova, T Mejzlikova, V Novakova, A Lehovcova, A Kolarova, V Decsyova, A Vorlova, N Novakova

Subs: T Holubcova, N Hajkova, K Jelinkova, R Capouchova, N Babicka, M Hlavata, B Brizova

Korea beat Malaysia 3-0 in the second semi-final of the day claiming their spot in the final tomorrow against the Green Army. The final will take place at 15:30 in Havelock Park, Banbridge.

Gareth Grundie had this to say regarding the Korean squad for tomorrow’s final, “We’ve done a fair bit of work on them ahead of the tournament. We’re looking forward to a good competitive game Now that top two is assured we can relax and play our style of hockey”.

Irish Women dominate play in Havelock Park to secure Semi-final

Through to Saturday’s semi-final, an 11-0 win saw the Irish Women dominate play for the entire game with Singapore rarely managing to bring play down into the Irish half of the pitch. The majority of the game comprised of free moving, attacking hockey from the host nation, keeping Singapore under pressure throughout.

The first chance of the game came from Roisin Upton with a drag flick that went wide. However, Megan Frazer put Ireland on the score board shortly after, with an Upton pass to O’Flanagan setting her up nicely to get the goals rolling. The next goal came from Katie Mullan as little as 2 minutes later. Gillian Pinder was next to add to the goals 2 minutes later again stealing the ball from the Singapore defence and knocking it with a reverse stick. Ireland ended the first quarter with a 3-0 lead having held the majority of possession.

Roisin Upton got her next chance from a PC. Inserted by Watkins and deflected by O’Flanagan, Upton managed to slot the ball in passed the Singapore’s Felissa Lai. Less than a minute later a similar play from Watkins and O’Flanagan allowed Lena Tice to slap one into the back of the net making it 5-0 to Ireland.

Sarah Hawkshaw wasn’t long making it 6-0 with a nice deflection in the circle, before Upton came back to claim her second goal of the game, also from a PC, with an expertly executed drag flick from an O’Flanagan deflection. The half-time whistle blew with a 7-0 lead to the Green Army.

A lovely interception from Zoe Wilson in the third quarter led to a chance for Ali Meeke in the circle, although this ended slightly wide. While Ireland remained the dominant team and seemed comfortably in control, a number of lost opportunities were evident as Ireland failed to add to their goal tally in this period. However, Megan Frazer was on fire in Midfield running circles around Singapore giving the 800 or so school children in attendance a real show of skills for them to savour.

A Wilson shot in the final quarter was defended by Goalkeeper Felissa Lai, but Hannah Matthews was on hand to secure the rebound to get the goals going again for the final quarter. Shirley McCay provided a lovely deflection giving lead tournament goal-scorer Anna O’Flanagan the chance to slot one into the net. McCay took her 281st cap today, making her the most capped Irish player, male or female, in any sport. A position she previously held, she takes the title back from Eugene Magee of the Men’s team.

Katie Mullan gave the home crowd an impressive strike with the power and precision to bury the ball in the bottom corner of the goal, putting Ireland’s goal count into double digits. While Zoe Wilson provided an 11th goal while the crowd was on the countdown from 3.

Speaking on the match, Interim Head Coach Gareth Grundie said “I’m pleased with the way we approached the game today.

We started again with real attacking intent, creating plenty of chances and scored a few nice goals.

We’re delighted to top the group and go through to the semi-finals on Saturday.”

Thursday’s matches will see Malaysia who were 2nd in Pool A take on France who were 3rd in Pool B. While Scotland who were 2nd in Pool B will take on the Czech Republic.

Saturday 15th of June will see Singapore play Ukraine for 7th and 8th position. Safely topping Pool A Ireland will play in the first semi-final of the day, which will get underway at 13:15, taking on the winner of Scotland v Czech Republic. Korea will then play the winner of Malaysia v France in the second semi-final later that afternoon.

Ireland: A McFerran, R Upton, S McCay, M Frazer, E Tice, G Pinder, B Barr, C Watkins, S Hawkshaw, Z Wilson, D Duke

Subs: E Buckley, K Mullan,L Colvin, N Daly, H Matthews, A O’Flanagan, A Meeke.

Singapore: P Maligaya, N A Abdull, I Chan, P Ho, N S Saban, H Johana, L M Toh, L Tan, F Lai, R Sanip, G Leck

Subs: Y T Liu, J NG, X Chua, S Wong, C Chia, S NG, M Francis

Two wins from Two for Irish Women Hockey with 8-1 win over Czech

Two wins from two for Ireland in the FIH Series Finals at Havelock Park as O’Flanagan puts away four goals and Daly does a double. Added to a goal each for Sarah Hawkshaw and Zoe Wilson the Irish Women’s squad were in constant control in a dominating performance of the Czech Republic.

The first chance of the game came from Captain Katie Mullan, but was well saved by Czech Goalkeeper Barbora Cechakova. However, it wasn’t long before Ireland were back in the Czech circle. Mullan managed to deflect off a Czech stick for Nikki Daly to touch the ball into finish to put Ireland in front for an early lead.

A few challenges from the Czech squad occurred in the opening quarter but Ireland remained comfortably in control. Ali Meeke played well to keep the ball out of the Irish circle, passing to Anna O’Flanagan who moved the ball back up into the Czech half.

The first penalty corner of the game went to Ireland, but the Czech defence prevented a goal. Watkins and Colvin played nicely in the middle and helped bring about another chance for Katie Mullan, although this didn’t result in any additions to the scoreboard.

Chloe Watkins won possession on the right wing and feeding the ball to Anna O’Flanagan allowed O’Flanagan to put her first goal of the match away to finish out the first quarter.

The second quarter got off to a similar start in that Ireland held the majority of possession and kept the Czech Republic under constant pressure. Upton and Hawkshaw were strong up the right-hand side to bring the ball back to challenge. Strong defending by the Green Army kept the Czech out of the Irish circle for much of the quarter. Ireland showed impressive ability to switch between three and four at the back as required to counter any Czech attacks. Half-time remained 2-0 with some deserved opportunities for Ireland going wide of the post.

Cechakova managed to save the first Frazer to O’Flanagan attempt but Frazer managed a reverse to O’Flanagan shortly afterwards which Cechakova couldn’t prevent crossing the line. Ireland were straight back to applying pressure with Chloe Watkins an obvious force to contend with in midfield. The next goal of the quarter came when Zoe Wilson managed to get the rebound from Shirley McCay’s free hit which saw the ball dribble past the Czech goalie.

Ireland continued to dominate the game in the final quarter and extended their lead with two goals from penalty corners. Matthews into the circle, Tice with a slap and a goal from Hawkshaw with the deflection for the first. Matthews into the circle again for the second, this time to Watkins, with O’Flanagan for the hat-trick. She went on to secure a fourth goal shortly after with a nice play by Gillian Pinder giving her the opportunity to drive it past Cechakova into the net.

Ireland conceded a late consolation goal from Jindriska Leichova. With McFerran saving the first attempt by Adela Lehovcova, Leichova was able to secure a goal on the rebound. However, a Katie Mullan managed to turn the ball back into the Czech circle giving Nikki Daly the opportunity to get give Ireland back their 7 goal advantage.

Speaking on the match, Interim Head Coach Gareth Grundie said “We showed real intent today and it was good to be rewarded with some great finishing and corner execution.

I was pleased with our overall energy throughout but know this is a stepping stone and our feet are firmly grounded. Our focus remains on the task ahead starting on Tuesday.”

Ireland: A McFerran, R Upton, K Mullan, E Tice, G Pinder, B Barr, L Colvin, A O’Flanagan, Z Wilson, D Duke, A Meeke

Subs: E Buckley, S Hawkshaw, S McCay, M Frazer, C Watkins, N Daly, H Matthews

Czech Republic: B Cechakova, K Lacina, J Reichlova, N Hajkova, A Koziskova, T Mejzlikova, V Novakova, A Lehovcova, A Kolarova, V Decsyova, A Vorlova,

Subs: L Duchkova, K Jelinkova, R Capouchova, B Brizova, N Babicka, M Hlavata, N Novakova

Ireland start FIH Series Finals with 2-1 win over Malaysia

Ireland 8 (N Daly (2), A O’Flanagan (4), S Hawkshaw, Z Wilson) Czech Republic (1 J Reichlova)

Irish Women get their FIH Series Final off to Strong Start with 2 – 1 win over Malaysia.

Ireland 2 (B Barr, K Mullan) Malaysia 1 (S Husain)

Bethany Barr put Ireland on the scoreboard early on with a goal in the forth minute, deflected from the penalty corner, on her major tournament debut. The Green Army showed good speed and intensity in the opening quarter, although Malaysia weren’t without opportunity. Strong defence from Zoe Wilson and Shirley McCay kept the score 1-0 to finish the quarter, with Lena Tice, Bethany Barr, and Roisin Upton also playing a noticeable role in Ireland’s strong defence.

A penalty corner early in the second quarter had the crowd silent in anticipation but was shot just wide by Zoe Wilson. Malaysia seemed to come into themselves as the second quarter progressed, putting Ireland under more pressure than the first quarter. A great play from Katie Mullan kept Malaysia out of the Irish circle. Followed shortly after by a nice series of play which saw O’Flanagan and Mullan moving the play back up the pitch between them, although a tough tackle to O’Flanagan prevented any further opportunity here.

Ireland upped the intensity coming into the third quarter. Hannah Matthews and Ali Meeke held a strong presence on the right-hand side of the pitch controlling much of the Irish possession for a period early in the quarter. A chance for Ireland from Mullan to Duke was well saved by Malaysian Goalkeeper Farah Yahya. Although it wasn’t long before Katie Mullan was back threatening shortly after. A nice side-line ball saw Colvin slip pass to Mullan who reversed in to bring the score to 2-0 at 40 minutes. The Irish women were back attacking the Malaysian circle again shortly afterwards, but the next chance for Ireland by O’Flanagan was kept out of the goal by solid Malaysian defence.

The final quarter saw Sarah Hawkshaw as a noticeable influence up near the Malaysian circle. The sun came out at last and the home-crowd support was stronger than ever. A goal for Malaysia at 55 minutes saw a shot deflected to Siti Husain who managed to get it passed Ireland’s McFerran. Ireland missed out on third goal with a chance for O’Flanagan going wide.

Speaking on the match, Interim Head Coach Gareth Grundie said “We’re please to get the first win of the tournament under our belt.

Conditions in the first half meant the pitch was slow so we didn’t have the tempo in the game that we wanted. We had good improvement in the third quarter and were then comfortable until we let them back six minutes to go. The win has put us in a strong position in the group and we hope to build on this performance tomorrow against the Czechs.”

A positive outing for the host nation in their opening match of their FIH Series Finals. The road to Tokyo is long, but it’s underway at last!

Ireland: A McFerran, K Mullan, S McCay, M Frazer, E Tice, B Barr, C Watkins, L Colvin, N Daly, H Matthews, A O’Flanagan

Subs: E Buckley, R Upton, G Pinder, S Hawkshaw, Z Wilson, D Duke, A Meeke.

Malaysia: F Yahya, N Rashid, N Shabuddin, S Ruhani, J Din, N Sumantri, H Onn, S Awang, N Saiuti, N Zulkifli, K Gurdip

Subs: N H Ali, H Aziz, S Mat Isa, F Sylvester, F Sukri, S Husain, N Syafi.

Hat-trick from Magee gives Ireland Men 3-2 win over France

Ireland 3 (E Magee) France 1 (G Baumgarten, E Tynevez).

A hat-trick from Eugene Magee saw Ireland beat France in the second of this two-match series in Lisnagarvey Hockey Club.

Magee put Ireland on the scoreboard early on with a goal in the 2nd minute of play, in noticeably better conditions than last Tuesday’s match. The Banbridge man took his 280th cap in this match making him the most capped Irish Hockey player ever, surpassing Shirley McCay’s previous record of 278 caps.

However, the two look set to leapfrog each other for the top position of the coming fortnight between their respective FIH Series finals in Le Touquet and Banbridge.

France’s Gaspard Baumgarten secured an equaliser in the 15th minute to end the quarter 1-1.

The second quarter was marked by pressure from both teams, yet little clear cut goal scoring opportunities. France took the lead with a well taken goal from Etiene Tynevez at 25 minutes, but Magee wasn’t long securing the equaliser.

A short corner for France provided little threat for Ireland ahead of the half-time whistle, with the Irish defenders standing strong to ensure the score remained 2-2.

Quarter three provided chances for both teams, with Paul Gleghorne and Johnathan Bell alongside Jamie Carr in goals standing strong.

The final quarter of the match saw France’s Charles Masson receive a yellow card for poor tackle in the 51st minute. While Eugene Magee was on fire again scoring his third goal of the match at 53 minutes.

The Green Machine travel to Le Touquet next where their FIH Series Finals begin on June 15. All travelling support welcome! You can find more information on the tournament at: https://www.fihseriesfinals.com/1051/competitionOverview

Ireland: D Harte, J Jackson, J Bell, E Magee, S O’Donoghue, S Murray, B Walker, D Walsh, P Gleghorne, L Cole, S Cole,

Subs: J Carr, M Bell, L Madeley, M Nelson, M Robson, N Glassey, C Harte.

France: A Thieffry, T Genestet, H Genestet, S Martin Brisac, B Rogeau, V Lockwood, C Masson, N Dumont, G Baumgarten, F Goyet, JB Forgues,

Subs: P van Straaten, A Bellenger, C Peters-Deutz, E Tynevez, T Ponthieu, M Branicki, C Saunier.

Ireland Draw 1-1 with France in Lisnagarvey

Ireland 1 (S O’Donoghue) France 1 (H Genestet)

A goal from Shane O’Donoghue in the 42nd minute saw Ireland take the lead in third quarter against France at Lisnagarvey Hockey Club, in the first of this two-match series. However, Frenchman Hugo Genestet equalised with the last play of the game following seven consecutive penalty corners dragging high to Harte’s right post.

The teams took to the pitch in very wet conditions both trying to play at a high tempo from the very start. The first opportunity of the match went France’s way but their effort flew wide. Ben Walker had the first opportunity for the Green Machine but a mishit allowed France to clear the danger. The match remained 0-0 for the first quarter.

The second quarter was dominated by Irish possession and solid defence kept a French threat at bay, while Sean Murray was unfortunate to hit the post after with the keeper beaten.

A Penalty Corner to France shortly after play resumed got the second half underway. However, this came to nothing as the Irish Men won a free out. Excellent work by Darragh Walsh as he intercepted and drove into the French circle showing great skill to win a PC from which Shane O Donoghue dragged, wrong footing the French keeper, to give Ireland the lead. Although the rain continued throughout, slowing play somewhat, a Penalty Corner to France was expertly saved by David Harte to finish the third quarter 1-0 to the Irish Men.

Early in the final quarter France had their third PC of the game but again Ireland defence stood strong. David Harte was having an outstanding game in goal called on several times and was up to the task. From another PC, in the 57m, France scored but the Umpire has blown for an earlier infringement and awarded a PC instead. France piled on the pressure and following a series of corners, in the 60th minute, Hugo Genestet equalised.

Speaking afterwards, Head Coach Alexander Cox said, “I saw some very positive things in the game. Our defensive structure looked strong. We are adding a zonal system which gave as good control.

On the ball we didn’t play our best game. Too many unforced errors which we need to improve for the next game.

In the end a draw isn’t a bad result, but conceding in the last seconds is never a nice feeling after all the hard work the guys did. As always they gave it their all!”

The teams will meet again on Thursday at 12:00 in Lisnagarvey for the second match of the series against France in Lisnagarvey on June 6 before travelling to Le Touquet where their FIH Series Finals begin on June 15.

Ireland: D Harte, J Jackson, J Bell, E Magee, S O’Donoghue, S Murray, M Robson, B Walker, D Walsh, P Gleghorne, L Cole, S Cole,

Subs: J Carr, M Bell, L Madeley, M Nelson, C Robson, N Glassey, C Harte.

France: A Thieffry, T Genestet, H Genestet, S Martin Brisac, B Rogeau, V Lockwood, C Masson, N Dumont, G Baumgarten, F Goyet, JB Forgues,

Subs: P van Straaten, A Bellenger, C Peters-Deutz, E Tynevez, T Ponthieu, M Branicki, C Saunier.

Women’s International Team Announced for FIH Series Final

Hockey Ireland Announce Women’s Senior International Team for FIH World Series in June.
The Irish Women’s Hockey squad was unveiled early this morning for the upcoming FIH World Series in Banbridge, which gets underway on June 8th. This tournament is the first stage in the Olympic qualification process for the Irish women, with the top two teams from each FIH Series Finals securing a place in qualification events for Tokyo 2020, which will be held later this year. It is also the first time the public will be able to see them play at home since their World Cup silver medal last summer.

The Green Army will take on Czech Republic, Malaysia and Singapore in Pool A, with Korea, Scotland, Ukraine and France in Pool B. The squad selection is as follows:

Name

1.Bethany Barr

2. Emma Buckley (GK)

3. Lizzie Colvin

4. Nicci Daly

5. Deirdre Duke

6. Megan Frazer

7. Sarah Hawkshaw

8. Hannah Matthews

9. Shirley McCay

10.Ayeisha McFerran (GK)

11. Ali Meeke

12.Katie Mullan

13. Anna O’Flanagan

14. Gillian Pinder

15. Elena Tice

16. Roisin Upton

17. Chloe Watkins

18. Zoe Wilson

 

Reserve. Chloe Brown

Reserve. Nicola Evans

 

Gareth Grundie, who has been interim Head Coach in recent weeks, will continue in the Head Coach position until the culmination of the series finals in Banbridge with Sean Dancer in attendance, as well as Arlene Boyles and David Passmore who complete the coaching team. Speaking on the squad selection, Gareth Grundie said “I am happy to announce the squad which will compete in this tournament as the first stage in the Olympic qualifying process. Selection has been really difficult which means there has been healthy competition for places throughout the recent training block, which is great to see. We are looking forward to and excited to see what the next couple of weeks bring.”

Commenting on the selection, Anna O’Flanagan, one of Ireland’s most prolific goal scorers, said “this is definitely the most competitive irish squad I’ve ever been part of. We’re representing a much wider group and we’re very fortunate we’re the ones selected to do this. We want to go out and do ourselves, the wider squad and the country proud.”

2018 World Cup Captain Katie Mullan told us “As we take our first step towards Olympic qualification the 18 players selected for this FIH Series Final represent the 43 Green Army squad members who started this journey. We’re really excited for this home tournament and hope to play in front of a large Irish crowd. The World Cup was a starting point for us, and we’re keen to continue on this journey and stay in the top 10 in the world. This June tournament is an opportunity to show where we are. It’s a busy summer ahead and we’re eager to take it on.”

To find further information on the FIH Series Final tournament in Banbridge this June, or purchase tickets, please see: www.hockey.ie/buy-tickets/

Further Information
FIH Series Finals
The FIH Series Finals include some of the best teams in the world and are one of the roads to reach the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Indeed, the top two teams from each FIH Series Finals will secure a place in the Qualification Events for the next Olympic Games which will be held in October and November 2019. Banbridge, (Women) 8th – 16th June 2019, match schedule available here.

Hockey Ireland welcomes two new Honorary Life Members

Congratulations to Ivy Dennis and Daphne Hall who became the two newest Honorary Life Members of Hockey Ireland at the 2019 AGM.

Men’s Senior International Test Match. Sunday May26th

Ireland 2 (S O’Donoghue, L Madeley) USA 0

Penalty corner goals from Shane O’Donoghue and Luke Madeley saw Ireland’s men complete a 2-0 win over USA at Serpentine Avenue, adding to Friday’s 5-0 success over the same opposition.

The wins give Ireland a boost as they begin their preparations in earnest for the FIH Series Finals in Le Touquet, France in June, a vital step on the road to potentially qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics.

The Green Machine started well and hit the front inside the first three minutes following a series of penalty corners, O’Donoghue hitting the net for 1-0.

They continued to carry the greater threat through the first quarter with Matthew Nelson causing problems and Matthew Bell drew a big stop from goalkeeper Jonathan Klages.

The US, for their part, went close but Mark Ingram got out well to make good stops from Deegan, Huisman and Mike Barminski to keep Ireland’s lead in tact.

A couple more Irish corners went incomplete early in the second quarter while Michael Robson’s rising shot was batted away by Klages.

Madeley made it 2-0 in the 23rd minute with a high drag-flick to give a bit more comfort on the scoreboard and they carried this advantage to the big break after Patrick Harris’s dangerous shot was cleared by Ingram.

The second half was scrappier with both sides trying out new pressing techniques. Ireland were making nice circle entries and getting to the baseline but they could not back that up with the killer touch in front of goal.

USA, meanwhile, had the clearer openings when Huisman pounced on a mistake but Jamie Carr – on as a half-time sub – raced off his line to charge down the shot before Kei Kaeppler whipped the rebound over the bar.

Kai de Jager was standing in as lead coach for the weekend due to head coach Alexander Cox’s involvement with SV Kampong in the Dutch national final.

Speaking afterwards, de Jager said he was content with what his side worked on over the course of the series against the US.

“We are really happy about some things, young guys stepping up like Benny Walker; we got a lot of circle entries in the positions we wanted them to be,” he said.

“Pressing wise, we still need to make some steps because if you play a high zonal format, it can be difficult to get it right the first time you use it.

“I’m happy with the goalkeeping work and our deep defence which is something we pride ourselves on. USA is a good opponent who are going to the FIH Series as well and we scored seven with two clean sheets There’s not much more you can ask for, maybe score a few more goals.”

Next on the Irish men’s agenda is a two-game series against France in Lisnagarvey on June 4 and 6 before travelling to Le Touquet where their FIH Series Finals begin on June 15.

Ireland: M Ingram, J Jackson, J Bell, M Nelson, S O’Donoghue, S Murray, B Walker, D Walsh, C Harte, L Cole, S Cole

Subs: M Robson, P Gleghorne, N Glassey, M Bell, L Madeley, J Carr

USA: J Klages, A Montilla, P Harris, S Harris, A Dhadwal, T Barratt, K Kaeppler, P Singh, J Orozco, D Huisman, M Gandhi

Subs: M Barminski, A Miller, C de Angelis, W Holt, S Cicchi, J Croonenberghs

Impressive Start to Summer Internationals for Senior Men

Ireland 5 (S O’Donoghue, M Nelson, C Harte, B Walker, E Magee) USA 0.

The summer of International hockey got off to a great start at Serpentine Avenue on Friday evening as an impressive Ireland team overcame the USA 5 -0 in the 1st of a 2-match series.

In ideal conditions the opening exchanges were evenly matched with neither side asserting early dominance. Ireland got on the scoresheet in the 13th minute however through a Shane O’Donoghue backhand shot from an acute angle. In quarter 2, not long after missing a good chance, Matthew Nelson was able to convert Ireland’s second goal via a neat low backhand deflection in 19th minute. Good interplay between John Jackson and Eugene Magee down the right flank saw Magee deliver the pinpoint cross for Nelson to finish.

The USA had several chances and good passages of play through the first half with the impressive Pat Harris pulling a lot of their strings in the centre of midfield.

In the 3rd quarter after the US had missed a gilt-edged goal chance Ireland unleashed one of their increasingly fast counter attacks. After a powerful 40 metre dribble by Matthew Nelson the ball fell to Sean Murray and his backhand shot was looping goalwards, Conor Harte was on hand on the back post to deflect it over the line for 3-0. Ben Walker then made it 4 – 0 in the 3rd quarter after a passage of fast passes resulted in him finding enough room in the US circle to get his low backhand shot away.

Eugene Magee scored Ireland’s fifth goal shooting high into the net after receiving a baseline pass. At this stage the game was a very open affair with the USA threatening to get on their scoresheet. Jamie Carr and the Irish defenders were up to the challenge to make key interventions when called upon. Aki Kaeppelar after intricate stick skills was able to produce a deflected chance for the US which Carr dealt with. Luke Madeley had a goal line save at this point from a straight drag flick from a USA penalty corner.

The Irish defence were able to keep a clean sheet with Paul Gleghorne putting his body on the line of a goal bound shot in the last 30 seconds. Pat Harris was the standout player for the USA and Ireland had many strong performances with Eugene Magee again displaying the attacking ability that has helped earn him 278 caps so far for the Green Machine. But it was an impressive team performance from Ireland with solid defensive structure and strong counter attacking skill and intensity further up the pitch.

The evening was capped off in a very enjoyable manner with a large number of young players being treated to a skills clinic on the pitch with the entire Ireland team and coaches after the match. This experience will live for a long time with the many youngsters who participated, and many thanks must go to the Ireland team and management for facilitating this.

The Irish Senior Men’s next match will take place on Sunday May 26th at 12 noon v USA at Pembroke Wanderers HC.

These matches are excellent preparation for the Men’s FIH Series Finals in Le Touquet coming up in June. In the meantime the Men’s team will also take on France on June 4th and 6th in Lisnagarvey. There will also be an open training session for media and fans to attend on Friday the 31st of May in Lisnagarvey Hockey Club, from 16:00 to 17:30.

To find further information on the FIH Series Final tournament in Le Touquet this June, or purchase tickets, please see: //ticketingfihseriesfinal.fr/en/

Ireland; Carr J (GK), Jackson J, Bell J, Bell M, Madeley L, Nelson M, Magee E, Glassey N, O’Donoghue S, Murray S, Robson M, Walker B, Walsh D, Gleghorne P, Harte C, Cole L, Ingram M (GK), Cole S.

Team Manager: Kidd G

Stand-In Manager: Kelly R

Assistant Coach: Weusthof R

Assistant Coach: de Jager K

Physiotherapist: McCallion C

USA; Klages J (GK), Barminski M, Sundeen T, Harris P, Miller A, Montilla A, Holt W, Dhadwal A (C), Barratt T, Kaeppler K, De Angelis C, Harris S, Singh P, Cicchi S, Orozco J, Kaeppeler A, Huisman D, Gandhi M, Wisselink D(GK).

Team Manager: Mazzalupi H

Head Coach: Wiese R

Assistant Coach: Wijzenbeek P

Physiotherapist: van Ark H

Match Officials

Rob Argent

Malcolm Coombes

Technical Officials

David Acheson

Erica Porter

David Wolfe