Ireland’s men enjoyed a free-flowing weekend of action with two wins and a draw from their three-game uncapped series against Scotland, netting 12 goals along the way.
In game one, Luke Madeley scored on his return to the Irish senior men’s side as they drew 1-1 at Titwood.
The defender scored a first half penalty stroke – following a series of corners – to give the Green Machine the lead but they were pegged back in the fourth quarter when Rob Harwood finished off after a neat build-up.
Madeley was among a number of players returning to the line-up this weekend having come back to Ireland this month from Belgium with quarantine and study reasons delaying him linking up with the panel.
In Saturday’s game two, all-time top scorer Shane O’Donoghue – another returnee – netted twice in his first appearance of the summer in a 4-1 success. He opened the scoring in first quarter from a low penalty corner strike.
Daragh Walsh forced the next over the line in quarter two and the lead was three at half-time with another O’Donoghue corner shot, flicking this one into the top right corner.
Scotland had slightly more of the game in the second half but Ireland extended the lead via Jeremy Duncan – another of the returnees – from a smart counter-attack. The hosts did get one back in the closing stages via Cameron Golden.
And Sunday brought another goalfest with Ireland winning out 7-4 in a frenzied contest. Shane O’Donoghue ended the tie with a hat trick, making it five goals in two appearances in the competition, starting the rush with a top-right corner flick.
Sean Murray’s low shot made it 2-0 before Gavin Byers got one back. Ireland soon restored their two-goal advantage with a penalty corner finish by O’Donoghue to make it 3-1.
The second quarter saw Ben Walker find the net for Ireland at a penalty corner, and then Luke Madeley scored from close range after finding space in the circle, 5-1.
Dan Coultas replied in kind to reduce the gap with a corner goal for 5-2 at half-time and their potential comeback gathered pace via Ed Greaves.
O’Donoghue’s stroke, though, kept Ireland 6-3 clear. Cameron Golden again pegged the Green Machine back but Madeley duly completed the scoring from another set piece to end a rousing tie.
Reflecting on the weekend, Irish coach Mark Tumilty said: “We played some very good attacking hockey in phases over the three games. Very pleased to score 11 goals across the weekend; the squad has made progress and will work hard over the next few weeks in our preparation for the Euros [in August in Poland]. We look forward to the GB EDP series in Lisburn.”
That series will be on at Lisnagarvey Hockey Club with games on August 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th. A week later, Ireland will play their EuroHockey Championship II tournament in Gniezno, Poland.
Men’s senior international series
Thursday: Scotland 1 (R Harwood) Ireland 1 (L Madeley)
Saturday: Scotland 1 Ireland 4 (S O’Donoghue 2, D Walsh, J Duncan)
Sunday: Scotland 4 (G Byers, D Coultas, E Greaves, C Golden Ireland 7 (S O’Donoghue 3, L Madeley 2, S Murray B Walker)