Disappointment for IRL Men as they lose to GB in final FIH Pro League fixture

Great Britain 3 Ireland 0 

June 6th, London: After the weekend results Ireland needed Spain to lose today in their match and beat Great Britain to have any chance of avoiding relegation from the FIH Pro League. Once Spain beat Germany earlier on Thursday Ireland’s fate was sealed. Ireland would be relegated out of the FIH Pro League regardless of how this game went. Not even a win over Great Britain could avoid the drop.

Great Britain opened the scoring against the run of play when Sam Ward converted a penalty corner in the 12th minute to make it 1-0. Phil Roper increased their lead converting a penalty corner in the 14th minute to make it 2-0 and they led by that margin at the end of the first quarter. Sam Ward got his second of the game from open play in the 23rd minute to put Great Britain 3-0 up and it was a lead they held until full-time.

Great Britain had the first penalty corner of the match in the opening minutes but Gareth Furlong’s drag flick was blocked by Jamie Carr. Ireland launched a counter attack, Daragh Walsh sending Sean Murray into the Great Britain half. Ireland got their first penalty corner of the match and Shane O’Donoghue’s drag flick was deflected off a GB defender and Toby Reynolds-Cotterill reacted using his stick to deflect the ball on to the crossbar.

In the 11th minute Alistair Empey had a shot saved by Reynolds-Cotterill. Soon after Great Britain scored from their second penalty corner of the game. Gareth Furlong’s drag flick was saved by Carr but the ball rebounded to Sam Ward who drove the ball into the Irish goal to make it 1-0 to Great Britain.

In the 14th minute they were 2-0 up. This time Great Britain made a mess of their penalty corner but Thomas Sorsby recovered from failing to trap it properly, regathered the ball and found Phil Roper with a precise pass inside the Irish semi-circle. Roper turned and fired the shot home off Jamie Carr’s leg pad to make it 2-0 to Great Britain.

James Mazaralo replaced Toby Reynolds-Cotterill in the British goal for the second quarter and returned midway through the second half.

In the 22nd minute Sam Ward got his second of the game for Great Britain  with a field goal and they led 3-0 at half -time .

David Harte replaced Jamie Carr in the Irish goal for the second half. Both goalkeepers were excellent when called upon. Ireland forced numerous chances and Mazaralo was able to block Ireland’s best efforts from penalty corners and open play.

Reynolds-Cotterill also proved unbeatable when called upon. Great Britain forced numerous penalty corners in the second half and Ireland were able to keep them at bay.

In the 45th minute Peter McKibbin broke out of defence and passed to Matthew Nelson inside the Great Britain half. Nelson found Johnny McKee in the circle but his lofted shot went high over the bar.

David Harte made two good saves within a minute from Stuart Rushmere in the 47th minute. Peter McKibbin then had the ball in the back of the Great Britain net in the 59th minute when he appeared to have scored a tap-in at the near post from a penalty corner. The ball had hit Sean Murray in the head, having been deflected by a British player’s stick. The decision was a second penalty corner for Ireland but the goal was disallowed. From the second penalty corner Shane O’Donoghue made James Mazaralo save twice. It finished 3-0 to Great Britain.

Speaking after the game Ireland Head Coach Mark Tumilty said:

“It was something we recognised after the Germany game. We’ve had a habit of conceding numerous goals and not resetting properly. It was something we worked on Monday and Tuesday.

I don’t think we deserved to be three goals down at half time. We stuck to the process in the second half and didn’t concede anything after the break. They left a few chances out there in the second half.

I think we have grown in the tournament since India, both in Antwerp and in London, between the two 25s. It’s what we have been doing in the attacking and defensive circles where we need to be better. We need to stop conceding soft goals and opportunities and we need to be a lot more clinical at the other end. 

We never want to concede penalty corners, we can’t afford to because of the quality of the drag flickers in the modern game. We need to get our penalty corner attack and penalty corner defence improved which is a challenge over the next 6 weeks. We should have enough pitch time to put those right.”

IRELAND:- Jamie Carr (GK);  Tim Cross;  Shane O’Donoghue; Peter McKibbin; Lee Cole; Daragh Walsh; Michael Robson; Sean Murray (C); John McKee; Alistair Empey; Matthew Nelson SUBS USED:- David Harte (GK) [31 mins]; Jeremy Duncan [4 mins];  Kyle Marshall [5 mins];  Nicholas Page [3 mins]; Ben Johnson[ 5 mins]; Jonathan Lynch [5 mins]; Ben Walker [3 mins]

GREAT BRITAIN:- Toby Reynolds-Cotterill (GK); Jack Waller (C); Zachary Wallace; Sam Ward; Phil Roper; Brendan Creed; David Goodfield; Lee Morton; Conor Williamson; Will Calnan; Gareth Furlong SUBS USED:– James Mazaralo (GK) [16 mins]; Rohan Bhuhi [4 mins]; Ian Sloan [6 mins]; Stuart Rushmere [3 mins]; Nicholas Bandurak [5 mins]; Thomas Sorsby [3 mins]; Henry Croft [mins]