IRL Men lose first London FIH Pro League game against clinical hosts GB

IRL Men lose first London FIH Pro League game against clinical hosts GB

Saturday June 1, London: Great Britain restarted their FIH PRO League campaign with a comfortable win over Ireland at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in London on Saturday afternoon.

Ireland got off to a good start, but it was Great Britain who opened the scoring through Henry Croft making his debut in the 12th minute to make it 1-0. Phil Roper added a second on 18 minutes. Ireland responded through Ben Walker in the 20th minute and Sam Ward made it 3-1 in the 22nd minute. Sam Ward made it 4-1 to Great Britain when he converted a penalty corner in the 32nd minute. Gareth Furlong made it 5-1 scoring from a penalty corner in the 58th minute.

For Great Britain, this was only their fifth game in this season’s FIH PRO LEAGUE, and their points return from their opening four games was small enough that on the current table they were in 9th place in the table below Ireland. For Ireland this was match 13 of 18 and they went into this series having picked up 6 League points from two wins in Antwerp over hosts Belgium who were ranked 2nd in the world in the most recent rankings list.

As for the game itself, well, initially Ireland started off well and won the first penalty corner of the match in the 4th minute. Luke Madeley shot wide with his drag flick. Midway through the quarter Ireland had enjoyed good possession, but Jacob Draper for Great Britain broke up one move and launched an aerial which was contested by Timothy Marshall and Ireland’s Kyle Marshall. The umpire awarded a hit out to Ireland. The British captain asked for a video referral seeking a penalty stroke. The on-field umpire’s decision was upheld, and Great Britain lost their video referral. The opening goal of the game, when it arrived, was somewhat against the run of play. Jack Waller sped down the left wing and crossed to Henry Croft, who rifled the ball to the net from the edge of the semi-circle scoring on his debut to make it 1-0 in the 12th minute. Great Britain led 1-0 at the end of the quarter.

In the second quarter Phil Roper increased Great Britain’s lead from open play to make it 2-0. Ireland appealed the goal for back stick, but the video umpire upheld the original decision and Ireland lost their referral.

Ben Walker got Ireland on the scoresheet in the 20th minute when Jonathan Lynch crossed the ball from the right outside the semi-circle, Ben Walker who was inside the semi-circle dived forward to touch it into the net to make it 2-1. No sooner had Ireland gotten on the scoresheet than they found themselves reduced to 10 players for the rest of the quarter. John McKee received a 10-minute yellow card in the 21st minute.

Great Britain capitalized on their man advantage within a minute when Sam Ward poked home a James Gall drive at David Harte’s right hand post.

Great Britain were themselves reduced to 10 men albeit for a two-minute green card when Timothy Nurse earned his green card in the 29th minute. It was 3-1 at half-time.

In the third quarter Sam Ward put the game beyond the Irish by scoring a fourth for Great Britain in the 32nd minute. An aerial pass found Sam Ward at the end line who managed to win a penalty corner. Sam Ward then converted the penalty corner to make the score 4-1 to Great Britain. Gareth Furlong converted a 58th minute penalty corner made it 5-1 and while Ireland were on the attack in the closing minutes this game was over as a contest.

Speaking after the game Ireland Men’s Head Coach Mark Tumilty said:

“I think we have to recognise that Great Britain were very clinical today with their finishing. We had chances in the first ten minutes today that we didn’t take. We need to learn from that and move on against Germany tomorrow. The Great Britain team were ruthless today. Our discipline needs to be good, and we need to keep 11 players on the pitch all through the games.”

“It’s a tough day for us, we need to bounce back in each of the three remaining games. You can’t have those lapses of concentration. Luke Madeley will not be available tomorrow. We have to readjust with that until we know how bad the injury is. It’s unknown at this stage. It’s an unfortunate injury for us as a group. We had 2 reserves today. Guys can play in various positions and they will just have to adapt.”

GREAT BRITAIN:- James  Mazarelo (GK); Jack Waller ; Jacob Draper; Sam Ward ; Phil Roper; Davi Goodfield; Nicholas Bandurak; Liam Sanford; Lee Morton; Conor Williamson; Timothy Nurse SUBS USED:- James Gall [3 mins] Ian Sloan [3 mins]; Struhan Walker [4 mins]; Rohan Bhuhi [4 mins]; Gareth Furlong [6 mins]; Toby Reynolds-Cotterill(GK)  [16 mins]

IRELAND:- David Harte (GK); Luke Madeley; Tim Cross; John McKee; Matthew Nelson; Daragh Walsh; Kyle Marshall; Shane O’Donoghue; Sean Murray (C); Ben Walker; Peter Brown  SUBS USED:- Mark McNellis  [6 mins]; Jeremy Duncan [6 mins]; Michael Robson [6 mins]; Jonathan Lynch [6 mins]; Ben Johnson  [6 mins]; Nicholas Page [6 mins]; Jamie Carr