Ireland edge out Chile in first Sport Ireland Campus test match
Men’s international test match
Ireland 3 (B Walker, J McKee, L Madeley) Chile 2 (F Renz, R Valenzuela)
Luke Madeley’s drag-flick three minutes from time earned Ireland first blood from their five game stint this week at the Sport Ireland Campus, beating Chile 3-2.
It capped a lively closing back-and-forth after Ben Walker got the only goal of the first half and it remained that way until a volley of four goals in a 12-minute spell. Felipe Renz levelled at 1-1 before Jonny McKee and Raimundo Valenzuela shared goals for 2-2 going into the endgame where Madeley eventually sealed the deal.
This was the first of three meetings with the south American side this week wrapping around two fixtures against Austria on Saturday and Sunday, played out at a venue hosting international hockey for the first time.
Indeed, these are the senior men’s first capped matches in Dublin in over three years with a seated stand, scoreboard and countdown clock now in situ with further augmentations en route for the upcoming women’s EuroHockey Championship qualifiers.
This tie was high-paced from the start with Conor Empey fizzing a shot just by the post in the first quarter. Walker opened the scoring when a half-hit clearance fell his way and he slotted in from close range.
It stayed that way through to half-time with James Milliken making two big stop from Chilean penalty corner shots while Adrian Henriquez did likewise from sharp efforts from Jonny McKee and Nick Page.
Ireland held sway for most of the third quarter but were pegged back 20 seconds before the last interval when Felipe Renz turned sharply when Juan Amoroso’s cross deflected his way, flicking in from close range.
The lead was restored when McKee smacked in a backhand shot following a quick Daragh Walsh free, laying off to Walker on the left who returned the ball to the centre – a neatly worked move.
Once again, Chile responded, Raimundo Valenzuela deflecting in from a long pass down the middle at the right post in the 51st minute.
But Ireland finished strong, winning a quarter of corners in the last few minutes with Madeley flicking home the last of them for 3-2 and a little boost to their world ranking quotient.
They face Chile again on Wednesday evening at 7.45pm at the Sport Ireland Campus.
Ireland: M Ingram, L Witherow, L Madeley, T Cross, D Walsh, K Marshall, S Murray, J Duncan, M Robson, B Walker, C Empey
Subs: J McKee, M McNellis, J Milliken, B Johnson, N Page, R Patterson
Chile: A Henriquez, J Purcell, V Goni, Fernando Renz, J Maldonado, K Gesswein, A Pizarro, J Amoroso, J Hurtado, Felipe Renz, A Toncoso
Subs: V Gabilondo, I Contardo, R Valenzuela, D Ordonez, A Richter, N Strabucchi
Fixture schedule (all at Sport Ireland Campus, Abbotstown)
Wednesday, August 3: Ireland v Chile, 7.45pm
Friday, August 5: Austria v Chile, 7.45pm
Saturday, August 6: Ireland v Austria, 3.30pm
Sunday, August 7: Ireland v Austria, 9.30am
Tuesday, August 9: Ireland v Chile, 7.45pm
Women (uncapped fixtures)
Friday, August 5: Ireland Development side v France, 5.30pm
Saturday, August 6: Ireland v France, 12.30pm
Monday, August 8: Ireland v France, 5.30pm