Men’s international test match
Ireland 3 (B Walker 2, C Empey) Austria 1 (M Frey)
Ireland picked up a second successive win over Austria this weekend at the Sport Ireland Campus as Ben Walker’s first quarter double continued their strong run of form.
This 3-1 win added to Saturday’s 2-0 success against the world number 19 side and as their fifth in succession and ninth victory from their last 11 fixtures as they continue to build momentum for the EuroHockey Championships qualifiers in three weeks time.
Walker opened the scoring just two minutes in when John McKee’s shot was never fully cleared with Jeremy Duncan robbing possession on the left edge of the D. He spun the ball into the danger zone where the Dubliner gave it a little nudge to deceive Matuesz Szymczyk.
They rode their luck a little bit after that with Mark Ingram making a couple of important saves from penalty corners while Oliver Binder’s shot clipped the base of the post.
But Mark Tumilty’s side were two up before the end of the first quarter when McKee’s drag was saved high, allowing Johnny Lynch to brilliantly take the ball out of the air and clip it across for Walker to tip-in
Ireland were the side on top in Q2 but the visitors bounced back in the third period to make more of the game and were on the scoreboard when Josef Winkler’s first-time shot bounced the way of Moritz Frey. He cleverly lifted his effort over Ingram.
And they were close to an equaliser when a fifth corner shot was deflected high with goalkeeper Ingram using his face protection to nod away the sharp change of direction.
The hosts, though, finished stronger and were rewarded with a clinching goal with five minutes left. Mark McNellis’s raking pass from right to left found Duncan on the circle’s perimeter and he angled a ball to the back post where Conor Empey was on hand to gobble up a simple chance.
Ireland completed this warm-up series on Tuesday evening (7.45pm) with another fixture against Chile – whom they beat twice last week.
The Irish women, meanwhile, play their second uncapped fixture against France on Monday evening (5.30pm) as the Sport Ireland Campus venue continues to take shape.
Ireland: M Ingram, T Cross, J McKee, D Walsh, K Marshall, S Murray, M McNellis, J Duncan, B Walker, S Hyland, N Page
Subs: K O’Dea, N Glassey, M Robson, J Lynch, C Empey, R Patterson, J Carr
Austria: M Szymczyk, T Mayer, O Binder, P Kaltenböck, D Fröhlich, F Unterkircher, F Lindengrun, N Wellan, L Thörnblom, X Hasun, O Kern
Subs: C Soldat, B Kölbl, J Winkler, B Valas, M Frey, L Rizzi
Umpires: I Strange, R Abbott
Fixture schedule (all at Sport Ireland Campus)
All live streamed on Hockey Irelands Youtube.
Tuesday, August 9: Ireland v Chile, 7.45pm
Women (uncapped fixture)
Monday, August 8: Ireland v France, 5.30pm