FIH PRO LEAGUE Season 5, India

IRL Men acquit themselves well despite loss to Spain in third game of FIH Pro League



Ninth placed Ireland took on Eighth placed Spain in their third FIH Pro League pool match in Bhubaneswar, India on Thursday. The two sides had played in the recent Olympic Qualifiers tournament in Valencia where Spain had beaten Ireland in the semi-finals.

Head Coach Mark Tumilty rang the changes restoring the five players to the line-up who were rested on Tuesday. Luke Madeley, Daragh Walsh, John McKee, Sean Murray and Tim Cross sitting out on this occasion. Spain too had several changes from their previous match.

Spain won their first penalty corner after only 2 minutes through Clapes. The resultant effort was saved by Jamie Carr. Long corner for pain was dealt with by the Irish defence. Jamie Carr saved again in the 6th minute. Spain went in front in the 12th minute when Pere Amat got along the end line and passed to Enrique Gonzalez who opened the scoring firing home from the edge of the semi-circle.

Jeremy Duncan got into the Spanish semi-circle a minute later but only hit the   side netting. Spain led 1-0 at the end of the 1st quarter. Spain forced a couple of early penalty corners at the start of the second quarter. Carr kept them at bay from the first couple of efforts. Spain increased their lead Miralles converted a penalty corner in the 19th minute to score 2-0 to Spain. Ireland won a long corner in the 21st minute McKibbin intercepted a Spanish cross and prevented a goal . Jamie Carr saved from Jordi Boatre from point blank range in the 24th minute.

Ireland got on the scoresheet Jeremy Duncan cut into the circle and passed to Lynch who fed Johson  his cross found Matthew Nelson whose  shot deflected over Calzado in the 25th minute. Spain 2 Ireland 1 .

Font won a penalty corner for Spain in the 27th minute. Carr saved the penalty corner at the expense of a long corner for Spain. It was 2-1 Spain at the half time break. Jeremy Duncan had a shot blocked in the 34th minute and Spain launched a counterattack. The umpire   awarded a free hit to Ireland. Spain referred it to the Video Umpire but the video umpire upheld the on-field decision and they lost their referral. Carr saved from Miralles in the 39th minute but he turned provider for their third goal. In the 41st minute Marc Miralles went on a mazy run into the Irish circle he teed up Marc Reyne who bundled the ball into the goal at the second attempt to make it 3-1. Jonny Lynch went down the opposite end and shot over the bar.  Ben Johnson was penalised as he was about to shoot and had a free hit awarded against him in the closing seconds of the third quarter.

Ireland were awarded a penalty stroke in the fourth quarter. Lee Cole converted the penalty corner to make it Spain 3 Ireland 2 in the 52nd minute, just as Ireland went in pursuit of the leveller Spain got the vital goal to put the game beyond reach. Borja Lacalle passed it into the middle of the circle and Enrique Gonzalez first timed it to the back of the net past Jamie Carr to make the score Spain 4 Ireland 2 in the 57th minute.

Mark Tumilty Ireland Head Coach said:

“We fielded the most experienced team we probably could have today.  We’ve adapted from game 1 to game 2 and again to game 3. We played in a slightly different style today. We hope that the things we have learned from this first round of games will stand to us in the games ahead of us next week and especially tomorrow against India. I will be taking a look at how they get on against Australia. India are going to be a massive challenge for us tomorrow. We have been creating chances we just need to be more clinical in front of goal. The lads acquitted themselves well against Spain and got very close to equalising at 3-2. Conceding that fourth goal when we did was a killer blow.”


IRELAND: Jamie Carr (GK), Shane O’Donoghue, Lee Cole, Jonathan Lynch, Luke Witherow, Peter McKibbin, Peter Brown, Michael Robson (C), Matthew Nelson, Jeremy Duncan, Ben Johnson SUBS USED: Charlie Rowe (4 mins), Kevin O’Dea (8 mins),  Ben Walker (4 mins), Sam Hyland (10 mins), Conor Empey (4 mins), Nicholas Page (4 mins)

SPAIN:  Luiz Calzado (GK), Xavier Gispert, Enriqe Gonzalez, Marc Reyne, Marc Miralles,  Jordi Bonastre, Gerard Clape,  Andrea Rafi, Borja Lacalle, Alvaro Portugal, Rafael Vilallonga,  SUBS USED: Eduard De Ignacio-Simo (3 mins)  Alvaro Iglesias (C) (3 mins), Alejandro Alonso (3 mins),  Pere Amat (3 mins)  Pol Cabre Verdiell (3 mins),  Bruno Font (3 mins), Rafael Revilla (GK) (46 mins)