IRL Men beaten by last minute India goal in game with lots of positives



It was a last-minute goal that did for Ireland in their fourth game of the Bhubaneswar phase of the FIH Pro League on Friday against India. Playing the hosts in front of a crowd of over 20,000 partisan supporters, at the Kalinga Stadium, was going to be challenging at the best of times but all the more so in the second game in two days at the end of a week of action. Adding extra spice to the game was the fact that India are currently coached by former Ireland coach Craig Fulton whose daughter Milla has been capped at senior level by Ireland at Indoor hockey.  And for most of the match it looked as if both coaches had worked out the perfect system to cancel out their opponents. India seemed well able to counter whatever Ireland threw at them in attack and Ireland defended as if their very lives depended on it.

The opening stages were fairly even, and it was no major surprise that it was scoreless at the end of the first quarter. Ireland and India played out another quarter of cagey strategic chess like hockey and it was even less of a surprise that it was still 0-0 at half-time. In the third quarter  Akashdeep Singh had the ball in the net but Jamie Carr had been taken out by Mandeep. Ireland were awarded a free hit out. Ireland were awarded another free hit out two minutes later after India had the ball in the net again but the goal was ruled out for another infringement.

Ireland managed to force a long corner in the 38th minute and the effort was saved by Pathak the India staring goalkeeper who had returned to action for the third quarter. India were awarded a penalty corner in the 42nd minute Amit Rohidas’ shot was saved by Jamie Carr. It was still scoreless at the end of quarter three.

India started the final quarter strongly forcing two penalty corners the first of which Harmanpreet Singh launched goalward and was  denied by Jamie Carr. The second of which sailed over the bar. Ireland were awarded a penalty corner in the 51st minute. India referred the decision to Video referral and lost their appeal. The penalty corner was saved by goalkeeper Sreejesh Parattu who was back between the posts for the final quarter. Jeremy Duncan was green carded in the 52nd minute temporarily reducing Ireland to 10 players. During this time Ireland’s best chance fell to Ben Johnson whose attempted pass across the face of the goal was kicked clear by Sreejesh.

Sukhreet Singh was key to all the best of the Indian’s attacking play. Daragh Walsh was equally important to Ireland’s attacking moves but if you had to pick an Irishman for a Player of the Match accolade in this game Jamie Carr was probably the standout performer in the game.

In the 59th minute just when it appeared Ireland had done enough to hang on for their first point in the FIH PRO League in their history Gujant Singh scored from the edge of the D to break Irish hearts. Ireland did launch an attack in the closing seconds and one of the players appeared to be fouled. Ireland referred the incident to Video referral but there was no reason for the on field umpire decision to be overturned and they lost their referral it finished Ireland 0 India 1.

After the match we spoke to Mark Tumilty the Ireland head coach who said:

“While we defended well, I still thought we created chances in attack. I feel for Jamie Carr tonight, he’s annoyed with that last minute goal. It was one of those unfortunate goals. A good finish by them, it was well hit. We dealt with their attack well and hit them on the counter. In our deep zone we were good. Lots of positives I thought we were good with the ball as well. We were a bit unlucky with some of the decisions which didn’t go our way.” 

“We’ve changed as the week has gone on, what we have proven is that we have grown. We’ve had to play a different shape than we normally play both with and without the ball and that’s proved advantageous to us.” 

“I’d also like to say that Daragh Walsh, he’s proved he can play at the highest level, and that he can impact the game at the highest level.” 

“Very, very pleased with where we are now compared to how we started the week. We probably showed too much respect to the Netherlands last Monday and Australia was a tough day, we were a bit off it against them. But the last two games the lads showed they were up for it.” 

“We want to come home from India with some points on the board. We are going in the right direction. We’re up against the best teams in the world, most of whom are full-time professional athletes, but we’ve shown that we can compete at this level. We need to build on that, take a few chances and get our corners firing.”

“We move to Rourkela first thing in the morning so the timing of this game probably wasn’t the best. We train on Sunday have a game on Monday and then two days off before we take on Australia again on Thursday. Looking forward to playing India in their brand-new stadium at Rourkela. The Dutch and Indian ladies played in front of 15,000 fans last week, it’ll be nice to have the experience of playing in front of a crowd that size, be something new for us.”

IRELAND:  Jamie Carr, Luke Madeley, John McKee, Daragh Walsh, Shane O’Donoghue, Sean Murray (C), Peter McKibbin, Jeremy Duncan, Peter Brown, Lee Cole, Nicholas Page SUBS USED:  Matthew Nelson (4 mins), Kevin O’Dea (6 mins), Michael Robson (6 mins), Jonathan Lynch (4 mins), Sam Hyland (6 mins), Ben Johnson (6 mins)

INDIA: Krishan Bahadur PATHAK (GK),  Jarmanpreet SINGH, Abhishek Akashdeep SINGH, Manpreet SINGH, Hardik SINGH, Gurjant  SINGH, Harmanpreet SINGH ( C),  Nilakanta SHARMA, Akashdeep SINGH, Amit ROHIDAS,  SUBS USED:  Sumit (5 mins),  Amir ALI (3 mins),  Raj Kumar PAL (4 mins), Rabichanrdra MOIRANGTHEM (5 mins) Sukhjeet SINGH, Araijeet Singh HUNDAL (4 mins), Sreejesh PARATTU RAVEEN PRAV (GK) (16 MINS)