FIH PRO LEAGUE Season 5, India

IRL Men lose to Australia in second FIH Pro League game 

Bhubaneswar – FIH Pro League 2023-24 (M)
Match No.11 Australia v Ireland
Picture : Ireland line up for the national anthem prior to the match


Ireland took on Australia in Bhubaneswar India in their second ever FIH Pro League match and began well enjoying a share of possession in the opening minutes without carving out any clear cut opportunities. Michael Robson was playing his 150th match for Ireland in this game and Ben Walker was back in the side having missed out on the Olympic Qualification tournament in Valencia through injury. Both sides exchanged long corners early on without any reward. Australia fielded a relatively inexperienced side on this occasion, and it was 0-0 at the end of the first quarter.


The second quarter saw Australia take it up a gear. Australia took the lead through a goal from open play that was deflected past substitute goalkeeper James Milliken by Tom Craig in the 17th minute. Tim Cross won the first penalty corner of the match for Ireland in the 20th minute. Shane O’Donoghue’s drag flick was deflected behind for a long corner. Tom Craig had the ball in the net for Australia in the 21st minute but the Umpire had already blown his whistle for a penalty corner. Jeremy Hayward converted that penalty corner in the 22nd minute to make it 2-0 to Australia. Tim Cross forced a long corner having taken down an aerial pass near the byline in the 26th minute and from that corner forced another penalty corner for Ireland. Shane O’Donoghue’s shot went wide to the right. Australia then increased their lead as Flynn Ogilvie went down the right and found Tom Craig his short pass to Beale was deflected to Ky Willott who got his first goal of the game to make it 3-0 in the 28th minute and that was the score at half time.


Australia had the better of exchanges in the early part of the third quarter. Matt Dawson had the ball in the goal for the Aussies but unfortunately for them, his shot which had originated outside the semi-circle didn’t get the touch inside the semi-circle required for it to count.  James Milliken made a fine stop from Jack Welch in the 39th minute and it got worse for Ireland in the 43rd minute when Nathan Ephraums made it 4-0 from open play. Jamie Carr returned to duty between the posts for Ireland at the start of the final quarter and Australia were reduced to 10 players for two minutes when Dan Beale was green carded in the 49th minute. Ireland managed to win themselves a short corner while the Kookaburras were shorthanded. The penalty corner found Luke Madeley whose initial effort was blocked the ball rebounded to Sean Murray whose shot was saved by Australian goalkeeper Andrew Charter.  Ireland had another chance to score a minute later when a deflected effort was heading towards goal when Andrew Charter blocked it. In the 56th minute Ky Willott made it 5-0. The Irish referred the goal to the video umpire on the grounds of potential danger. She overruled them and awarded the goal and Ireland lost their referral. In the closing seconds Ireland were in the Australian semi-circle but were unable to get that consolation goal it finished Ireland 0 Australia 5.


After the game we spoke to Ireland Head Coach Mark Tumilty:


“It’s a good learning for us, this game. Our basics let us down at times. We looked dangerous in the final third, but we needed to be more clinical in the attacking end of things and more switched on at the back end. You get punished at this level for the slightest errors and when chances come your way you have to be clinical and convert those chances.  

“We’ll rotate the squad as we move through this phase in Bhunaneswar and in Rourkela and the five guys who didn’t feature today will come back into consideration to start on Thursday against Spain. They are familiar opposition we have played them often over the past eighteen months or so including the recent tournament in Valencia, so we know each other’s style of play well.”


IRELAND: Jamie Carr (GK), Luke Madeley, Tim Cross, John McKee, Matthew Nelson, Shane O’Donoghue, Sean Murray (C), Michael Robson, Ben Walker, Sam Hyland, Nicholas Page.

SUBS USED:  Daragh Walsh  (6 mins), Jonathan Lynch  (7  mins), Luke Witherow (5 mins), Charlie Rowe (7mins),  Conor Empey (6 mins), Peter McKibbin (7 mins) James Milliken (GK) (6 mins)


AUSTRALIA:  Andrew Charter (GK), Jake Harvie,  Matt Dawson,  Nathan Ephraums, Tim Howard,  Aran Zalewski,  Ky Willott,Flynn Ogilvie, Daniel Beale (C),  Tim Brand,  Jeremy Hayward

SUBS USED: Tom Wickham (3 mins),  Tom Craig (5 mins), Corey Wever  (5 mins), Joshua Beltz (5 mins), Jack Welch (5 mins), Jayden Atkinson (6 mins)