Battling Ireland target bronze after falling short
Men’s EuroHockey Championships: Ireland 0 Netherlands 1
Brave Ireland remain in contention for medals in London but it will be bronze at best after yesterday’s semi-final defeat.
Craig Fulton’s side gave the Dutch masters their closest game of the tournament at Lee Valley but could not find a score to unsettle their classy opponents and now meet England in the third place play-off.
Instead the tie was decided by unmarked Jeroen Hertzberger’s tap-in out of the air past Davy Harte four minutes from the interval.
Mitch Darling came closest to an equaliser in a game of notably few chances – there were just two penalty corners – finding Jaap Stockmann’s pad with a rising shot which deflected off the keeper and on to his post.
And John Jackson wormed his way through the Dutch defence in the last minute to create an opening from an acute angle only to ping the ball just wide.
The Irish played with remarkable composure against the only team not to have conceded a goal.
Central defenders Paul Gleghorne and Conor Harte sustained shoulder injuries during the first half as they took tumbles but both returned to the action undaunted.
Though the Dutch had plenty of possession they did little to test Harte, a remarkable series of three blocks in the one passage of play on 57 minutes being his most notable contribution.
Harte was withdrawn in the closing seconds in a desperate attempt to conjure up the leveller but Jackson’s misguided effort was the only return from coach Fulton’s last throw of the dice.
Ireland – D Harte, R Gormley, P Gleghorne, C Harte, J Jackson, K Shimmins, S O’Donoghue, E Magee, J Bruton, M Darling, K Good. Subs: M Watt, P Caruth, A Sothern, C Cargo, M Robson, M Bell.