Friday 9 December 2016

Ireland push champions to limit in opener

England 4 Ireland 2

David Medcalf

Published 22/08/2011 | 05:00

A rousing start and a storming finish were not enough to rescue a draw for Ireland from holders England at the Men's European Hockey Championships in Monchengladbach, Germany yesterday.

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To rub salt into the wounds, Belfast native Iain Lewers was included in the opposition line-up after declaring for the Auld Enemy, who are guaranteed a place at next year's London Olympics in the guise of GB as hosts.

Ireland started brightly and Chris Cargo gave them a deserved lead after 14 minutes. However, they were hauled back to parity by the interval, Matt Daly clipping the ball neatly into the net, with Ireland short-staffed after Paul Gleghorne was sent to the sin-bin on 20 minutes.

England went ahead midway through the second half when skipper Barry Middleton left goalkeeper Davy Harte swishing at fresh air with a delightfully lofted effort. And they went 3-1 up 10 minutes later when Ashley Jackson found the target over Ronan Gormley's head at a penalty corner awarded amidst Irish protests.

The setback prompted a late surge of renewed confidence from the team in green, with John Jackson and David Ames orchestrating the attacks.

A foul on Cargo opened the way for John Jermyn to reduce the difference to the minimum at a corner with eight minutes left.

The Cork hitman's attempt at an equaliser, again at the set-piece, prompted a scintillating flying save from James Fair and then Middleton's impeccably timed scoring dive to meet Rob Moore's cross put the champions back into the comfort zone.

Ireland -- D Harte, J Jackson, G McCabe, R Gormley, M Watt, E Magee, M Darling, T Cockram, D Ames, P Gleghorne, C Harte. Subs: C Cargo, J Brennan, J Jermyn, P Caruth, M McConnell.

England -- J Fair, G Kirkham, R Mantell, A Jackson, R Moore, A Dixon, A Wilson, B Middleton, J Tindall, M Pearn, I Lewers. Subs: R Alexander, M Daly, I Mackay, N Catlin, R Smith.

Irish Independent

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