Wednesday 7 December 2016

Ireland need strikers to hit goal trail in daunting German test

David Medcalf

Published 09/08/2016 | 02:30

Ireland players including Conor Harte, second from left, and brother David Harte leave the pitch after their Pool B defeat by the Netherlands. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Ireland players including Conor Harte, second from left, and brother David Harte leave the pitch after their Pool B defeat by the Netherlands. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Irish morale in the sapping heat of Rio will be tested to the full this afternoon as they tackle reigning champions Germany, still seeking their first point in Pool B.

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Craig Fulton's men tasted defeat on the double at the weekend, first shaded out 3-2 by India and then having their pockets picked 5-0 by a Dutch side who showed them how to take chances while Ireland spurned theirs.

With just 16 players at his disposal, Fulton has every reason to be grateful for the durability of his defenders, with John Jackson bouncing back after taking a knock on the knee in the Indian game and Conor Harte shipping a nasty dig in the ribs from a Dutch stick.

Read more: Five-star Netherlands leave Ireland floored

The Green Machine will almost certainly require two victories from their five pool fixtures but nicking the required points from Germany is surely a long shot. though the recent record against them is respectable: they lost 2-0 at last year's European championships in London, where the Irish took bronze, and at a six nations event in Valencia earlier this summer.

In recent months, Fulton's forwards have become worryingly goal shy, with Mitch Darling, Mikey Watt, Alan Sothern and Peter Caruth all yet break their duck in Rio.

If the strikers can find their form, then perhaps they can stretch the Germans but realistically progress to the last eight of the 12 teams in competition is likely to come courtesy of results against Canada (Thursday) and Argentina(Friday).

Irish Independent

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