Wednesday 7 December 2016

Ireland survive scare to set up Argentina showdown

Ireland 4-2 Canada

Gerard Hughes

Published 12/08/2016 | 02:30

Paul Gleghorne celebrates following the victory over Canada. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Paul Gleghorne celebrates following the victory over Canada. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Ireland face a winner-takes-all game with Argentina tonight with a place in the quarter-finals at stake after this nervy win.

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Both sides took to the pitch in the Deodoro stadium yesterday seeking their first win of the tournament.

Paul Gleghorne of Ireland. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Paul Gleghorne of Ireland. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

The Irish enjoyed a dream start with Shane O'Donoghue sending a precision drag-flick a couple of inches under the Canadian crossbar with just 56 seconds on the clock.

The man from Glenanne later repeated the dose at another penalty corner, this one won by John Jackson, on 27 minutes.

The Green Machine was in rampaging form and they went three ahead before the break, Peter Caruth sliding bravely in to convert the rebound as Mikey Watt's shot rebounded off the pads of David Carter.

The mood swung alarmingly after the break, with the Irish under severe pressure for 20 worrying minutes, during which David Harte was beaten twice by Scott Tupper.

John Jermyn of Ireland in action against Brenden Bissett of Canada. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
John Jermyn of Ireland in action against Brenden Bissett of Canada. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

The Canadian captain first managed to beat the world's No 1 keeper from long distance with a shot of raw power and then converted a corner to reduce lead to the minimum.

It might have been worse but for a wonderful goal-line save by veteran defender Ronan Gormley.

The pressure was finally relieved with four minutes to spare when Watt found Mitch Darling, whose subtle shot crept over the line.

With the win secured, already jangling Irish nerves then had to endure the possibility that Argentina would wriggle out of sight in the Pool B table by beating Germany.

The South Americans went within a whisker of claiming the three points from the Olympic champions, leading 4-3 as the match went into the concluding minute.

But the Germans pulled level dramatically with eight seconds to spare, when Matthias Muller earned honorary Irish citizenship with a late leveller.

Muller's strike means that tonight's game (11.30pm tip-off) is very much a live fixture, though only a win will suffice to put Craig Fulton's side into the last eight.

ireland: D Harte, J Jackson, P Gleghorne, C Harte, R Gormley, E Magee, S O'Donoghue, C Cargo, K Good, M Darling, M Watt. Subs: J Bell, A Sothern, J Jermyn, P Caruth, K Shimmins.

Irish Independent

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