Irish left chasing shadows in another painful drubbing
Published 13/09/2016 | 02:30
No real way to get around it: this was a bloodbath. From the moment, inside the first 30 seconds, when British strike Jack Rutter danced his way through the Irish defence, unleashing a torpedo strike into the right corner of the goal, everyone in green at the Deodoro Stadium knew they were in for a long day.
Ireland 1-5 Great Britain
It wasn't so much that the Irish seven-a-side team, who endured their third straight drubbing in the group stages, wouldn't compete with their British counterparts; it was just that they couldn't.
No faulting their effort, but that takes you only so far.
It took just minutes to see there was not so much a gap in talent and technical ability between the sides, but a vast chasm.
After the opening strike, the Irish held the assault on their goal at bay for seven minutes, and that felt like a victory, but then Rutter once again dribbled into the box, the stray leg of Irish attacker Tomiwa Badun taking him down.
Though Irish goalkeeper Brian McGillivary managed to repel the subsequent penalty, Michael Barker was on hand for the old enemy to slot the rebound home.
The Irish created some chances of their own in the ensuing minutes, with Badun threatening the British goal on several occasions.
However, just when it looked like they'd get to half-time in contention, up popped David Porcher of Britain, driving a missile from the edge of the box off the right upright, which rebounded off defender Luke Evans and into the Irish net.
It was swiftly followed by another from James Blackwell, and by then, all the Irish could salvage was pride.
In the third quarter, the Irish seven emerged with an impressive workrate, continuing to chase a game that was long since out of sight.
Then, in the 60th minute, they finally landed a blow of their own, substitute Conor Tuite firing the ball home and giving the Irish fans in the stands a few brief moments of celebration.
It didn't last long, with Sean Highdale immediately responding in kind for the Brits, slotting it home from close range in injury time.
"We're coming out here against full-time athletes, trying our best to compete, but at the end of the day we weren't good enough," said Irish coach Barry Ferguson.
Tomorrow afternoon, the Irish have one last chance at redemption, a seventh-place play-off with the United States and a chance to finish on a high.