Saturday 20 January 2018

Jermyn punishes Les Bleus to put Ireland back on track

Ireland 2, France 0, David Medcalf, European Hockey Championships

TWO goals from ice-cool penalty taker John Jermyn gave Ireland the spoils against France in Monchengladbach yesterday.

Needing nothing less than the three points after Sunday's opening defeat by England, the Irish endured 57 minutes of frustration before breaking down stubborn opposition resistance to claim victory.

The French, who went an hour without registering a noteworthy attempt on goal after an early effort from Jean-Baptiste Pauchet, spent most of match content to contain rather than create.

And they did so very effectively for long periods, for all the promising approach work of Mikey Watt and Mitch Darling.

The stonewall defence eventually ran into discipline problems, with Francois Scheefer and Bastien Dierckens both in the sin-bin when the dam finally burst on 57 minutes.

Darling earned the first stroke, impeded as he broke through on goal, and Jermyn swept the ball from the spot past Henri-Julien L'Homme's right kicker.

Jermyn was called up once more 12 minutes later after Geoff McCabe's goal-bound shot caught a back-pedalling defender on the body.

Again Jermyn chose the low route, beating L'Homme on the same side to put the result beyond meaningful doubt with just a couple of minutes remaining.

Belatedly obliged to attack in the closing stages, Les Bleus could do no better than win a series of penalty corners, none of them converted.

Dierckens succeeded in finding the net with 79 seconds remaining and umpire Gregory Uyttenhove gave the score, only to have the decision overturned after a video review.

The result laid the ghost of Manchester 2007 when Ireland were relegated from the top division after losing 1-0 to a similarly cagey French side.

Coach Paul Revington was both relieved and upbeat after yesterday's encounter, which revived morale after the deflation of losing 4-2 to England on Sunday.

He indicated cheerfully that his men will pull out all the stops to achieve something tomorrow that Ireland have never done in the past -- beat the Dutch in a major competition.

England's hopes of reaching the semi-finals suffered a setback yesterday as they were beaten 4-3 by Holland. The victory all but assured the Dutch of a place in the last four. Billy Bakker was their hero, scoring a hat-trick which began with the opening goal after 10 minutes.

Matt Daly pulled England back on level terms after 24 minutes but two goals in as many minutes early in the second half from Taeke Taekema (penalty stroke) and Bakker put Holland in the driving seat. Iain Mackay reduced the deficit after 54 minutes only for Bakker to complete his treble minutes later.

England continued to push forward and were rewarded with Ashley Jackson's score to make it 4-3, but further pressure failed to yield an equaliser.

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

France -- HJ L'Homme, T Genestet, A Becauwe, J Jansen, F Magner, B Dierckens, Y Schambert, F Scheefer, JP Pauchet, M Genestet, V Migneau. Subs: L Sevestre, C Hauet, F Pourcelet, Lockwood.

Irish Independent

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