Wednesday 22 November 2017

Netherlands' Taekema too hot for Irish in 11-goal thriller


David Medcalf, European Hockey Championships

For five heady minutes Ireland led the Dutch aristocrats in Monchengladbach yesterday.

Then Taeke Taekema stepped in with a stern reality check, delivering four penalty-corner strikes to put his team in control of an 11-goal thriller.

Needing to win by a supremely unlikely five-goal margin in order to gatecrash the top four at the elite event, the Irish were playing catch-up within six minutes of tip-off.

Bob de Voogd had the favourites ahead with a well-worked team effort but Paul Revington's side responded magnificently to the early setback.

The Banbridge pair of Eugene Magee and Geoff McCabe scored the goals that gave Ireland reason to dream of victory, the first on a quick break, the second at a penalty corner.

Then Taekema took over, rifling corner after corner beyond the grasp of the luckless David Harte, two before the interval and then two more in the second half.


Even when the set-piece routine did not work quite as slickly as practised, the Dutch ace improvised with impish ease to compete his four-hander.

Captain Teun de Nooijer joined in the fun on the hour, concluding a lightning-fast break seconds after Magee's half chance was stifled at the other end of the pitch.

And the fun was not over as Timmy Cockram fed off Magee's run down the left to make it 3-6, before De Voogd claimed his second and Mikey Watt had the last word of a breathless goal-fest.

Afterwards Netherlands coach Paul van Ass suggested that Ireland had shown that they were capable of stepping up to hockey's top grade.

He singled out Magee, John Jermyn and David Harte for special mention, while his frustrated opposite number Revington began preparations for tomorrow's relegation battle against Russia (1.0 Irish time).

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, A McConnell, I Sloan.

Netherlands -- J Stockmann, W Jolie, T Taekema, R Kemperman, T de Nooijer, R de Voogd, R Hofman, R van der Horst, V Verga, W Bakker, T Jenniskens. Subs: K Vermeulen, R Weusthof, J Hertzberger, Floris Evers, S de Wijn.

Umpires -- A Mair, F Vazquez Lopez.

Irish Independent

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