By The Hockey Paper
Defender Conor Harte says Ireland men will be ready for a ‘Celtic dog fight’ in their fight to maintain their EuroHockey top-tier status.
A 5-0 defeat to Germany left Ireland to contest the relegation play-offs in a ‘home nations’ clash featuring England, Scotland and Wales over the coming days.
‘It’s almost a Celtic Cup from years ago and every team is scrapping for their lives,’ said Harte. ‘It’s a dog fight there but no better group to want a dog fight to go after it.’
Defeat also confirmed their participation in the pressure-cooker environment of the Olympic play-offs in the autumn.
However Ireland will be buoyed by this performance, matching Germany for large swathes of their final Pool match.
And Harte admitted that Ireland made Germany lacklustre at times, before leaking three goals in the final five minutes.
‘It’s all about the next game and learning what we can from what was good today – because it was good.
‘They didn’t know what to do with some of our build-up, especially with their zone defence. There are positives to take.’
Eugene Magee added: ‘It’s completely different teams now. Wales are a force to be reckoned with, a good strong side, and England pull out the performances when they need to. But we will put our name in the hat and hope for the best.’