Saturday, June 22, 2024

FIH Hockey Pro League: Ireland men secure first ever points

Ireland men stunned hosts Belgium as the Green Machine took their first points in the FIH Pro League.

After losing their first eight games, Ireland scored a significant 2-1 win over Belgium just weeks out from the Paris Olympics.

Irish captain Sean Murray said:“It took a few games to get there, but we knew coming here it was going to be tough. We believe that we can win, we can get results, and we showed that today with a hard-fought win. 

“We defended with our hands on the ground, hearts on the line, and it worked.”

The Irish came out positively against the defending  Olympic champions and dominated the first half. They were rewarded in the 11th minute when a long pass into the circle took two touches before falling to Matthew Nelson for a deflection at the post. 

Lee Cole then extended their lead to 2-0 with a penalty stroke in the 20th minute. Belgium gradually assumed more control through the second half, but Ireland’s defensive effort was immense. 

Guillermo Hainaut’s 55th-minute field goal for the hosts set up a tense finish. Despite being a man down, Ireland hung on to thwart the Belgians who were pressing hard after pulling off their goalkeeper, and record a memorable win.

Ireland will face Argentina on Thursday before fixtures against the same two nations at the weekend.

In the other games of the mini tournaments, India beat Argentina 5-4 on a shoot-out for the bonus point after a 2-2 draw. Domene Tomas had scored from a PC for Los Leones at the death in normal time.

USA women lost out 5-1 to hosts Belgium, with Bonami Astrid netting a hat-trick, while Argentina women were 5-0 winners over India.

Total Hockey

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