Saturday, June 22, 2024

FIH Hockey Pro League: Ireland men rack up historic double

Ireland recorded successive wins over Belgium for the first time in nearly 30 years on Sunday after a memorable FIH Pro League double over the Olympic champions

Ireland beat the Red Lions 4-1 on the day that Ireland goalkeeper David Harte formed part of Kampong’s first Hoofdklasse title in seven years. They last recorded back-to-back victories in 1995.

Six points racked up, following their opening 2-1 win, in their latest tournament sets up an eagerly-anticipated set of Pro League matches against Germany and hosts Great Britain in London next week.

Ireland coach Mark Tumilty said: “Many people in World Hockey would have thought, after we came away from India, that we might not have got any points in this Pro League but here we are on 6 points and we left some points behind against Argentina, particularly in the second game.

“We’ve got excellent staff, the work Neville and Ash put in on the pitch, the work Eoin does in the physical preparation and the work of Raymond Geddes, all of them and the players finally getting rewards for the hard work done.”

Sean Murray (C) celebrates after scoring the team’s third goal PIC: WORLDSPORTPICS FRANK UIJLENBROEK

“It’s been a successful week. Let’s see what we can get out of next week. We have played against GB a number of times and Germany will definitely be a challenge. Hopefully there will be good Irish support in Lee Valley because these guys deserve it. We’ve made great progress and hopefully can continue that next week. It’s very good to get the win.”

Belgium took the lead with a deflected Antoine Kina goal before the Green Machine equalised through Ben Johnson in the 17th minute.

He got a second in the 31st minute to put Ireland 2-1 up, Jeremy Duncan touched home a Sean Murray shot and Ben Walker converted a penalty corner in the 54th minute to seal a fine win.

The next time the two teams will meet is on July 27 in Paris in the opening Pool B at the Olympics.

Total Hockey

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