World Cup Qualifiers
Ireland 2 (David Ames, Timmy Cockram) Czech Republic 1 (Stepan Bernatek) after golden goal extra-time
Timmy Cockram’s golden goal winner against the Czech Republic in the World Cup Qualifier third/fourth play-off today did little to paper over the cracks of a disappointing week in Argentina for Ireland’s men.
Cockram struck from a penalty corner swich to eventually break the resistance of towering goalkeeper Filip Neusser and earn a 2-1 win.
Ireland dominated possession throughout but once again found the Czech netminder in top form. He would later claim the goalkeeper of the tournament crown, an accolade he also achieved in Wrexham at the Europeans and is regarded as one of the world’s best. His value to the team can be seen in the fact he sat out the 9-0 loss to Belgium.
At the height of Ireland’s pressure, David Ames gave Ireland a first half lead in a physically tough yet highly entertaining game. He completed a brilliant move as Conor Harte’s overhead fed Ronan Gormley racing down the right. His pass was hit in first-time on the reverse by Ames over Neusser. But it was all the Irish had to show for a first half full of attacks.
And, as they had done in Thursday’s 2-2 loss, the Czechs developed into the game and fought back with Stepan Bernatek equalising in the 53rd minute. With the bronze medal becoming a more real possibility for both sides, the closing quarter was a fiesty one as the Czechs were reduced to nine men for almost a full two minutes as Jakub Kyndl (green) and Ondrej Vudmaska (yellow) were sin-binned in quick succession.
Ireland were unable to take advantage and so extra-time was needed to separate the sides. Cockram, though, finished off a slick corner move to complete a first victory in four outings after beginning the tournament in rude health with emphatic results against the USA and Chile.
It means Ireland stayed true to their pre-tournament ranking as third seeds but the long wait to reach a major event continues. Ireland must now wait until mid-2011 for their next ranking event after a busy year saw European and Champion’s Challenge II final appearances as well as Celtic and Glyndwr Cup successes.
Ireland: David Harte, John Jackson, Ronan Gormley (capt), Mikey Watt, Stephen Butler, John Jermyn, Eugene Magee, Timmy Cockram, Geoff McCabe, Conor Harte, Tim Lewis
Subs: Graham Shaw, Peter Caruth, Alan Sothern, David Ames, Paul Gleghorne
5th/6th playoff: USA 2 Chile 1
3rd/4th playoff: Ireland 2 Czech Republic 1 after extra-time
Final: Argentina 4 Belgium 3