Pair of draws ends men’s summer unbeaten

Senior Men’s international fixtures
Saturday: Ireland 1 (Alan Sothern) France 1 (Joost Jansen)
Sunday: Ireland 3 (Eugene Magee 2, David Ames) France 3

Ireland produced an incredible fight-back in the third of their three matches against France to sign off on their summer six-match campaign unbeaten with the Celtic Cup and a series win under their belt.

It looked an unlikely outcome with ten minutes remaining of today’s tie at Cookstown as France transformed a 1-0 half-time lead into a 3-0 advantage with time running out.

But Eugene Magee cracked home a reverse from a very narrow angle to set the comeback in motion, soon followed by the backhand blade of home favourite David Ames to spring the second.

And Magee completed the comeback in style with a fine effort after a flowing move which saw him bash into the bottom right backboard from the edge of the circle. Indeed, Ireland had a couple of chances to nick the win in the dying moments but Paul Revington was no doubt pleased with the character shown.

Monkstown’s David Fitzgerald (pictured, right), meanwhile, made his international debut after several games as understudy to Iain Walker having travelled with Ireland to 2009 and 2010’s Celtic Cups but never figuring on the field.

A day earlier, Ireland’s comeback was slightly less dramatic as Alan Sothern’s second half drag-flick cancelled out Joost Jansen’s first half opener.

Despite the majority of early possession, Jansen took advantage of a mistrap to slot past Iain Walker.

But Sothern levelled four minutes after the short whistle and while Ireland rode a few corner chances soon after, they also had a couple of set pieces of their own – one saved by the French goalkeeper’s head.

Ireland (Saturday): David Ames (Cookstown); Tim Cockram (Lisnagarvey); Mitch Darling (Leuven); Paul Gleghorne (Loughborough); Ronan Gormley (Pembroke W); Conor Harte (Pembroke W); John Jackson (Mossley); Eugene Magee (Dragons); Geoff McCabe (Dragons); Andy McConnell (Pembroke W); Iain Walker (YMCA)
Subs: Alan Sothern (Pembroke W);Phelie Maguire (Leuven); Peter Blakeney (Three Rock Rovers); Michael Maguire (Three Rock Rovers); Bruce McCandless (Banbridge).

Sunday panel: David Fitzgerald, Alan Sothern, Bruce McCandless, Mitch Darling, David Ames, Michael Maguire, Eugene Magee, Ronan Gormley, Conor Harte, Paul Gleghorne, Andy McConnell, Phelie Maguire, Chris Cargo, Timmy Cockram, John Jackson, Geoff McCabe

* Adrian Boehm’s photos from Sunday’s Ireland vs France game can be seen here

Partners of The Hook