Egypt level three game series with rotating Irish

Senior International Challenge Match: Ireland 2 (Gareth Watkins 2) Egypt 3 (Ahmed Gamal, Hesham Badar, Ahmed Ezz)
The Irish men’s rotation passed 40 players for the summer as Monkstown’s Stephen Cole along with Banbridge duo Stephen Dowds and Phil Brown became the latest players to make their international debuts.

They took part in a perhaps understandably disjointed performance as Egypt levelled the series with one game left to play, blitzing the third quarter to win out 3-2 at Belfield tonight.

Gareth Watkins celebrated his call-up to Paul Revington’s Champions Challenge panel with a brace, the first a 25th minute tap-in, his second in two games, to put Ireland ahead.

He was left with the simplest of tasks as Davy Carson’s left wing cross was misjudged by two Egyptian defenders, leaving no one guarding the goal.

But Ahmed Gamal’s close-range finish, a fine deflection from Hesham Badar and a cracking Ahmd Ezz strike, picking out the stanchion of the goal, swept the Africans into a 3-1 lead.

Watkins netted a penalty stroke with seven minutes to go but the Egyptians had enough in the tank to deserve their win, creating plenty of chances. It was a win they celebrated gleefully, their first success in over a year as the political unrest in the country had cut short Tahir Zaman’s planned training regime in the most abrupt of fashions, losing four months of preparation for the African championships.

Ireland: I Walker, M Maguire, P Gleghorne, A McConnell, J Lynch, R Flannery, J Bruton, A Giles, D Carson, G Watkins, R Sykes
Subs: S Dowds, P Brown, K Carroll, S Cole, K Good

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