U-21 men create history with 17-0 Bulgaria win

U-21 EuroHockey Junior Championship III
Ireland U-21 men 17 (Stephen Dowds 5, Jeremy Duncan 3, Shane O’Donoghue 2, Davy Carson 2, Stu Loughrey 2, Peter English, Kirk Shimmins, Mark Crooks) Bulgaria 0

Ireland’s U-21 men created European junior nations history as they recorded the highest win since the U-21 grade was introduced in 1976.

Kirk Shimmins broke the deadlock after just 19 seconds and Ireland were 7-0 up at the break. Three second half strikes brought Stephen Dowds’ tally to five while Jeremy Duncan also nabbed a hat-trick in a one-sided game. Fifteen came from play with Peter English and one of Dowds’ goals coming from corners.

It realised the pre-tournament form that Ireland – with six senior internationals in their midst – are overwhelming favourites following the re-introduction of the boys in green to this age group at European level for the first time since 2004.

It outdid the Netherlands’ 15-0 mauling of Austria in 2008 and a similar scoreline in 1996 when Germany beat Denmark. In the 1995 U-21 World Cup qualifying tournament, Ireland also beat Lithuania 15-0 and dismissed Romania 12-0 in that campaign in another double figure victories. Lithuania are next on the list for the current vintage following their opening day 2-0 loss to hosts Slovakia.

The women, meanwhile, begin their campaign on Thursday in Lisbon as they face against Turkey in the first game of their four-team group which also features Azerbaijan and hosting Portugal.

Ireland: M Ingram, M Bell, S Dowds, K Shimmins, S O’Donoghue, S Loughrey, D Carson, S Cole, P English, P Brown, D Cole
Subs: K Lynch, S O’Grady, M Crooks, N Burns, J Duncan

Men’s schedule:
Thursday, July 19:
Ireland vs Lithuania, 2pm; Bulgaria vs Slovakia, 4pm
Saturday, July 21: Ireland vs Slovakia, 9am; Bulgaria vs Lithuania, 11am
Sunday, July 22: classification matches

Women’s schedule:
Thursday, July 19:
Azerbaijan vs Portugal, 8am; Ireland vs Turkey, 10am
Friday, July 20: Ireland vs Portugal, 2pm; Azerbaijan vs Turkey, 4pm
Saturday, July 21: Azerbaijan vs Ireland, 2pm; Portugal vs Turkey, 4pm
Sunday, July 22: classification matches

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