** Words from Southern Fried Hockey’s Alan Good
Ireland’s U18 boys sent out a big signal of intent at the EuroHockey Youth Nations Championships II in Gasawa, Poland yesterday with an 8-2 victory over Italy.
Graham Shaw’s charges are fancied to take a top two spot and promotion back to the ‘A’ division, and they had far too much firepower for a game but limited Italian side.
Gary Wilkinson set up the first for Ben Campbell then scored himself with a tidy reverse-stick finish, with Campbell adding his second for a three-goals half-time lead.
The second period saw Italy hit back with strikes from Matteo Zoppi and Matteo Feretti in between a Mark Loughrey strike, but Ireland rarely looked in trouble.
Both sides missed penalty strokes – Lee Cole was the Irish culprit while James Carr saved the Italian flick brilliantly – while Campbell completed his hat-trick and Luke Madeley scored a trio of corners.
Ireland play Wales on day two (12pm Irish time) before taking on Switzerland, Poland and Russia.
Ireland: J Carr, J Lorimer, M Robson, K Mullins, A Burns, L Cole, J McKee, M Loughrey, G Wilkinson, H Morris, L Madeley
Subs: S O’Connor, B Cosgrove, S Wolfe, D Kane, N Byrne, B Campbell
Italy: D Franzoia, A Fardellini, G Conforto, T Rapisarda, N Chiesa, S Pagliara, E Casalini, G Pollicino, M Melegatti, G Sozzi, L Valentino, M Zoppi
Subs: G Petito, N Corrias, M Magno, M Ferretti
EuroHockey Youth Nations Championships, Gasawa, Poland, Day 1: Ireland 8 (B Campbell 3, L Madeley 3, G Wilkinson, M Loughrey) Italy 2 (M Zoppi, M Feretti); Russia 4 Wales; Poland 2 Switzerland 0
Tuesday: Ireland vs Wales, 12pm
Thursday: Ireland vs Switzerland, 2pm
Saturday: Ireland vs Poland, 3pm
Sunday: Ireland vs Russia, 12.30pm.