McKinnon hands out eight debut caps in Spain draw

Men’s senior international Match
Spain 1 (Alex Casasayas) Ireland 1 (Davy Carson)

Davy Carson’s late goal earned a new look Ireland an encouraging 1-1 against world number eight side Spain as Mick McKinnon handed out eight international debuts in his first game in charge.

It was Ireland’s first international match since August’s European Championships, playing a Spanish side that had ran up a comprehensive 4-0 result.

Jason Lynch holds off Spanish goalscorer Alex Casasayas in Junior FC Pic: Albert Prieto/RFEH

Jason Lynch holds off Spanish goalscorer Alex Casasayas in Junior FC Pic: Albert P/RFEH

But despite handing nine debuts, Ireland battled hard while David Fitzgerald put in a fine performance between the posts. Michael Robson, Harry Spain, Ross Canning, Stephen Brownlow, James Corry, Nick Burns, Mark Loughrey and Richie Shaw were the newcomers.

They helped keep the scoresheet blank in the first half, Fitzgerald denying David Alegre in the sixth minute before keeping out a quick duo of penalty corners.

European Hall of Famer Santi Freixa fired a good chance wide while a penalty stroke, following a foul on Roger Padros, was also not completed. The Spaniards did hit the front with a thumping reverse in the 46th minute from play when Padros set up Alex Casasayas to fire home.

Ireland got their equaliser, though, when Gary Shaw was released down the wing and, after some slick skills, picked out Carson who dragged the ball past Quico Cortes. The Spanish keeper also pulled off some strong late saves to keep it all square while the hosts had two corners in the closing ten minutes and an own goal claim to win it ruled out.

Ireland play Spain again on Monday before completing the series on Wednesday.

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