Men’s senior international test match – words from Jonathan Cook in Hartleyvale
South Africa 4 (T Paton, S Boucher, I Malgraff, R Halkett) Ireland 5 (S Dowds, S O’Donoghue, E Magee, M Darling, K Good)
Kyle Good struck with 13 seconds to go to grab Ireland a dramatic 5-4 win over South Africa in Hartleyvale in their second test match of their warm-weather tour.
It meant they were 1-0 winners in a champagne two-Test series against the men in green and gold, this after Sunday’s opener ended 2-2. Pre-match, Jonathan Bell was honoured for his 50th cap while Paul Gleghorne joined the century-club.
Just 16 seconds into the first minute, striker Taine Paton made ground into the strike zone before cracking the ball past goalkeeper Ireland David Fitzgerald for SA to take a 1-0 lead.
Three minutes into the second chukka – the 18th minute of the match – Ireland drew level with a spectacular deflection goal by Stephen Dowds. Nine minutes later, Ireland went 2-1 up via Shane O’Donoghue’s low drag-flick for the half-time score.
Ireland put heavy pressure on the SA defence in the third chukka and were unfortunate not to score, but the men in green and gold must be commended, too, for some gutsy defensive work.
That SA grit was exemplified in the 42nd minute when Shannon Boucher carried the ball with intent into the strike zone before slipping it past Fitzgerald.
It set up a spectacular final quarter, one in which Eugene Magee scored from close-range with some dazzling hurling skills to put Ireland 3-2 ahead.
In the 54th Ireland’s Mitch Darling made space before smashing his shot into the backboard for a 4-2 lead. But this SA side never throws in the towel and four minutes from the end, Jethro Eustice’s pass was converted by Natius Malgraff.
Paton then won a corner with just over a minute left and three shots at goal somehow didn’t go in, but a penalty stroke was the outcome and SA captain Rhett Halkett sent his flick rocketing high into the net.
With just 13 seconds left, though, Good hit the winner for the Irish to come out 5-4 victors of a truly remarkable match. Craig Fulton’s side are next in action on Wednesday against World Cup finalists, the Netherlands, in Stellenbosch.
Ireland: David Fitzgerald, Mark Ingram, Jonathan Bell, Ronan Gormley, John Jackson, Chris Cargo, Alan Sothern, Stephen Dowds, Eugene Magee, Kirk Shimmins, Bruce McCandless, Michael Darling, Paul Gleghorne, Shane O Donoghue. Peter Caruth, James Lorimer, Kyle Good,Neal Glassey.
South Africa: Gowan Jones, Gareth Heyns, Dylan Swanepoel, Lance Louw, Rhett Halkett (capt), Jethro Eustice, Clint Panther, Dan Sibbald, Taine Paton, Shannon Boucher, Keenan Horne.
Subs: Jacques le Roux (GK), Daniel Bell, Natius Malgraff, Miguel da Graca, Ross Hetem, Pierre de Voux, Damian Kimfley.