France bounce back to share three-game series

Men’s Senior International test match
Ireland 2 (Shane O’Donoghue, Alan Sothern) France 3 (Gaspard Baumgarten 2, Victor Charlet)

Ireland completed their pre-World League round two warm-up series with a 3-2 loss to France in a frustrating performance at times against a tricky opponent in front of a bumper crowd at Grange Road.

For much of the first half, the French were much the sharper in the opening half as they sat deep before counter-attacking at pace. This allowed them to hit the front when Jean-Laurent Kieffer raced onto a loose ball before drawing Mark Ingram.

The goalkeeper saved initially but it fell invitingly for Gaspard Baumgarten to sweep into an empty net from the top of the circle.

He also touched in the second from Charles Masson’s lovely run and backhand shot to the right post, making it 2-0 in the 18th minute. In between, John Jackson’s dove in between two tackles with some lovely skill before forcing a good stop from Edgar Reynaud while Alan Sothern’s follow-up ended in the side-netting.

It stayed at 2-0 into the break but Ireland started the second half in confident fashion with a trio of good attacks and got on the board from their first penalty corner, Shane O’Donoghue on the mark for the second time this week.

Chris Cargo on the attack for Ireland against France Pic: Adrian Boehm

Chris Cargo on the attack for Ireland against France Pic: Adrian Boehm

Stephen Dowds and Mitch Darling’s baseline runs also caused problems but the final pass went just off course. France hit the mark, though, from their only corner with Victor Charlet’s low push sneaking home to make it 3-1 toward the end of the third quarter.

A concerted push in the last ten minutes eventually saw Sothern whip home a great reverse-stick finish from an improvised penalty corner with a few minutes left but the equaliser just eluded the Irish side.

It meant the sides shared their three-match series in Grange Road. Earlier this week, the two sides drew on Tuesday before Ireland came from a goal down on Thursday night to win 3-1. Ireland head out to San Diego on Friday to prepare for the World League.

Ireland: M Ingram, J Bell, L Cole, M Darling, C Cargo, A Sothern, S Dowds, E Magee, K Shimmins, B McCandless, P Gleghorne
Subs: J Jackson, S West, R Gormley, P Caruth, D Carlisle, J Bruton, S O’Donoghue

France: E Reynaud, C Peters-Deutz, J-L Kieffer, T Genestet, H Genestet, G Baumgarten, G Deront, C Masson, F Scheefer, V Charlet, A Coisne
Subs: F Goyet, S Martin-Brisac, O Sanchez, J-B Forgues, R Lyon, G Samson, C Saunier

Umpires: M Dowds, M Coombes

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