Hockey World League round two, quarter-final
Ireland 12 (S Dowds 2, M Watt 2, P Gleghorne 2, J Jackson, S O’Donoghue, C Harte, C Cargo, E Magee, A Sothern) Trinidad and Tobago 2 (K Browne 2)
Ireland powered through to the semi-finals of the World League round two with a 12-2 win over Trinidad and Tobago with nine different scorers on the mark in San Diego.
The result means Ireland will play again on Saturday in the final four against either Canada – 4-0 winners over Italy – for a place in the tournament’s final but, more importantly, for a place at World League round three where the Olympic qualifying berths will be doled out.Stephen Dowds gave them a superb start, scoring from the game’s first attack and it was 2-0 when Paul Gleghorne picked out John Jackson in the circle to score.
They were, however, given a scare when Kwan Browne – on his 300th international appearance – scored twice in quick succession to peg the score back to 2-2 early in the second quarter.
Boosted by the arrival of the warm Californian sun and harangued by Kwan Browne, reacted well and forced a penalty-corner, scored by Browne recovering well from a mistrapped ball to celebrate in style his milestone cap achievement.
Browne, in fine form, added another penalty-corner in the initial minute of second quarter and the teams were back square. Ireland might have been a little surprised by this come-back but maintained their pressure and regained the lead in the 19th minute by Paul Gleghorne, making the best of a bobbled penalty-corner with an innocuous shot that somehow escaped the defender on the line.
The match was certainly not a one-way affair at that point, with Trinidad & Tobago dangerous on swift counter-attacks. Ireland had a more structured approach and added their fourth goal by Mikey Watt with the decisive back line progression by Michael Watt. They reached half-time of this lively match with a two-goal cushion.
Shane O’Donoghue made it 5-2 from a corner switch while Conor Harte and Dowds also scored from set pieces amid a run of five goals in nine minutes as Trinidad folded, a recurring theme in this tournament.
Watt’s second stretched the lead to 8-2 at the end of the third quarter before Chris Cargo, Gleghorne, Eugene Magee and Alan Sothern piled on four more goals in the closing stages.
“It was a pleasing performance today given the doggedness of the Trinadand Tobago performance, especially in the opening quarter,” manager Peter Jackson said afterwards about the performance.
“They should be given credit for never giving up and, as in all tournament hockey, the opposition must be given total respect.
“We did played in a controlled fashion and moved the ball well, especially on the break. We scored some clinical and stylish goals on interchange phases but the most pleasing aspect of the game was that we had nine different goal scorers. That doesn’t happen too often in a hockey match.”
The focus switches now to their game with Canada in the semi-finals.
“We will rest up for a bit, given the 5am start today, then prepare and train tomorrow for Saturday’s semi-final. Canada are a very experienced team and will provide us with a different challenge, one we are looking for to.”
Coach Fulton added: “Today’s game went according to plan, we knew it was not going to be easy. The scoreline came because of the work rate from every player and the team is growing in confidence.”
That semi-final tie will take place at 9pm (Irish time) in San Diego.
Ireland: D Harte, J Jackson, R Gormley, M Watt, C Cargo, S Dowds, K Shimmins, M Darling, P Gleghorne, C Harte, S O’Donoghue
Subs: J Bell, A Sothern, E Magee, P Caruth, B McCandless, D Carlisle
Trinidad and Tobago: S Eccles, K Browne, A Toussaint, N Grant, M O’Connor, M James, M Pierre, S Daniel, J Reynos, T Marcano, A Rocke
Subs: K Emmanuel, J Vieira, C Modeste, T Baptiste