Men’s Senior International Challenge match
Ireland 2 (A Sothern 2) Germany 3 (C Ruhr, C Zeller, F Fuchs)
Two goals in the closing four minutes saw Olympic champions Germany spoil Ronan Gormley’s 200th cap as they came from 2-1 down to beat Ireland 3-2 in Krefeld.
Gormley became the first Irish player to reach the milestone at the location where he currently plays his club hockey. Any notions of a fairytale win, though, were dashed as dormer world player of the year Christopher Zeller struck late in the day to level the match before Florian Fuchs nabbed the winner with the last play of the gane to frustrate Ireland.Earlier, Alan Sothern – himself playing his 100th international match – had cancelled out Christopher Ruhr’s first half goal with a tidy reverse-stick finish.
And the Brussels-based striker added his second from a penalty corner to hand Ireland a shock lead with six minutes to go before Germany showed the depth of their will-power to bounce back.
It was a lively tie with Kirk Shimmins winning an early corner which Timmy Cockram saw Nicolas Jacobi save. Germany, though, were holding more of the possesion with David Fitzgerald making some strong interventions.
Ruhr, though, broke the deadlock with a couple of minutes to go before the big break after a tidy attack, switching play from right to left.
The second half saw the tie open up more and Ireland were level when a great piece of skill from Eugene Magee in the 41st minute unlocked the door for Sothern to mark his century in style.
And he doubled his tally in the closing minutes from a corner, nut-megging the German goalkeeper to put Ireland on the cusp of a big win. It was not to be, though, as the hosts forced a corner which Zeller finished off. Ireland protested there was danger in the build-up but to no avail.
Fuchs then pounced with a swift counter-attack goal, volleying home to leave Ireland to rue a missed opportunity. The two sides meet again in Krefeld in the second test on Tuesday at 2.30pm as preparations for the Olympic qualifiers in June ramp up in earnest.
Ireland: D Fitzgerald, R Gormley, P Gleghorne, C Harte, J Jackson, E Magee, M Robson, C Cargo, M Darling, J Bruton, T Cockram
Subs: A Sothern, J Bell, P Caruth. K Shimmins, D Carlisle, S Loughrey
Did not play: S O’Donoghue, S Dowds, S West