Men’s senior international test match
Ireland 2 (N Glassey, A Sothern) France 1 (J-L Kieffer)
Ireland completed a comfortable series win over France as they added a 2-1 success to Tuesday’s 1-0 success with Neal Glassey and Alan Sothern on the mark at the Merrion Fleet Arena.
Ireland made one changes to the side that won a day earlier, Eugene Magee coming in for Gareth Watkins. Michael Robson remained on the sidelines injured with Conor Harte while John Jackson missed the series with a broken bone in his hand.
Glassey’s effort came in the first quarter, owing much to Shane O’Donoghue’s sublime show and go dummy on the right flank. It unlocked the door for Stu Loughrey at the baseline and his cross bounced up for Glassey to poke in.
Ireland had the vast majority of the play from there on with their high press reaping lots of ball. Watt was a constant threat, his strong runs and clever touches proving great to watch. His snap-shot led to the first corner from which Eugene Magee’s drag was well saved.
Peter Caruth stole the ball off the last man for another chance but his power slap went wide as Ireland pressed but without further reward in the first half.
Sothern’s corner drag-flick added to the goal tally in the second half when he fired in low and hard from a corner.
France belatedly had a few foray of chances in the second quarter and Jean-Laurent Kieffer pulled one back with the last act of the tie but the tie was done and dusted at that stage.
Speaking afterwards, first half goalkeeper David Harte cut a cold figure having recently returned from the 30 degree heat of the Hockey India League but he was warmed somewhat when reflecting on the tie.
“Happy but not really satisfied,” was his assessment. “It’s a fair reflection of where we are as a group at the moment; the fact we haven’t been in camp together for a while but you can see a progression since South Africa. We would have liked to score some more goals but to get two wins is always good.”
This week was his first appearances on home turf since winning the FIH Goalkeeper of the Year award and he proved his worth with one and a half games worth of clean sheets to his name.
Asked about the award, he said: “It’s old news now! That’s 2015, we’re looking at 2016 now and its onwards and upwards. It was lovely to get presented with the trophy in Mumbai in front of our home stadium but, for now, personally and as a group we are just looking forward.”
Ireland: D Harte, J Bell, M Bell, D Carlisle, C Cargo, P Caruth, S Cole, L Cole, M Darling, S Loughrey, N Glassey, P Gleghorne, R Gormley, A Sothern, S O’Donoghue, M Watt, K Shimmins, E Magee, D Fitzgerald