Harte heroics earns Ireland draw with Blacksticks

Six Nations Tournament
Ireland 1 (S O’Donoghue) New Zealand 1 (S McAleese)

Ireland scrambled to a second successive draw at the Six Nations Tournament in Valencia, clinging on at times for a 1-1 tie with world number eight side New Zealand.

It was a tale of penalty corners, Ireland converting one from their two while the Blacksticks made a hames of theirs, their tally running well into double-figures with their only success coming from a penalty stroke.

Shane O'Donoghue opened the scoring for Ireland. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Shane O’Donoghue opened the scoring for Ireland. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Ireland started well, winning a corner in the first two minutes; John Jermyn’s drag was well saved but the corner was reset, the second effort was not stopped and the chance drifted away with Peter Caruth’s shot comfortably dealt with by Devon Manchester.

Nonetheless, a second corner was won soon after and Shane O’Donoghue made no mistake this time, roofing a drag-flick to the top left corner – his 51st international goal.

From there, the Blacksticks were the dominant force, winning six corners before the half-time break. They got back in terms when David Harte felled an attacker cutting back in from the left baseline, leading to a penalty stroke that Shea McAleese converted.

All their corners were repelled, though, while a couple of chances flashed across the face of goal with Hayden Phillips’ interception and run somehow evading the goal.

The second saw more of the same as New Zealand over-ran Ireland in midfield at times, making key interceptions and breaking forward. Their finishing, though, was wayward throughout while another barrage of corners went either off-course or were saved by David Harte.

Nick Wilson’s one-on-one chance skewed wide as the Black Sticks’ build-up work was the direct antithesis of their shooting. Kyle Good charged down one last corner with less than two minutes left

It means Ireland remain in sixth place in the group and face Germany in their final game on Sunday morning at 9am in Valencia. From there, they fly back to Cork for Monday evening’s game with the Netherlands at the Mardyke (7pm).

Ireland: D Harte, J Jackson, R Gormley, C Cargo, G Watkins, J Jermyn, P Caruth, S O’Donoghue, M Darling, P Gleghorne, C Harte
Subs: J Bell, A Sothern, K Shimmins, M Bell, M Robson, K Good

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