Spain win twice against fresh-faced Irish men

Game one: Ireland 0 Spain 4 (A Beltran 2, J Romeu, A Iglesias)
Spain proved stronger in game one in Terrassa with a 4-0 win against Ireland’s fresh-faced side that featured four teenagers in a young squad that was to hand debuts to Jamie Wright, Matthew Nelson, Keith O’Hare and Julian Dale over the course of the week.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Mikey Watt became the seventh Irish player to hit 200 caps, following the likes of Nikki Symmons, Shirley McCay, Cliodhna Sargent, John Jackson, Ronan Gormley and Eugene Magee.

A tight first quarter saw no clear chances for either side. Both sides continued to grow into the game and in the 18th minute Albert Beltran gave the home side the lead from open play. Seven minutes later Spain were awarded their first penalty corner and Josep Romeu sent a powerful drag flick from the top of the circle into the corner of the goal, leaving the score at 2-0 at half-time.

The second half started in similar fashion to the first half with both teams enjoying periods of possession and the Green Machine building good spells of play. But it was Spain who struck again in the 40th minute, Alvaro Iglesias scoring from open play to give his side a 3-0 lead. As the third quarter wound down, Beltran got his second to make it 4-0 which is how the result would remain.

Game two: Ireland 1 (S Murray) Spain 2 (J Romeu, A de Frutos)
The Green Machine were denied a draw at the death by a late Spanish goal but Craig Fulton’s young charges can take plenty of positives from the series against an experienced side featuring close to a dozen of the Olympic side.
The opening quarter saw few chances for either side as the teams looked to settle into the fixture. Dale made his first Irish senior appearance in this one with the other three newcomers featuring on Tuesday.

It took 23 minutes before the deadlock could be broken as the experienced Watt drove into the circle to set up Sean Murray who finished the move off to give his side the lead, scoring his first senior international goal.

The Green Machine retained their lead and were under little pressure throughout the third quarter. However, a series of penalty corners half way through the final quarter proved the undoing of the Irish defence as Josep Romeu converted from a well worked routine. As the clock wound down both teams were creating chances with the Green Machine seeing their penalty corner strike saved.

A minute later Alejandro de Frutos gave his side the lead, and the eventual victory, as Spain broke at pace and de Frutos scored from open play.

Ireland: J Bell, M Bell, L Cole, S Loughrey, P Gleghorne, K O’Hare, J Wright, D Carlisle, N Glassey, M Robson, S Murray, L Chadwick, M Watt, J McKee, M Nelson, J Dale, O Magee, J Duncan, D Harte, J Carr

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