New look Ireland run up nine against Ukraine

Hockey World League Round 2
Pool A
Ireland 9 (J McKee 2, J Duncan, S O’Donoghue, L Cole, M Nelson, M Bell, B Walker) Ukraine 2 (A Koshelenko, S Diachuk)
Ireland claimed a 9-2 win over Ukraine in their opening Hockey World League Round 2 tie in Stormont with Jonny McKee netting twice while seven other players got on the score sheet. It was a little messy at times but it was, nonetheless, an assured outing for a much-changed side.

Jeremy Duncan – one of nine players making their ranking tournament debuts – opened the scoring after a hectic opening, smashing home from the top left of the D following Lee Cole’s interception and pass.

Ukraine did reply almost instantly from an Andrii Koshelenko drag-flick from a fortuitous penalty corner. Ireland, though, were quickly back in front as the in-form McKee burst forward unchallenged and chipped his shot into the top corner, 2-1 at the quarter time break.

Ben Walker had been called up Friday afternoon as a late replacement for the injured John Jermyn and won Ireland’s first corner which Shane O’Donoghue nailed for the third.

Walker’s touch from a Paul Gleghorne ball then fell invitingly for Lee Cole to thrash in the fourth. McKee closed out the half at 5-1 with another cracking finish, roofing a flick from the right of the circle beyond the hapless Egor Samoilenko.

Matthew Nelson was the next on the scoresheet, a back-to-front break-out from a Ukraine corner, David Harte’s save going out to Sean Murray at right back and on to Eugene Magee. His cross was turned in by the teenager, one of two players from Ireland Under-18 side of last summer on display.

Conor Harte and Matthew Bell fired in two more corners in the fourth quarter before Walker nudged in the ninth goal. Ukraine got another back in the final minute via a Sergii Diachuk penalty stroke.

Speaking afterwards, Jonny McKee said: “It was my first goal for my country so it was very enjoyable; with two coming along at once was even better and looking forward to tomorrow against Austria.

“We have played together a few times on the recent tours and are getting used to each other. We are trying to peak towards the end of the tournament and hopefully it comes together.

“Much like Ukraine, Austria are very good at indoor and have a couple of very good players like [Michael] Korper. It will be a tougher game but that’s what we are here for.”

Coach Craig Fulton, meanwhile, added: “We’ll take the result. We didn’t play our best but we got enough goals in the first half to get away from them. It wasn’t all plain sailing and we were frustrated we gave away a few unforced errors. It’s young team, first game, still gelling together – maybe that’s ok and to get nine goals, we did something right.

“I am really happy; Jonny [McKee] did really well and the same with Ben Walker who came in last night to the squad and then won four corners and scored a goal. It set the tone. We left a few more goals out there but it bodes well.

“It’s all about building momentum and winning solves a few problems. It was a good game to start with even though I know we can make improvements.”

Ireland play Austria on Sunday at Stormont in their second game in Pool B of Hockey World League Round 2 at 3pm.

Ireland: D Harte, J Bell, M Bell, R Gormley, C Cargo, M Nelson, E Magee, S O’Donoghue, J McKee, C Harte, N Glassey
Subs: J Carr, B Walker, S Murray, P Gleghorne, L Cole, J Wright, J Duncan

Ukraine: E Samoilenko, O Shvets, M Yasinskyi, S Diachuk, O Diachenko, I Moroz, M Onofriiuk, B Kovalenko, A Popovchenko, A Koshelenko, V Kalinchuk
Subs: V Paziuk, S Vitruk, A Mazurkevych, O Solomianyi, Y Kotiuzhunskyi, I Perepelytsya

Partners of The Hook