Trio of corners keeps unbeaten streak rolling

Hamburg Masters
Ireland 4 (S O’Donoghue, A Sothern L Cole, M Nelson) Spain 1 (D Arana)
Ireland’s men stretched their unbeaten run to 12 games with a 4-1 dismissal of 10th ranked Spain on the opening day of the Hamburg Masters.

Indeed, they have lost just once in 14 games in 2017 as Shane O’Donoghue slung home a very early penalty corner, the first goal coming just 90 seconds into the tie, won when John McKee turned the ball onto a foot.

Alan Sothern pinged the post 30 seconds later in a spectacular opening from the Green Machine, a first-time shot after Chris Cargo burst forward and won the ball in midfield. Sothern did get the second goal from a 20th minute corner to make it 2-0.

Spain rallied and had a couple of half-chances in the second quarter, the pick of them from Pau Quemada but he fresh-aired his diving reverse from mid-circle.

In the third quarter, though, Spain offered little and the game’s result was pretty much done and dusted when Sothern produced some magic down the left wing to win Ireland’s fourth corner.

Lee Cole whipped in from a left switch, finishing off from O’Donoghue’s dramatic spin to lay on the chance, making it 3-0.

The Spaniards perked up in the final quarter though chances were scarce enough until three minutes to go via Diego Arana from their second corner, bundling home the second phase.

Ireland, though, had the final word when Matthew Nelson stole in ahead of Sothern to nab the fourth goal from John Jackson’s pass, the players queueing up to touch into an open goal after Spain withdrew their goalkeeper.

Shane O’Donoghue scored the opening goal for Ireland against Spain. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Ireland are back in action on Friday at 3.45pm (Irish time) against Austria before meeting Olympic bronze medalists on Sunday in their final preparation games before the World Cup qualifiers in July in Johannesburg.

Ireland: D Harte, J Jackson, J Bell, M Bell, C Cargo, M Nelson, A Sothern, S O’Donoghue, S Murray, J McKee, S Loughrey
Subs: E Magee, N Glassey, P Gleghorne, J Duncan, L Cole, S Cole, J Carr

Spain: M Fernandez, S Enrique, M Delas, P Quemada, V Ruiz, A Iglesias, R Santana, M Salles, A Beltran, J Romeu, E Gonzalez
Subs: R Sanchez, D Arana, A de Frutos, M Serrahima, M Bolto, M Perrellon, Q Cortes

Umpires: T Meissner, M Eilmer

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