Ireland’s Under-18 boys closed their week at the Six Nations tournament in Nottingham on a high with a Guy Sarratt hat-trick powering them to a 4-2 win over hosts England.
Gareth Borland’s side had a tough week against high level opposition with losses against Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Spain.
But they saved their best until their last tie as they produced a fine performance that could have seen them win by a couple more but for the crossbar and some goal line saves.
England took the lead in the fifth minute from a penalty stroke scored by Owen Williamson but Ireland were the better side for much of the tie and were bacl on terms before the end of the first quarter from a penalty corner drag-flick.
Into the second half, Alex O’Regan was set free on the left of the circle to slot home from play. Stuart Rushmere equalised with a diving touch to a corner move for 2-2 but Ireland finished the stronger.
They went back in front within a minute from a Sarratt drag-flick low passed the goalkeeper’s stick side and the Monkstown man completed the victory in the 53rd minute.
The Under-16 boys ended their week with a draw against the Netherlands as their highlight in their second game. They out in a massive defensive performance in that tie with Scott Dale pulling a series of good saves while Harry Lynch, Oliver Kidd and Kevin O’Dea kept the Dutch keeper busy.
Early in the 3rd quarter with the scoreline still 0-0, Riley Marchant reverse hit a shot which was slapped in at the back post by Mark Duggan to give the Irish a 1-0 lead.
The start of the 4th quarter saw the Dutch press high which required huge defensive focus from defenders Jake Raben, Cian Murphy, Craig Mackay and Hugo Henderson.
On the full time hooter, the Netherlands were awarded a controversial corner, but after consulting with his colleague, the decision stood. Ireland kept out a pair of corners but another was awarded.
An early break by an Irish defender saw him sent to the half way line and from the resulting corner, the Netherlands equalisedm finishing the game 1-1.
It was a highlight of the week in which they battled hard against the same opposition as their Under-18 counterparts.