Green Machine open 2018 with comfortable win over Canada

Men’s Five Nations Invitational Tournament (Malaga)
Ireland 4 (S Murray, L Madeley, S O’Donoghue, P Caruth) Canada 1 (G Johnston)
Ireland fought back from an early concession to cruise to a comfortable 4-1 win over Canada in Malaga, starting off their comprehensive 2018 World Cup preparations on the right foot.

Craig Fulton’s side were dominant for long periods but did go behind against the run of play to the world number 11 side in the 14th minute when Gordon Johnston dragged home.

By half-time, though, Ireland were 3-1 ahead. Sean Murray equalised with a ripper of a reverse from the top left of the D before Luke Madeley – with his first international goal – and Shane O’Donoghue scored twin drag-flicks in the 25th and 27th minutes.

Peter Caruth guided in a brilliant fourth in the second half from close range when Stephen Cole took a quick free, leading to swift exchanges to Murray and Matthew Nelson that left Canada completely wrong-footed.

It was an assured performance from a young Ireland team featuring just five of the Olympic panel with David Harte currently in Malaysia and John Jackson having played last weekend in the English indoor finals with Bath Buccaneers among the absentees.

Tenth ranked Ireland play hosts Spain – top rated of this selection at eighth – on Tuesday before easier matches on paper against Scotland and USA on Thursday and Sunday, respectively.

Ireland: M Ingram, J Bell, M Bell, C Cargo, J Dale, P Caruth, S O’Donoghue, S Murray, J McKee, C Harte, L Cole

Subs: L Madeley, M Nelson, M Robson, J Duncan, S Cole, S O’Connor

Men’s Five Nations Invitiational Tournament (Malaga)
Monday: Ireland 4 (S Murray, L Madeley, S O’Donoghue, P Caruth) Canada 1 (G Johnston)
Tuesday: Ireland vs Spain, 4pm (Irish time)

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