Five Nations Invitational
Ireland 5 (J Dale 2, S O’Donoghue 2, C Harte) Scotland 1 (K Bain)
Julian Dale’s first two internationals helped propel Ireland to a comfortable 5-1 win over Scotland in Malaga, making it two wins from three in the Five Nationals Invitational tournament.
The Cork man showed his predatory instincts from close range twice in the second half, adding to a pair of Shane O’Donoghue penalty corner goals and another from Conor Harte.Scotland almost got off to an almost ideal start as they earned the first penalty corner of the game inside the opening two minutes but Alan Forsyth’s straight strike from the top of the circle flew wide.
Minutes later they had their second PC but Johnny McKee was out at pace to put Forsyth under pressure and again send his shot went wide.
Much of the rest of the half was dominated by the Green Machine as they retained possession for large chunks and put Scotland under constant pressure whenever the Bluesticks had the ball.
O’Donoghue got his first goal of the game in the 13th minute thanks to one of his trademark drag flicks high into the corner, and he doubled his sides lead in the 21st minute with a similarly unstoppable drag; 2-0 at half-time.
Three more goals arrived in the second half. The first was a bizarre piece of opportunism when a Scottish tackle turned in a direct back pass from the top of the circle to the lurking Dale to slam home first time.
Conor Harte added to the tally in the 40th minute with another drag flick. Dale cemented the victory further with his second goal as he tapped in at the back post, following Neal Glassey pouncing on a Scottish error to set up the Cork Church of Ireland player.
Kenny Bain pulled one back for the Scots with five minutes left but the tie was perhaps indicative of the diverging fortunes of the two countries in recent times.
It is now 11 years since Ireland have lost to Scotland, unbeaten in 20 matches, during which time the green machine has risen to 10th in the world.
Ireland complete their warm-weather trip on Sunday when they meet USA. To win the title, they need Spain to slip up against either Canada or the Scots.
Ireland: D Fitzgerald, M Bell, C Cargo, J Dale, S O’Donoghue, J McKee, M Robson, P Gleghorne, C Harte, S Loughrey, S Cole
Subs: S O’Connor, L Madeley, M Nelson, N Glassey, D Walsh, J Duncan
Scotland: T Alexander, C Duke, M Bremner, A Forsyth, C Grassick, R Anderson, G McIntyre, K Bain, W Marshall, J Wong, C Golden
Subs: C Fraser, B Cosgrove, W Adams, M Collins, D Riddell, R Shepherdson