Ireland continue to feel the heat in Malaysia

Sultan Azlan Shah Cup
Tuesday: Ireland 1 (J Dale) England 4 (B Middleton 2, S Ward 2)
Ireland lost their third successive game at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia with England pulling away in the closing 10 minutes en route to a 4-1 success.

The first half was a drab affair with England holding more of the ball but with not a huge amount of penetration with penalty corners the only chances of note.

Both England’s Mark Gleghorne – playing against his younger brother Paul in a green shirt – and Irish midfielder Shane O’Donoghue had drag-flicks hit the net but ruled out for infringements.

Barry Middleton’s deflection move was the one goal to stand at the break as England led 1-0. The tempo was far higher in the second period with Sam Ward doubling the English lead from a Phil Roper cross.

Cork C of I’s Julian Dale halved the deficit for his third international goal two minutes later from a corner he won himself. England, though, were predominantly on top and Ward made the game safe with 10 minutes to go with another close range touch.

Two Irish corners in the last few minutes went incomplete before Middleton scored with a few seconds to go into an open net after coach Craig Fulton swapped out his goalkeeper for an extra outfielder.

Wednesday: Ireland 1 (S O’Donoghue) Australia 4 (J Whetton, D Beale, B Govers, J Harvie)
World number one side Australia proved too strong for Ireland on day four of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia.

Ireland nearly got an ideal start to proceedings as they enjoyed early phases of possession and a penalty corner but Tyrell Lovell was alert to Shane O’Donoghue’s efforts.

Mark Ingram was in great form at the far end and made his first of many fine saves from a PC drag shot by Blake Govers. Jake Whetton got the first goal following a quick pass from Trent Mitton to set his team mate up for a strong reverse into the far corner.

Three minutes later and Daniel Beale doubled Australia’s lead via an unlucky deflection off Sam O’Connor, following a quick counter attack led by Mitton.

Julian Dale came close at the other end as he swept the ball goalward after breaking along the baseline but Lovell somehow managed to keep the ball out.

Ireland held 60% of the possession and the pace of Sean Murray caught the Australians out a number of times as he accelerated down the right wing and into the circle. Govers got his corner goal in the 21st minute as he sent an unstoppable ball high into the right corner.

Jake Whetton holds off Stu Loughrey and Alan Sothern. Pic: Bernama im

Australia seemed happy to sit back and then counter at speed for much of the first half and the trend continued as the second half started with Ingram again called into action to make a low stick save.

Lee Cole was sharpest to pick up Chris Cargo’s pass into the circle but his close-range reverse shot drew a good save from Lovell.

The Kookaburras accumulated six corners and over 20 circle entries according to the stats but the Green Machine kept them at bay for much of the second half.

Jake Harvie’s goal summed up the Australian’s counter-attacking pace and ability as he got the final tap from a sharp move involving three of his team mates.

O’Donoghue forced another save from Lovell from a PC variation, and his goal came in the 57th minute with a powerful drag low into the corner to make the final score 4-1.

Ireland face India on Friday morning with the livestream kicking off at 10.15am (Irish time)

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