Two-goal start not enough against the Dutch

Four Nations semi-final
Ireland 2 (Darling, Sothern) Netherlands 5 (M van der Weerden 3, T Pieters, J Hertzberger)
Ireland succumbed to late Netherlands’ blast of goals to deny them a result as they gave up a 2-0 lead as they fell 5-2 to the Dutch in the semi-final of the Four Nations in Valencia.

Pre-match, it was a day for celebrations with David Fitzgerald receiving his 50th cap as he started in goal while Kirk Shimmins reached 100 caps and Jonny Bell 150.

Ireland put the Dutch under pressure early into the tie and Mitch Darling got a diving finish for the opening goal in the 13thminute following an interception and pin-point pass from Eugene Magee.

Fitzgerald was called into action to save a penalty corner effort and a long ball deflection in quick succession. Soon after, though, Alan Sothern had doubled the lead for a 2-0 lead as Ireland showed up in vastly more competitive fashion than their first meeting with the Dutch when they lost 7-1.

Mink van der Weerden clawed one back on the cusp of half time with a powerful drag flick.

Both sides were cancelling each other out at the start of the second half with no obvious goal scoring chances. But van der Weerden grasped the only real opportunity and fired home two high penalty flicks to turn the tables and put his side 3-2 in front going into the final quarter.

Ireland started the brighter of the two in the final quarter with Matthew Nelson winning a penalty corner but Shane O’Donoghue’s drag flick drew a great stick save from Pirmin Blaak.

There was perhaps a slight gloss put on the scoreline with two goals in the final 3 minutes from Terrance Pieters and Jereon Hertzberger while the Green Machine were down to 10 men following a yellow card for Chris Cargo.

Ireland: D Fitzgerald, J Bell (Captain), M Bell, L Madeley, E Magee, K Shimmins, S O’Donoghue, M Darling, M Robson, D Walsh, C Harte
Subs: C Cargo, M Nelson, A Sothern, S Murray, D Harte, P Gleghorne, S Loughrey

Partners of The Hook