Magee magic fires Green Machine to opening victory

Men’s FIH Series Finals
Pool A: Ireland 4 (E Magee 2, S O’Donoghue, M Robson) Scotland 2 (D Riddell, K Bain)

Eugene Magee’s double set Ireland on course for a winning start to their FIH Series Finals campaign in Le Touquet, seeing off Scotland 4-2.

Eugene Magee in action against France. Picture: France Federation de Hockey

For Magee, he took on plenty of responsibility in the rejigged forward line with Matthew Nelson not yet in situ due to his brother Daniel’s wedding.

And the Bann man enjoyed being the fulcrum of the attack with two first-time strikes.

“The forwards have been working a lot on our finishing and it is becoming a natural fit for us now,” he said afterwards. “We have some quality names up front who are on form – Benny Walker is doing fantastic up there. It’s great to be playing with him, Sean Murray and Michael Robson; loving it.

“We are all people who can play both lines which means wherever you rotate, you will find a place you are comfortable in. The fact we have more people up there doing that means more flexibility.”

He started the scoring inside just two minutes following an excellent counter-attack move with Ben Walker laying on the final pass with the Banbridge man clipping home first time on the reverse.

Duncan Riddell equalised from close range but a Shane O’Donoghue drag-flick restored the advantage at the quarter-time break – his 98th international goal.

Magee extended the advantage early in the second half with another early shot after a sharply taken free-in fell his way.

Again the Scots replied quickly with Kenny Bain getting a fortuitous corner shot in after a messy routine. But Michael Robson got the crucial fourth goal with 20 minutes to go with a well-taken upright reverse-stick shot.

“It was a positive start to the tournament,” Magee added. “A lot we can still learn from it naturally but the first game is always the toughest physicallly in trying to get up to speed. We’ll look for those small improvements for Egypt (Sunday, 12.30pm Irish time).

“Always a hard battle. They play with a lot of physicality, pace and tempo. They are somewhat unknown this year so we will prepare as best we can.

Ireland: D Harte, J Jackson, J Bell, E Magee, S O’Donoghue, S Murray, B walker, D Walsh, C Harte, L Cole, S Cole
Subs: M Bell, L Madeley, N Glassey, M Robson, P Gleghorne

Scotland: T Alexander, M Bremner, A Bull, R Anderson, R Harwood, K Bain, C Falconer, A McQuade, N Parkes, D Riddell, C MacKenzie
Subs: C Duke, C Golden, G Byers, R Shepherdson, E Greaves, M Collins, D Forrester

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