Investec Cup: Ireland 1 (R Gormley) England 4 (B Middleton, A Brogdon, H Weir)
** Words from The Top of the D
England put Ireland to the sword in a dress rehearsal for tomorrow’s final of the Investec Cup in London as goals from Barry Middleton, Alastair Brogdon, Harry Martin and Henry Weir’s second international goal did the damage whilst Ronan Gormley pulled one back for the Green Machine.
Ireland found out prior to the tie they were in the final by virtue of South Africa’s 3-2 win over Scotland – their first win of the competition – meaning they will play England four times in nine days all told.
They were on the back pitch for much of this tie as England were first to have a clear shot at goal but Conor Harte swallowed up the ground from the line to the top of the D to charge down Jackson’s penalty corner. At the other end, Dan Fox did likewise for England before George Pinner bravely saw off the rebound from Stephen Cole.
With 11 minutes gone, Middleton gave his side the lead. Weir’s cross from the left found the England captain who applied the finishing touch, with the ball just creeping over the line. Jackson, who was dominating them middle of the pitch had a good chance but his reverse stick effort went just wide. Pinner made a splendid save diving to his right to push away Mikey Watt’s effort from the top of the D.
England hit Ireland with two goals just before half time with Brogdon applying the finishing touch from close range and then Jackson showed terrific vision to set Martin free and with the defence backing off the Beeston man found the bottom corner with a lovely strike.
After the break Ireland reduced the arrears after a rare lapse in the England defence. An aerial pass from the right found Gormley all alone in the D and he coolly slotted home to make it 2-1.
David Harte in the Ireland goal pulled off an excellent save to deny Brogdon his second but it wasn’t long before England made it 4-1. Henry Weir in nosebleed territory snuck in and finished from close range for a rare goal.
Jackson almost made it five with a searing penalty corner that crashed against the crossbar and bounced out before Pinner used every inch of his giant frame to turn a Shane O’Donoghue flick round the post.
England celebrated another win in the competition but will expect a sterner test from Craig Fulton’s team in tomorrow’s final.