“We beat ourselves” – reaction to Ireland 2 India 3

David Harte said “we beat ourselves” as Ireland’s players felt frustration in the wake of their 3-2 loss to India on the opening day of the men’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Reflecting on the tie, he echoed the words of coach Craig Fulton, saying the side needed to be more clinical when the chances came.

“For all the good chances we created, we just weren’t clinical enough and they were and, at the end of the day, that’s what is on the scoreboard now.

“Our conversion rate wasn’t as high as it usually is and we are just going to have to get that right. We are creating those chances against the number five side in the world but it is disappointing not coming away with a victory.”

His twin brother Conor concurred with that outlook, adding: “We didn’t perform to where we know we can.

“We said before the game, we wanted to play the game and not the occasion and that’s the most important thing. At times, we let the occasion get to us. Ultimately losing, we were here for a result and we didn’t come away with anything so it’s very disappointing.”

Asked whether the hot conditions made an impact, Conor added: “I’m sure it did but it plays a part for both teams. It’s whoever deals with it the best comes out on top.

“You saw us at the end there; we were giving it everything until the final whistle so I don’t think we let that affect us, maybe the first few minutes, trying to acclimatise.”

It is now a quick turnaround for Ireland with world number two side the Netherlands on Sunday evening at 6pm in Rio (10pm Irish time)

David says that playing his first Olympic match was a special moment but is keen to make new and improved memories in the coming days.

“It was one of the best hockey experiences in my life. Now that the first game is out of the way, we can really knuckle down and focus on getting deep into the hockey side of things.

“Playing the number two side in the world is never going to be easy but we know if we get the defensive platform that we usually have right on the day, we should be fine.”

Conor concurs while also adding that the Irish support in the stadium provided an incredible boost for the team. Clad in green, they were in strong voice throughout the tie, making the atmosphere in a stadium with many empty seats.

“It’s amazing. If you think back to the London Olympics, you’d think, ‘Yeah, nice big Irish contingent because it’s across the water’. But to have these guys travel 12, 13 hours is fantastic and we’re so grateful. It does make a difference.”

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