Green Machine hail defence to go into China tie in upbeat mood

In the wake of the Irish game with Australia game, the Irish players reflected on a strong performance against the world number one side that ultimately ended in a 2-1 defeat. Here is what David Harte, Shane O’Donoghue and Matthew Nelson had to say:

Conor and David Harte with their family and Irish supporters in Bhubaneswar. Pic: Billy Pollock

David Harte: “I don’t think the 2-1 scoreline does the game justice as we were the better team in the first-half. Australia showed their class in the second. We know if we keep putting in performances like that then the World Cup will be a long one for us.

“The whole defence stood up today. Alex [Cox] said he wanted to see the Irish that he knows and we gave him exactly what he knows: scrappy and determined. I’m incredibly proud of what we did out there tonight.

“For many of us it is our first World Cup out there and also for many of the guys a first major tournament at this extent of level, in front of an electric crowd.

On the spaced out nature of the tournament compared to most tournaments: “…especially the way we are walking off the pitch, we’d love to get back on within 24 hours but it’s the same for the rest of the teams. Everyone has the same circumstances and we’ll be ready for China.

On the bugs in the stadium: “Too many inside the helmet for my liking. It can be a bit of a distraction but I keep tried to focus as much as I could!”

Matthew Nelson: “We came out well, took the game to them and give them a good go, doing all we could to try and win the game but came up short. It was a good game but not enough to get the win which is quite frustrating but we will come back stronger against China.

On his 50th cap, becoming the youngest Irish player to reach that milestone: “I am very privileged to do what I have done, getting to do it here in India in this atmosphere. It is something special to play in front of such passionate fans.

Shane O’Donoghue on the loss to Australia: “Bitterly disappointing; we had a very strong first half but didn’t match the intensity in the second. They brought it on to us in the second and we didn’t do the things we did in the first to give us that solid platform.

“These games are about execution at the right times. Unfortunately, our basics let us down once or twice.

On the stadium atmosphere: “these are the big stages we want to be on and we are looking forward to going one better next time out [against China]. We haven’t played them in recent times and so we will have to analyse to learn their strengths and come up against a gameplan but we need to be more direct at times.”

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