Coach Andrew Meredith relieved as Ireland deliver in must-win game

It was laboured at times but a vital 4-2 win over Poland was secured in the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships in Belgium to set up a mouth-watering tie against England for a semi-final spot

Conor Harte, who scored from a penalty corner in Ireland’s 4-2 victory over Poland.

Conor Harte, who scored from a penalty corner in Ireland’s 4-2 victory over Poland.

Tue, Aug 20, 2013, 01:00

It was laboured at times but Ireland picked up a vital win in the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships, seeing off Poland 4-2 in Belgium to set up a mouth-watering tie with England for a semi-final berth tomorrow.

Penalty corner efforts from Conor Harte and Eugene Magee, along with goals from Shane O’Donoghue and Mikey Watt, saw them over the line in spite of two sloppy Adam Chwalisz efforts.

Having spent a huge amount of energy in falling just short against the Dutch on Sunday evening, the 16-hour turnaround time to yesterday’s tip off was a tough ask to manage for Andrew Meredith’s side.

Poland had eight extra hours rest after their 5-2 loss to England and their coach, Karel Sniesek, said he factored this into an aggressive game plan. In spite of this, Ireland started superbly, moving 1-0 up after four minutes via Harte’s switch drag-flick.

Chwalisz poked home a spinning, one-handed effort that fooled David Harte in flight with a heavy dose of off-spin for 1-1. O’Donoghue’s second goal in two days, however, gave Ireland a 2-1 half-time lead.

They held on to that courtesy of a good defensive performance but found their attacks error-strewn until Magee calmed the nerves in the 44th minute. Mikey Watt made the game safe with a rocket from the right of the circle late on but there was a blot late on when Chwalisz scored with just a few seconds to go.

Speaking about the win, coach Andrew Meredith said it showed the side’s mental toughness to cope with the short turnaround time.

“We were inconsistent but effective enough,” he said. “To get that win against a well-structured side; it was a must-win game and the pressure was on and we delivered.”

Ireland’s women need a win over Belgium to reach the semi-final, with the hosts advancing with any other scoreline.