Ireland 19 Lithuania 0
Ireland’s men recorded their largest win in 1,020 international fixtures as they swept aside a hapless Lithuania on day one of the EuroHockey Championship qualifiers in Calais.
Four goals from Luke Madeley along with hat-tricks for Michael Robson, Jeremy Duncan, Jonny McKee and Ben Walker helped outdo the previous best of 13-0 against Malta in 2002 and Fiji in 2013.
Exactly how much value, though, can be derived from the success is moot with the Green Machine’s tournament objectives likely to defined by Thursday’s tie against France, the top ranked side at 11th in the world.
“I don’t think that scoreline is good for the game but we have to take into consideration in this tournament, there could be a lot of value on goal difference on Saturday morning,” Ireland coach Mark Tumilty said afterwards.
“I am pleased we were clinical, executed some corners but apart from that, there is probably not a lot of value in it.”
The French have picked up serious results against leading sides like the Netherlands, India and Argentina in the past nine months following confirmation of their 2024 Olympic conclusion.
It suggests they are heavy favourites to top the four-team group which also features Turkey, but Tumilty reckons his charges will have plenty to say in the matter.
“It is the one we spoke about since we came together in May and it is time for this group to produce a performance. They have prepped well and know what is expected of them. We know there is a performance in there; corners will be a key area but we definitely have a good chance.”
The stark difference in ability was apparent from the very first moments against a 61st ranked opposition fielding six debutants, averaging just nine caps per player.
A long Kyle Marshall overhead from tip-off landed on a Lithuanian foot, leading to a corner which Madeley dispatched with just 15 seconds on the clock.
It made for a sad mismatch but, with goal difference a potential factor later in this four-team tournament, Tumilty’s side showed the required ruthlessness ahead of Thursday’s key game against France.
After Madeley’s opener, three further goals followed in a 39-second spell before the end of the first quarter for a 4-0 advantage.
After that, it was a case of counting on the abacus with the record surpassed with eight minutes to go with Madeley netting goals 13 and 14. Luke Witherow completed the tally with his first international goal.
IRELAND: J Carr, L Madeley, J McKee, D Walsh, C Robson, K Marshall, S Murray, M McNellis, J Duncan, S Hyland, N Page
Subs: L Witherow, K O’Dea, N Glassey, M Robson, B Walker, J Lynch, M Ingram
LITHUANIA: N Andrasiunas, A Cesnulis, P Lakstauskas, A Burkot, M Pocevicius, R Stankevic, A Ridlauskas, A Jackevicius, J Bandziulis, E Ustinovicius
Subs: M Grubliauskas, P Sinkevicius, T Pabjianskas, I Balbatunovas