Ireland men’s hockey team enjoy nine goal win over Turkey

EuroHockey Championship qualifiers: Ireland coach Mark Tumilty reflects on the tournament

Ireland 9 Turkey 0

Eight second half goals saw Ireland confirm their second place at the EuroHockey Championship qualifiers with a 9-0 win over Turkey in Calais.

It offered scant solace, though, as Thursday’s defining 4-1 defeat to France will be the memory that lingers from this week as they missed out on a place at next summer’s top tier Euros, settling for a place in the second division.

It left Ireland’s final game as something of a dead-rubber and, with the 9am Saturday morning start-time, it was a little bit of a dozy affair. Sean Murray’s drive in the fourth minute put Ireland in front and they were never really threatened after that but it took until the second half to run up the goals.


Ben Walker struck a second half hat-trick, his emphatic overhead smash in the closing seconds completing the rout. John McKee added two more to make it 15 goals in 14 fixtures for the Banbridge man and there were further strikes from Michael Robson, Murray and Luke Madeley.

“We weren’t good enough against France,” said coach Mark Tumilty reflecting on the tournament.

“We can’t give a team of France’s standard a two-goal lead and expect to win the game. We can’t make the individual and collective errors we did and we didn’t create enough chances.”

He admitted the tie exposed the gap between the teams. Tumilty’s side won a lot of games against lower-ranked opposition in the lead-up to this event but have had precious little game-time against sides in the world’s top 12 since 2019.

Protracted gaps to the program have also not helped with a winter hibernation from October 2021 until May this year adding to their undercooked nature.

“We have to play more games against higher-ranked teams so the guys get more comfortable in that environment. It wasn’t through a lack of effort — we asked every top nation in Europe and further afield to play games this summer but with the Commonwealth Games and the Pro League, it didn’t happen.

“We also need to get contact with the guys which is difficult during the club season. We need to have a continuous program with a long-term goal.

“We have to be realistic about where we are. There’s a lot of talk around the Olympics and getting there but the 2026 World Cup is a key objective for us and beyond that to the LA in 2028. We have to look that far down the line and at our pathway for producing players ready to play international hockey.”

To that end, Tumilty is pleased to have some form of collective training restart in two weeks and games against England in October to look forward to. The FIH Nations Cup in late November in South Africa offers several fixtures against similarly-ranked sides.

Then there is a wait until January to see how the Olympic qualifier allocations for each continent will be divided up. Currently, it looks like the second tier in Europe will have one place available, an additional motivation, perhaps, for Hockey Ireland to try to host that event.

IRELAND: M Ingram, L Madeley, J McKee, D Walsh, N Glassey, K Marshall, S Murray, M McNellis, J Duncan, B Walker, N Page.

Subs: L Witherow, C Robson, K O’Dea, M Robson, J Lynch, S Hyland, J Carr.

TURKEY: M Teke, I Bakar, S Polat, R Kayar, F Atas, M Elagoz, H Tasar, E Durmus, O Karakus, M Ekinci, H Erdogan.

Subs: Y Yilmaz, H Ozturk, C Aydin, B Erman, M Demirel, F Ozkurc, F Bursalioglu.