Ireland one win away from place in FIH Pro League after victory over Malaysia

Mark Tumilty’s side will face hosts South Africa in Sunday’s final

Ireland 3 Malaysia 0

Ireland captain and player of the match Seán Murray brought Ireland to within one match of a place in the 2023 professional hockey league for the first time after beating Malaysia 3-0 in the semi-final of the inaugural Nations Cup in Potchefstroom, South Africa.

A moment of skill in the 41st minute from Dubliner Ben Walker was the catalyst for an incredible final third as he made a chance from nothing, dinking the ball over his defender’s stick before spinning and driving an unstoppable snapshot into the top-right corner.

Jeremy Duncan backed that goal up with two superb finishes as Ireland took control and looked ice-cold in front of the goal in the must-win match. Ireland now face hosts South Africa in Sunday’s final for the only place on offer in the Pro League.


“It’s just a fantastic feeling to go into tomorrow with a great opportunity to qualify for the Pro League,” said Murray

Head coach Mark Tumilty was full of praise for his team’s complete performance. “I am delighted with the result today and the performance. It was excellent to see us score three goals from open play. Our corners have been a key part earlier in the tournament but today in the semi-final, I’m thrilled with our finishing from open play,” he said.

There is little time for the team to rest, with the final tomorrow scheduled for 1.15pm. But Tumilty will be treating it like any other match.

“Preparing for tomorrow it’s about keeping the routine the same,” he insisted. “There are massive implications for hockey in Ireland if we could get to the FIH Pro League, but our focus is on a performance again. Overall, it was a good day, and hopefully tomorrow can be a better one.”

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson is a sports writer with The Irish Times