Alexander Cox: Ireland’s exit from World Cup is ‘painful’
Shane O’Donoghue admits side was not clinical enough following defeat to England
Ireland’s Shane O’Donoghue scores his team’s second goal from the penalty corner against England in the Hockey World at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, India. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images
Picking over the bones of Friday’s World Cup exit, the anguish of Ireland’s exit was mixed with the frustration of a chance lost to reach the knockout stages of the competition for the first time.
Ireland’s 4-2 loss to England on Friday ended their journey. Twice, they fought back to level but conceded almost instantly each time but it was the 1-1 draw against China that was the real one that got away.
“That was the game for sure, a must-win three points,” Shane O’Donoghue said. “We weren’t clinical enough; with our corners and everything, we have to get better. You need that in these tournaments.
“There will be regrets and things we look back on and not be overly happy about. We gave it our all from one to 20, we gave it everything and the staff alike, putting their plans in place. Everybody played their role but it just comes down to execution.”
For coach Alexander Cox the disappointment was palpable: “I feel empty. You never get used to losing and it is painful. I feel sorry for the boys; it’s not a nice feeling.”
Like O’Donoghue, he felt it came down to key details in either circle.
“You need some luck in the last parts of the game. It’s creating a war zone in the nine-yard area and getting the ball in there. We tried but didn’t succeed.
“In every game, we had the opportunity to get a result. Even against Australia, we could have got something. Against China, we should have won with all the chances we had.
“We were not clinical enough in each game to get better results. There are areas we need to improve in the future to be more clinical.”
Cox formally took on the coaching reins in August in the wake of Craig Fulton’s departure to Belgium with a short-term arrangement leading up to the conclusion of the World Cup.
His final words, though, suggest he is keen to continue on the challenge following Ireland’s first appearance on this stage for 28 years.
“I am proud of the way players gave everything to the tournament. The next time, we have to make sure we are on the right end of the results but, in the big picture, we can be proud that we are here and giving it our all.”
Domestically, the action was confined to the provincial leagues with Ziggy Agnew’s last-minute winner providing the crucial moment in Leinster Division One, earning a 4-3 win over title rivals Corinthian.
Saturday, December 8th, 2018
Leinster Division 1: Avoca 2 (E Rankin, E Bigwood) Dublin North 1 (S Dempsey); Portrane 1 (I Khan) Clontarf 1 (T Cullen); Rathgar 5 (S Malcolm 2, A Malcolm 2, M Holland) Kilkenny 0; UCD 4 (D Nolan 2, P Lynch, Z Agnew) Corinthian 3 (I Stewart 2, A Sutton)
Munster Peard Cup: Ashton 1 (P Sweetnam) Cork C of I B 2 (M Gallagher 2); Catholic Institute 4 (J von Maydell, C Ryan, C Sparling, S McKechnie) Cork Harlequins 5 (R Gash 2, J Dale 2, T Cotter); Waterford 2 (B Johnson, H McCarthy) Bandon 3 (R Sweetnam, F O’Leary, K Smyth)
Irish Junior Cup - Round 2: Instonians 8 (J Dowling 3, R McKnight 2, J Palmer, P Marshall, M McCord) Mossley 3 (C McClean 2, C McClain); Kilkeel 0 YMCA 7 (A Jones 3, U Blythman 2, W King, B O’Grady); Lisnagarvey 8 (M Milliken 3, S McQueen, B Nelson, J Lynch, C Quinn) North Down 3 (Shepard, Moore, Shannon); Monkstown 2 (F Lee, D Poff) Cookstown 1 (G Butler); Railway Union 1 Glenanne 6
EYHL Division 2
Pool A: Trinity 6 (C Fulston 2, A Buttimer, I Delamer, A Long, E Markey) Greenfields 0; UCC 3 (A Bourke, E Cripps, A Collins) Corinthian 1 (L McGrane)
Pool B: Catholic Institute (C Moloney 2, K Daly, L Cleary, R Upton) Dungannon 2 (Z Henderson, J Elliott); NUIG 3 (K Codyre, R Heskin, K Langan) Lurgan 4 (S McClure 2, O Gibson, N Barr)
Leinster Division 1: Genesis 0 Avoca 0; Naas 2 (O Brennan, K Tyrell) Rathgar 3 (K O’Farrell, K O’Brien, N Harridine); Our Lady’s 1 North Kildare 3 (N O’Malley 2, N Delaney)
Munster Division 1: Limerick 0 Cork C of I 1 (R Kingston)