Ireland finish warm-up tournament in Spain with shoot-out win over England

Glenanne miss chance to close the gap on leaders Banbridge as they drew 3-3 with basement side YMCA

Ireland finished off a gruelling five games in seven days in Valencia, Spain, on a high with a shoot-out win over England to finish third in their Four Nations World Cup warm-up tournament.

Normal time had ended 2-2, with the English surviving a late onslaught to see it to shoot-out, but Ireland kept their nerve to score a strong result.

The first half saw little goalmouth action and ended scoreless. The second was far livelier, with England going in front via a Zach Wallace finish before Eugene Magee levelled, guiding home Michael Robson's backhand shot in the 36th minute.

Luke Taylor restored the English lead, but Ireland hit back when Sean Murray chipped over George Pinner following an excellent Shane O'Donoghue burst from midfield.


In the shoot-out Robson missed in the first round but an otherwise perfect set, completed by a Dave Fitzgerald save and Daragh Walsh's flick, won it 4-3.

Ireland’s next meeting with England is the important one on December 7th, when they play in their third group game in India.

The tournament itself was something of a mixed bag, with Alexander Cox knowing there is plenty to work on following his first competitive games in charge.

The opening win over England and close-run 1-0 loss to Spain were contrasted with a heavy 7-1 defeat to the Netherlands. In a rematch with the Dutch on Saturday, Mitch Darling and Alan Sothern put Ireland 2-0 up only to lose out 5-2 with two goals in the last two minutes.

Close the gap

On home turf Glenanne missed the chance to close the gap on leaders Banbridge as they drew with basement side YMCA 3-3. Indeed, it might have been worse as they trailed three times, but Brad Venter’s strike seven minutes from the end earned the draw.

The Glens are unbeaten, but, have taken just three points from nine against the bottom three sides.

Cork C of I and Cookstown tied 1-1 in the other game to take place, while the rest of the fixtures were moved due to the international series.

Stephen Findlater

Stephen Findlater

Stephen Findlater is a contributor to The Irish Times writing about hockey