Three Rock Rovers narrowly miss out on place in Euro League quarter-finals
Painful 3-2 defeat to Saint Germain stops side achieving a first for an Irish hockey club
Three Rock Rovers’s Luke Madeley in action in Rotterdam. Photograph: Frank Uijlenbroek
Three Rock Rovers missed out on a place in the Euro Hockey League KO8 – what would have been a first for an Irish club – in painful style as they succumbed 3-2 to Saint Germain in Rotterdam.
While the performance was somewhat ragged at times, there were plenty of moments of what might have been for the 170 travelling fans amid a sold out crowd of over 6,400.
Rovers were level at half-time at 2-2 due to a Harry Morris turn and smash just before the break. It cancelled out Martin Genestet’s close-range finish with field goals counting for two in this competition.
In the end, Francois Goyet’s penalty corner tip-in settled the game in the 34th minute. Rovers were left to rue Morris’s stunning strike from the top coming back off the crossbar while Luke Madeley had a pair of drag-flicks cleared off the goal line by Hugo Genestet.
Indeed, adding in Ross Canning’s early flick at goal being batted away by Frederic Gohlke and Richard Pautz shooting into Arthur Thieffry’s chest, Rovers had more than enough big moments but could not make them tell.
As such, the Irish wait for a place in the quarter-final of world hockey’s best club competition.
On Saturday, meanwhile, Ireland’s Under-21s came close to sharing their series with England at Pembroke with a 3-2 defeat.
They had bounced back from an opening loss in thrilling style in game two on Friday, building a 5-1 lead only to concede three times in the closing stage, prevailing 5-4 in the end.
On Saturday, Julian Dale scored a drag-flick and a penalty stroke – employing a typically unique, back to the goal technique – to reduce the deficit but they could not forge an equaliser.
Nonetheless, with many eligible players in Europe with Three Rock and minimal preparation by comparison with their opponents, it was a more than useful series for coach Jonny Caren.