Ireland men’s hockey coach Craig Fulton hailed his players following Sunday’s brave performance against England in the final of the Investec Cup.
Ireland pushed the hosts all the way to a penalty shoot-out after the game finished 2-2 after normal time.
Unfortunately Fulton’s side came out the wrong side of the shoot-out as England claimed a 4-2 win after a thrilling game.
“I am very proud of the performance today and happy we got the score back to two all,” Fulton said.
“I am very excited to see some of the young talent on show but it’s a pity we couldn’t finish it off with a win.
“I am delighted that we competed so well getting the belief back into the Green Machine and getting the hockey community’s support behind us, it makes all the difference as we continue on the Road To Rio, we need all the support we can get behind these players, these are exciting times with a very talented group of players.”
England opened the scoring in the sixth minute leaving Ireland chasing the game at half-time, but Eugene Magee came out with a blazing goal in the 36th minute with a bullet of a shot from the top of the circle to level 1-1.
England took the lead once again after a melee around the goal mouth seeing David Condon’s close range shot taking an Irish stick deflection en route into the goal to make it 2-1.
Ireland left it right to the end to level the sides after they attacked throughout the second half and it was Mitch Darling who converted off a great baseline drive and reverse stick pass from Alan Sothern to make it 2-2 and push the game into a shoot-out.
Two of Ireland’s shoot outs resulted in a penalty stroke award which Alan Sothern duly converted twice but England’s clinical shoot out conversions ensured they secured the Investec Cup title.
Meanwhile, Ireland women defeated Canada 5-0 on Sunday in the second match of the Electric Ireland 4 Nations Tournament taking place in UCD.
Ireland dominated the majority of possession bossing Canada around for most of the match.
The Irish ladies secured just one goal in the first half thanks to striker Anna O’Flanagan but their attacking style of play finally started to pay off with four second half goals, including a fantastic penalty corner strike from Cliodhna Sargent on the occasion of her 150th cap.
“After a tough match against New Zealand it was great to come out with a solid win today against a difficult Canadian team,” said Irish coach Darren Smith .
“We were at times tentative and our basic skills lacking fluidity but to the teams credit we did improve over the match to finish relatively strongly.
“Now we look forward to playing Chile who will be up for the challenge with a birth in the final to the winner. I am sure either team would like another crack at New Zealand to improve on their pool match result.”
Earlier in the day New Zealand beat Chile 10-0.
MOnday is a rest day before action continues once again on Tuesday with Ireland taking on Chile at 19.15
Tuesday: New Zealand v Canada (5pm), Ireland v Chile (7.15pm)
Wednesday: 3rd/4th (5pm), 1st /2nd (7.30pm)