Ireland are on a possible collision course to meet their former coach Paul Revington in the semi-final of the Champions Challenge in Argentina.
After Ireland’s hard-fought 3-1 victory over South Africa on Tuesday, the Irish lads will play Poland in Thursday’s quarterfinal.
And, if they win that one, then they could face Malaysia who Revington now coaches, of course they have to see off South Africa first, ironically Revington’s home country where he played as an international.
But the Irish lads knew that going into their final group game against South Africa they needed to get a positive result, especially after their defeats by hosts Argentina and Japan.
On eight minutes, Ireland edged into the lead when Andy McConnell scrambled the ball over the line after good work from Mitch Darling.
But their lead was short-lived, as five minutes later South Africa punished the Irish defence after they failed to clear the ball to safety and Miguel de Garca nipped in to level it for South Africa.
With 10 mins of the half remaining, Chris Cargo slipped the ball to Michael Watt who shot wide of the target and two minutes later, Timmy Cockram sent the ball wide off the post.
Panic was beginning to set in as Ireland, once again were squandering chances in front of goal.
With less than ten minutes of the second half underway, John Jermyn steadied Irish nerves when he slotted the ball home, to put the Green Machine back into the lead.
It was now South Africa who were putting Ireland on the back foot, as they pressed for the equaliser and when the Irish went down to 10 men, after Darling was sin-binned, South Africa stepped up another gear.
With the Africans pushing forward in waves, Ireland burst from defence to win a penalty corner which Conor Harte converted, to give the Irish a comfortable two goal advantage and put them in to tomorrow’s quarterfinal against Poland (5.30pm GMT).
It was Andrew Meredith’s first taste of victory as the Irish coach.
He said: “The result was a good reward for the players who have been improving half by half, game by game. Their work rate in the extreme heat here was outstanding and the result was just reward for their efforts.”