Irish left to play the waiting game

Steven Redpath scores for Instonians
Steven Redpath scores for Instonians

Ireland will have to wait at least three months before they know if they have qualified to the next stage of the World Hockey League.

Knowing that to stand any chance of reaching the next stage, they needed to defeat China in the final game in India, to take the runners up slot, Ireland did just that.

With, what was probably their best performance in the week long tournament, Ireland attacked the inexperienced Chinese right from the whistle.

It was down to the youngest player in the squad, Peter Brown, to settle Irish nerves, when he nipped in, to touch home a Stuart Loughrey cross at the far post.

Brown has proved maturity beyond his years and he has grown in confidence as the tournament progressed. At only 17, he looks to have a long international future ahead.

Ireland were in no mood to let this game slip and Shane O’Donoghue’s hat-trick ensured that Ireland would hopefully qualify to the next stage and a step closer to the 2014 World Cup.

Speaking afterwards, coach Andrew Meredith was delighted with his side’s performance in the wake of a tough build-up to the tournament.

Training sessions were snowed off and a number of players were unavailable, but the side overcame the odds to come close to claiming the tournament outright.

“Just one goal separated us from the side that finished first; who knows what might have happened if we were more effective from our corners?” he said afterwards.”

Meredith continued: “But it is remarkable in the context that we probably only had six days preparations for this competition against teams that are training full-time together. It’s a huge disadvantage as is coming from the European winter. To produce what we did and to finish like that, is something I am really proud of from the guys.”

Reflecting on the game itself, Meredith said it was the best performance of the five games this week.

“It was a pressure game and one we had to win. To go out with that sort of mentality and discipline and be so effective was really pleasing,” he said

Finishing in the top two, means Ireland should qualify for round three of the World League, where 12 of the 16 entrants will qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

The 16 will be divided into two tournaments, with eight heading to the Netherlands and the other eight going to Malaysia. Ireland must wait for the completion of the other round two ties for confirmation and to see which tournament they will be entered into.

Ireland Squad: David Fitzgerald (Monkstown); David Harte (SV Kampong, Holland); Paul Gleghorne (Instonians); Ronan Gormley (Krefeld HC, Germany) Conor Harte (SCHC, Holland); John Jackson (Braxgata, Belgium); Stuart Loughrey (Team Bath Buccaneers); Bruce McCandless (Banbridge); Chris Cargo (Reading, England); Eugene Magee (Krefeld HC, Germany); Geoff McCabe (Santander, Spain); Phelie Maguire (THC Hurley); Peter Brown (Banbridge); David Carson (Monkstown); Mitch Darling (Three Rock Rovers); Shane O’Donoghue (UCD); Alan Sothern (Pembroke Wanderers); Michael Watt (SCHC, Holland)

Results: Oman 7 Fiji 3; Ireland 4 China 0; India 5 Bangladesh 1

Standings: 1st, India, 15pts; 2nd, Ireland, 12pts; 3rd, Bangladesh, 9pts; 4th, China, 6pts; 5th, Oman, 3pts