Irish men fail in hockey’s Champions Challenge Trophy bid

Ireland’s Green Machine put in yet another spirited performance in hot conditions in Quilmes on Saturday evening as they were narrowly beaten 2-1 by Argentina in the Champions Challenge Semi-Final.

The two sides had met a week ago in the opening Pool A game where Argentina had prevailed 4-3.

On the occasion of Ulsterman Timothy Cockram’s 150th Ireland Cap, Andrew Meredith’s side had to be at their best defensively from early in the game as Argentina created the most clear cut opportunities in the first half of play. David Harte, fresh from his own momentous 100th cap performance in the Quarter Final vs Poland, was called into action on numerous occasions in a busy first half for the Irish Stopper.

Argentina took the lead in the game through Pedro Ibarra. Only 10 minutes into the second half the Hosts doubled their lead when a long ball played into the circle from the right was converted by Guillermo Shickendantz via a deflected shot.

Many teams, down 2-0 to the home team in hot conditions would have collapsed but not this Ireland team who kept battling to get themselves back into the game. Ireland stuck to their principles and continued to play effective Hockey while Argentina tried to play on the counter attack. Ireland full of running and pressing hard to pull a goal back where awarded a succession of penalty corners and finally reduced the deficit to 2-1 with four minutes remaining in the game through John Jermyn’s goal - it was too little too late.

Coach Meredith said: “After a positive week the result today is disappointing as I feel that we certainly could have got something out of the game.

“Unfortunately we started poorly and it wasn’t until the last 25 minutes that we able to establish any sort of authority or control of the game’