Irish teams through to respective semi-finals

Stephen Dowds was on target for Ireland
Stephen Dowds was on target for Ireland

Stephen Dowds’ goal six minutes from full time sent Ireland on the road to the semi-finals of the Champions Challenge in Malaysia.

The Green Army will now play Korea on Saturday with the hosts Malaysia playing Canada in the other semi.

The French fell behind after only two minutes when Alan Sothern cracked home Ireland’s first penalty corner.

However, France turned up the heat as they searched for the equaliser, only to be denied by the heroic goalkeeping of Davy Harte.

But six minutes into the second half France eventually penetrated the Irish defence to equalise. And nine minutes later they took the lead.

With six minutes remaining it was Dowds to the rescue, as he slammed home a well executed penalty corner to send the game into a penalty shoot-out.

And fortune was shinning for the Irish, as they won 3-0 thanks to goals from Eugene Magee, Peter Brown and Sothern.

Meanwhile, Ireland women’s hockey team defied seemingly insurmountable odds to book their place in the semi-finals of the Champions Challenge tournament with a superb 2-1 win over Korea in Glasgow on Thursday.

The result has earned Ireland a date with South Africa on Saturday and, on this performance, they must be in with a shout of making the decider.

Ireland had the benefit of a dream start when former Ballymoney striker Katie Mullan scored from a well worked penalty corner.

The Koreans piled the pressure on the Ireland circle and this paid off when Hye Lyoung Han scored from a penalty corner to equalise in the 49th minute.

Ireland went close through Mullan before forcing three penalty corners in quick succession and from the third of these, in the 57th minute, Anna O’Flanagan drove the ball home from the left to make it 2-1 and seal a place in the semi-finals against South Africa who beat Scotland.