Craig Fulton given winning send-off by Ireland men against France
Ireland produced a clinical second half display at UCC to beat France 3-0 in the final game of their three-match series.
Stuart Loughrey and Alan Sothern were on the scoresheet as was Shane O’Donoghue, scorer of four in Ireland’s 6-1 victory on Saturday.
The first game ended in a draw meaning the hosts clinch the series 2-0.
The match was also Ireland head coach Craig Fulton’s last before stepping down.
The French defensive effort was vastly improved from Saturday’s game and their disciplined display frustrated the hosts in the first half.
Sean Murray weaved his way into a scoring position early in the contest but a smart interception prevented him from unleashing a shot.
Both keepers were in inspired form as the game ebbed and flowed with neither side breaking the deadlock. Arthur Thieffrey made a fine close range stop to deny Sothern while Harte produced a wonderful double save on the stroke of half-time.
Soon after the break a rare French defensive lapse allowed the unmarked Loughrey to sweep home the opener at the back post.
The breakthrough injected a new vigour into Ireland’s attacking play as they found some of the fluency which had served them so well.
O’Donoghue soon doubled the lead by sending a trademark drag flick past a diving Thieffrey into the bottom corner.
Harte was decidedly less busy than in the first half but still had to be alert to deny Francois Goyet’s goal-bound volley.
Sothern put the game to bed in the dying stages with a clever flick following a goalmouth scramble as Ireland wrapped up a series win.
Coach Fulton will now take up his new role as assistant coach of the Belgian nation team ahead of the World Cup in India later this year.
The former South African international succeeded Australian Andrew Meredith as Ireland coach in 2014.