Cold weather hits men’s hockey schedule

Mitch Darling was out of luck for Ireland against Belgium
Mitch Darling was out of luck for Ireland against Belgium

Men’s Hockey was once again frozen out with only one GOC Estate Agents Premiership game escaping the freeze.

But with little or no hockey at home, the news wasn’t too good for Ireland either as they crashed to their third straight defeat on the trot in South Africa, this time to Belgium, going down 3-0.

After losing 5-2 and 5-0 to World number two Holland, Ireland were hopeful that they might get something from their game against Belgium.

Ranked fifth in the World, the Belgians were fast out of the blocks and scored in the 1st minute from a PC rebound after the initial shot had been well saved by Fitzgerald in the Irish goal.

Ireland gradually played themselves into the 1st quarter with their best chance falling to Mitch Darling but he was denied the equaliser after top class by Belgium keeper.

Ireland were peppering the Belgian circle with several chances just going wide off target but with eight minutes of the half remaining Belgium doubled their lead.

Going into the final quarter a great solo run from Ulster’s Peter Caruth led to last ditch Belgium defending to clear the danger. Ronan Gormley and Watt combined to win Ireland’s first PC.

The drag by O’Donoghue was saved and the rebound from captain Jackson was cleared of the line by a Belgium defender.

Ireland were down to 10 men for two minutes when Gormley got green and in the meantime a Darling chance was cleared.

Great work by Ulster’s John Jackson gave Ireland another penalty corner but it was cleared. With three minutes left on the clock a controversial stroke was awarded to Belgium which was duly dispatched for the game to finish 3-0 – not a true reflection of the game.

In that only surviving Premiership game, Kilkeel ended their run of defeats as they took all three points defeating Civil Service 1-0 at Stormont.