HOCKEY: Late Spanish goal denies Ireland men a draw

Kirk Shimmins scored for Ireland in the 3-2 loss to Spain
Kirk Shimmins scored for Ireland in the 3-2 loss to Spain

IRELAND 2 SPAIN 3

It took just 7 minutes for the Green Machine to get on the score-sheet against Spain, who sit one spot above them at 11th in the FIH world rankings.

Mitch Darling, captaining the squad, won an early penalty corner that O’Donoghue dispatched into the goal on the rebound after the initial drag flick was saved, 1-0 to Ireland.

Spain appeared to grow into the game and Fitzgerald was called upon to make a fine save whilst Gleghorne, Harte and Loughrey kept the Spanish strikers at bay for the remainder of the half.

The momentum stayed with the Spanish in the early stages of the second half and Iglesias scored on the counter after an Irish chance had gone amiss down the other end, 1-1.

The Red Sticks struck again three minutes later when the Green Machine were turned over in the centre of the pitch and Santana made it 2-1.

The goals didn’t stop there though and a minute later Shimmins tapped in at the back post to bring the match level once more, 2-2.

Both teams enjoyed periods of possession during the final quarter but it was Spain who produced the winning goal with two minutes left on the clock thanks to an Alegre strike.

IRELAND: Fitzgerald (GK), Harte, Gormley, Gleghorne, Jackson, Shimmins, Cargo, O’Donoghue, Bruton, Darling (Captain), Watt, Carr(GK), Loughrey, L Cole, Carlisle, S Cole, Glassey, Watkins.

Match Schedule (GMT):

14th January: Ireland 2 v 0 Canada

16th January: Ireland 1 v 1 Canada

17th January: Ireland 2 v 3 Spain

18th January: Ireland v South Africa

20th January: Ireland v Canada

21st January: Ireland v Canada

23rd January: Ireland v Belgium

24th January: Ireland v Belgium