Ireland men's hockey team eventually overcome by dominant second-half performance by Australia in FIH Pro League

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Ireland were beaten 4-1 in their sixth FIH Pro League match as they lost out to Australia in Rourkela, India.

Interviewed pre match on the Watch Hockey live stream, Ireland head coach Mark Tumilty stated that the primary aim was to get into the final third more often.

Ireland did precisely that in the first quarter forcing a long corner in the third minute. After a good team move orchestrated by Daragh Walsh, Sean Murray got the final pass and forced two saves from Australian keeper Andrew Charter in the fourth minute. Australia had their first real shot in anger in the ninth minute when James Milliken saved from Daniel Beale.

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Australia forced their first penalty corner of the match in the 11th minute. Blake Govers shot from the corner which was saved by James Milliken. It was scoreless at the end of the quarter. Australia started the second quarter well forcing their second penalty corner of the match on 17 minutes. Saved at the line by Milliken at the expense of another short corner, the umpire made Australia retake this one as one of the Irish runners had broken too early but the Aussies hit this one wide off the outside of the upright.

Ireland's Peter McKibbin in action against AustraliaIreland's Peter McKibbin in action against Australia
Ireland's Peter McKibbin in action against Australia

Australia forced their fifth penalty corner of the game in the 21st minute as Blake Govers shot towards the roof of the net but MIlliken managed to keep it out of the net with his raised stick at the expense of a long corner. Overall, in quarter two Australia dominated possession and Ireland defended well. Ireland had a few circle entries in the 24th minute. In the final minute, Australia had a shot across the goal mouth after a free hit and that one went wide. 0-0 at half time.

Australia didn’t score from their eighth penalty corner, but they did however from their ninth. This time Govers did convert in the 33rd minute to make the score 1-0 to Australia. Nathan Ephraums converted another penalty corner in the 40th minute to increase their lead to 2-0.

But Ireland responded in the 44th minute when Shane O’Donoghue converted their first penalty corner to make the score 2-1. Despite getting back into the contest, Govers put Australia further ahead in the 52nd minute converting a second penalty corner for his second goal of the game, to make the score 3-1 to Australia.

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Player of the match Jack Welch got a goal from open play in the 56th minute to make the final result 4-1 to Australia.

Speaking after the match Ireland Head Coach Mark Tumilty said: “For a few of the Australia goals we got unfortunate with some of the deflections. We have to defend a bit better outside the circle. We conceded very quickly after scoring and that’s something we need to work on.

“We have grown in the tournament and now we need to get something on the board before we go home. I think we deserve something from this tournament and that will be our main focus going into those final games.”

Ireland – who have lost all six of the games in the competition so far – finish the tournament with games against Spain and India on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

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