Ireland secure EuroHockey Championship II title with victory over Ukraine

​Ireland produced a stunning second-half comeback to beat Ukraine 5-2 and lift the EuroHockey Championship II title on Saturday.
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​Leadership takes many forms. Sometimes the leader inspires the others to do great things, other times they lead by example. Captain Sean Murray took the latter path.

Finding his side trailing at half time he scored twice in the fourth quarter, once to equalize and the second to put Ireland in the lead. Further goals from Benjamin Walker and a Lee Cole penalty stroke sealed a 5-2 victory.

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But, as in the semi-final win over Scotland, Ireland were better in the second half against Ukraine too.

Ireland celebrate after beating Ukraine in the final. PIC: Hockey IrelandIreland celebrate after beating Ukraine in the final. PIC: Hockey Ireland
Ireland celebrate after beating Ukraine in the final. PIC: Hockey Ireland

Ireland took the lead through a penalty corner converted by Shane O’Donoghue in the seventh minute, but as the quarter wore on the opposition came more into the game.

Ukraine got an equaliser on nine minutes from Viacheslav Paziuk’s converted penalty corner to make it 1-1. Oleksandr Boiko gave Ukraine the lead with his converted penalty corner on 12 minutes and it was a lead they held on to right to the end of not only quarter one, but right up to half-time.

The third quarter saw Ireland looking more on the front foot and coming back into the game.

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Sean Murray scored a field goal in the 50th minute to make it 2-2. He got his second of the match in the 51st minute to put Ireland 3-2 ahead.

Ireland went further ahead in the 53rd minute through a Benjamin Walker field goal 4-2 ahead.

And finally in the 56th minute Lee Cole converted a late penalty stroke to secure a 5-2 win.

In doing so Lee Cole scored his ninth goal of the tournament to secure the tournament top scorer award.

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David Harte was voted Goalkeeper of the Tournament by the coaches and manager of the participating teams while Ireland captain Murray was voted Player of the Tournament with his Player of the Match performance in the final going a long way to helping him in that win.

IRELAND: David Harte (GK), Charlie Rowe, John McKee, Kyle Marshall, Shane O’Donoghue, Sean Murray (Capt.), Peter McKibbin, Jeremy Duncan, Benjamin Walker, Jonathan Lynch , Lee Cole.

SUBS USED: Luke Witherow, Conor Empey, Sam Hyland , Ben Johnson, Nicholas Page.

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