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Ireland fight back to beat Olympic medallists to Hamburg crown

 

By Graham Hamilton

Ireland men won the Hamburg Masters tournament yesterday by coming from two goals down to beat Olympic bronze medallists Germany by 4-2.

It meant Craig Fulton's lads finished their build-up for next month's World Cup qualifier in Johannesburg with three straight wins to boost their confidence, and keeps up their record of having lost just once in 2017.

After opening wins against Spain (4-1) and Austria (7-2), it seemed the Green Machine were going to finish the Hamburg series on a low when they trailed by two goals to the hosts yesterday, but a wonderful comeback against an experimental German team saw them turn the tables.

It was Tom Grambusch who gave the Germans the lead from a penalty corner and then Marco Miltkau made it two with a deflection, but the Irish were level by half-time with Shane O'Donoghue deflecting in their first and then Sean Murray setting up Alan Sothern for the second.

A beauty from Eugene Magee, after a lovely movement involving Paul Gleghone and O'Donoghue, gave Ireland the lead for the first time four minutes into the second half but it needed Jonathan Bell to take two shots off the line and goalkeeper David Harte to be at this usual best to keep the Germans at bay.

In the final minutes, Sean Murray wrapped things up with the fourth after the Germans had taken off their keeper in favour of an additional outfield player.

Now Fulton must sit down and choose his final 18 for Johannesburg by Wednesday and that won't be easy with so many playing for so few places.

Meanwhile, England finished third in their World Cup qualifier in London, with Ulsterman David Ames scoring in their 4-1 win over Malaysia yesterday.

England, with two other Ulstermen in their ranks - Mark Gleghorne and Ian Sloan - lost Saturday's semi-final 2-0 to Netherlands but by then they had qualified for the 2018 finals.

Belfast Telegraph

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