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Irish in seventh heaven as they take Austrians apart

 

By Graham Hamilton

Ireland men's preparations are going great ahead of next month's World Cup qualifier in Johannesburg - they crushed Austria 7-2 to make it two wins from two in the Hamburg Masters tournament.

What makes it even sweeter is the fact that the Green Machine struggled against Austria the last time the teams met and needed a penalty shoot-out to beat them before going on to win the World League 2 series at Stormont.

This time, Craig Fulton's lads were in clinical form - just as they were in the 4-1 success against Spain 24 hours earlier, with goals flowing all around.

Chris Cargo set the ball rolling after good work from fellow Ulsterman Johnny McKee, and then McKee made it two before Austria pulled one back through Michael Korper.

Shane O'Donoghue and fringe player Darragh Walsh were also on the mark and the Irish then finished strongly as O'Donoghue's penalty stroke made it five before Stuart Loughrey got the sixth from McKee's cross.

McKee was again the provider for the seventh, time this time Alan Sothern converting, with Korper getting a late penalty corner conversion.

Fulton's men now face Olympic champions Germany in today's final game (11.30am).

Meanwhile, the first World Cup qualifier continues in London tomorrow with England taking on Netherlands in the 4.15pm semi-finals.

Belfast Telegraph

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