Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home Sport Hockey

New-look Irish are denied by last-gasp Spain winner

Published 01/12/2015

Men's Hockey International 4/7/2014 Ireland vs England Ireland's Bruce McCandless
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy
Men's Hockey International 4/7/2014 Ireland vs England Ireland's Bruce McCandless Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Ireland's men lost out to a last-minute Xavi Lleonart goal in Barcelona in the first of three games against Spain during their warm-weather training camp as part of the build-up towards the Rio Olympics.

Coach Craig Fulton rested many of his regulars in this trip in favour of some of the rising stars, and they gave a good account of themselves in a slender 3-2 defeat against a team ranked above them on the world ladder and who have also qualified for Rio.

The Green Machine actually took the lead when a well-worked move down the right set up striker Alan Sothern.

But Spain were ahead by the interval through a Josep Roneu drag-flick penalty corner in the 28th minute and an effort from David Alegre just 10 seconds before the break.

It was recalled striker Gareth Watkins who levelled for the Irish early in the second-half after Ronan Gormley's crossfield aerial pass picked out Banbridge's Matthew Bell in the circle.

Bell's silky skills drew two defenders and he squared the ball invitingly for Watkins to smash home.

Unfortunately, all the good work was wasted when Lleonart was at the back post to tap in just before the final hooter.

Altogether there are eight Ulstermen in the 20-man squad, including Banbridge's Bruce McCandless who was called up late to replace John Jackson.

But regulars like Eugene Magee, Paul Gleghorne, Leinster's Shane O'Donoghue and Mitch Darling and goalkeeper David Harte were all absentees.

The Irish take on their hosts again tomorrow (3pm) and Thursday (12pm) before returning home.

Belfast Telegraph

How to Complain

If you have a complaint about the editorial content of the Belfast Telegraph or Sunday Life then contact the Editor here. If you are not satisfied with the response provided then you can contact the Independent Press Standards Organisation here

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph