Spain spoil Gormley's historic Irish milestone
Ireland's new-look squad are beginning to knit together despite narrowly losing 2-1 to hosts Spain in the Tri-Nations tournament yesterday.
The Spanish, with an experienced line-up, edged matters against a relatively young Irish squad who had been hoping to make it a really memorable occasion for defender Ronan Gormley, who became the first Irishman to reach 250 caps.
The Spanish had more of the play but the Irish defence, with Ulster trio Matthew Bell, Jonathan Bell and Paul Gleghorne all impressing, looked sound apart from an eight-minute spell in the second quarter when they conceded goals to Salvo Piera from a second phase penalty corner and to Diego Arana from a deflection.
But they came back strong in the second half and Eugene Magee pulled one back from a drag-flick penalty corner.
Next up for the Irish is France tomorrow in Malaga (3pm) and finally Spain again on Friday in Benalmadena (12pm).
Meanwhile, Kilkeel and Cookstown are out to put a bit of daylight between themselves and Annadale when the next round of Ulster Premier League fixtures take place on Saturday.
The Dale set the early pace but defeat at Cookstown and a 3-3 draw at Kilkeel left them trailing the Mournemen by four points but with a game in hand, and the Tyrone side by one point but with an extra game played.
And this weekend they happen to be the odd team out in the 11-team set-up, which gives their rivals a chance to break clear.
Kilkeel have a tricky trip to Portadown while Cookstown are out to put their 4-1 defeat at Kilkeel behind them by beating Civil Service at Steelweld Park.
Senior One's big game sees promotion rivals Antrim and Queen's meet head-on.
IRELAND: J Carr, M Bell, J Bell, C Harte, P Gleghorne, S O'Donoghue, S Murray, C Cargo, M Nelson, E Magee, J McKee. Subs: P Brown, N Glassey, J Dale, R Gormley, J Duncan, L Cole, M Ingram
MEN’S SENIOR FIXTURES
TOMORROW: International (Malaga): France v Ireland (3pm)
FRIDAY: International (Benalmadena): Spain v Ireland (12pm)
SATURDAY: Ulster Premier League: Portadown v Kilkeel (Edenvilla, 1pm); Campbellians v Newry (Campbell College, 1pm); Mossley v Belfast Harlequins (The Glade, 2.30pm); Cookstown v Civil Service (Steelweld Park, 2.30pm); Raphoe v North Down (Royal & Prior, 2.30pm)
Senior 1: Bangor v Portrush (2.30pm); Armagh v Cliftonville (1pm); Ballynahinch v Sth Antrim (1pm); Antrim v Queen’s (1pm)
WOMEN’S SENIOR FIXTURES
TONIGHT: Ulster Premier League: Portadown v Raphoe (Edenvilla, 8.15pm)
FRIDAY: Senior One: Armagh v Victorians (Ardmore, 8pm)
SATURDAY: IHL: Belfast Harlequins v Railway (Deramore, 2.30pm); Cork Harlequins v Ulster Elks (Farmer’s Cross, 1pm); Monkstown v Ards (Merrion, 2.30pm); Loreto v UCD (Dublin, 1.30pm); Pembroke v Pegasus (Serpentine Ave., 2.30pm)
Premier League: Portadown v Queen’s (Edenvilla, 2.30pm); Lurgan v Randalstown (Lurgan, 2.30pm); North Down v L’garvey (Comber, 2.30pm); Banbridge v Raphoe (Havelock Park, 1pm); Ballymoney v Dungannon (Joey Dunlop LC, 2.30pm)
Senior 1: CI Ladies v Mossley (2.30pm); Cookstown v Larne (1pm); Knock v Ballymena (4pm); Rainey v Ballyclare (2.30pm)
IHC 2nd round: Kilkeel v Botanic (2.30pm)