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Bell happy despite Ireland being pegged back

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Jonathan Bell
Jonathan Bell

By John Flack

For the second time in three matches Ireland's men were denied victory by a last-gasp equaliser as they had to settle for a 2-2 draw with Spain in their final game at the Four Nations tournament in Barcelona yesterday.

Ireland had led twice after a brace of goals from Shane O'Donoghue but, on both occasions, the hosts battled back.

It had been the same in the two previous matches and, just like in the opening 3-3 draw with England, Ireland were thwarted by a goal that came with the last play of the game.

The result left Ireland in third place following the earlier result against England and a 2-1 defeat to Malaysia.

However, team captain Jonathan Bell, deputising for the injured Davy Harte, was pleased with the overall tournament displays as Ireland rounded off their preparations for the European Championship which begins next week in Antwerp.

The Lisnagarvey defender said: "Obviously, it was very frustrating to concede so late again but it was a decent result from a game that was played in difficult conditions with the baking heat in the middle of the day.

"In the tournament as a whole, we won a lot of ball on the press high up the pitch and that is becoming a real feature of our play.

"I think that aggressive, proactive approach really suits us but, at times we needed to be more clinical when we won the ball back."

O'Donoghue gave Ireland the lead in the 13th minute when he converted clinically from the penalty spot after an infringement in the circle.

Both teams had their chances after that early boost for Ireland but it was the hosts who were next to get on the scoresheet in the 42nd minute when Pau Quemada rifled in a penalty corner for the equaliser.

O"Donoghue got his second of the game with 11 minutes left when he made it 2-1 from a set-piece.

But Spain had the final say when they forced a penalty corner in the dying seconds and Ignacio Rodriguez converted to earn his side a share of the points.

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