Cargo wins his 175th cap as Irish fall short against Australia
Ireland 1-4 Australia
Chris Cargo won his 175th Irish cap yesterday at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup tournament in Malaysia but the 4-1 win for World No.1 Australia was a scoreline he would rather forget.
The Bangor man, now playing his club hockey with Hampstead and Westminster in the English National League, had another good game in midfield, but the Irish, despite considerable possession, had no answer to the clinical finishing of the world champions.
Bearing in mind the Irish will face both Australia and England in their World Cup pool in December, and they've now lost 4-1 to both in Malaysia, it gives them a reality check for what to expect.
Coach Craig Fulton has been rotating his keepers in the absence of regular David Harte and it was Mark Ingram's turn this time.
And he put up a fine performance, restricting the Aussies to just one goal from their six penalty corner attempts.
It took just eight minutes for Australia to break the deadlock when Jake Whetton struck with a sublime shot on his reverse after a mazy run.
And the Irish had barely time to recover - six minutes later Daniel Beale got Australia's second, again from open play.
Blake Govers converted a penalty corner to make it three before half-time, effectively assuring his side of the win.
It was rough justice on the Irish who had far more possession but found it difficult to deal with the Australians' swift counter-attack tactics.
Jake Harvie made it four in the final quarter after good work by Beale on yet another counter, but the Irish got some reward when Shane O'Donoghue converted a penalty corner three minutes from time.
That's four defeats and 17 goals conceded, but with an experimental squad against high quality opposition, and games being played in intense heat, it's not too much of a surprise.
It will hold them in good stead for what lies ahead in their World Cup build-up.
Ireland's final pool game is against India tomorrow morning (10am UK time), with the classification games to be staged on Saturday.
Meanwhile, England, with Ulstermen Ian Sloan and Mark Gleghorne in their ranks, drew 1-1 with Argentina to make it two draws, a win and a defeat in their opening four games.
India beat hosts Malaysia 5-1 in the final game yesterday to sound out a warning to the Irish that they have another tough encounter awaiting them tomorrow.
IRELAND: Mark Ingram, Michael Robson, Jonathan Bell, Paul Gleghorne, Stuart Loughrey, Shane O'Donoghue, Lee Cole, Kirk Shimmins, Alan Sothern, Eugene Magee, Stephen Cole. Subs: Matthew Bell, Chris Cargo, Sean Murray, Johnny McKee, Sam O'Connor, Julian Dale, Jamie Carr