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Ireland relegated from European hockey's top tier after 10 year stay

Ireland 0-2 Wales

Alexander Cox
Alexander Cox

Ireland have been relegated from the top tier of European Hockey as a 4-0 defeat to Wales saw Alexander Cox's men finish eighth at the EuroHockey Championships.

Wales took an early lead with a goal by Gareth Furlong in the 4th minute from a penalty corner. O’Donoghue was wide of the goal when Ireland were given a penalty corner shortly afterwards, while Welsh keeper Tranter was on form to deny him an equaliser when a cross from Magee provided him the opportunity to take another shot.

Furlong made it two from two early in the second quarter from another penalty corner. A yellow card for Dolan Grey provided Ireland with some hope ahead of half time, but both opportunities from Walker and Murray were defended and sent out wide before the half time whistle blew.

Ireland were awarded a penalty corner to kick start their second half, but again Tranter denied the shot from Shane O’Donoghue. Ireland began threatening the Welsh circle to no avail. A shot from Walsh was deflected above the goal, while a cross from O’Donoghue found Shimmins in front of the goal, he just missed the deflection and the opportunity was gone. Walsh found Cole with an aerial from across the goal, but Tranter was well placed and prevented a goal.

Wales moved back down the pitch, with Hutchinson getting a short solo run, slipping past Irish defence and sliding the ball past Ingram to bring the score to Ireland 0 – 3 Wales.

Ireland came agonisingly close to adding to getting on the score board on more than one occasion in the final quarter. An aerial to Ben Francis provided him a final opportunity for Wales when Ingram had been brought off to increase outfield players. Bell and Gleghorne chased well to defend but Francis managed to bring the score to Ireland 0 – 4 Wales.

Speaking after the match, Head Coach Alexander Cox said: “We didn’t perform how we could have performed at this tournament. We need to assess what happened, we need to assess with the group because the Olympic Qualifier is coming up so it’s important for the group that we know exactly why we didn’t perform, especially today, there was still a chance and we under performed.

“In the end, we failed as a group, including coaching staff, otherwise we would have played better. There were some good moments in this tournament but most of the time we didn’t perform the way we could perform and that’s a hard learning.

“I’m obviously very disappointed, and I’m disappointed for the players because they always give it their all and I feel for the group.”

The result sees the Irish men relegated from the competition and will now compete in Euro Hockey II Championships in 2021.

Ireland: J Jackson, J Bell, E Magee, K Shimmins, S O’Donoghue, M Robson, B Walker, D Walsh, P Gleghorne, C Harte, M Ingram

Subs: J Carr, T Cross, S Murray, J Duncan, L Cole, S Loughrey, S Cole

Wales: D Kyriakides, J Draper, R Shipperley, R Furlong, S Kelly, R Bradshaw, G Furlong, O Dolan-Gray, J Gooch, L Hawker, I Tranter

Subs: J Fortnam, J Naughalty, L Prosser, J Carson, D Hutchinson, H Jones, B Francis

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