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Irish head to Cape Town as part of Rio preparation

By Staff Reporter

Ireland are to continue their build-up to the Rio Olympics with a warm-weather training camp in South Africa in January.

The Irish have just completed such a camp in Barcelona where coach Craig Fulton rested eight of his European bronze medal winning team to give his extended panel an opportunity to show what they can do.

Unfortunately results didn't go well, losing 3-1 to hosts Spain yesterday to add to the earlier 3-2 and 3-0 defeats.

Fulton is expected to recall a number of his experienced players for the South Africa trip - similar to the one last January - during which they will play the hosts and hopefully two other nations ranked above them.

Yesterday's game saw the Irish 2-0 down at the interval through goals by Alegre and Lleonart and although Gareth Watkins scored from close range, Alegre got his second to secure the success.

Meanwhile there was bad news for Great Britain in the World League finals in India when the hosts beat them 3-1 to reach the semi-finals.

GB had topped their pool and India had finished bottom of theirs, but the much-criticised 'second-chance' quarter-final system worked in the home team's favour.

Goals from Raghunath and Talwinder put them in control although GB pressed hard in the final quarter with Simon Mantell pulling one back with a deflection from Ulsterman Ian Sloan's shot.

India now play Belgium and Australia play Netherlands in the semis, with GB faced with the fifth-eighth play-offs and a first game against Argentina tomorrow afternoon.

Belfast Telegraph


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