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Magee nets hat-trick but will miss Euro mission

 

Eugene Magee
Eugene Magee

By John Flack

Eugene Magee scored a stunning first international hat-trick as Ireland gave themselves the perfect send-off ahead of the first stage of Olympic qualifying with a 3-2 win over France at Lisnagarvey yesterday.

However, the experienced Banbridge midfielder revealed afterwards that he will miss the European Championship campaign in Antwerp in August due to work commitments.

Before that, however, Ireland will be aiming for a top-two finish at the FIH series, which begins next week in Le Touquet, to progress.

Fortunately, Magee (32) will be available in October should Ireland reach the final stage of qualifying for Tokyo 2020.

He said: "It's unfortunate that I can't play in the European Championship, but hopefully we can make it through the FIH series and then try to get to what would be our second Olympics in succession."

Magee, winning his 280th cap, took just 90 seconds to get off the mark, finishing off a swift passing move at the far post.

France levelled 12 minutes later when Gaspard Baumgarten scored and Etienne Tynevez made it 2-1 on 25 minutes.

Magee got his second two minutes from half time when he scored from close range after playing a neat one-two with his fellow Ulsterman Sean Murray.

The Bann star drove in the winner from the edge of the circle in the 53rd minute after a fine run down the right flank by John Jackson.

Meanwhile, Ireland will be taking part in the third tier of the European Indoor Championship in Santander next January after being promoted from the reserve list as the national team returns to the six-a-side version of the sport for the first time in more than 30 years.

Finally, Glenanne need to win the European Hockey Trophy in Switzerland over the weekend to promote Lisnagarvey to the top flight next season.

The Dublin side will be starting their campaign against Belarus side Stroitel Brest today (3.30pm).

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