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Magee will be fit for Tokyo bid as Ireland beat France again

Ireland 3 France 2

Fitness boost: Eugene Magee’s injury isn’t as bad as feared
Fitness boost: Eugene Magee’s injury isn’t as bad as feared

By John Flack

Ireland interim head coach Mark Tumilty received a double boost last night with this win over France in Bordeaux and confirmation that his most-capped player Eugene Magee will be fit for the Olympic qualifiers in Canada at the end of the month.

There had been fears that the Banbridge midfielder, who has made 293 appearances in the green shirt, would miss the trip to Vancouver after damaging his hamstring playing for his club against Three Rock Rovers at the weekend.

However, a second scan on the injury has revealed that it is not as serious as first thought, and the 33-year-old should only be out of action for two or three weeks.

However, he may not have recovered in time to face Belgium in the final warm-up game on October 15.

Former Bann coach Tumilty was delighted with the 2-0 series win over France, who had beaten Ireland in the FIH World Series final in June which was the penultimate stage of the qualifying process for Tokyo.

He said: "While I was happy enough with the first game, this was a better performance certainly from an attacking point of view.

"We moved the ball around well and our finishing for the three goals was also pleasing."

Ireland had to come from behind after trailing to a 17th-minute goal from Charles Masson, but Peter Caruth grabbed the equaliser within four minutes when he slapped the ball home after collecting a great pass from Lee Cole.

Three minutes later, Johnny McKee, also making a return to the squad after more than a year out, finished off a fine team move in clinical fashion to make it 2-1 at the break.

Pier van Stratten levelled from a penalty corner in the 43rd minute but Shane O'Donoghue smashed in the winner with four minutes left with a trademark penalty corner conversion.

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