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Murray puts down a marker as Irish draw with French

By Graham Hamilton

Lisnagarvery's Sean Murray boosted his chances of landing a permanent place in Ireland's senior squad when he scored in yesterday's 2-2 draw with France at Benalmadena.

Coach Craig Fulton has taken an experimental squad to Spain for the training camp as he has a look at his young talent ahead of the World League 2 series in Belfast in March.

The Irish were two up and coasting but the French hit back in the second half to force a draw in what is a six-game series also involving hosts Spain.

It was Murray who opened Ireland's account in the first minute after good work by fellow Ulsterman Chris Cargo and then Shane O'Donoghue made it two from a penalty stroke after Banbridge's Eugene Magee was impeded.

With rising stars like Garvey's Matthew Nelson and Bann's Johnny McKee in their ranks, the Irish looked impressive despite having just seven of the Rio Olympics squad available.

But they faded late in the game and the French pulled one back from a penalty stroke and then levelled from a breakaway.

The Irish take on Spain today at nearby Malaga and complete their series against the same two teams on Thursday and Friday.

Meanwhile Pegasus will be at home to Cork Harlequins in the women's Irish Senior Cup semi-finals, with UCD hosting Pembroke in the other tie on Sunday, February 12.

It's a tough draw for Ulster's last representatives as they will be up against a side with five Irish internationals.

However, they will be grateful at having home advantage the day after they face Monkstown in the EY Irish Hockey League.

IRELAND MEN: J Carr, M Bell, P Gleghorne, J Bell, L Cole, S O'Donoghue, S Murray, C Cargo, E Magee, J McKee, J Duncan. Subs: M Nelson, N Glassey, J Wright, C Harte, S O'Connor, M Ingram, J Dale

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