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Tumilty aims to put Canada into a corner

 

Tactics: Mark Tumilty says Ireland have been working on corners
Tactics: Mark Tumilty says Ireland have been working on corners

By John Flack

Ireland men's interim head coach Mark Tumilty reckons penalty corners could hold the key to the team's chances of beating Canada in this weekend's Olympic qualifying double-header.

The former Banbridge boss has been putting a heavy emphasis on perfecting and varying set-piece routines since the squad's arrival in Vancouver last week.

Penalty corners have become increasingly important in modern hockey yet, under Tumilty's predecessor Alexander Cox, Ireland were too predictable on that front at the recent European Championship in Antwerp.

Shane O'Donoghue is regarded as one of the sport's top corner strikers but there was little in the way of variation on display in Belgium with an almost total reliance on the Dubliner.

Tumilty said: "We have been working hard at corners, it's no secret Ireland flicked every one they got at the Europeans."

"Yes, we have a world-class flicker in Shane but there is no doubt there are other good exponents in the squad in Lee Cole, Conor Harte and Eugene Magee.

"So, we have still plenty of options and we just have to be clever in how we use them but we have a few things up our sleeves as well."

Meanwhile, Lisnagarvey booked their place in the semi-finals of the Kirk Cup on Saturday with a thumping 12-0 win over Queen's in Belfast.

Andy Williamson hit a double hat-trick, with the other goals coming from Ben Nelson and Troy Chambers, who both hit trebles.

Cookstown are also through after a decisive 7-3 win over Newry Olympic in which Callum Anderson scored a hat-trick.

"Newry is a hard place to go so we were delighted that we kept our discipline and stuck to our game plan," said Anderson.

"We went one down early doors but we kept at it and some sharp shooting got us right back into it.

"All in all it was a good day at the office. I was delighted to hit the hat-trick, but I didn't have to do very much, just finish some great work by Stuarty Smyth who was putting some great crosses into the danger area."

In the other games, South Antrim were 4-2 winners at Raphoe and Instonians defeated Bangor 5-0.

Kirk Cup: Pool A: Raphoe 2 South Antrim 4 (C Henry 2, J Brown 2); Pool B: Bangor 0 Instonians 5 (C Kirk 2, M Willis, B Palmer, S McNeice); Pool C: Newry 3 (K McWilliams, C McKnight, C Large) Cookstown 7 (C Anderson 3, D Crooks, S McCabe, M Anderson, J Haycock); Pool D: Portadown 2 (S Johnson 2) Kilkeel 2 (J Agnew, G Russell); Queen's 0 (A Williamson 6, B Nelson 3, t Chambers 3); Irish Hockey Challenge: North Kildare 3 Antrim 13 (J Roe 3, A McBride 3, D Wilson 4, C Wilson 2, S Clyde); Linden Cup: Pool A: Civil Service 10 (C Barnes 7, M Vincent, R Anderson, A Hagen) Saintfield 1; PSNI 2 Portrush 3; Pool B: Armagh 0 Belfast Harlequins 9 (M Gray 3, M Patterson 2, A Murphy, A Tweed, D Frazer, C Lemon); CI 7 Down 1.

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