Ireland’s men continued their preparations for next month’s European second tier Championship in Poland with a 3-1 defeat to Great Britain in Bisham Abbey yesterday.
Having suffered a 4-0 loss in the opening game earlier in the week to the Tokyo-bound British side, Ireland coach Mark Tumilty was nonetheless pleased with the trip which also included an 8-4 win over the GB development squad.
The Ulster man fielded a largely youthful squad with the bulk of the front liners due to return ahead of the trip to Poland for the Euros.
Tumilty said: “I felt during all three games, we tried to play attacking hockey and are developing our style of play.
“The players are getting more confident on the ball and this showed over the three games.
“We still have plenty of work to do as we build a squad and playing style that enables us to achieve our long-term objectives.
“Overall a very worthwhile camp, our performance improved each game and was great experience for our younger players who grew as the week progressed.
“I am pleased with how the players are developing and I look forward to giving other players an opportunity in the three games against Scotland later this month.”
In yesterday’s game, GB had taken a 1-0 half-time lead and doubled up just before the end of the third quarter from a penalty stroke before Cork C of I’s Kevin O’Dea got one back.
The hosts, including Cookstown natives David Ames and Ian Sloan, however, struck in the final play to make the game safe.
In the earlier win over GB’s younger guns, Three Rock’s Ben Walker hit four of the goals with the experienced Annadale player Michael Robson weighing in with two and Conor Empey and Daragh Walsh also on target.
Tumilty was disappointed at conceding four goals in that encounter but was pleased with how his players responded as the trip progressed.
Ireland will be aiming to repeat their recent 2-1 series win over the Scots in Belfast when they head to Glasgow for the triple-header from July 22-25.
Tumilty has pledged to give more of his youngsters an opportunity in the upcoming matches which will be the last before the Euros.
Ireland will need a top five finish overall in Poland if they are to book a place in the October World Cup qualifier.