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We weren't good enough to shock Germans: Magee

 

Game over: Tom Grambusch is congratulated after Germany’s second goal
Game over: Tom Grambusch is congratulated after Germany’s second goal

By John Flack

Ireland's dream of reaching the semi-finals of the European Championship for the second time in three attempts was left in tatters after yesterday's defeat by Germany.

Needing to win the game to emulate their achievement of 2015 in London, when they came home with a set of bronze medals, they were second best on the day.

However, the scoreline was flattering to the Germans to say the least, with their last three goals coming in the final six minutes after the Irish had withdrawn goalkeeper Jamie Carr in order to have an extra outfield player.

But the move backfired big-time as the Germans were able to virtually walk the ball into the unguarded net for two of their late strikes, with the third coming from a penalty corner.

Just like they had done in their opening loss to the Netherlands, Ireland made a disastrous start, conceding twice in the first quarter to ultimately leave themselves with too much to do.

Ulster's Eugene Magee, winning his 292nd cap, said: "It's disappointing and we knew we were up against it from the get go. Germany are a world-class side with an outstanding defence, forwards and midfield.

"We tried hard - we played some good hockey in the first-half but, after they got two goals up early doors, it was hard to claw our way back.

"You have to take more risks than normal and it didn't work out, and Germany took full advantage."

The Germans now progress to the last-four, while Ireland face a battle for survival to stay in the top-flight for the next Europeans in two years time.

They now go into the relegation group along with England, Scotland and Wales in what will be a Home Nations Championship in all but name.

Points gained from the initial phase of the tournament are carried over, so England have two with the other three sides having one apiece.

Ireland now play the two bottom finishers from the other pool, namely England and Wales, tomorrow and Saturday, with the top two in the relegation group staying up and the bottom two dropping into the European second-tier.

Overall, Ireland produced a much better display than they delivered in the 3-3 draw with Scotland when it took a late controversial penalty stroke - converted by Shane O'Donoghue - to rescue an important point.

Ireland played with pace and were more precise and accurate in their passing, although the Germans were much more clinical in front of goal.

The first penalty corner came as early as the third minute when O'Donoghue failed to convert and, within 60 seconds, the difference between the teams was vividly illustrated.

Niklas Wellen scored with a clinical backhand shot after latching on to a pass from Timor Oruz, and worse was to follow just five minutes later when Tom Grambush hammered in a penalty corner.

Ireland did have a few half chances, with Magee firing a reverse stick shot into the side board and Kirk Shimmins unfortunate to slam an effort narrowly wide.

Five minutes after the break, a good move involving Magee and fellow Ulsterman Mark Murray ended with the latter going close to getting a vital touch in front of the net.

Ireland then forced two set-pieces in quick succession, the first of which was charged down before a fine German block denied John Jackson from a rebound.

But, after the keeper's withdrawal, the roof caved in as Germany added three more to their tally through Malte Hellwig, Florian Fuchs and Lukas Windfeder.

Results: Pool A: England 2 Spain 2, Belgium 6 Wales 0; Pool B: Ireland 0 Germany 5, Netherlands 6 Scotland 0.

Today: Rest day

Ireland 0

Germany 5

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