Goals from Daragh Walsh and Michael Darling guided Ireland to a 2-1 win over England in their Four Nations Tournament opener in Valencia.
Luke Taylor pulled one back for England from a penalty corner and despite their best efforts in the final quarter couldn’t find a way through the stubborn Irish defence.
Speaking after the game, head coach Danny Kerry said: “This was a good competitive tight game but there are some areas we need to tidy up.
“I’m pleased with the set-piece conversion from Luke Taylor and the younger players continue to grow and develop.”
The opening quarter was tightly contested with few chances created by either side. The best effort came from an Irish penalty corner but Shane O’Donoghue fired his flick wide.
In the second quarter again the sides were evenly matched but it was Ireland who went closest to taking the lead after winning a penalty stroke, however O’Donoghue’s effort was saved by George Pinner.
After the half-time break Ireland did take the lead through Walsh who fired home on the reverse to give his side the lead on 33 minutes.
Just before the final break Ireland doubled their advantage through Michael Darling but a penalty corner from Taylor kept England in touch as the sides entered the final fifteen minutes.
Ireland’s Alan Sothern was yellow carded with ten minutes to go as England put the pressure on for an equaliser but the Irish held on to claim the victory.
England XI: Harry Gibson, Henry Weir, Harry Martin, Ian Sloan, Phil Roper, Adam Dixon, Barry Middleton, Brendan Creed, David Goodfield, James Gall, Zach Wallace
Subs (Used): George Pinner, Luke Taylor, Ollie Willars, Chris Griffiths, David Condon, Jack Waller, Rhys Smith