Ireland 1 (S O’Donoghue) France 1 (H Genestet)
A goal from Shane O’Donoghue in the 42nd minute saw Ireland take the lead in third quarter against France at Lisnagarvey Hockey Club, in the first of this two-match series. However, Frenchman Hugo Genestet equalised with the last play of the game following seven consecutive penalty corners dragging high to Harte’s right post.
The teams took to the pitch in very wet conditions both trying to play at a high tempo from the very start. The first opportunity of the match went France’s way but their effort flew wide. Ben Walker had the first opportunity for the Green Machine but a mishit allowed France to clear the danger. The match remained 0-0 for the first quarter.
The second quarter was dominated by Irish possession and solid defence kept a French threat at bay, while Sean Murray was unfortunate to hit the post after with the keeper beaten.
A Penalty Corner to France shortly after play resumed got the second half underway. However, this came to nothing as the Irish Men won a free out. Excellent work by Darragh Walsh as he intercepted and drove into the French circle showing great skill to win a PC from which Shane O Donoghue dragged, wrong footing the French keeper, to give Ireland the lead. Although the rain continued throughout, slowing play somewhat, a Penalty Corner to France was expertly saved by David Harte to finish the third quarter 1-0 to the Irish Men.
Early in the final quarter France had their third PC of the game but again Ireland defence stood strong. David Harte was having an outstanding game in goal called on several times and was up to the task. From another PC, in the 57m, France scored but the Umpire has blown for an earlier infringement and awarded a PC instead. France piled on the pressure and following a series of corners, in the 60th minute, Hugo Genestet equalised.
Speaking afterwards, Head Coach Alexander Cox said, “I saw some very positive things in the game. Our defensive structure looked strong. We are adding a zonal system which gave as good control.
On the ball we didn’t play our best game. Too many unforced errors which we need to improve for the next game.
In the end a draw isn’t a bad result, but conceding in the last seconds is never a nice feeling after all the hard work the guys did. As always they gave it their all!”
The teams will meet again on Thursday at 12:00 in Lisnagarvey for the second match of the series against France in Lisnagarvey on June 6 before travelling to Le Touquet where their FIH Series Finals begin on June 15.
Ireland: D Harte, J Jackson, J Bell, E Magee, S O’Donoghue, S Murray, M Robson, B Walker, D Walsh, P Gleghorne, L Cole, S Cole,
Subs: J Carr, M Bell, L Madeley, M Nelson, C Robson, N Glassey, C Harte.
France: A Thieffry, T Genestet, H Genestet, S Martin Brisac, B Rogeau, V Lockwood, C Masson, N Dumont, G Baumgarten, F Goyet, JB Forgues,
Subs: P van Straaten, A Bellenger, C Peters-Deutz, E Tynevez, T Ponthieu, M Branicki, C Saunier.