Ireland took on Belgium this evening in the closing match of the UCD 3 Nations which took place between South Africa, Belgium and hosts Ireland.
Ireland didn’t get off to the best starts and tired legs gave way to a very fit looking Olympic bound Belgium team who netted five past the Irish side. Belgium broke through in the 12th minute when Dekeyser’s persistence paid off and he netted to open the account. Two minutes later Belgium extended their lead to two when Briels took a sweet touch from Van Strydoncks pacy cross to deflect in giving Harte no chance in goals. Ireland were forced to soak up periods of pressure and Harte in goals pulled off some great saves and his defence mopped up as much as possible but the persistent attack by Belgium proved too much in the end. Belgium made it three in the 26th minute when Van Aubel tapped in from close range before they made it four thanks to Thys before half time.
Ireland came out in attacking mode in the second half and Mikie Watt almost secured a goal with a lovely reverse stick but the save came just in time. Ireland were put further behind in the 39th minute when Briels and Dohmen created a 2 on 1 to enable Dohmen to put the fifth away.
Ireland continue to fight looking for a consolation goal but a solid looking Belgian side shut out any Irish chance.
Commenting on the occassion of his last match as Irish Coach Paul Revington parted on these words “I can’t fault the players for their effort, I think they have played five games in eight days and I am proud of them. We met a Belgium side who are in their last phase before their final team selection (for the Olympics), and their performance was very strong.”
“I would like to thank every player in the last three and half years for making this a wonderful period in my life and I know they will continue to move forward and continue to do justice to the quality of talent that exists in Ireland’s men’s hockey.”
Final Positions: 1) South Africa 2) Belgium 3) Ireland
All Matches Results of Series:
Ireland 0-5 (HT:0-4) : Belgium
Belgium Scorers: Jermone Dekeyser 12m op; Thomas Briels 14m op; Florent Van Aubel 26m op; Jeffry Thys 30m op; John John Dohmen 39m op
Ireland 3-3 (HT:2-1) South Africa
Ireland Scorers: John Jermyn 20m ps; Brian Doherty pc 30, Mikie Watt op64m
South Africa Scorers: Justin Reid-Ross 14m pc; Ian Haley 63m pc; Thornton McDade 69m op
Belgium 2-3 (HT:1-2) South Africa
Belgium Scorers: Jerome Dekeyser 5m ps; Thomas Briels 61m op
South Africa Scorers: Thornton McDade 6m; Lloyd Norris-Jones op 10m; Julian Hykes 59m op
Source: Irish Hockey Association