IRELAND 0 WALES 2
Coach Mark Tumilty began the final preparations in earnest for European Championships II in July with the first game of a three-game series against Wales at Comber Road last night.
Ireland are taking on Wales at the home of Lisnagarvey in a series spread over four days, ending on Sunday, which will resemble the sort of demands which will be placed on the players when they host the European Hockey Championships II in the Sports Ireland Campus, Abbotstown in late July. The target from those Championships is to secure promotion back to the top tier of European Championships and ultimately to reach the next Olympics in Paris 2024.
The first game didn’t go to plan as two goals from Welsh player Jack Pritchard, one in the second quarter and the other three minutes from time, were enough to give Wales a first win in the series by 2-0.
Ireland lost goalkeeper James Milliken at the end of quarter one with Jamie Carr going into goal at the start of the second quarter.
One consolation was that these goals came from open play and not from penalty corners. A largely even first quarter ended scoreless with Jack Pritchard grabbing his first goal from open play, coming in the 23rd minute. Wales led 1-0 at the break.
Ireland tried to get back into the match in the third quarter but were unable to put the ball into the net. Their cause was not helped by being reduced to 10 players on 51 minutes when John McKee was green carded and then 9 players when captain Sean Murray was also made to sit out on a green card a minute later.
However, there was no further scoring during Ireland’s period of being shorthanded. As the game was nearing its end in the fourth quarter, Jack Pritchard got his second of the match on 57 minutes to secure a first win for Wales in the series. Both sides will resume the series on Saturday at 3 p.m. following a rest day on Friday. The series will conclude on Sunday at 1 p.m.
IRELAND: James Milliken, Conor Harte, Shane O’Donoghue, Mark Samuel, Peter McKibben, Michael Robson, Sean Murray (C), Charlie Rowe, Alistair Empey, Johnny McKee, Jeremy Duncan
SUBS: Mark McNellis, Rory Patterson, Johnny Lynch, Kevin O’Dea, Louis Rowe, Ben Walker, Jamie Carr (GK)
WALES: Toby Reynolds-Cotterill, Daniel Kyriakides, Jacob Draper, Rhodri Furlong, Stephen Kelly, Owain Dolan-Gray, Jolyon Morgan, Hywel Jones, Benjamin Francis, Luke Hawker(C), Gareth Griffiths
SUBS: Rupert Shipperley, Owen Sutton, Jonathan Fleck, Jack Pritchard, Fred Newbold, Rhys Bradshaw.
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