O’Dea nets in first series with Irish senior men

Senior men’s test match 

Great Britain 3 Ireland 1 (K O’Dea) 

Cork teenager Kevin O’Dea netted his first senior international goal for Ireland in their 3-1 defeat at the hands of Olympic-bound Great Britain at Bisham Abbey. 

Hockey: O'Dea nets in first series with Irish senior men
Kevin O’Dea in action for Cork C of I. Picture: Adrian Boehm

Just a few days since completing his Leaving Cert exams at Ashton School, he fired home with 10 minutes to go to raise hopes of nicking a result from the uncapped test match which forms part of their build-up to the European Championships II in Poland next month. 

GB had take a 1-0 half-time lead and doubled up just before the end of the third quarter from a penalty stroke before Cork C of I’s O’Dea got one back. The hosts, however, struck in the final play to make the game safe. 

Nonetheless, the series represents another step forward for coach Mark Tumilty after a 20-month gap in action prior to their recent series against Scotland. This week, Ireland lost game one to the full GB setup 4-0 and then beat their elite development squad 8-4. 

O’Dea was among a number of new faces yet again with 16 uncapped players used to date, and Tumilty says that trend will continue when they take on the Scots again in the coming weeks. 

Irish coach Mark Tumilty. Picture: Adrian Boehm

“It was great for Kevin O’Dea to score a week after completing his Leaving Cert,” Tumilty said. “I felt during all three games we tried to play attacking hockey and are developing our style of play. The players are getting more confident on the ball and this showed over the three games. “We still have plenty of work to do as we build a squad and playing style that enables us to achieve our long term objectives. 

“Overall a very worthwhile camp, our performance improved each game and was great experience for our younger players who grew as the week progressed.  

“I am pleased with how the players are developing and I look forward to giving other players an opportunity against Scotland.” 

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