|December 2nd, 2012|
|23||Bronze||2:00pm||MAS - IRL||3 - 4 (1 - 2) AET||Final||x 14|
Caruth strike gives Ireland Bronze
A Golden Goal from Peter Caruth gave Ireland a sensational extra-time victory over Malaysia to claim the Bronze medal at the Argentina hockey Champions Challenge in Quilmes. It was a remarkable achievement for a team playing in their first ever Champions Challenge 1, and one that their players will never forget.
Will McCabe gave Ireland a dream start in their hunt for Bronze with a breath-taking strike from the right, picking up a pass from Michael Watt before hammering a low drive beyond the despairing Kumar Subramiam. It was a goal that rattled the Malaysians, who struggled to find any kind of form in the opening 15 minutes. However, Malaysian confidence was restored in the 18th minute thanks to Ismail Abu, who got a crucial touch in the circle to tie the scores at 1-1. The Malaysians started looking more like the team that had impressed so much in the early part of this tournament, but the Irish upped their game and moved ahead when Conor Harte fired home a penalty corner eight minutes before half time.
Early in the second half, Caruth had a glorious opportunity to put some breathing space between his team and the Malaysians, but the strike failed to hit the target after a high quality attacking move. Ireland’s failure to put the game out of the reach of their Malaysian opponents cost them dear in the 50th minute, when Faizal Saari produced a moment of brilliance. A Malaysian counter-attack found Saari on the half way line, with the attacker running fully 40 meters before unleashing a fierce strike into the roof of the Irish net to make the score 2-2.
Malaysia thought that they had won the match in normal time when Nabil Fiqri Mohd Noor was on hand to tap in following another great save from David Harte in the 67th minute. Incredibly, Ireland went straight down the other end and levelled the scores at 3-3, with Conor Harte netting another penalty corner variation to delight the Irish fans in the crowd.
Harte’s goal sent the match into extra time, with Ireland playing the early stages with ten players on the field due to a yellow card shown to Eugene Magee towards the end of normal time. The Malaysians exploited the extra space available due to Ireland’s shortfall, but were denied time and time again by the brilliance of goalkeeper David Harte. However, the match turned back in Ireland’s favour when Magee returned to the field, before the decisive moment arrived early in the second period of extra time. The outstanding Peter Caruth surged into the circle and smashed an unstoppable reverse stick shot into the Malaysian net before wheeling away in celebration. It was a fine moment for him and the Ireland, a team that appear to be constantly progressing on the world stage.
Andrew Meredith (IRL Coach)
“I’m very happy for the boys. All the players gave a hundred percent today. Despite yesterday’s result in the semi final, they stayed mentally focused for this match and got the result.
“Despite only four days’ of preparation, these players responded well to having a new coach in difficult circumstances, and of course to finish third is a real bonus for this group. I’m proud of them. Now we have to work hard because we have a project and many priorities.”
Peter Caruth (Scorer of IRL’s Golden Goal)
“I won’t say I’m a hero today but it’s nice to have scored. I’m happy about the team performance, we worked so hard. We’ve focused on everything we had to do. The whole team has a great performance today. It was a great match to watch, a great match for the spectators.
“Yes, we had a few issues in trying to this tournament but the Irish public was behind us. We are disappointed not to be in the final, but we played well for everybody back home.”
Paul Revington (MAS Coach)
“It was a great match for the spectators. Congratulations to Ireland, and I’m pleased for their victory. But I am pleased and proud of the way my players fought today, especially in the second half. Their winning goal came because there was luck of communication in the area.”
“But, in balance, what the team has done in the last six weeks has been terrific. I’m sad for the moment but I am excited about the future.”
Mohd Sharun Nabil Abdulah (MAS Captain)
“Yes, my team played very well. We had a lot of chances, but didn’t take them. That’s why we lost the match. We were not organized in the defence, which allowed them to score the golden goal. All in all, we had a great tournament in Argentina, but we have to work really hard to improve.”