The Ireland men’s took on France in the first of a double header against France. Despite a tight scoreline at half time, the boys in green finished out the night on a scoring high netting a total of eight goals (8-2).
Ireland opened their account scoring on the five minute mark with the first penalty corner of the game. Alan Sothern displayed how a drag flick should be taken when he converted for a one nil lead. The pace of this game was lightening fast as end to end attacks ensued until the French finally were rewarded for their efforts in the 16th courtesy of a diving Thomas Becuwe who got on the end of a great cross.
The visitors only had to wait four minutes to take the lead when Soyez found himself in the Irish circle with enough space to squeeze away a reverse shot which glazed off an Irish stick on its way in for a two one lead. The French looked as if they were on the up forcing Harte in goals off the line to keep French goal scoring opportunities at bay. Despite the pressure Ireland managed to force their second penalty corner of the day and as clinical as ever Sothern proved his drag flicking abilities bringing his country back level to two all. The Irish took heart from the goal and found themselves in attacking form once again, midfielder Shaw took a quick chance from the top of the circle firing home high into the left hand side of the net leaving the French keeper no chance.
Half time: Ireland 3 - 2 France
Ireland came out into the second half setting the pace with just 120 seconds on the clock Ireland has a chance to extend their lead when Hobbs was presented with a one on one with the keeper who did well to close down the space and deny a goal.
Ireland didn't have to wait long to have another crack at the French goal when Caruth earned Ireland their third penalty corner of the night in the 8th minute. This time Eugene Magee slotted into the drag flicker's spot and fired home for a 4-2 lead. Just a minute later Caruth was instrumental yet again this time claiming the goal for himself when his reverse stick shot gave Ireland a three goal lead at 5-2.
Ireland's confidence continued to grow with excellent work between defenders and midfield setting up attacks for the hungry forward line. Sothern was deservedly given the chance to secure a hat trick in the 55th minute of play when he stepped up for another drag flick giving his side a 6-2 lead. Caruth again showed pace, linking up well with midfield to provide himself with an open play goal scoring opportunity which he converted for his brace and a 7-2 lead.
The French were obviously feeling the frustration at this point and were reduced to ten men momentarily, for repeated stick tackling by Nicolas Monnier.
Captain Ronan Gormley was presented with the opportunity to get his name on the scoreboard when Ireland were given a penalty stroke for a defender's illegal save off the line, which he coolly slotted home for a final 8-2 victory.
Commenting after his first game on home soil Coach Revington was clearly pleased with the result and score line 'This was a nice way for the team to start off together, especially for some of the newer faces in the squad, the leadership team preformed well and I am very pleased'
'Although we won well there are still areas in our game we will be working on and this French side on a better day would not have conceded as many chances. However, the goals we scored tonight were well taken and clinical, we gave ourselves the chances and we took them.' he continued.
Ireland: 8 (3) Alan Sothern 5m; 28m; 55m; Graham Shaw, Eugene Magee 43m; Peter Caruth 44m; 60m; Ronan Gormley 64m
France: 2 (2) Thomas Becuwe 16n; Frederic Soyez 20m
Source: Irish Hockey Association
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