Group has taken major steps forward, says Coach Meredith
Ireland wrapped up their initial World League 2 preparations with a 3-1 defeat vs. Malaysia in warm conditions in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.
Coach Andrew Meredith made two changes to his starting line-up for the 3rd and final game in Malaysia with Goalkeeper David Harte and defender Paul Gleghorne returning to the side. Ireland started the game brightly and raced into an early lead winning a penalty corner in the 3rd minute which was converted by in-form UCD forward Shane O'Donohue to give Ireland an early 1-0 lead.
The hosts, well adept in playing in 82% humidity, naturally came back strongly and levelled the game up at 1-1 through an Amhad penalty corner in the 18th minute and forced another before the halftime interval which the Green Machine defended well. The two sides headed for the break locked at 1-1.
Malaysia started quickly out of the blocks in the second half and took the lead for the first time through their 3rd penalty corner of the game, converted on this occasion by Muhammad Razi. The hosts continued to press the Green Machine and were rewarded with 2 more penalty corners in quick succession which again were defended resolutely by the Irish side. Malaysia finally broke through the Irish side for the 3rd time with only 4 minutes remaining with Ahmad grabbing his second goal of the game to wrap up a 3-1 victory.
Speaking following the game today, Irish coach Andrew Meredith said ‘While of course I'm not satisfied with today's result, conceding two unnecessary goals in the manner that we did, I am very pleased with the intensive work we have done in the last four days. It's been an extremely intensive preparation program for India and we have taken some major steps forward in the group processes.'
Ireland will now pack up in Malaysia and head to India where preparations for World League 2 can recommence. Ireland will kick-off their campaign on Monday 18th February vs. Bangladesh in New Delhi.
Starting XI - D.Harte, J.Jackson, R.Gormley, C.Harte, B.McCandless, C.Cargo, E.Magee, P.Gleghorne, M.Watt, S.O'Donoghue, M.Darling
Malaysia 3-1 Ireland
Irish Hockey Association media release