It took a last quarter penalty stroke to separate Eire and South Africa in a pulsating FIH Hockey Nations Cup last that didn’t go Eire’s approach in Potchefstroom this afternoon. Eire had virtually double the photographs on purpose that South Africa did, however it was the leading edge that the Irish had been lacking whereas the hosts had been scientific on this high-stakes match.
Eire by no means obtained in entrance in an enthralling encounter, though they managed to get again stage from a 3-1 deficit within the third quarter to make sure a breathless final quarter. Mark Tumilty’s males spent a lot of the match chasing the sport, however with 10 seconds to go within the third quarter, John McKee scored Eire’s third to attract issues stage and provides his group an opportunity to win this historic, inaugural event.
An early discipline purpose from South Africa’s skipper knocked the stuffing out of the boys in inexperienced after they went behind within the fourth minute. Dayaan Cassiem, who completed the day as participant of the match and participant of the event, discovered area on the appropriate of the Irish circle, lifted the ball over his defender’s stick and roofed a bouncing ball to provide his facet an early lead.
Eire then dominated play with a passing recreation, however South Africa confirmed extra self-discipline as we speak than within the encounter between these groups within the group phases. Eire’s finest likelihood of the primary quarter got here within the last minute when Jeremy Duncan obtained along with his again to purpose, spun and flicked in a single motion and Ben Walker virtually snuck his contact below the keeper.
Eire continued their passing recreation within the second interval, and it was a passing transfer that noticed them win their first nook which Shane O’Donoghue duly scored. The defender’s chic drag flick was too fast for Hendrik Kriek within the South Arica purpose as he was merely crushed for tempo.
It was a last for the ages with end-to-end hockey, each groups displaying prowess with their overhead supply and one-on-one expertise. Cassiem was within the temper and he created one other second of brilliance when he obtained on the left of Eire’s circle, juggled previous a handful of defenders and dedicated David Fitzgerald in objectives earlier than, extremely, hitting recent air and squandering a gilt-edged likelihood. Cassiem made up for his earlier mistake, although, once more discovering a yard of area, backing into the circle and firing a bullet into the appropriate nook on his reverse to provide his group the lead once more.
South Africa might be forgiven for pondering that they had earned themselves some respiratory area, then, when within the first minute of the second half, Tevin Kok produced the play of the sport after unimaginable talent from Keenan Horne. Horne had managed a brief overhead simply exterior the Eire circle earlier than juggling previous a few defenders. Kok then dinked over his defender’s stick earlier than a double raise simply made it over Fitzgerald’s shoulder to make it three objectives to at least one in South Africa’s favour.
Credit score should go to Tumilty’s fees, although. They didn’t panic, persevering with to place stress on the hosts, and when John McKee was denied from shut vary, he did properly to see what most didn’t – a South Africa back-stick within the circle. He opted to make use of Eire’s referral and the penalty nook was duly given. O’Donoghue gave Eire hope when he fired one other rocket into the highest proper nook, this time virtually taking the glove of Kriek with it into the purpose.
The rating may need been a lot greater as all sides appeared to attain the harder objectives, and miss the extra clear-cut probabilities, however it was a second of luck that noticed Eire stage issues up. Jeremy Duncan obtained in midfield and located McKee who drifted into the circle and swept what was in all probability a move for an Eire deflection. As a substitute, he discovered the stick of a South African defender and the ensuing deflection wrong-footed the keeper to make it three apiece going into the ultimate quarter.
However ultimately, it was an Irish mistake that led to the winner for South Africa with 10 minutes to go. South Africa received the ball within the midfield and when Cassiem was via on purpose, a foul from behind gave the umpire no alternative however to award a penalty stroke. Mustaphaa Cassiem, Dayaan’s brother, despatched Fitzgerald the incorrect approach and slotted into the appropriate nook.
Because the clock ran down, Eire performed with endurance, however South Africa managed the sport properly, thwarting all the pieces Eire threw at them. The hosts had been good worth for his or her first victory over Eire and their first place within the FIH Hockey Nations Cup.
Eire captain Sean Murray was understandably distraught after the match. “Simply gutted, to be sincere, actually gutted. Credit score to South Africa, they had been good as we speak; they took their probabilities. We put plenty of stress on, had some good probabilities as properly however ultimately, it simply comes all the way down to little particulars and it’s simply bitterly disappointing.”
Even after a devastating loss, Murray spoke of his group’s vibrant future. “We now have a younger group coming collectively; we’ve made plenty of progress in the previous few months, particularly,” he stated. “We now have much more to provide, I feel. We simply must get via the subsequent few months and regroup, get again collectively, and push on,” he completed.
Coach Mark Tumilty feels his group had the profitable of the match. “We had sufficient probabilities to get one thing out of that recreation however that’s typically the best way that it goes at this stage,” he admitted. “We obtained punished by a really scientific South Africa facet. General, it was a superb event and one thing for the Senior Males to construct on.”
Tumilty was philosophical after a irritating day: “It’s a disappointing consequence, and the chance to play within the FIH Professional League would have been improbable, not only for the senior males’s group, however for hockey in Eire. Nonetheless, I feel this group of gamers can look again on this week with nice satisfaction. We actually have made large progress and it’s now a possibility to kick on in 2023 and past.”
Eire’s senior ladies are in motion subsequent after they look to go one higher than their male counterparts within the Girls’s FIH Hockey Nations Cup. That event begins on December eleventh.