Ireland put in yet another spirited performance in hot conditions in Quilmes as they were narrowly beaten 2-1 by Argentina in the Champions Challenge 1 semi-final.
The two sides had met a week ago in the opening Pool A game where Argentina had prevailed 4-3. As expected, today’s encounter was to prove yet another close and tight affair.
On the occasion of Timothy Cockram’s 150th Ireland cap, Andrew Meredith’s side had to be at their best defensively from early in the game as Argentina created the most clear cut opportunities in the first half of play.
David Harte, fresh from his own momentous 100th cap performance in the quarter final against Poland, was called into action on numerous occasions in a busy first half for the Irish stopper.
Irish skipper Ronan Gormley was also involved in some important defensive moments early on, particularly when saving from the goal line following a penalty corner for the hosts.
"Unfortunately we started poorly and it wasn’t until the last 25 minutes that we able to establish any sort of authority or control of the game" - Andrew Meredith
Ireland themselves created a few chances with Peter Caruth & Michael Watt going close but failing to convert. The sides headed for the break at 0-0.
Within three minutes of the re-start Argentina took the lead through Pedro Ibarra. And only 10 minutes into the second half the hosts doubled their lead when a long ball played into the circle from the right was converted by Guillermo Shickendantz via a deflected shot.
Ireland stuck to their principles and continued to play effective hockey while Argentina tried to play on the counter attack.
Ireland, full of running and pressing hard to pull a goal back, were awarded a succession of penalty corners and finally reduced the deficit to 2-1 with four minutes remaining in the game through a John Jermyn goal.
Ireland piled on the pressure in the final minutes to try to nab an equaliser but sadly time ran out for the visiting side.
Speaking after the game, Ireland coach Andrew Meredith, said: “After a positive week the result today is disappointing as I feel that we certainly could have got something out of the game.
“Unfortunately we started poorly and it wasn’t until the last 25 minutes that we able to establish any sort of authority or control of the game.”
Ireland starting XI: D Harte, C Harte, Gleghorne, Gormley (C), Jackson, Jermyn, McCabe, Magee, Darling, Cockram, O'Donoghue.