Ireland 2-4 England
England put paid to Ireland’s hopes of progression to the knockout stages of the Men’s Hockey World Cup in India with an absorbing 4-2 win in Bhubaneswar, India.
Australia’s 11-0 demolition of China earlier in the day meant it was a straight forward scenario for Alexander Cox’s side in Pool B; a draw or win would send the Green Machine through to the crossover to face New Zealand with a place in the last eight at stake.
However England, three places above Ireland in the world rankings, ensured second place finish in the pool and Ireland’s elimination from the competition, with China taking third sport and a crossover clash with France.
England, who had only lost four of the previous 14 encounters, made a bright start.
Mark Gleghorne narrowly missed the target with a drag-flick from a penalty corner and it was the Irish defence that was the busier of the two.
It looked like Ireland might hold out until the second quarter, but David Condon struck for the opener with a first-time shot after good work from Will Calnan.
The second quarter followed the same pattern and the half-time score of 1-0 was somewhat generous to Ireland who had yet to hit a single shot on target.
The contest however really came to life in the third quarter as the sides shared four goals as Ireland displayed more cutting thrust in attack.
Chris Cargo equalised after clever interplay with Sean Murray, the first of four goals in as many minutes.
England restored their lead through Liam Ansell with a vicious backhand strike, but once again Ireland fought back.
Shane O’Donoghue had two successive penalty corners. and it was the second that made it a 2-2 game with a thundering shot. Frustratingly, Ireland couldn’t prevent a rapid English response with James Galls’ deflected effort restoring their lead.
Alexander Cox’s side continued in vain for a third goal, but with four seconds remaining, England were awarded a penalty corner and Gleghorne putting a gloss on the scoreline as Ireland’s first World Cup in 28 years drew to a close.
Speaking afterwards, Cox said "This is painful, you never get used to losing. I wasn’t happy with the first quarter, we were on the back-foot but in the second half we turned it around and gave it our all. I think in every game this tournament we had an opportunity to get a result but in the end, we weren’t clinical enough.
"We tried; I’m proud of the players and how they conducted themselves, we gave it our all throughout the tournament. We just have to make sure the next time we are on the other end of the result."