Sunday 18 March 2018

Korea clash key for Irish

IRELAND are top the table in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament being held at UCD after a sizzling display against Ukraine which saw the home side run out 12-0 winners on day two of the event.

Having been denied a place in the final of the 2008 Olympic qualifier in New Zealand on goal difference – a single goal proving the divider – Paul Revington's men will be happy to have hit double figures against the lowest-ranked side in the FIH Electric Ireland Road to London Olympic qualifiers.

The event has now become a three-horse race for the one invitation on offer to London.

Korea and Malaysia also collected full points, against Chile and Russia respectively, as the leading contenders all remain unbeaten after two rounds.

The Irish certainly made light of their weekend assignments as yesterday's annihilation of Ukraine followed the 6-1 thumping handed out to Russia.

As against Russia on Saturday, Ireland started slowly but Timmy Cockram diverted Paul Gleghorne's disguised sweep to the roof of the net on 14 minutes to open the floodgates.

Down man Eugene Magee showed his hurling roots as he volleyed in a second five minutes later and the Banbridge man flicked home the third at a penalty corner.


After that, it was merely a question of keeping count as Cockram was head of the queue to benefit from a John Jermyn cross and then Mitch Darling, a winner of the Evening Herald School Sports Star award during his days at Wesley, scored on the stroke of half-time.

The Irish were remorseless in attack and impeccable in defence after the interval, keeping the Belfield crowd enthralled.

Darling's second extended the lead, and was followed on the scoresheet by Peter Caruth and Mikey Watt (twice in five minutes) before Cockram completed his hat-trick with the reverse stick shortly after the hour mark.

And there was no let-up in the closing stages as Chris Cargo posted his entry for the goal of the game with a wickedly rising shot.

Superfluous icing on an already lavishly decorated cake was applied by Jermyn, happy to prove that his striking ability is not restricted to the set-pieces.

The demolition job was the highest scoring Irish win at a major tournament. Having taken six points from their opening games as expected, Ireland will now face their first real test of the tournament when they take on top seeds Korea tomorrow evening.

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