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Ireland Win Men’s Setanta Sports Trophy
17 Jun 2007 20:14

Ireland have won the inaugural Men’s Setanta Sports Trophy this evening, beating Canada 2-1 in the final. Wales finished 3rd, beating Egypt on penalty strokes after the sides had drawn 1-1 after extra time.

A good crowd gathered to watch Ireland take on Canada again, Ireland having prevailed in their previous match on Wednesday 3-2. However, it was the Canadians who dominated affairs in the first half of a tight match, where there were few chances or penalty corners. In the opening ten minutes, Canada pressed the Irish back four, that was missing Iain Lewers through injury. And the visitors calved out the games first opportunity in the 12th minute, when Rob Short’s backhand shot was saved low to Mark Ruddle’s right.

Ireland’s first chance didn’t come until the 23rd minute, when a cross from the right from Phelie Maguire was deflected by Andy Barbour, but not on goal.  But Canada continued to dominate with veteran Canadian captain Rob Short marshalling the midfield. In the 26th minute, a great ball by Scott Sandison found Ravi Kahlon, but he crashed his shot high and left.

In the second half, Ireland improved their defensive structure and came more into the game. And the hosts duly took the lead on the second of consecutive penalty corners on 47 minutes, John Jermyn dragflicking high into the top left hand corner of the Mahood goal for his fourth goal of the tournament. Eugene Magee nearly made it 2-0 straight from the restart with a fine run through midfield, but he couldn’t get his shot away as he fell.

Ireland began to enjoy increased possession as the second half drew on, with Andy Barbour and Geoff McCabe excelling. And seven minutes from time, Ireland got their second and decisive goal. A quick counter attack found Geoff McCabe who rifled a quick shot which was saved by Mahood. But Munster’s David Hobbs was on hand to tap into the open goal between his legs with his back to goal.

In the final minutes, Canada pressed hard for a goal as Ireland defended their lead and their consolation goal came on the final whistle from a short corner.

So Ireland claimed their first Setanta Sports Trophy, with Canadian Rob Short winning the Player of the Tournament award.

Afterwards, coach Dave Passmore said, “Whilst lacking in the attacking creativity of yesterday, this was a strong defensive performance and we ground out a result. This is a pleasing aspect, especially given we are in the heaviest phase of our physical training.”

In the Trophy’s other game, Wales claimed 3rd place. The sides finished 1 all and extra time could not separate the sides. In the ensuing penalty stroke competition, Wales won 5-4.

Final Positions
1) Ireland
2) Canada
3) Wales
4) Egypt

Source: Irish Hockey Association

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