Belfius EuroHockey Championships
Men’s Pool B: Netherlands 5 (B Kellerman 2, M Pruijser 2, S van Ass) Ireland 1 (S O’Donoghue)
The Netherlands started off their chase for a third successive men’s EuroHockey Championship title in confident fashion with a strong win over Ireland in men’s Pool B.
It was built around a blistering opening eight minutes, scoring three times to virtually put them out of sight of the Green Machine. Seve van Ass, Mirco Pruijser and Bjorn Kellerman all netted during that phase and while Shane O’Donoghue pulled one back before half-time, a second goal each from Kellerman and Pruijser won the day.
In the early phases, Van Ass produced a glorious first strike in the third minute when he raced at speed at the circle and unleashed a rising shot that beat Jamie Carr into the top corner.
Two minutes later, Mirco Pruijser was fed with his back to goal around the penalty spot. He used the space behind him to turn brilliantly onto his open side and hit powerfully home.
From slightly further out, the same move worked for Bjorn Kellerman who worked his angle and found a route to goal for 3-0 with just eight minutes played.
Ireland were shell-shocked but they did recover well in the second quarter and started to take the game to the Oranje. From the game’s first penalty corner, Shane O’Donoghue got Ireland back in the contest with a powerful low shot. Seconds later, Sam van der Ven needed to be alert to keep out Eugene Magee’s rising shot.
While more even as time wore on, the Dutch always looked to have the cleaner cutting edge and had much more of the game, even while Jelle Galema spent 10-minutes on the naughty step with a yellow card.
Indeed, they went 4-1 up during that time via Kellerman’s second of the day in the third quarter, a wonderful striker with an upright volley running away from goal.
Galema thought he had returned to action to score a fifth goal but his effort was just beaten by the whistle in favour of a penalty corner. Pruijser was then denied a second by a brilliant Mark Ingram diving save but he did not have long to wait as Thierry Brinkman provided the perfect cross for him to touch home.
Reflecting on the game, Bjorn Kellerman said: “We are really happy. We know Ireland is a really tough team but 3-0 in the first quarter; it was a good team performance. As a striker, it was really nice to get the two goals but it was the team.”
It means they face Germany with the winners likely to be assured of a semi-final place.
“It’s always a good derby; they have lots of good players but we also have good players so it will be a really nice game to watch,” Kellerman added.
Umpires: B Goentgen (GER), P Walker (ENG)
Netherlands – Ireland
3’ Seve van Ass (FG) 1-0
5’ Mirco Pruijser (FG) 2-0
8’ Bjorn Kellerman (FG) 3-0
25’ Shane O’Donoghue (PC) 3-1
37’ Bjorn Kellerman (FG) 4-1
52’ Mirco Pruijser (FG) 5-1