Men’s Belfius EuroHockey Championships
Men’s Pool C: Ireland 0 Wales 4 (G Furlong 2, D Hutchinson, B Francis)
Wales produced a spectacular win over Ireland – their first against the Green Machine since 2006 – to retain their place in the top tier of European hockey, relegating both ireland and Scotland in the process.
Two first half penalty corners from Gareth Furlong put them in control and they duly killed of fthe game with further strikes from Dale Hutchinson and Ben Francis.
England’s earlier 3-0 win over Scotland meant both sides retained hopes of staying – Wales with a two-goal lead, Ireland with a win of any description.
And it was the Welsh who started off in flying fashion, taking the lead inside four minutes when Rupert Shipperley won a penalty corner. Gareth Furlong found a low route through Mark Ingram for 1-0.
In reply, Ireland won a corner within a minute with Shane O’Donoghue dragging his push wide of the mark. After that, Wales were largely the ones to control the ball in a game of few openings and they doubled their lead in the 20th minute courtesy of another Furlong special.
Ingram needed to be alert to deny James Carson from stealing in for a third goal that would have given them extra breathing room. They did have to spend the last part of the second quarter in deep-press mode when Owain-Dolan Gray picked up a 10-minute yellow card.
But Ireland could not make use of the advantage during which time both sides won corners. Daragh Walsh did draw a strong glove save from Ieuan Tranter who tipped over.
Wales then moved further ahead in the 38th minute when Dale Hutchinson picked up the ball 40 metres out from goal on the left sideline. He tore past two defenders before popping home around the goalkeeper.
Wales had three corners before the end of the third quarter but had to wait until nine minutes from the end to get their fourth when Ben Francis slapped into an empty goal. It meant Wales finish sixth with Scotland seventh and Ireland eighth.
Umpires: C van Bunge (NED), M Gholami-Eilmer (AUT)
Ireland – Wales
4’ Gareth Furlong (PC) 0-1
20’ Gareth Furlong (PC) 0-2
39’ Dale Hutchinson (FG) 0-3
51’ Ben Francis (FG) 0-4