Superb Green Machine Punished By Clinical Dutch

  • Aug 08,2016

Men’s Hockey
Ireland 0 Netherlands 5 (M van der Weerden 2, J Croon, M Pruyser, J Hertzberger)

For a second day running, Ireland were left frustrated as strong elements of their performance in Rio de Janeiro were not rewarded as they fell to a somewhat exaggerated final scoreline against the world number two Dutch side.
 
Indeed, the green machine earned more penalty corners, had more circle entries and more shots but were unable to convert while a ruthless Netherlands scored two from three penalty corners to go with a breathtaking field goal from Jorrit Croon to put the game out of Ireland’s reach with 20 minutes to go.
 
Speaking afterwards, Ronan Gormley said it was “tough to take” the final scoreline after many good things were done.
 
“When you look up at the scoreboard and its 5-0 an you have invested a lot into the game, it is tough to take. They are extremely effective but, at the same time, a couple of those goals we need to wrap up before they go across the line. Could have, should have… we will have to look at the video and move on.”
 
But he is resolute in his belief the side will start to run up results in the coming few days.
 
“It is in us. The reason we have got here is because we can defend very resolutely and that’s what we will have to do in the next three games.”


 
It was always going to be tough for Ireland against a side they have only beaten once in 39 previous meetings. Indeed, after a healthy Irish opening, the Dutch incredibly found themselves 2-0 up inside eight minutes.
 
That was despite two brilliant stops from Jaap Stockmann in the opening five minutes. Mitch Darling could not get enough on a cross from Kyle Good, allowing Stockmann to scramble the deflection away.
 
Jonathan Bell then showed a rare attacking defence, dancing through from centre back to flick toward the corner. Again, the Dutch keeper got down to palm away.
 
But within a minute, Holland had two on the board as Mink van der Weerden punished Alan Sothern’s loose sliding tackle, whipping home a drag-flick from the first penalty corner.
 
Almost instantly, Rogier Hofman was set free down the right sideline and his gorgeous control was matched by a perfect centre for 17-year-old Jorrit Croon to guide into the roof of the net.
 
The green machine’s plight worsened when Conor Harte wore Mirco Pruijser’s stick on his ribs. First glance suggested a potential broken bone and, after a lengthy wait, the medical cart took the Kinsale man off for the requisite scans but he would later appear on the sideline for the closing quarter.


 
Coach Craig Fulton spoke of the importance of “accuracy” at set pieces after Saturday’s 3-2 loss to India. Unfortunately, Ireland’s only corner – despite a clever swivel at the top of the circle – never drew a shot of note.
 
The third quarter was similarly frustrating. At the height of Ireland’s attacks – with Peter Caruth, Chris Cargo and Ronan Gormley firing pot shots – the more insular Dutch countered with their one attack, won a corner and Mink van der Weerden shot a rocket to the roof.
 
Pruijser added the fourth a minute later with a goal made in Amsterdam, Valentin Verga picking out his club mate to swivel home from mid-circle.
Ireland pushed again, winning four more penalty corners in the last quarter but a blank conversion rate will be a cause for further concern after a second game in succession in which general play proved more than equal.
 
As if to rubber-stamp a painful night, Eugene Magee turned in Jeroen Hertzberger’s cross for the fifth goal in the last minute.
 
Coach Craig Fulton added it is important for the side to keep the faith in their own strengths.
 
“In the huddle at the end, we spoke about where we have come from, the experience we have gained here and we need to keep the spirits high. We are playing good hockey. 
 
“We are getting punished for our mistakes as you will at this level but you want to play the best in the world. Sometimes, you get hurt – Holland beat GB 9-1 in a semi-final four years ago – it happens but we have to emotionally manage it.”
 
Ireland next meet reigning champions Germany on Tuesday at 4:30pm in their third tie. After that come two must win games for Ireland if they are to reach the quarter-finals – Canada on Thursday and Argentina on Friday. All matches will be shown live on RTE2 and BBC Four/Red Button.


 
Ireland: D Harte, J Jackson, R Gormley, M Watt, J Jermyn, E Magee, K Shimmins, M Darling, K Good, P Gleghorne, C Harte
Subs: J Bell, C Cargo, A Sothern, P Caruth, S O’Donoghue
 
Netherlands: J Stockmann, G Schuurman, B Bakker, S van Ass, J Hertzberger, S de Wijn, S Baart, M Pruijser, R Hofman, R van der Horst, M van der Weerden
Subs: V Verga, R Kemperman, B de Voogd, J Croon, H Turkstra
 
 
Umpire: N Stagno, T Pullman

Photo Credit: Sportsfile & Getty Images