Ireland came unstuck against world number one side the Netherlands in their first ever FIH Pro League game in Bhubaneswar, India, losing 5-1 despite a battling performance.
Ireland defended well in the opening stages and reduced Netherlands to speculative efforts. All that changed in the 12th minute when Tjep Hoedermans converted from a penalty corner to give them the lead. It was 1-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The Dutch doubled their lead soon after, Jorrit Croon finished from open play following a good team effort to get him into the scoring position from which he put the ball into the goal on 21 minutes.
In the second quarter Ireland were much more of a force in the attacking third of the field. Ireland forced a penalty corner and Pirmin Blaak denied Jeremy Duncan and Conor Empey had a shot come back off the post in the 29th minute.
It was 2-0 at half-time. The Dutch increased their lead early in the third quarter, Jamie Carr fouled Jip Janssen who converted the resultant penalty stroke in the 35th minute. But within 60 seconds Sean Murray burst into the Dutch semi-circle and was fouled by Jorrit Croon.
Croon sat out the next ten minutes on a yellow card and the Dutch were further reduced to 9 players for two minutes when Steijn Van Heijningen was green carded.
The Irish appealed the original award of a free hit to the Video Umpire. He upheld the appeal and awarded a penalty stroke to Ireland which was converted by Lee Cole in the 36th minute. This made history being Ireland’s first ever goal in the FIH Pro League. Ireland however despite their best efforts were unable to make the numerical advantage count on the scoreboard.
Any hopes of an Ireland comeback were thwarted by several saves by Pirmin Blaak and then by two goals within a minute for the Dutch. Jip Janssen converted a penalty corner in the 52nd minute to make it 4-1 and Steijn Van Heijningen’s effort hit off an Irish defender on its way to the net a minute later to seal a 5-1 win for the Dutch.
The Irish had played well for most of the game and in the end some key saves from Jaime Carr prevented an even worse look to the scoreline. Duco Telgenkamp’s shot which flew over the crossbar in the dying seconds, proved to be the last action of the match.
Ireland are back in action on Tuesday 13 February against Australia.
Ireland: Jamie Carr (GK), Luke Madeley, Tim Cross, John McKee, Daragh Walsh, Kevin O’Dea, Shane O’Donoghue, Sean Murray (C), Michael Robson, Lee Cole, Conor Empey
Subs used: BenJohnson (4 mins), Luke Witherow (5 mins) Jeremy Duncan (5 mins), Nicholas Page (5 mins), Peter McKibbin (7 mins), Peter Brown (7 mins)
Netherlands: Pirmin Blaak , Jip Janssen, Lars Balk, Thierry Brinkman, Seve Van Ass, JorritCroon, Floris Wortelboer, Tjep Hoedemakers, Koen Bijen, Joep DeMol, Steijn Van Heijningen
Subs used: Duco Telgenkamp (4 mins), Max DeBie (4 mins) Terrance Pieters (4 mins) Derck De Vilder (5 mins), Teun Beins (5 mins]), Jesper Brinkman (5 mins)