Thursday, June 12, 2008

Setanta Sports men: Day One

While Ireland will ultimately not be pleased with the result, in the bigger Irish hockey picture, this match with Pakistan is the perfect showcase for Setanta Sports to help promote the game.
The Irish and Pakistani’s served up an exhilarating feast in front of a packed and rowdy stand at Belfield.

Rehan Butt had the first circle penetration of the game after just 12 seconds. The Irish, though, got the first strike on goal when Iain Lewers superb overhead found Eugene Magee, in the 25, who drove goalwards before fizzing a reverse just over.

A minute after, Magee’s deflection stung the goalie’s hand. Centre-back Tim Lewis followed up out of nowhere to score at the second attempt, blasting a volleyed rebound from three yards.
Timmy Cockram doubled the lead in the ninth minute after a superbly executed double-switch left and Ireland were in dreamland and playing beautifully. Alan Sothern almost scored with his first touch before the visitors got their running game up and flowing.

But when they got going, boy was it impressive. The forward trio of Shakeel Abbassi, Rehan Butt and Muhammad Waqas ball-control at speed was mesmerizing and it was Abbassi who pinged in their first as the pace upped to an almost frantic level, one which suited the Asians much more than Ireland. A second came in the 22nd minute when Abbassi shot just wide for Waqas to tap in at the back post to bring the game back level.

Butt fired a reverse wide, Magee had a second flash over and Jermyn skimmed the post from a penalty corner before Tim Lewis instigated the move of the half. His interception began a superb one-touch move between Geoff McCabe and Phelie Maguire down the left wing, the latter’s shot just drifting past the post to conclude a whirlwind first-half.

David Harte was drawn into action soon after the break, sliding out perfectly with his stick as an epic personal battle developed between the goalkeeper and Abbassi.

Harte produced an excellent double save from Pakistan’s first penalty corner as they got well on top early in the second half. But the goalkeeper was monumental between the posts, saving over 20 times according to my notes.

Ireland had their moments too with Alan Sothern almost unwittingly getting the perfect touch to Stephen Butler’s re-directed free-hit.

The amazing speed at which the Pakistani’s broke almost saw a truly marvelous goal accrue. A passing move advanced 70 metres, finding Salman Akbar on the right wing at a devastating canter, squaring for Abbassi whose full length slide could not get a firm-enough touch. It came soon after another break from an Irish attack, saw Karl Burns have no option but concede a stroke. Muhammad Saqlain flung the stroke over.

But Ireland could not hold out and from the visitors fourth corner of the half, a seemingly aimless corner ended with a hit across goal was popped in by Akbar to make it 3-2.

Ireland had two corners to equalize but the Pakistanis showed their commitment to attack. With 30 seconds left, most sides would play down the clock, but three quick passes from the half-way led gave the chance for Muhammad Saqlain at the top of the circle to add a gloss on the scoreline.

Results: Ireland 2 (Tim Lewis, Timmy Cockram) Pakistan 4 (Shakeel Abbassi, Muhammad Waqas, Salman Akbar, Muhammad Saqlain); Great Britain 0 Canada 1 (Peter Short)


Queso said...

Great to see both mens and ladies matches on Setanta.... although the ladies game was slow and full of stop-starts the mens was an absolute end-to-end lightening paced thriller!!!

Eugene Magee was fantastic and Ro and Tim orchestrated some skillfull breaks from the back... Harty again showed his maturity and class at this level and with all the recent retirements it was a great showcase of up and coming talent who weren't afraid to take it to the Pakistanis...

Unlucky to lose but a fantastic performance. Hopefully we can maintain this standard against "lesser" teams in the future and climb further up the international rankings.

Anonymous said...

who is this queso guy?

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone really knows... but he/she really has a great understanding of the game

Anonymous said...

queso is a legend. I'm amazed Passmore hasn't selected him. Although he does play for rovers....

Anonymous said...

Fantastic performance by the guys yesterday!!!

Timmy L & Ronan were so solid throughout.

Delighted to see Timmy get his first for Ireland...Congrats!

MOTM has to be Harte....what a game!!!

Anonymous said...

Great match!

Fab performance...Timmy L & Ronan stood out.
Delighted to see Timmy get his first for country....congrats!!

M.O.T.M has to be Harte...what a game!!!

Anonymous said...

a hint of a pembroke player writing the above comment??

Mike said...

well done tim and ro. good to see two pembroke players getting the creidit they deserve nd lets not forget harte