Thursday, July 9, 2009

Champion's Challenge: Ireland 2 Poland 3

Ireland 2 (Mikey Watt, Alan Sothern) Poland 3 (Tomasz Gorny, Maciej Janiszewski, Tomasz Dutkiewicz)
Despite the match being solely to decide semi-final pairings, Ireland and Poland played out the most intense battle of the Champion’s Challenge II to date.

Tomasz Dutkiewicz’s low corner strike early in the second half proved the vital moment of a helter-skelter battle with both sides taking the most direct route to goal.

Ireland led twice but could not hold onto the advantage in the face of the Polish onslaught.
Mikey Watt opened the scoring in the fifth minute just moments after Dariusz Rachwalski applied the pitching wedge over David Harte’s goal.

The Grange man dug the ball out from under his feet to reverse home after Eugene Magee’s baseline foraging pulled goalkeeper Marcin Trzaskawka. Tomasz Gorny levelled soon after as he burst two tackles before smashing home via a defensive stick.

Sothern restored the lead in the 24th minute from the first corner of the game - won after Tim Lewis’ sublime long ball reached Graham Shaw on the circle’s edge. But the sides were on level terms when Maciej Janiszewski’s snap-shot beat Harte in the 33rd minute.

Magee had a chance to restore the lead yet again when Timmy Cockram hared through but his lay-off was slipped across goal to leave the game 2-2 at the interval.

And Poland’s Tomasz Dutkiewicz put Ireland behind for the first time in the competition as he fired his side’s first corner low after Miroslaw Juszczak spun the ball into his path.

From there, a rip-roaring encounter saw plenty of circle penetrations but no more goals. Four Irish straight strikes from corners went by the wayside as Poland placed two men on the line with goalkeeper Trzaskawka.

Sothern hit the post with the third of those while Jermyn’s drive was saved on the final hooter. Dutkiewicz, for his part, drew a top drawer save from Harte to keep Ireland in contention.

Afterwards, Paul Revington felt his side came up second best in the game’s key battles. “We are disappointed that we lost the penalty corner battle and the counter attack battle. These two areas of the game must improve for the weekend.”

Final group standings (points/goal difference):
Group A:
1. Poland 9pts (+3) 2. Ireland 6pts (+5) 3. Japan 3pts (-3) 4. Chile 0pts (-5)

Fixtures (Saturday):
Semi-finals: 2.30pm France vs Poland; 5pm Malaysia vs Ireland

* For more of Adrian Boehm's photos from Ireland vs Poland, click here


Anonymous said...

Poland are ranked two places below us at 20th so I suppose it's not too bad a result but we've got a tough semi final now. The lads will have to put in a massive effort to get past Malaysia.

Queso said...

Luckily we did the business against Japan... so I guess the Poland result is even steven!!!

At least we qualified for the semis, so are still in with a shout :-)