Senior Men's Celtic Cup Ireland 7 (Mitch Darling 3, Eugene Magee, Alan Sothern, Alan Giles, Peter Caruth) France 0 Ireland completed the perfect weekend in France as they completed their third win with a comprehensive 7-0 mauling of the host nation in le Touquet this afternoon.
Mitch Darling bagged a hat-trick to pick up the tournament’s top-scorer award and Iain Walker was named the event’s best goalkeeper, capping his weekend with a brilliant penalty stoke save.
That occurred inside the first 10 minutes of today’s game as captain Ronan Gormley – on his 100th cap – endured a tough opening, first conceding the stroke and also picking up a yellow card.
He was to come out smiling, though, as he lifted the Celtic Cup, keeping it in Ireland for a third successive year.
With that sticky early patch negotiated, Ireland hit the front when Eugene Magee dragged to the right in the 18th minute to break the deadlock.
Five minutes later, Darling got his first of the day when he touched in Geoff McCabe’s reverse-stick cross. Alan Sothern dragged Ireland’s third, this time aiming to the goalkeeper’s left and a minute before the break Joe Brennan’s long pass unleashed Darling to punch home off his back foot for a four goal half-time lead.
Alan Giles bagged the fifth – his first senior international strike – when Paul Glelghorne laid up while Darling completed his hat-trick eight minutes from time. Peter Caruth completed the rout when he finished off a fine interchange with Magee.
Speaking after the match, manager Peter Jackson said: “This was an outstanding tournament for the Irish lads who put in maximum effort throughout all games.
"It is particularly pleasing to see that we only conceded one goal in the three matches and scored 14 in total and we look forward to our encounters against the French next weekend in Cookstown.”
Those matches begin on Thursday night in Coolnafranky with three games being played from June 30 to July 4.
Ireland: Iain Walker, Ronan Gormley, John Jackson, Joe Brennan, Paul Gleghorne, Geoff McCabe, Phelie Maguire, Andy McConnell, Eugene Magee, Alan Sothern, Mitch Darling, Subs: Conor Harte, Timmy Cockram, Peter Caruth, David Ames, Alan Giles Not Used: David Fitzgerald, Chris Cargo
Senior Men's Celtic Cup (Le Touquet, France) results: Sunday: Ireland 7 (M Darling 3, E Magee, A Sothern, A Giles, P Caruth) France 0; Wales 3 Scotland 2
Celtic Cup standings (points/goal difference): 1.Ireland 9pts (+13) 2. Wales 6pts (-2) 3. Scotland 3pts (-1) 4. France 0pts (-9)
* Photos from the tournament by GF Cohen/www.photopale.com can be seen here (Facebook page)