* Words from Southern Fried's Alan Good
Ireland’s U-16 boys will be looking for a favour from the Netherlands tomorrow, but a place in the semi-finals of the EuroHockey Youth Nations Championships in Barcelona is still within their grasp.
A 1-1 draw with Austria today leaves Miles Warren’s side in third in their pool, with Adam Fallis’ neat turn giving him the space to push home an equaliser.
That goal was grabbed while Ireland were down to ten men in a closely-fought but tempestuous game, which saw Kirk Shimmins sin-binned twice, while Josh Moffett also saw yellow.
The Austrians also had a pair of yellow cards in the second half but had taken the lead in the 14th minute through Moritz Mayer. Faills' goal came two minutes after the break.
With whipping boys Russia — who were hammered 12-1 by the Dutch — up next in their final game tomorrow (11am Irish time), the Irish must win and overturn Austria’s goal difference advantage of six.
That task is not beyond them given the central Europeans must tackle the dominant Dutch, and Ireland will have the advantage of knowing what they have to do against the Russians.
Ireland’s U-16 girls also take on Russia with a semi-final spot at stake, but are in a healthier position having already got a win under their belts.
They lost 1-0 to pool favourites Spain yesterday, the winning goal coming in the sixth minute from captain Maria Tost, but a victory of any kind against the Russians is likely to be enough to advance, pending other results.
European U-16 Boys Championships standings (all played two games)
1. Netherlands 6pts (+13) 2. Austria 4pts (+4) 3. Ireland 1pt (-2) 4. Russia 0pts (-15)
U-16 Boy's schedule:
July 14 (11am, Irish time): Ireland Vs Russia
U-16 girl's match schedule:
July 14 (7pm, Irish time): Ireland vs Russia