Matthew Nelson (file photo) was on target for Ireland. Frank Uijlenbroek/INPHO

Netherlands come from behind to narrowly beat Ireland in Pro League

It finished 2-1 in India.

NETHERLANDS CAME FROM behind to beat a battling Ireland side 2-1 in the Hockey Pro League in Rourkela, India this afternoon.

Ireland fell to a 5-1 defeat to the world number one side on their Pro League debut last week, but it was much tighter as the second round commenced.

The wait for a win in the competition continues for Mark Tumilty’s side, though they have improved significantly from heavy defeats to Netherlands and Australia to narrower losses at the hands of Spain and India.

After a bright start this afternoon, Ireland took the lead from a penalty corner in the 11th minute. Matthew Nelson was the goalscorer as he reacted quickest to Shane O’Donoghue’s blocked effort.

But Netherlands hit back, with Jip Janssen their two-goal hero. They restored parity at the very end of the first quarter when Janssen converted off the back of a penalty corner. They heaped on the pressure on the restart and Ireland valiantly defended back-to-back penalty corners, but Janssen eventually added a second to make it 2-1 by half time.

The scoreline remained, with Ireland absorbing the Dutch pressure and combination of Jamie Carr saves and impressive defending ensuring it stayed a one-goal game. They couldn’t quite find an equaliser, but will be pleased with the performance overall.

“We have definitely made progress from block one,” Tumilty said afterwards.

“We should have held on to the lead a bit better. Overall, we defended well, and Shane O’Donoghue was excellent but so were a few others. Matthew Nelson, we know what he is capable of and he showed that out there today against the #1 ranked team in the world.”

NETHERLANDS: Maurits Visser (GK), Jip Janssen, Jorrit Croon, Terrence Pieters, Justen Blok, Derck de Vilder, Floris Wortelboer, Koen Bijen, Joep de Mol, Max de Bie, Duco Telgenkamp.

Subs used: Floris Middendorp (3mins), Seve Van Ass (4 mins), Jasper Brinkmann (4 mins), Guus Jansen (5 mins), Teun Beins(5 mins).

IRELAND: Jamie Carr, Luke Witherow, Luke Madeley, Tim Cross, Matthew Nelson, Daragh Walsh, Shane O’Donoghue, Sean Murray (C), Peter McKibbin, Michael Robson, Ben Walker.

Subs used: Ben Johnson (4mins), Nicholas Page (4 mins), Conor Empey (5 mins), Peter Brown (5 mins), Kevin O’Dea (6 mins).

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