The Irish men cranked back into gear with a crushing 11-0 win over Singapore in Le Touquet yesterday to grab top spot from their group and advance directly to Saturday’s Men’s FIH Series semi-finals where victory will secure their place in October’s Olympic qualifiers.
Such a scenario looked unlikely at the start of the day as Ireland’s last outing on Sunday had seen them fall to a shock loss to Egypt.
But the Egyptians’ subsequent defeat to Scotland opened the door for Ireland to nick first in the group if they could run up a four-goal win.
That proved simple enough as Ireland came within two of their all-time record win – 13-0 against Malta in 2002 and Fiji in 2013. It was a special day for Shane O’Donoghue who became the first Irish player to score 100 goals for his country as he fired a hat trick of penalty corners.
The Templeogue man set the ball rolling after just 45 seconds to raise his tally to 99 and he thought he had his century before half-time only for Ben Walker to be credited for the final touch in making it 5-0. Conor Harte, Stephen Cole, Lee Cole, Matthew Nelson and Luke Madeley all goaled in the rout.
Men’s FIH Series Finals Pool A: Ireland 11 (S O’Donoghue 3, C Harte 2, S Cole 2, L Cole, M Nelson, L Madeley, B Walker) Singapore 0
IRELAND: D Harte, J Jackson, J Bell, E Magee, S O’Donoghue, S Murray, B Walker, D Walsh, C Harte, L Cole, S Cole Subs: M Bell, L Madeley, M Nelson, N Glassey, M Robson, P Gleghorne, J Carr.