Magical Magee blast seals classy Irish win in South Africa

South Africa 0 Ireland 1

Having drawn 2-2 with the South Africans on Tuesday night, Ireland came into last night’s game full of confidence, and their performance throughout the game was such that the victory was very much deserved.

The Irish dominated proceedings for much of the first half, keeping South Africa confined to the occasional counter-attack as Ireland controlled possession for long periods.

What turned out to be the winning goal game in the 33rd minute when Mark Gleghorne turned several defenders before finding Magee. The Banbridge player then rounded goalie Hibbert before finding the net with a spectacular reverse stick shot from an almost impossible angle.

The second half centred around the battle for control of midfield and neither side created many scoring chances. In the final 10 minutes, however, things opened up and both sides forced opportunities, although it was Ireland’s Justin Sherriff who came closest when he rounded the South African left-back only to see Hibbert get his stick to his goal-bound shot.

The South Africans are ranked ninth in the world as against the 22nd place occupied by the Irish, and they have already qualified for the World Championships as African champions. This is the first time Ireland have beaten them. Ireland play the visiting New South Wales state team today and tomorrow in Pretoria as part of continuing preparations for the World Cup qualifiers in China in April.

Ireland: Henderson, Brown, J. Black, Waring, Jermyn, Butler, M. Black, Lewers, Irwin, Gleghorne, Barber.

Rolling subs: Magee, Sherriff and Gormley.

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