Irish fire four past South Africa in Celtic Cup win

Ireland’s narrow Olympic qualification miss was put into further perspective last night as they swatted aside London-bound South Africa 4-2 in the Celtic Cup at Lisnagarvey.

Departing Ireland coach Paul Revington got one over his compatriots as Ireland racked up their fifth victory over Olympic-qualified opponents in the last 12 months.

Quickfire short corner goals from Timmy Cockram and John Jermyn — the latter moving to within two goals of overhauling Stephen Butler’s all-time Irish record — put Ireland in control early on.

The visitors roared back into it with Lance Louw making it 2-1 while former Corinthians player Andrew Cronje saw his penalty stroke rattle the crossbar.

But Ireland goalkeeper David Harte, who earlier in the day confirmed his transfer to Kampong from fellow Dutch Hoofdklasse club SCHC, kept out five African short corners in the second half to stem the tide.

And sweetly-worked team goals, finished off by Cockram and Jason Lynch, confirmed the Irish win before Justin Reid Ross claimed a late consolation for the visitors.

Ireland’s women get their Celtic Cup campaign underway tonight against Scotland (6.30pm), hoping to better the 1-1 draw they recorded in a friendly between the sides last night, Audrey O’Flynn netting the Irish goal.

Meanwhile, two Ulster men who switched allegiance from Ireland to Great Britain in the hope of fulfilling a dream of playing at the Olympics were left with contrasting emotions this week.

Iain Lewers and Mark Gleghorne had both won in excess of 80 caps for Ireland, making their last appearances in 2008 before opting to switch. That necessitated three enforced years out of international hockey for the duo, who linked up with England last year.

But when GB coach Jason Lee named his 16 for London 2012 next month, Lewers — who claimed in 2008 that his decision to switch was significantly influenced by major flaws in Irish hockey’s top-level structures — was included, but Gleghorne was left out. Gleghorne — whose brother Paul was in the Irish side that narrowly missed out on Olympic qualification in March — was among a number of high-profile exclusions from the GB squad, including the Mantell brothers and Richard Alexander.

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