Fighting Irish break England hex

Ireland 2 England 1 - Senior men’s hockey

Coach Craig Fulton refused to get too carried away with Ireland’s win over world number five England on Saturday but did suggest it will go a good way to building belief in the squad.

It ended a 12-year wait for victory over England, while it has been 65 years since they have achieved the feat on Irish soil, dating back to April 1949.

Mikey Watt was the inspiration, canceling out Ashley Jackson’s first half drag-flick with a powerful shot six minutes into the second half.

Watt duly won the tie with a deft touch to Timmy Cockram’s low push to guide the ball past George Pinner with three minutes to go, handing Ireland a memorable win.

It meant they shared the two-game series with an England side who finished fourth at last month’s World Cup — the first match was a 3-2 loss on Friday.

But Fulton’s long-term focus remains Olympic qualification, a process that starts in earnest next February, and is cautious to state that Ireland “haven’t arrived” just because of two accomplished performances.

“I don’t want to read too much into this win,” he said. “It’s good to break the hoodoo of beating England. To do it in Dublin with a new group and a new regime with new belief; it’s very positive. We deservedly put in a good performance to get the result so I am happy for the guys.

“We still have a lot to do but it’s just a good stepping stone and platform for the guys to build from there.”

IRELAND: D Harte, J Jackson, R Gormley, M Watt, K Shimmins, M Darling, T Cockram, M Robson, P Gleghorne, C Harte, S O’Donoghue. Subs: J Bell, M Elliott, P Caruth, S Cole, B McCandless, D Carlisle, D Fitzgerald.

ENGLAND: G Pinner, O Willars, H Weir, A Jackson, H Martin, A Brogdon, M Gleghorne, B Middleton, I Lewers, N Catlin, D Fox. Subs: A Bull, S Mantell, P Roper, A Dixon, D Condon, T Carson, P Smith.

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