‘It’s never a tournament without an upset’ and Ireland must beat Aussies

The Ireland squad in Antwerp. Pic: INPHO/Koen Suyk
The Ireland squad in Antwerp. Pic: INPHO/Koen Suyk

Banbridge captain Eugene Magee is hoping his side can create the talking-point of the tournament on Wednesday.

His Ireland team, also featuring Bann team-mates Drew Carlisle and Stevie Dowds, need to beat world number one side Australia to qualify for the Olympic games from World League Three (pass-back 1pm).

It would be an achievement to top their careers and they would certainly have done it the hard way.

“We’ve improved in every game since the start and hope to take that into the next one,” said Magee.

“The Australians we know to be a good side but we will treat them like any other with regards to our preparation and objective setting. Then we will have to be on our game for Wednesday but it’s never a tournament without an upset so hopefully we will shock a few people by coming out victorious.”

Ireland have every right to believe they can, having held the world number five side Great Britain and only lost to number four side Belgium once they pulled their keeper in their Pool B campaign.

Combined with a stomping 6-0 win over China, it was three impressive results for the Green Machine, who still finished fourth thanks to a disappointing 4-2 defeat to Malaysia.

They could have been further up the table, had they got the win their performance deserved in their opener against table-toppers Great Britain.

Coming off the pitch in Antwerp, the Irish lads felt it was a case of two points dropped, having hit the post twice and forced a last minute double save from the GB stopper.

GB had gone two up inside eight minutes and looked like they would cruise to victory but Ireland rallied back and could even have won.

Their poor fortune continued against Malaysia as Bann lad Stevie Dowds hit the post with a fantastic first time shot at 2-2.

Dowds is the only Bann man to get on the score-sheet and he did it in style against China, firing in the fastest goal of the tournament so far with a 130km/hr shot.

Ireland signed off their Pool B campaign with the 2-1 defeat to the hosts. It was another game they could easily have won and that will surely give the Green Machine and their three Banbridge lads hope for Wednesday’s momentous decider.