Ireland's McKee strikes late to defeat Poland

Men’s EuroHockey Championship II 

Poland 1 (K Sudol) Ireland 2 (B Walker, J McKee) 

Johnny McKee rushed in a significant winner late on Sunday night to make Ireland a big win over EuroHockey Championship II hosts Poland in Gniezno, touching in Shane O’Donoghue’s cross with simply 18 seconds to go. 

It crowned a significant week for Mark Tumilty’s Green Machine in which the team lost both Jonny Lynch and Lee Cole from the initially called panel prior to departure and after that were required to quarantine after a close contact ping following their flight into Poland. 

It implied Neal Glassey and Fergus Gibson – bringing the list of debutants approximately 7 – entered into the fold with Luke Madeley relocating to the reserve list. 

Jonny McKee Picture: Adrian Boehm

As such, there was huge relief when McKee got that last ditch winner with coach Tumilty confessing he injured his leg in the objective events. 

And he had absolutely nothing however appreciation for his revamped side for whom James Milliken, Ben Nelson, Mark McNellis, Kyle Marshall, Kevin O’Dea and Ian Stewart all debuted. 

“When the majority of the team got out of quarantine, it’s one of the things we said. The maturity the guys have shown this week has been incredible,” Tumilty stated.  

“It returns to last Saturday when we lost Johnny Lynch. There have actually been interruptions; a few of them hadn’t been on the pitch yet prior to today. It wasn’t best however the senior gamers and [assistant coach] Jason Klinkradt took care of them actually well. Guys have actually managed it actually well. 

A young group, they revealed a great deal of character to hang in there in the end. We safeguarded well and James Milliken was outstanding in objectives. Shane O’Donoghue produced that terrific little ability on the left-hand side and Jonny McKee got the winner.” 

Poland came on strong in the opening minutes with Milliken pushed into an early conserve from Mikolaj Gumny while Sean Murray nearly developed into his own internet however responded remarkably to dive full-length and turn the ball off the line. 

From there, Ireland became it, requiring Maciej Pacanowski into action prior to taking the lead in the 15th minute. It originated from the 2nd stage of the very first corner, an upright revese-stick cross being up to Ben Walker to direct house. 

Jeremy Duncan, O’Donoghue and Walker all required great conserves from the goalkeeper as Ireland enhanced through the 2nd quarter. 

But there were rocked when a prolonged crash ball from Michal Kasprzyk was rerouted by Krystian Sudol into the bottom corner. 

It established a grandstand surface with Ireland two times going within inches of the lead with Stewart inches far from a dream launching while Poland’s Wojciech Rutkowski had an objective chalked off with 2 minutes left. 

Ireland responded remarkably to that reprieve and got their winner as O’Donghue got in down the left and snapped throughout objective, McKee putting out a stick which knocked it house. 

It puts the Green Machine in terrific shape and a win on Tuesday versus Italy (4.45pm, Irish time) – who beat Croatia 4-1 with 3 objectives in the last 10 minutes – might put them on the brink of today’s very first target, a ticket to the World Cup qualifiers. 

“It’s nice to have that kind of reward out there and if we can get it early, it could give us some freedom for the rest of the tournament,” Tumilty included. 

“But Italy will be really difficult and, really, [world number 40] Croatia looked great today too. We need to be much better than today however we will grow. 

Ireland:

J Milliken, T Cross, J McKee, K Marshall, S O’Donoghue, S Murray, M McNellis, P McKibbin, J Duncan, M Robson, B Nelson 

Subs: D Walsh, N Glassey, K O’Dea, B Walker, F Gibson, I Stewart 

Poland:

M Pacanowski, D Kotulski, G Jarzynski, J Kurowski, R Pawlak, J Janicki, P Pawlak, J Chumenczuk, W Rutkowski, M Kasprzyk, M Lange 

Subs: M Glowacki, T Bembenek, M Gumny, M Koperski, K Sudol, M Nowakowski 



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