INSEP Five Nations: Ireland 0 Poland 0
Ireland began their Five Nations campaign in Paris in low-key fashion as a sterile match was almost lit up by a late flurry of action but, in the final reckoning, neither the Irish nor Poland’s set plays functioned to see the scoreline end in a rare blank.
David Ames and Geoff McCabe held sway for long periods in the midfield battle, helping create several corner opportunities but Mariusz Chyla kept the threat that proved so successful against Malaysia at bay.
The Polish became a more aggressive force after the interval, creating a couple of decent circle penetrations without a final touch. They did, however, have the game’s clearest chance when Tomasz Dutkiewicz stepped up to take a penalty stroke, only to push onto David Harte’s post.
One last Irish corner chance went awry in the final minute but Chyla stood firm, leaving Ireland to play catch-up on Malaysia and Scotland who beat Poland (3-2) and France (5-4), respectively on Tuesday.
Speaking after the game, assistant coach Arul Anthoni said “Hopefully we will continue managing our defence play like we did today and in our last four matches against Malaysia .
“This particular defensive concept will take us forward as a team and we look forward to playing against France tomorrow evening.”
Mitch Darling, when introduced as a tenth minute sub, earned his 50th cap – the first of three potential players to reach that milestone at this tournament. Conor Harte is currently on 49 caps while Alan Sothern has one less.
With 15 outfield players in Paris for this tournament, it is likely they will both notch up their half-centuries. All three players made their senior debuts in 2006 as teenagers.
The tournament itself celebrates the inauguration of the brand new INSEP facility in Paris and a special ceremony will be held on Friday to mark the occasion and the tournament is expected to become a fixture in the French international calendar.
As Ireland’s next opponents, France yesterday saw the return of striker Arnaud Becuwe following a break over the summer though veteran Freddie Soyez and Nicolas Monnier remain on sabbatical.
Following an impressive U-21 European Cup at the end of July, Lois Sevestre, Matthieu Catonnet and Fabien Mazurier come into the team for their first FIH tournament and join a quartet of other U-21 players in the panel.
Ireland: David Harte, John Jackson, Geoff McCabe, Ronan Gormley (capt) Eugene Magee, Andy McConnell, Timmy Cockram, Phelie Maguire, David Ames, Paul Gleghorne, Conor Harte
Subs: Chris Cargo, Alan Giles, Joe Brennan, Mitch Darling, Alan Sothern
Poland: Mariusz Chyla, Miroslaw Juszczak, Szymon Hutek, Dariusz Rachwalski (capt), Szymon Oszyjczyk, Tomasz Dutkiewicz, Miroslaw Kluczynski, Mateusz Poltaszewski, Marcin Strykowski, Artur Mikula, Tomasz Marcinkowski
Subs: Tomasz Gorny, Bartosz Kubiak, Waldemar Rataj, Piotr Kozlowski, Patryk Petrykowski
Standings: 1. Scotland 3pts (+1) 2. Malaysia 3pts (+1) 3. Ireland 1pt (0) 4. Poland 1pt (-1) 5. France 0pts (-1)
Match Schedule (Irish Time):
Thursday (5pm): Ireland vs France; (2.30pm) Malaysia vs Scotland
Friday (3pm): Poland vs Scotland
Saturday (2.30pm): Ireland vs Malaysia; (5pm) France vs Poland
Sunday (1.30pm): Ireland vs Scotland; (3pm) France vs Malaysia