Irish not firing on all cylinders |
June 27, 2003
The Belfast Telegraph
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IRELAND had to settle for a draw in their opening game against Austria in the Four Nations tournament in Vienna last night.
National coach John Clarke and assistant Soma Singh watched as their team drew 1-1 with the hosts, a disappointing result.
The Austrians haven't qualified for the European Nations Cup in September, and the Irish really need to see off opposition like this if they are to have any chance of doing well in Barcelona.
However, it must be said that Clarke and Singh are still experimenting as they formulate their final squad.
The Austrians took the lead through Jenelik after just eight minutes but the defence of Errol Lutton, Patrick Brown, David Smyth and Jason Black gave little away thereafter.
The equaliser came two minutes from the break when Stephen Butler send home a super drag flick.
The second half was scrappy and the nearest the Irish came to getting a winner was when Gordon Elliott had an effort strike the base of the post, although the Austrians were denied twice late on by goalkeeper Wes Bateman.
Six of the seven Ulstermen featured, with Brown, Smyth, Lutton and Jackson starting and Mark Raphael and Andrew Barbour coming on as susbstitutes.
Mark Irwin was one of two rested for tonight's game against Switzerland and tomorrow afternoon's game with Russia.
The Swiss are in the other European pool but the Russians are in our group.
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