Investec London Cup - Ireland v South Africa

SA men 450

Ireland started their Investec London Cup campaign with a 4-2 win over South Africa, helped by a brace from Ireland's Alan Sothern.

Ireland 4 (2)
Shane O'Donoghue 19 (PC)
Michael Darling 29 (FG)
Alan Sothern 41, 45 (FG, FG)

South Africa 2 (1)
Taine Paton 25 (FG)
Lance Louw 47 (PC)

The first of the men's matches in the Investec London Cup saw Ireland face South Africa in warm sunshine at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre. The sides looked evenly matched, each creating good chances in the first 10 minutes. But it was Ireland who broke the deadlock when Shane O'Donoghue scored from a penalty corner, his low drag-flick sneaking beneath Erasmus Pieterse in the South Africa goal. Taine Paton equalised from an opportunist strike, but Michael Darling restored the Ireland lead going into halftime.

Ireland continued to create chances and put South Africa under further pressure, and two Alan Sothern goals early in the second half gave them a dominant 4-1 lead. But this was far from one-way traffic, with South Africa looking particularly dangerous on the counter-attack. When Conor Harte received a yellow card in the 47th minute, Lance Louw scored from the resulting penalty corner to keep South Africa in with a chance. However, Ireland kept good possession for the remainder of the game, and almost scored with a beautiful flowing move in the final minute.

Double goal-scorer Alan Sothern commented after the match: "The boys worked very hard today. We're feeling strong and looking forward to our next couple of games - hopefully we'll finish well at the weekend."