FIH Pro League: Ireland lose 5-1 to the Netherlands on debut in India

Ireland lost 5-1 to Netherlands in their first Pro League game

Ireland were beaten 5-1 by the Netherlands, the world's number one ranked team, on their FIH Pro League debut in Bhubaneswar, India.

Tjep Hoedemakers, Jorrit Croon and Jip Janssen put the Dutch into a commanding 3-0 lead in India.

Ireland created a number of chances and were rewarded when Lee Cole pulled a goal back.

However, Janssen added a fourth before a Steijn van Heijningen cross was turned into his own net by Tim Cross.

As Ireland go through a steep learning curve in the world's premier hockey competition, head coach Mark Tumilty was looking at the positives after facing off against the best side in the world..

"I didn't think it was a 5-1 game," said Tumilty.

"If we could have gotten a second goal in the third quarter it would have been a different result.

"I'm pleased with our first half showing. We produced some very good hockey at times, going forward at times too. Probably just a few individual errors cost us goals. Teams at this level punish errors ruthlessly.

"I thought Sean Murray was outstanding in the game today. On Tuesday we will face Australia and this will be another challenge for us. We will need to fix a few things from today that we could do a bit better on."

Netherlands hold off Irish pressure

After early pressure, the deadlock was broken in the 12th minute when, at the second time of asking, the Dutch went around the two Irish blockers at a corner and Janssen's pass was turned into the net by Hoedemakers.

Their lead was doubled in the second period when Croon reacted quickest in the circle to fire the ball high into the net after Jamie Carr had made a remarkable point blank save from Floris Wortelboer.

The Irish weren't daunted, despite the score line, and they attacked the Dutch in the closing minutes of the half and were very unlucky not to score.

Shane O'Donoghue's effort from a penalty corner was saved by Pirmin Blaak but the Netherlands goalkeeper was well beaten by Conor Empey's snap shot that came back of the post.

Daragh Walsh then fired a shot wide as Ireland finished the half strongly, but Janssen added a third after the interval when he tucked a penalty stroke into the corner.

Ireland will regroup for their next game against Australia
Ireland will regroup for their next game against Australia

However, Ireland struck back within a minute of going 3-0 down. Sean Murray took on four Dutch defenders and was taken down in the circle in the process of shooting. A penalty stroke was awarded and Cole scored the first ever Pro League goal for Ireland.

A lack of discipline saw two Dutch players receive cards and Ireland controlled possession for the remainder of the third quarter against nine players.

Ireland came closest when Johnny McKee hit the side netting and a penalty corner from Cole was cleared off the line but, back to a full compliment of players, the Dutch took advantage of a tiring Irish side in the final quarter.

Janssen dragged the ball beyond Carr from a penalty corner and, seconds after the restart, a cross from van Heijningen was turned into his own net by the unfortunate Cross.

Ireland's second Pro League match is against Australia on Tuesday.