Ireland Secure Draw in French Test

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Ireland’s men had to be satisfied with a 1-1 draw against France in Tuesday night’s international at a rain-lashed Lisnagarvey as both teams continued their preparations for the first stage of Olympic qualifying in Le Touquet later this month.

The hosts looked to have a morale boosting victory in the bag after Shane O’Donoghue’s second-half goal but France levelled with the last play of the game after forcing seven consecutive penalty corners.

In spite of the dreadful weather, more than 300 fans turned up to watch Ireland’s penultimate game before they head to France.

Both teams had difficulty coping with the difficult underfoot conditions in the first-half which was virtually devoid of chances bar an effort from Ulster man Sean Murray which hit the post on the half hour mark.

Play opened up after the break and O’Donoghue was denied by the French keeper in the 40th minute after good work by Banbridge star Eugene Magee and Murray.

Two minutes later, the Dubliner broke the deadlock when he scored from Ireland’s only set-piece of the game, his low drag flick taking a deflection off a French player’s stick before entering the net.

O’Donoghue was foiled by the keeper shortly afterwards and then Magee fired over as the hosts pressed hard for a second.

However, the French snatched a deserved draw when Hugo Genestet fired high into the net after that barrage of corners. The teams meet again on Thursday at the same venue (12noon).

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