Rio 2016: Ireland beaten by India in Games opener

Ireland keeper David Harte fails to keep out this shot as India score in the Pool B game
Ireland keeper David Harte fails to keep out this shot as India score in the Pool B game

Ireland suffered a 3-2 defeat by India in their opening Pool B game at the Olympic Games in Rio on Saturday.

All five goals came from penalty corner moves, starting with Raghunath Vokkaliga firing the fifth-ranked Indians ahead in the first quarter.

Rupinder Pal Singh made it 2-0 before John Jermyn pulled one back for the Irish, who were making their first Games hockey appearance in 108 years.

Singh netted again before Conor Harte volleyed in with five minutes left.

It was an impressive display for an Irish side ranked 12th and lacking the vast Olympic experience of their opponents.

Vokkaliga rattled into the bottom corner with the last strike of the first quarter to give India a deserved lead at the Olympic Hockey Arena.

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Ireland's Bell upbeat despite Rio defeat

Ireland improved at the start of the second quarter and Jermyn netted from a penalty corner but it was ruled out for a block by Alan Sothern.

India were clinical from penalty corners and Singh shot high into the net four minutes from half-time.

Shane O'Donoghue blasted just over before Jermyn's drag-flick hit the India net with 12 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

Singh restored India's two-goal advantage early in the final quarter but the Irish remained determined and Harte tapped in after the ball bounced up off diving keeper PR Sreejesh.

Ireland pressed for the equaliser and again O'Donoghue was narrowly off-target with their final opportunity.

"We just didn't take our chances today," said Ireland head coach Craig Fulton.

"It ebbed and flowed for three quarters and we finished strong in the last quarter after John Jermyn's goal. We were playing well and had a good few chances but were just not accurate enough.

"As a team, we normally pride ourselves on that accuracy and today it didn't fire for us. All of our flickers are good and you can see that the shots were on, we just missed the target."

The Irish are back in pool action on Sunday against the Netherlands.

Ireland: D Harte, J Jackson, R Gormley, M Watt, C Cargo, J Jermyn, P Caruth, S O'Donoghue, M Darling, P Gleghorne, C Harte.

Subs: J Bell, A Sothern, E Magee, K Shimmins, K Good.

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