Hockey World League semi-finals: Ireland men beat hosts in Johannesburg opener

Ireland's Shane O'Donoghue
Shane O'Donoghue's goal appeared to deflate the hosts in Johannesburg

Goals from Matthew Nelson and Shane O'Donoghue earned Ireland a 2-0 win over hosts South Africa in their World League semi-finals opener.

A defensive mistake was punished by Nelson in the 10th minute as Craig Fulton's side took the lead.

After Neal Glassey almost doubled Ireland's advantage, the hosts produced strong pressure either side of half-time in Johannesburg.

However, O'Donoghue's 47th-minute goal deflated the South Africans.

Goalkeeper David Harte had produced a number of fine saves before O'Donoghue's goal.

After their impressive start to the tournament, the Irish men face Belgium next on Tuesday at 17:00 BST.

Ireland will qualify for the 2018 World Cup if they finish in the top five in the 10-team tournament.

They will also play Egypt and Germany in Group B.

The Irish go into the tournament as the fifth highest ranked side, indicating that a World Cup qualification spot is very much in reach.

Ireland squad: David Harte (GK), Jamie Carr (GK), John Jackson, Jonathan Bell, Matthew Bell, Chris Cargo, Matthew Nelson, Alan Sothern, Eugene Magee, Neal Glassey, Shane O Donoghue, Sean Murray, John McKee, Paul Gleghorne, Jeremy Duncan, Conor Harte, Stuart Loughrey, Stephen Cole.

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