England 3 (1)
Calnan (20’, FG), Ward (51’, PC), Gleghorne (60’, FG)
Ireland 3 (2)
Walker (5’, FG), O’Donoghue (17’, FG), Walsh (52’, FG)
Mark Gleghorne struck in the final minute to ensure England began their Invitational Four Nations series in Spain with a dramatic 3-3 draw against Ireland.
The defender – playing his first international game since Great Britain’s exciting 6-5 victory over Spain back in January – scored his 46th combined international goal to clinch a point for his side.
Will Calnan and Sam Ward – making his England return having missed last year’s World Cup with injury – also found themselves on the scoresheet as England twice came from behind in the opening game of a tournament designed to act as a warm up for this year’s EuroHockey Championships.
Elsewhere Adam Dixon captained England for the first time, Tom Sorsby made his England debut and Ashley Jackson also pulled on the Three Lions for the first time since the 2015 Euros.
Having beaten Ireland on their way to a fourth-placed finish at the 2018 Hockey Men’s World Cup, England found themselves two goals behind after just 17 minutes courtesy of Benjamin Walker and Shane O’Donoghue.
Calnan reduced the arrears just four minutes later with his third goal in four international appearances as England – who recently moved up to sixth in the world rankings – hit back after the slow start.
They then took control in the second half but couldn’t find an equaliser until Ward’s ninth goal of 2019 in the 51st minute, only for Daragh Walsh to put Ireland back ahead just moments later.
But Gleghorne popped up to score against Ireland yet again, having also done so in the 4-2 win at the World Cup, and guarantee a point for both teams after a hard fought encounter.
After the game, Dixon said: “We knew to expect a hard, physical battle and that’s what we faced in the first half.
“But we found our way into the game in the third quarter, dominating long spells of possession before converting circle entries into corners, allowing Sam Ward to equalise.”
Men’s Head Coach Danny Kerry added: “We were very rusty and disjointed in the first half but that’s why we’re here.
“Tom Sorsby did well in a new role, especially given his age and that it was his England debut.
“We are pleased with aspects of our play that we’ve been working on and will continue to grow the breadth of our game.”
England next face hosts Spain at 7pm tomorrow night before concluding their campaign against Malaysia at 9am on Sunday 4 August (both times BST).
England Starting XI: Pinner, Ames, Weir, Martin, Griffiths, Ward, Gleghorne, Roper, Dixon (C), Condon, Calnan
England Subs (Used): Jackson, Sloan, Hoare, Ansell, Gall, Sorsby
England Subs (Unused): Gibson, Willars, Waller, Wallace