Monday 3rd May Belgium Hurlers, European Champions in 2009, continued their impressive run of success on May 1st last, clocking up their 7th tournament win in a row and their first of 2010.
Belgium won the final by 1-8 to 1-5, with a goal by captain Phil Cushen the difference between the sides in the end.
The day began badly for Belgium, who were without 12 starters from 2009. In the group game against Den Haag, the concession of 2 sloppy goals saw them lose by 2-3 to 0-5. 3 points by Davy Barrett, with 1 each from play by Phil Cushen and Jarrett Reckseidler amounted to Belgium’s tally.
Next up were Luxembourg in a make or break tie. Belgium huffed and puffed before putting away the Lux challenge with a series of pointed frees from top marksman Davy Barrett. Also on the scoresheet were Phil Cushen and Shane Ryan. Solid defending by Fergal Mythen and Yann de Kesel kept the Luxembourg threat to a minimum.
The final offered a chance to undo the damage inflicted by Den Haag earlier on. This Belgium team is not used to capitulating having dominated Europe for over a year now and Saturday proved no different.
A titantic tussle between Sean Simpson and Phil Cushen at midfield set the tone for proceedings, with the DH man notching up the lion’s share of his teams score, with the Crusher scoring the only goal of the day for Belgium.
Den Haag established an early foothold with the aforementioned Simpson scoring a goal. Half time Belgium were down 1-3 to 0-4 with Davy Barrett scoring 2 points, The Crusher scoring 1 and Limerick’s Conor Magner scoring a great point from the left.
The first half was also marked by a couple of shamozzles, with Belgium’s Dad’s Army leading the way in the trenches!
Belgium upped the tempo in the second half, grabbing the game by the scruff of the neck. Phil Cushen pilfered the ball 35 yards out on the left, broke through 2 tackles before angling a shot to the top right corner of the net, bring Belgium level.
Shane Ryan found his shooting range with an excellent score from out on the right before Davy Barrett added to points to seal the deal.
Belgium came away with silverware once more in a struggle which brought back memories of a great battle between these two rivals in Luxembourg in 2009.
Credit to all who travelled on the day, which featured assured performances from debutants such as Conor Magner and old hands such as Adrian Hiel at the back.