In a wide-ranging interview following his final game as Irish coach, Darren Smith speaks of his belief that Ireland's women can push on and become a top ten ranked side with a more structured high performance vision with the elements in place for success
Craig Fulton’s Ireland side were left with mixed emotions following their opening day 2-2 draw with Great Britain at World League Round 3 in Antwerp, coming from two goals down to earn a share of the spoils.
It is the turn of the Irish men this week to try and end the wait to qualify a sports team of any description for the Olympic Games, dating back to 1948, as they begin their World League Round 3 campaign in Antwerp this afternoon against Great Britain.
In the end, the Olympic dream evaporated in something of a whimper as Ireland’s women were unable to summon up yet another big performance against USA. They ultimately fell 6-1 and will now play South Africa in the seventh place playoff
Ireland’s defeat to China has denied them one of three direct tickets to the Olympic Games. There is still an outside chance of Darren Smith’s side qualifying but it requires a series of permutations to work in their favour, allied to a couple of wins over the weekend.
After the utter devastation of a shoot-out loss to China in what was a direct Olympic qualifier, Darren Smith has the unenviable task of picking up his players to go again for another huge match on Saturday in Valencia.
Ireland’s women face China on Thursday (10.30am, Irish time) in the quarter-final of World League Round 3 knowing victory will all but assure Darren Smith’s side a first ever ticket to the Olympic Games.
Ireland pushed European champions Germany all the way but ultimately succumbed as a third quarter blitz proved their undoing in Valencia in a contentious battle in which Ireland got few rubs of the green
The shadow-boxing is over; let the games commence for Darren Smith and the Irish women as they bid for a first ever Olympic berth as they begin their World League 3 campaign in Valencia, Spain against South Africa on Wednesday afternoon (11.30am, Irish time).