Ireland moved within touching distance of a first ever qualification for the Olympic Games as they beat Malaysia 4-1 in Antwerp, rounding off their World League Round 3 campaign in fifth place.
One step from heaven. World number 12 side Malaysia are the last big barrier between Ireland and what would all but assure a place at the 2016 Olympic Games.
Alan Sothern’s 46th minute goal moved Ireland within touching distance of Olympic qualification as they saw off Pakistan 1-0 yesterday in Antwerp, the first time they have beaten the Asian side in 11 attempts.
Ireland face Pakistan at 12pm (Irish time) in the first phase of the World League Round 3’s fifth to eighth playoffs in Antwerp on Friday afternoon, aiming to keep alive their hopes of reaching the Olympic Games.
Ireland’s first potential route to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 was closed in Antwerp as world number one side Australia ran out 4-1 winners in their World League Round 3 quarter-final.
Ireland’s men are aiming to go somewhere they have never gone before by doing something they never have before; beat Australia to all but assure qualification for the Olympic Games.
The simple facts are Ireland will meet world number one side Australia in the quarter-finals of the World League Round 3 in Belgium after a 2-1 loss to the hosts; they have plenty of reason to be aggrieved, though, after a glut of video review decisions left a sickening taste
Alan Sothern’s hat trick under-pinned a comprehensive 6-0 win over China in Antwerp in World League Round 3, guaranteeing Craig Fulton’s side a place in the last eight of the competition with a group game to spare.
Ireland face a crucial battle with China on Friday afternoon (1pm, Irish time) after an ordinary performance against Malaysia put Craig Fulton’s side under pressure to qualify for the World League 3 quarter-finals in Antwerp.
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.
A 4-0 mauling and an eighth place finish overall provided an extra harsh exclamation mark, ending the World League Round 3 competition that offered so much Olympic hope in desperate fashion.
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
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 stunned world number five side USA 2-0 with goals from Megan Frazer and Anna O’Flanagan to ensure they finish top of Pool B of the World League Round 3.
Ireland’s women conclude the pool phase of World League 3 on Tuesday afternoon at 2pm (Irish time) with a victory over USA guaranteeing them a place in the top two in the group.
Aine Connery’s 55th minute winner saw Ireland guarantee their place in the quarter-finals of World League Round 3 as they survived a second half onslaught from Uruguay to prevail 3-2.
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
Shirley McCay will hit the 200 cap mark this afternoon when Ireland face Germany in their second World League 3 game at 2pm in Valencia, a tie set to be broadcast live on Sky Sports 1.