Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Heartbreak for Ireland in hockey Olympic qualifier

Ireland 2 (1) 
Peter Caruth 14m pc; Timmy Cockram 56th m pc

Korea 3 (1) 
Nam Yong Lee 30m op & 70th op; Hyun Woo Nam 58th ps.

It was heartbreak for Ireland tonight at the final of the Electric Ireland FIH Road to London when they lost out by the narrowest of margins in a game that could have secured them a spot in the London Olympics.

Ireland opened holding the majority of play in the first ten minutes showing composure and patience as they looked for a way to break through and attack. Ireland’s efforts paid off when they secured the first penalty corner in the 13th minute, John Jermyn’s initial drag was saved but a quick Peter Caruth pounced on the rebound for a close range slap to go one nil up.

David Harte was called into action minutes later closing out the chance for Korea to get a clean strike away. Korea began to find rhythm and again looked dangerous in the Irish circle but the post this time kept their efforts out and Ireland’s 1-0 lead in tact. Ireland were forced into a spell of pressure but a solid looking Irish defence reacted well to the Korean efforts.

Korea finally equalised with a close range shot after working along the backline to set up Yong Nam Lee at the penalty spot and one all at half time.

Ireland started with great initiative Mikie Watt weaving his way up the right but the attack yielded no goal. Ireland came close with some great build up work from Gleghorne and Darling to put through two bouncing balls across the circle but Ireland just couldn’t get the touch. Ireland secured a penalty corner with less than a quarter to go and marksman Timmy Cockram was on hand to push Ireland into the lead once again.

Ireland conceded a penalty stroke minutes later and Woo Hyun Nam made no mistake to level the sides to 2-2.

Korea had a golden chance to go ahead minutes later but a phenomenal Harte in goals kept the drag effort out. With just eight seconds left on the clock Irish hearts broke as a free in received a deft touch from Nam Young Lee to give his side the 3-2 win and Olympic place. 

Ireland Starting XI: David Harte; John Jackson; Geoff McCabe; Ronan Gormley; Michael Watt; John Jermyn; Ian Sloan; Mitch Darling; David Ames; Paul Gleghorne; Stuart Loughrey

reserves: Chris Cargo; John Jermyn; Peter Caruth; Andy McConnell; Timmy Cockram

Final Placings; 1) Korea; 2) Ireland; 3) Malaysia; 4) Russia; 5) Ukraine 6) Chile

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