Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Ireland debutants confident their end game can rattle Olympic teams

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Tom Pilcher
Tom Pilcher is a sports writer who covered the 2008/2012 Olympics for Reuters, mainly handball and cycling, and Team GB live blogger in 2016.

It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. You will hear this statement across any competition at the Tokyo Olympics.

In the women’s hockey tournament, debutants Ireland certainly pride themselves on full application until the final whistle, and it nearly paid off against one of the tournament favourites Germany in a 4-2 Pool A loss on Wednesday.

Trailing 3-0 with two thirds of the game gone, Elena Tice’s goal from a penalty corner shortly after Lisa Altenburg had put the Germans three to the good was one step in the right direction, then Irish pressure told as Hannah McLoughlin scored another from a penalty corner.

The Emerald Isle’s hearts were broken however when Franzisca Hauke scored the winner five minutes from time. 

“We know that Ireland would fight till the end and they did. As soon as they shot one goal they were back,” said the midfielder.

Irish striker Anna O’Flanagan said she was proud of her side as they eye one more pool win to reach the quarters.

“We always know that we can score right up until the final whistle and I think we really showed that today.

“We worked really hard and fought until the very end. We’ll continue to do that all the way to the end of this tournament.

“We really took the game to the Germans today and at times they looked shaky and we had them rattled. 

“We know that we can perform on our day against any team in this competition and we’re just building now through the group stages and getting another win under our belts means we’re into the quarterfinals.”

Ireland play winless India on Friday, the Asians struggling for a foothold against defending champions Great Britain in a 4-1 loss earlier on Wednesday.

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