Hockey: Victory over India could still see Ireland into quarters

by Stephen Findlater
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Olympic women’s hockey 

Ireland 2 – Germany 4

By Stephen Findlater

Ireland produced a big second half comeback but were just held at bay by Germany, setting up a showdown on Friday with India where a victory would likely bring a quarter-final spot. 

In a match packed full of incident, Germany – recently installed at second in the world –  led 3-0 early in the second courtesy of a double from Lisa Altenburg and one from Cecile Pieper. 

But two corner strikes from Lena Tice and Hannah McLoughlin had the Green Army right back in the mix going into the closing stages before a contentious Francisca Hauke goal settled the tie. 

“Games against Germany are always quite physical and they’re quite fun too, so I think we enjoyed that game,” Monkstown’s Chloe Watkins reflected. 

“I think 4-2 is probably not really a fair reflection, we probably deserved a point if I’m honest. 

“One or two  things didn’t go our way but I think we played really well, we came up to it, they’re world No 3 and I think it was a really good battle, we matched them in a lot of areas.” 

“We could have rolled over in the fourth quarter and let them come in but we didn’t. We fought hard and we knew goal difference is really important. They were really good goals, really well worked and it just showed our fighting spirit to give us confidence going into the next game.” 

Ireland sit fourth in the group with two games to go with four teams advancing to the quarter-finals. India fell 4-1 to Great Britain to leave them with three losses on their record and targeting the Irish game as one they need to win to keep their tournament hopes alive. 

“India have strong elimination skills, the ability to crash the ball [direct] is something they are well known for,” is coach Sean Dancer’s assessment of that encounter. 

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“Understanding their structure but also willing to front up well and I think we match up nicely against them. We will try and get on the front foot and punish them any way we can. 

“We knew the Dutch and German games would be difficult and probably take care of themselves. 

“I suppose the hard work starts now – we always knew India and GB would be where the tournament gets really interesting and we have to step up and is the main challenge.” 

The Ireland squad contains 13 Dublin players from across Loreto, Railway Union, Pegasus, UCD, Muckross, Old Alex, UCD, Monkstown and Catholic Institute.

Ireland: A McFerran, S McAuley, H McLoughlin, R Upton, L Tice, C Watkins, K Mullan, A O’Flanagan, S Hawkshaw, D Duke, Z Malseed. Subs: S McCay, H Matthews, L Holden, M Carey, N Daly.

Caption: Team Ireland huddle together after their defeat to world No 2-ranked Germany on Wednesday morning – SPORTSFILE

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