Ireland’s Men reach Paris Olympic dream

by Aaron Dunne
0 comment

Ireland became the 12th and final team to qualify for the Men’s Olympic Hockey tournament next summer in Paris by virtue of their 4-3 win over Korea.

Earlier in the afternoon Irish time New Zealand had beaten Pakistan in Oman to become the 11th team to make it and the winner of this game was thus going to be the  12th and last team to make the games.

This amounted to a win or bust match for the Irish Men’s senior hockey team. Anything other than outright victory would mean no Irish team in the Olympic Hockey tournament this summer in Paris. With the women having been beaten yesterday by Britain this was the last chance saloon for Irish hockey at this year’s Olympic Summer games in Paris.

Ireland were trying to qualify for the Olympics for the first time since Rio in 2016 and only the third time in history.

Korea were trying to qualify for the first time since 2012 when they qualified at Ireland’s expense in Dublin.

Ireland dominated the opening quarter and forced numerous penalty corners. The last of these in the first quarter was finished to the net by Matthew Nelson in the 14th minute. Ireland 1 Korea 0.

Korea almost equalized straight from the start of quarter two but were denied by Harte. Ireland  their lead in the 18th minute Sean Murray gathered possession and ran inside the D. He slipped the ball to McKee who fed the ball to Johnson who smashed the ball to the roof of the net. IRELAND 2 KOREA 0 .

VALENCIA – FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers 2024 Valencia 19 Ireland v Korea (3/4) Picture: Ireland wins with 4-3 from Korea and is going to the Olympics.
COPYRIGHT WORLDSPORTPICS FRANK UIJLENBROEK

Korea were awarded a penalty corner in the 22nd minute. Harte saved the first effort a second one rebounded off the post and Kim Junghoo opened Korea’s account in the 23rd minute. IRELAND 2 KOREA1. Ireland responded almost immediately .

Sean Murray the captain cut inside the D and slipped a pass which John McKee first timed to the net to make it IRELAND 3 KOREA 1 in the 24th minute. Korea got the score back to 3-2 from a penalty corner in the closing seconds converted by Jeong Junwoo. HALF TIMESCORE IRELAND 3 KOREA 2.

After a few good saves by Korean keeper Kim Jaehyeon, Ireland were awarded a penalty corner. Shane O’Donoghue converted the penalty corner to make it IRELAND 4 KOREA 2 in the 38th minute.

Korea reduced the deficit to one a minute later when Harte was penalised and J ANG Jonghyin stuck home the penalty stroke.

IRELAND 4 KOREA 3.

Ireland had to withstand a period of sustained pressure once Lee returned to the field. Korea withdrew their goalkeeper in favour of an extra outfield player.

But Ireland remained disciplined and defended well.

The final whistle went. Ireland are back at the Olympic games beating Korea was all the sweeter given the events of 2012. It ended Ireland 4 Korea 3. The Irish men will be at the Hockey tournament of the Paris Olympics in 2024.

After the game Mark Tumelty said:  “ We’ve done it. I had a lot of belief in this group.

“ I did think though it might comedown to this final game  before the tournament.

“The guys have delivered and we are on our way to the games.

“Very pleased for the players, we had to rebuild the squad after Vancouver and this a reward for all the work they put in and all the sacrifices.

“We have a very busy period, between now and the summer , in the run up to the games.

“We have the FIH Pro League, a trip to India and the games themselves in Paris.

“The Pro League will be 16 games against the top 8nations  in the world and that in itself will be excellent preparation for the tournament in July- August. “

Picture: WORLDSPORTPICS FRANK UIJLENBROEK

Related Articles