'A result to be cherished' - Irish women's hockey team claim historic victory over USA to keep Olympic dream alive
The Ireland women's hockey team have claimed one of the most significant wins in their history after beating the USA 2-0 in Pool B of the World Hockey League in Valencia.
The win puts the Irish side top of Pool B with the result of the final game between Germany and South Africa to determine their final pool placing.
The win is a major scalp with the Americans ranked fifth in the world and it was a defensive masterclass from the victors who soaked up the pressure from the favourites, with Megan Frazer and Anna O'Flanagan did the damage in offence for Ireland.
Ireland now advance to the quarter-finals of the competition knowing that a semi-final spot, or a win in the 5th-8th-place play-offs will qualify them for the Rio 2016 Olympics.
“It is a result to be cherished,” coach Darren Smith said afterwards.
“It was a really important win. First and foremost, we wanted to finish as high up in the group as possible and to beat the world number five side, World Cup semi-finalists, is something to be cherished.
“The higher up the pool you finish give you momentum for the semi-finals.”
Should they qualify they would become the first Irish team to qualify for the Games since the men's soccer team of London 1948.
Kerry football star Kieran Donaghy and Head of RTE Sport Ryle Nugent were among those to pay tribute to the victorious women.
Fantastic result for Irish women's hockey team. One step closer to Rio. Hopefully this time they get the reward. @irishhockey well done all.— Ryle Nugent (@RyleNugentRTE) June 16, 2015
Huge win for Ireland women's hockey team over big dogs USA 2-0 in world league. Clung on, and showed some heart. Top of the pool now— Shane Stapleton (@ShaneSaint) June 16, 2015