Irish crush Singapore to maintain Tokyo push
Ireland grasped a reprieve with both hands to top their group at the FIH Series Finals in Le Touquet, routing a hapless Singapore 11-0.
The Green Machine had broken down last Sunday in a shock 2-1 loss to Egypt. But the African side's subsequent 3-2 loss to Scotland opened the door for Ireland to go top on goal difference and they made no mistake in getting the four-goal win they required.
Shane O'Donoghue became the first Irish player to reach 100 goals as he scored a hat-trick, starting the scoring just 45 seconds into the tie.
Conor Harte and Matthew Nelson made it 3-0 after seven minutes to put Ireland on the brink before a rare Stephen Cole goal notched the all-important fourth. After that Singapore offered precious little resistance, Ben Walker made it five before half-time.
O'Donoghue with two more, a Lee Cole brace, Harte again and a Luke Madeley goal completed the rout.
Topping the group means Ireland take a step closer to Tokyo 2020, skipping the quarter-final stage and will now contest Saturday's semi-final. A win there will ensure a place in next October's Olympic qualifiers.