Sunday 9 December 2018

Heartbreak as USA end Ireland's hopes of Rio qualification

Ireland players dejected after the penalty shootout defeat to China in midweek
Ireland players dejected after the penalty shootout defeat to China in midweek Newsdesk Newsdesk

Ireland's brave bid to make the Rio Olympics next summer has fallen agonisingly short as they were beaten 6-1 by the USA in Valencia today.

The Irish ladies seemed emotionally drained from their shoot-out defeat to China Women's Hockey World League quarter-final and were unable to recapture their best form from earlier in the tournament.

Having come within the width of the post of beating the Chinese and progressing to Rio, Darren Smith's side seemed jaded in today's encounter.

Ireland claimed a famous 2-0 victory over the Americans in the Pool Stages but were unable to repeat the feat today.

Two first quarter goals from Lauren Crandall gave Ireland a mountain to climb and although they pressed in the second, they couldn't find the net.

A third quarter brace from Katie O'Donnell put the game well beyond Ireland.

The Irish pulled a goal back late in the quarter but it was too little too late and Paige Selenski's backhanded shot from a tight angle ended the contest.

As Ireland pushed for goals, Jill Witmer was able to add a sixth for the victors for a comprehensive victory.

Ireland needed to advance to the 5th-6th playoff to have any chance of Olympic qualification.

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