Monday 10 December 2018

Ireland make history at Women's Hockey World Cup after dramatic penalty shoot-out win secures first ever semi-final

2 August 2018; Ireland players celebrate with goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran after their victory in a penalty shootout during the Women's Hockey World Cup Finals Quarter-Final match between Ireland and India at the Lee Valley Hockey Centre in QE Olympic Park, London, England. Photo by Craig Mercer/Sportsfile
2 August 2018; Ireland players celebrate with goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran after their victory in a penalty shootout during the Women's Hockey World Cup Finals Quarter-Final match between Ireland and India at the Lee Valley Hockey Centre in QE Olympic Park, London, England. Photo by Craig Mercer/Sportsfile

Ireland have advanced to a first ever semi-final at the Women's Hockey World Cup in London following a penalty shoot-out win over India.

Graham Shaw's side prevailed 3-1 on penalties following four scoreless quarters, with goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran the hero after making three shoot-out saves.

Successful penalties from Roisin Upton and Alison Meeke put Ireland on the verge of a semi-final clash with Spain, before Chloe Watkins confirmed the team's final four berth with a beautifully taken goal.

Ireland dominated large passages of normal time but defences were mostly on top. Anna O'Flanagan had Ireland's best chance after being picked out in the circle by captain Kathryn Mullan, but her close-range effort was turned away by India goalkeeper Savita Punia.

Tonight's heroics was Ireland's second win over India in a memorable tournament that also saw them beat hosts Engalnd in the group stage. Ireland's reward is a semi-final meeting with Spain on Saturday, which will be televised on RTÉ 2 at 2pm.

Speaking to RTÉ after the game, penalty goal-scorer Watkins paid tribute to goalkeeper McFerran.

"We knew we had the best keeper in the game," Watkins said.

"We knew she was going to keep making saves. We had faith in her. She just kept blocking. I knew what I was going to do and thankfully it came off."

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