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Dublin: 0 °C Wednesday 23 January, 2019

History makers! Ireland qualify for first Olympic Games in 107 years

It is the first time an Irish team from any sport has qualified for the Games since 1948.

'It probably hasn't sunk in yet.'
'It probably hasn't sunk in yet.'
Image: Koen Suyk/INPHO

THE IRISH MEN’S hockey team have secured their place at next summer’s Olympic Games in Rio, becoming the first side to do so in over a century.

After agonisingly falling short at the World League in July, Craig Fulton’s side qualified this morning by virtue of Australia’s win in the Oceania Cup.

The Kookaburras had already assured themselves of a place in Rio so their 3-2 victory over New Zealand means Ireland, who were next in line, claim the 11th qualifying berth.

The Green Machine will join Brazil, India, Germany, Canada, Spain, Belgium, Great Britain, Argentina, Netherlands, Australia and one remaining qualifier at the Olympics.

It is the first time an Irish hockey team has qualified for the Olympic Games in 107 years and the first Irish team from any sport to qualify for the competition since 1948.

“Firstly commiserations to New Zealand and congratulations to Australia,” head coach Fulton said. “We have secured our spot at Rio 2016!

“It probably hasn’t sunk in yet but we’re over the moon. It’s testament to what the guys have achieved this year on and off the field.”

It caps a remarkable year for Ireland after they won bronze at the Eurohockey Championships in August.

The Olympics take place between 5-21 August next summer.

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Ryan Bailey

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