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Dublin: 19 °C Monday 22 April, 2019

'It's the dream start, but it's only a start' - More to come from 'magnificent' Ireland

Graham Shaw’s Ireland recorded a famous win in their first World Cup appearance in 16 years on Saturday.

THE STUFF OF dreams. A massive, massive win to kick off their first World Cup in 16 years.

Shirley McCay celebrates her goal with Deirdre Duke Celebrations as Ireland beat the USA. Source: Joe Toth/INPHO

Ireland caused a huge upset in their Hockey World Cup opener in London on Saturday, stunning the United States with a 3-1 victory.

A Deirdre Duke double and another goal from Shirley McCay powered Graham Shaw’s side — ranked 16th in the world — past seventh-ranked US and to the top of Group B.

“To beat the World number seven, the team that finished fourth in the last World Cup is obviously the dream start,” Shaw — who hailed his side as ‘magnificent’ after — told RTÉ’s Darren Frehill.

“But it’s only a start. We’re obviously looking forward now to playing India on Thursday.

“Starting off with three points puts you top of the pool now considering India drew with England in the first game. It is looking like now a result in one of the next two games could probably put us through to the next round, and maybe even a win could really put the teams on the back foot and maybe push us into the quarter-final.

Graham Shaw Graham Shaw. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

“Listen we’re not getting ahead of ourselves. We’re obviously keeping our feet on the ground, focusing now on India and see if we can repeat that performance, maybe even improve a little bit more.

“Hopefully now come Thursday evening we’ll be sitting on six points.”

The winners of each group qualify for the last eight, while second and third-placed teams advance to play-offs. Obviously the target for the Girls in Green is a quarter-final spot and as of now, they’re well and truly on the right path towards achieving that goal.

As aforementioned, Ireland face India on Thursday and then they go head-to-head with the hosts England on Sunday.

There may be sterner tests ahead in the formidably-challenging Pool B, but the mood is positive in the camp and confidence sky-high after their dream start.

The focus lies on India now, Shaw insists: “They’re going to be a little bit different.

Ireland players stand for the national anthem The Ireland team. Source: Joe Toth/INPHO

“They’re very, very technically-gifted players, not as physically strong as the USA but make up for it in that technical ability and real one v one elimination skills.

“They’ll present a different challenge to the USA but a challenge that we’re very much going to meet full on.”

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Emma Duffy

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