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Dublin: 7 °C Wednesday 22 January, 2020
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Ireland secure Olympic qualifier spot and reach final in France after win over Korea

Three goals in a three-minute spell either side of half time saw Alexander Cox’s men through.

IRELAND HAVE TAKEN a significant step on the road to Tokyo 2020 after sealing their Olympic qualifier spot with a 4-2 win over South Korea at the FIH Series in France.

Alexander Cox’s side were forced to dig deep in the semi-final of the Le Touquet tournament but goals from Matthew Nelson, Eugene Magee, Ben Walker and Neal Glassey saw them over the line and into the final.

irish2 Source: Irish Hockey Twitter.

After bearing Singapore 11-0 to top their group, Ireland now face either France or Scotland in tomorrow’s decider.

Early on, there was little to separate the sides under the sun and it wasn’t until the 25th minute that the scoreboard changed from 0-0. Korea struck first through a Jeon Byungjin penalty corner, before Ireland responded in emphatic fashion five minutes later.

Nelson fired the first of their goals as half time approached, with two more to follow straight after the break. Magee and Walker — it looked like Shane O’Dononghue scored but Walker got the official credit — made it three goals in less than three minutes of game time, as the Green Machine upped the ante and the tempo on the restart.

Korea appeared flustered and Alexander Cox’s side took control from there, enjoying their period of dominance before Korea looked to stage a comeback. 

Suengil Lee soon found their second of the day, the score 3-2 with 41 minutes on the clock as they got back on top.

The final quarter would be a big one and it was tit-for-tat for the most part, but Glassey settled the score as the clock turned 60 and the game finished 4-2.

Ireland needed to dig deep, but at the end of the day this is an excellent result — made better by the fact that they now finish above Korea in the rankings, which improves their chances of a more favourable two-legged play-off qualifier draw.

The play-offs, which the Ireland women’s team have also qualified for, will take place in September or October.

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Emma Duffy

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