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'A very special moment': Sharpshooter O'Donoghue makes history in style

The 26-year-old yesterday became the first Irish hockey player to score 100 international goals.
Jun 19th 2019, 11:53 AM 3,606 0

SHANE O’DONOGHUE YESTERDAY became the first Irish hockey player to score 100 international goals in green, as he brought up his century in style with a hat-trick against Singapore.

The 26-year-old, Ireland’s all-time leading goalscorer, moved passed the landmark as Alexander Cox’s side secured a direct passage through to the semi-finals of the FIH Series in Le Touquet, France. 

CED_4344 O'Donoghue has moved to 101 international goals. Source: FIH

Having topped their pool on the back of Tuesday’s 11-0 victory, Ireland are now just one game away from an Olympic qualifying tie as they bid to reach their second consecutive Games in Tokyo.

O’Donoghue’s hat-trick propelled the Green Machine to an emphatic win as they bounced back from the weekend’s defeat to Egypt to safely progress to Saturday’s last-four tie. 

The midfielder opened the scoring in the first minute and then reached 100 international goals just after half-time, firing home another penalty corner. His hat-trick arrived 10 minutes later, with Conor Harte [2], Stephen Cole [2], Ben Walker, Lee Cole, Matthew Nelson and Luke Madeley all also on the scoresheet. 

“It was a very special moment not only for me but also for my family, my girlfriend, friends and a long list of people closest to me,” O’Donoghue, who was able to share the moment with his parents, told The42.

“I’m very humbled and honoured to reach such a milestone but it certainly would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the long list of players who I have played with over the last eight years in the international setup.

“It was nice to share the moment with my parents, of course, any milestone is well celebrated in our household.

CED_4356 The 172-time capped midfielder in action against Singapore. Source: FIH

He added: “My parents along with girlfriend, my sister and many others have been an incredible support network for me and I wouldn’t be even talking about this milestone of 100 goals if it wasn’t for them.

“It was even better topping the group over here in Le Touquet after a comprehensive win yesterday. Hopefully, the goals keep coming this Saturday in our do-or-die game as we look to progress onto the next stage of Tokyo 2020 qualification.”

Ireland must wait to discover their semi-final opponents, with Cox’s side set to face the winner of Thursday’s quarter-final between Korea and Egypt.

A place in the tournament final will assure Ireland of a two-legged Olympic qualifier in late October/early November, after the Ireland women did the same on home soil at Banbridge last weekend.  

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Ryan Bailey

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