Sport

Hockey win gives Ireland big Olympic chance

Ireland have given themselves a great chance of qualifying for the Rio Olympics
Ireland have given themselves a great chance of qualifying for the Rio Olympics

IRELAND 4 MALAYSIA 1

Ireland's men's hockey team have given themselves a great chance of qualifying for the Olympics for the first time by claiming fifth place in the World Hockey League with a 4-1 victory over Malaysia in the play-offs in Antwerp.

Ireland must wait for results from the continental championships to know for sure how many Olympic places are allocated to the World League but by finishing fifth they have given themselves every chance of booking a place in Rio next year.

Ireland began the game strongly with two goals in the opening 15 minutes as Kyle Good and Peter Carruth both found the net.

Goalkeeper David Harte kept Malaysia at bay in the second quarter with some fine saves, leaving the Green Machine 2-0 up at the long break.

Ireland extended their lead in the third quarter when Alan Sothern finished off an excellent team move with a close-range finish.

Malaysia piled on the pressure in the final quarter and managed to pull one goal back but Ireland secured victory when Michael Darling flicked a Shane O'Donoghue drive to the net.

Goalkeeper Harte said: "The way that we had to defend again in serious big games like this showed fantastic effort from all 18. 

"It's been a rollercoaster, we've had incredible highs and lows, but to finish on a high like this is amazing. 

"We came here to do a job and finish as high as we possibly could. Today we had a chance to play against a team that was higher ranked and take a scalp and that's what we did. We're absolutely over the moon."