Women’s Olympic Field Hockey Group A: Great Britain V Ireland – The Tallaght Echo (Online) – August 1 2021

Ireland Hockey team bow out at end of group stages

Daire Walsh

Despite a gallant effort, the Ireland women’s hockey team exited the Tokyo Olympics following a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Great Britain in Oi Seaside Park earlier today.

Requiring a win in order to progress from Group A into the quarter-final stages of the tournament, the concession of goals in either half to Susannah Townsend and Hannah Martin saw Sean Dancer’s charges ultimately missing out on a spot in the last-eight.

This will come as a disappointment to the Katie Mullan-led side, but the margin for error was always going to be small in a highly-competitive field.

There was a strong contingent from the Rathfarnham-based Loreto club in the Ireland squad for this Olympics – an historic first for an Ireland women’s hockey team.

In addition to back-up goalkeeper Liz Murphy, Sarah Torrans, Nicci Daly and Hannah Matthews were also included amongst Dancer’s ranks.

Torran was on target in their 2-0 opening day victory over South Africa, but results haven’t gone Ireland’s way since then.

Having suffered a comprehensive reversal to the Netherlands in their second game, the Green Army fought valiantly before also losing out to Germany on a final score of 4-2.

A last-gasp 1-0 loss to India on Friday increased the pressure on Ireland ahead of their meeting with Team GB.

Although their neighbours had already qualified for the knockout rounds, they were hoping for a favourable draw in the next phase and therefore were eager to secure their third win of the campaign.

India’s own success over South Africa meant anything less that a win would eliminate Ireland from the tournament.

However, the 2018 World Cup finalists fell behind to Townsend’s close-range finish on 18 minutes and this left them with significant ground to make up in the second half.

Ireland needed to hit the ground running on the resumption if they had designs on forcing their way back into the reckoning. Instead, Martin rattled the net in the 32nd-minute to effectively place the outcome beyond doubt.

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