Wednesday 17 July 2019

Our hot-shot hockey girls power through to World Cup semis

Ireland players celebrate with goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran after their victory in a penalty shootout
Ireland players celebrate with goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran after their victory in a penalty shootout

Ireland recorded a historic win over India in the women's Hockey World Cup yesterday.

The 3-1 shoot-out victory earned the team a well-deserved place in tomorrow's semi-final against Spain.

Dublin midfielder Chloe Watkins was the heroine, scoring a tactful penalty, but speaking after the game in London she gave full credit to Antrim goalie Ayeisha McFerran.

"We knew we have the best keeper in the game," she said.


"We knew she would keep making saves and we had all our faith in her - she just kept on blocking.

"It ended up being a very tight game. It was quite hot out there, but India played really well - they had a great tournament."

Irish sport stars were quick to offer their admiration to the players.

Former rugby captain Fiona Coughlan told the Herald: "It was probably not their best game, but to finish in the way they did was just brilliant.

"There seems to be a really good culture in their squad and what they've achieved so far is extremely inspirational.

"At the end of the day, results are what get people interested, and I think they've proven that they're up there with the rest of the world, but it just comes down to how they perform on the day.

Ireland's Chloe Watkins during the shoot out
Ireland's Chloe Watkins during the shoot out

"Ultimately, the girls are paying to play and some of them are putting their careers on hold, which just goes to show the commitment they have to their team."

Olympic boxer Kenny Egan said it was "great to see Irish hockey back in the limelight".

"I always said that it's all about performance and the results will look after themselves," he said.

"This is remarkable for female sports in general, and their achievements can only do wonders for any young person dreaming of going down a similar path.

"We all know the GAA has an awful lot of people involved, but getting the publicity for hockey lets kids know that there's something different."

Irish hockey star Lisa Jacob told RTE that the team will now concentrate on recovery.

"They'll be taking ice baths, protein shakes and making sure they get enough sleep," she said.

"But, to be honest, I don't think the turnaround will be too bad and I believe they should be ready to go on Saturday."

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