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Ireland’s Olympic Games dream ended by Great Britain

Ireland 1-2 Great Britain

Ireland’s hopes of making it to the Paris Games were ended in Valencia on Saturday afternoon as a clinical Great Britain dug out a 2-1 victory in their women’s hockey Olympic qualifier third/fourth-place play-off.

On Thursday, Sean Dancer’s Green Army were beaten by Spain in a penalty shootout in the semi-finals. Had they won, they would have sealed a ticket to the Games.

Instead they were consigned to a winner-takes-all play-off battle with Great Britain, who looked more dangerous throughout a tense clash.

Just over two minutes into the second quarter, Sarah Jones broke the deadlock, forcing home a shot after Ireland had failed to fully deal with a penalty corner.

The Irish were dealt another major blow in quarter three when star player Deirdre Duke was forced off with an injury.

Forty seconds into the final quarter, their fate was sealed as Katie Robertson slotted a good finish beyond Ayeisha McFerran to net her ninth international goal.

Ireland huffed and puffed to the end and did get one back with the final play of the game, Hannah McLoughlin squeezing home from the edge of the circle.

However it was too little too late, with Great Britain celebrating raucously at the final whistle.

On Sunday, Ireland’s men’s team will chase a place at the Games when they take on Korea in a third/fourth-place play-off [2.30pm pushback].

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