Ireland through to first-ever Hockey World Cup Final

Ireland through to first-ever Hockey World Cup Final

Ireland are through to a first-ever Hockey World Cup Final.

After a 1-1 draw at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Ireland won the shoot-out 3-2, with Gillian Pinder scoring twice as the contest went to sudden death.

Ireland have been the surprise package of the tournament after going in as the second-lowest-ranked team then topping a group containing hosts England and India.

They made a dream start to the semi-final, with Anna O’Flanagan touching in a penalty corner after only three minutes. But Spain began to exert some concerted pressure and nine minutes into the third quarter, Alicia Magaz equalised.

That was the way it stayed until full-time, meaning a second shoot-out for Ireland following their quarter-final victory over India.

The girls in green progress after beating Spain 3-2 on penalties.

Graham Shaw’s side made the perfect start as Pinder tucked her effort away but Georgina Oliva levelled with Spain’s third one-on-one attempt.

With the goalkeepers in the ascendancy, Claudia Watkins looked like she might have won it for Ireland only for Lola Riera to immediately cancel that out.

After five attempts for each side, the sequence began again, this time with Spain going first, and, after Oliva’s shot was saved by Ayeisha McFerran, Pinder confidently converted the winning shot.

Ireland will play the defending champions The Netherlands in tomorrow's final.

Ireland's Anna O'Flanagan celebrates scoring her side's first goal of the game with teammates during the Vitality Women's Hockey World Cup Semi Final match at The Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo
Ireland's Anna O'Flanagan celebrates scoring her side's first goal of the game with teammates during the Vitality Women's Hockey World Cup Semi Final match at The Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo

Ireland were 16th in the world rankings going into the tournament.

President Michael D Higgins is thanking them, on behalf of the people of Ireland, for their incredible achievements.

He says the players, coach and support staff have overcome great difficulties, on and off the pitch, and have shown what team spirit, skill and dedication can accomplish.

President Higgins says we are all looking forward to a historic match on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Lord Mayor of Dublin says he will be organising a Civic Reception for the Irish women's hockey team.

Nial Ring says they've done the country proud.

Win or lose tomorrow they've made us very very proud. It is a fabulous sporting weekend.

The Taoiseach has joined in praise of the Irish women's hockey team.

Leo Varadkar has tweeted, saying the Green Army are an inspiration to the country.

Sports Minister Shane Ross has also added his voice to the celebrations saying he is proud of the Irish Women's team as they head into the World Cup Final tomorrow.

- Digital Desk

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