Women stun Korea as Irish double up

It was a memorable afternoon for Irish hockey as both national sides produced quarter-final victories at the Champions Challenge I in Malaysia and Scotland yesterday.

Women stun Korea as Irish double up

Both sides were hoping to avoid relegation as a first priority, but, with the women seeing off world number eight Korea 2-1 and the men prevailing on penalties against France, after a 2-2 draw, they are safe and can now instead target beating their best-ever CC1 finishes of third place.

Women’s coach Darren Smith hailed “easily the best victory” of his tenure as they stunned tournament favourites Korea in Glasgow, just 24 hours after a demoralising 3-0 loss to the USA left them with the toughest last eight draw.

He admitted Ireland rode their luck, with goalkeeper Emma Gray putting in a performance for the ages to help keep out 11 penalty corners and set up a semi-final clash with Scotland or South Africa.

Some innovative set-pieces of their own yielded goals for Katie Mullan in the third minute and one for Anna O’Flanagan on 57 minutes after Hye Lyoung Han’s ramped deflection had levelled it.

Another Irish goalkeeper performing heroics was David Harte, as he kept France scoreless in a 1 v 1 shoot-out in Kuantan. Alan Sothern had given Ireland the lead inside 120 seconds but Guillaume Deront and Martin Genestet turned the tie on its head before Stevie Dowds dragged in a leveller six minutes from time.

France failed to score any of their efforts in the shoot-out while Sothern, Peter Brown and Eugene Magee netted Ireland’s first three to secure a 3-0 win and setup a fascinating semi-final clash with Korea tomorrow (1.30pm Irish time).

It will be Ireland’s first meeting with the Asians since they famously shattered hopes of Olympic qualification with less than 10 seconds on the clock in Dublin two years ago.

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