The Green Machine, needing to finish in the top three at World League 2 in San Diego to advance to the competition’s third round, where the berths for Rio 2016 will be doled out, edged a tense semi-final against Canada — ranked one place above them at 14th in the world — 2-0 on Saturday. The tournament’s two top-ranked sides played out a tense opening half with David Harte having to stand tall to bat away some chances before two Shane O’Donoghue short corner goals in as many minutes turned the game in Ireland’s favour.
Chris Cargo won his 100th cap for Craig Fulton’s men, who were due to take on Austria — whom they defeated 3-1 in the pool stages — in the final late last night.
Back home, UCC and Cork Harlequins will be Munster’s representatives in the expanded women’s Irish Hockey League next season after the students edged a depleted Catholic Institute 2-1 at Rosbrien. Sisters Ciara and Clodagh Moloney were on target for Insta and College respectively with Amy-Kate Trevor’s strike winning it.
It leaves those UCC and Quins as the only ones left fighting for the title, with their meeting at Farmers Cross looking likely to be decisive although Quins must still visit third-placed Insta too.
Holders Cork C of I came from behind three times to win a rip-roaring Irish Hockey Trophy quarter-final at Kilkenny 5-4. Scoil Mhuire schoolgirl Louise Egan continues to lead the goalscoring charge for Eddie Kirwan’s side with two here, while former C of I woman Sinead Connery was on target for Kilkenny.
Limerick remain top of the Munster Division 1 Challenge after coming from a goal behind to beat Fermoy 4-1. With the top four sides qualifying to compete in Division 1 next season, Limerick, Clonakilty — despite dropping a point in a 1-1 draw at Tipperary — and Cashel/New Inn are in the driving seat to advance, with Fermoy facing an uphill battle to regain their top tier status.
Cashel edged Belvedere 2-1 while former international Kristen Lyons’ hat-trick helped Waterford move into the reckoning with a 5-3 win at basement side Clonmel.
Meanwhile, Cork C of I need just a point to reclaim the men’s Division 1 title after blowing away nearest rivals UCC in the second half of a 5-1 win. Bandon’s upward mobility continued with a 3-2 win at Cork Harlequins that gives them a shot at overhauling the Farmers Cross men for third place.