Ireland striker Zara Malseed believes the team’s battling display in defeat to Germany in Group A of the Olympics hockey tournament could play a crucial role in qualifying Sean Dancer’s team through to the knockout stages.
The Irish found themselves 3-0 down via two Lisa Altenburg goals and another from Cecile Pieper sandwiched in between, while they also had to spend 10 minutes without Anna O’Flanagan who was sent to the bin.
However, goals from Elena Tice after 42 minutes and Hannah McLoughlin eight minutes later put the underdogs in a strong position against one of the team’s fancied to go on and take a medal.
In the end, the Germans made it safe with a fourth-quarter goal from Franzisca Hauke but the Irish side’s ability to narrow the margin of defeat could well count in terms of goal difference down the line.
“Any game you are playing to win but it’s a tournament and we do know that it comes down to these fine margins, especially at things like the Olympics," said Malseed. "So we always defend hard. It’s part of us so we kept that up. We were just unlucky, I think.”
This was Ireland’s second loss on the bounce, coming on the back of a 4-0 defeat to the Netherlands, but they opened their account by seeing off South Africa and can still book a quarter-final place against India or Team GB.
A McFerran, S McAuley, H McLoughlin, R Upton, L Tice, C Watkins, K Mullan, A O’Flanagan, S Hawkshaw, D Duke, Z Malseed.
S McCay, H Matthews, L Holden, M Carey, N Daly.
J Sonntag, K Horn, A Wortmann, S Oruz, A Schröder, L Altenburg, F Hauke, C Pieper, P Maertens, V Huse.
C Stapenhorst, S Zimmerman, P Heinz, J Fleschutz, H Granitzki.
S Wilson (GBR), M Joubert (RSA).