Sean Dancer’s Ireland hockey team has left itself with a mountain to climb if they are to ascend beyond the pool stages of the Olympics and on to higher ground.
Defeat to India this morning, the goal conceded three minutes from time, leaves them needing to beat Great Britain, the reigning Olympic champions, tomorrow or else India can overtake them with a defeat of lowly South Africa.
“It was a tough game. Credit where credit is due,” said Irish captain Katie Mullan. “India played a really good performance. They’d done their homework. They really put it up to us there today. They won a lot of corners. It’s always hard to come away from a game when you conceded a lot of corners like that.
“We’d be disappointed that we got basically to the last three minutes. We’ve another opportunity and we just have to prepare for that. Now everything in our control is how we perform against GB. So we’ll prepare now for that. We’ve played them a lot of times this year, so that will add something to the game.”
Ireland had beaten India twice on the way to the World Cup final in 208 but both were close affairs with the group game going 1-0 in their favour and the quarter-final settled by a shootout. India pushed hard this time, forcing 17 penalty corners and getting their goal through Navneet Kaur.
Ireland and India now have three points each but the Irish have a better goal difference of -5 compared to -8.
Great Britain have already qualified for the quarter-finals and cannot catch any of the three teams ahead of them while India play first tomorrow which will leave Ireland with a clear idea of what needs to be done.
A McFerran, S McAuley, H McLoughlin, R Upton, L Tice, C Watkins, K Mullan, A O’Flanagan, S Hawkshaw, D Duke, S Torrans.
S McCay, H Matthews, L Holden, N Carroll, N Daly.
Savita, Navjot Kaur, G Kaur, D G Ekka, Monika, Nisha, V Katariya, Udita, Navneet Kaur, Rani, Neha.
S Devi, N Pradhan, Lalremsiami, S Pukhrambam, S Tete.
A Rostron (RSA), A Neumann (AUS).