Ireland Women Secure Olympic Qualifiers Semi-Final Spot


Players in front of fans after the match.

The task for Ireland going into tonight’s last pool match of these Olympic Qualifiers was simple. A win and second place in the pool and a spot in the semi-finals would be secure. In fact, a draw given Ireland’s superior goal difference to the Koreans might also have been enough. Belgium went on from their 0-0 draw with Ireland to beat Korea 10-1 and Ukraine 13-0 and win the Group. Ireland would have needed to beat Korea 15-0 to win the group and that outcome was highly unlikely. to secure a semi-final tilt with Great Britain.

Hannah McLoughlin had an early penalty corner attempt saved by Eunji KIM. McFerren made a good save from a circle entry by the Koreans. The ball struck her on the lower arm, and she needed a little attention from the physio before continuing in action. Korea forced a number of corners both long and penalty in the 10th minute without really testing McFerren.

Ireland finished the quarter strongly 0-0 at the end of the first quarter. The Korean defended well in numbers and having shipped 10 goals against the Belgians in their previous outing were determined there would not be a repeat. Jeogihn Kim was green carded for Korea in the 19th minute Sarah Hawkshaw got green carded in the 22nd minute but neither Ireland or  Korea were unable to put their temporary numerical advantages to productive use. Korea and Ireland were taking it in turns to attack as the quarter drew to a close. Sarah Torrans dived in to intercept a pass across goal by a Korean player, but her interception didn’t go on target. It was 0-0 at half time.

The third quarter began and Roisín Upton was green carded in the 32nd minute. Ireland got their second penalty corner of the match in the 34th minute while shorthanded. Sarah Hawkshaw diving in at the far post converted the penalty corner from Hannah McLoughlin’s initial goal bound shot. Ireland 1-0. Korea didn’t see the ball while Ireland were shorthanded as the girls in green defended well.

Sarah Torrans was green carded in the 41st minute and again Ireland had the better of times during her absence. Deirdre Duke was unlucky not to score diving effort saved by Eunji KIM and while on the ground she attempted another which the keeper batted away with her blocker. Deirdre Duke had gone on a run and shot the ball in the net in the 45th minute .

The Koreans referred it to the video referral. But the goal stood, and the Koreans lost their video referral. Ireland led 2-0 at the end of the third quarter.  Eunbi Cheon, the Korean captain almost got them on the score sheet in the fourth quarter forcing a save from Ayeisha McFerren. From the resultant long corner, Korea did score the ball was sent to Cho Hyejin at the far post and she scored to make it 2-1. This was the first goal Ireland had conceded in the tournament. Michelle Carey was yellow carded and Ireland were shot handed for Ireland were awarded a penalty stroke in the 55th minute which Roisin Upton converted with aplomb to make it 3-1 to Ireland. The Koreans withdrew their goalkeeper with five minutes to go. Ireland failed to convert a penalty corner when Korea had no keeper, and they also had the ball in the net, but the whistle had already blown for a free hit to Korea in the closing minutes. The Koreans forced a penalty corner in the 58th minute but were unable to convert it and Ireland held out to win 3-1. They will face Spain the winners of Pool B in their semi-final.


After the match, we spoke with Captain Katie Mullan and Player of the Match, Sarah Hawkshaw

To Katie Mullan: 

Q.1 Katie, a place in the semi-finals secured an important first step?

“It feels great we are very excited. This is the place we wanted to be in. I’m really proud of the girls tonight. It was another game and another job done. And we put in a brilliant performance. Everyone did their job and we are ready to go for the semi-final”

Q2. Is it good to have a familiar opponent  in the semi-finals?

“Yeah we’ve played Spain a lot and we have lot of experience of playing against them , and on this pitch. I’ve no doubt that it will be a good battle but we’ll be ready for it.”


To Sarah Hawkshaw:  

Q.1 Tell us about the first goal of the game. Was that one from the training ground?

“Yeah most certainly is. Look , for that to come off , all the basics have to be right . Hannah McLoughlin delivered a great ball. So I just had the small matter of touching it in.” 

Q.2  Sarah there were a number of green and yellow cards awarded against Ireland today and we played much of the second half down to 10 players , were you under increased pressure short handed?

“We always like to make it a little bit more exciting don’t we?  It is a bit more pressure, but we practice those scenarios though. We know what it’s like to be down (players) because of cards. Cards come freely in the game. We have to be used to it. We showed a lot of resilience I think to hold them out.” 


IRELAND: Ayeisha Mc Ferren, Róisín Upton, Hannah McLoughlin, Ellen Curran, Beth Harper,  Katie McKee, Sarah Hawkshaw, Katie Mullan (C ), Charlotte Beggs, Naomi Carroll, Niamh Carey

SUBS USED:  Sarah McAuley (5 mins), Michelle Carey (6 mins), Sarah Torrans (6 mins), Elena Neill (5 mins), Chloe Watkins (6 mins), Deirdre Duke (5 mins), Liz Murphy (GK) (not used)


KOREA: Eunji KIM (GK), Jungeun SEO, Hynju AN, Eunbi CHEON (C), Hyejin CHO,  Minjeong KIM, Eunji CHO, Yuri LEE, Seungae PARK, Suyoung SEO, Sujin AN

SUBS USED: Juyeon LEE (6 mins), Yujin LEE (3 mins), Soyeong KWON (9 mins), Jina KANG (7 mins), Eunji KIM (4 mins), Jeongihn KIM (3 mins), Seoyeon LEE  (GK) (not used)