Hockey Facing Canadian Double Test

Irish Hockey must overcome Canada in both the Men’s and Women’s game is they are to progress to take part in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo next year.

The draw for the final round of sudden death play-offs were held in Lausanne yesterday and streamed live back to Dublin where members of the Women’s team watched live at the Dublin Headquarters of team sponsor Park Developments.

Both of the play-offs will take place over two games, on consecutive days, with Dublin hosting the Women’s games and the Men travelling to Vancouver.

“No draws are easy,” said Hockey Ireland Performance Director Adam Grainger.

“In terms of the Women’s team, we are delighted to be at home 18 months on from our World Cup success and play a game of importance here in Dublin.”

“We’re looking forward to having home support cheering the girls on towards their first appearance at an Olympics.”

“For the Men’s squad, travel away will be challenging and Canada are a similarly ranked team to us, but we are confident in the senior men’s players that have qualified for the Olympic Games before and know what it will take to get us to Tokyo.”

In terms of the comparitive rankings the Ireland Women’s team are ranked eighth in the world with Canada seven places behind them in 15th.

In the men’s game the places are reversed but the gap is smaller with Canada ranked 10th to Ireland’s 13th.

UCD Sport will formally open the newly refurbished National Hockey Stadium at the Belfield Campus tomorrow evening with two exhibition games and a formal opening ceremony.

Though not yet formally confirmed it is thought that UCD will host the final qualifiers that will take place on the 2nd and 3rd of November.

The full line up of the FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers is as follows:

Women

25/26 October: Australia – Russia, Perth
25/26 October: China – Belgium, Changzhou
25/26 October: Spain – Korea, Valencia
1/2 November: India – USA, Bhubaneswar
2/3 November: Germany – Italy, Mönchengladbach
2/3 November: Great Britain – Chile, London
2/3 November: Ireland – Canada, Dublin

Men

25/26 October: Spain – France, Valencia
26/27 October: The Netherlands – Pakistan, Amsterdam
26/27 October: Canada – Ireland, West Vancouver
1/2 November: India – Russia, Bhubaneswar
2/3 November: New Zealand – Korea, Stratford
2/3 November: Germany – Austria, Mönchengladbach
2/3 November: Great Britain – Malaysia, London

The winners of these qualifiers will be through to the 2020 Olympic hockey tournaments which will be staged in Tokyo from 25 July to 7 August next year and involve 12 Men’s and 12 Women’s teams. The following teams are already qualified:

Men
Japan
Argentina
South Africa
Belgium
Australia

Women
Japan
Argentina
South Africa
The Netherlands
New Zealand

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Image Credits: Morgan Treacy, Inpho.ie

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