The Olympics dreams of not only a team but an entire sporting community have finally come true after a 107 year wait. The Irish men’s hockey team have qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympics thanks to Australia’s 3-2 victory in the Oceania Cup. Australia had already qualified for Rio and as such Ireland were the next team in line to secure their spot at the Olympic Games.
The team will be the first Irish hockey team to compete at an Olympics since 1908 and the first team of any sport to represent Ireland at an Olympic Games since 1948. The Green Machine have been patiently playing the waiting game since World League in Antwerp in July where they finished with a record high of 5th place. They then made history by winning a bronze medal at the Eurohockey Championships in August to firmly cement their place amongst the best in European and world hockey.
Speaking about the historic achievement of qualifying for the Rio 2016 Olympics Coach Craig Fulton said “ Firstly commiserations to New Zealand and congratulations to Australia. We have secured our spot at Rio 2016! It probably hasn’t sunk in yet but we’re over the moon. It’s testament to what the guys have achieved this year on and off the field”.
Olympic Council of Ireland President Pat Hickey paid his compliments to the team’s achievement, ” I’m delighted for the team, the Irish Hockey Association” adding ” it will create a new team dynamic within Team Ireland and we very much look forward to helping them maximise their potential in Rio”
Ireland will join Brazil, India, Germany, Canada, Spain, Belgium, Great Britain, Argentina, Netherlands, Australia and one remaining qualifier at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (5th-21st August 2016).