Irish women’s hockey to host round two of World League in 2015

Olympic hopes boosted by chance to host a tournament ahead of Rio 2016

Ireland’s Megan Campbell (left)  celebrates scoring against India during their recent match at Belfield. Ireland had initially been drawn to play in Montevideo in Uruguay. Photograph: Inpho

Ireland’s Megan Campbell (left) celebrates scoring against India during their recent match at Belfield. Ireland had initially been drawn to play in Montevideo in Uruguay. Photograph: Inpho

Tue, May 20, 2014, 01:00

The Irish women’s Olympic hopes received a boost this week as they secured the rights to host round two of the World League in March 2015, the second phase in the qualification process for Rio 2016.

Ireland had initially been drawn to play in Montevideo in Uruguay but an opportunity to bid for hosting a tournament became available when Spain – initially one of the three round two hosts – were named as round three hosts.

It means that Ireland will avoid the significant travel and accommodation costs – pegged conservatively at about €65,000 – while also being able to draw on home support.

At least two sides from the eight-team event – which runs from March 14 to 22 – will progress to World League round three from which a minimum of six Olympic qualifying places will be on offer in late-2015.

The Irish women’s team are currently on a high following a best ever second place finish in the Champions Challenge I in Scotland earlier this month, outdoing their tournament ranking by five places.

Ireland’s men, meanwhile, will travel to Lancaster in the US for their World League round two competition. Speaking about the prospect of bringing this world level event to Dublin, IHA chief executive Mike Heskin said they hope to garner the same volume of support that greeted the Irish men when they hosted an Olympic qualifier in 2012.

“We are delight to have secured the World League for the women’s team,” he said. “I hope we can give the women’s team the same wonderful support that was delivered to the men in the 2012 Olympic qualifier.

“An international eight-team tournament is the type of competition we always hope to attract to Ireland. As a small country it is difficult to compete with the bigger nations is securing a major international tournament so we are delighted that the world body has granted Ireland this event. It is our intention to deliver a tournament that Ireland can be proud off.”

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