Irish women’s hockey team are heading for Tokyo; The cloud over Springbok’s success

The Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

The Ireland Women’s hockey team celebrate qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Photograph: Inpho

The Ireland Women’s hockey team celebrate qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Photograph: Inpho

The Ireland women’s hockey team has qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after beating Canada in a sudden death penalty shootout. They are the first women’s hockey team from this island to qualify for the Olympic Games. Sunday evening’s second leg qualifier, played in front of a record attendance at Donnybrook, went to the very death with goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran proving the hero. Johnny Watterson reports on a night of unbearable tension for Ireland: “The highlight was the final, effervescent charge, captain Katie Mullan listening close to the umpire for the result of another interminable referral and then that sea of green limbs hurtling towards their goalkeeper, who had settled by the corner of the pitch at the Wesley end.”

On a busy day of county final and provincial action in the GAA world, Ballyboden St Enda’s did what they needed to in claiming their first Dublin football title since 2016. Their greater experience and sharper attack against Thomas Davis were the clear differences in a contest that at times lacked urgency, as it proceeded down its predicted path. The county’s hurling champions however were part of the upset of the weekend when they were beaten by Carlow club St Mullins in the Leinster quarter-final. The Tipperary hurling final was won by Borris-Ileigh who ended a 33 year wait for silverware - after a brutal, trying year with the deaths of three young people in the area over the past 12 months.

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