Ireland women book World Cup slot after Australia win 23-0

Ireland women qualify for first major international tournament since 2002 as PNG are trounced

 Lizzie Colvin  celebrates with her Ireland team-mates during the 7th-8th place semi-final against India during the FIH Hockey World League at Wits University  in Johannesburg back in July. Photograph: Getty Images

Lizzie Colvin celebrates with her Ireland team-mates during the 7th-8th place semi-final against India during the FIH Hockey World League at Wits University in Johannesburg back in July. Photograph: Getty Images

 

The Ireland women’s team have qualified for their first major international tournament since 2002 thanks to Papau New Guinea’s woes at the Oceania Cup in Sydney after Australia’s 23-0 victory over their hapless opponents guaranteeing Graham Shaw’s squad a place in next year’s World Cup in London.

A seventh place finish at July’s World League semi-finals in South Africa was always likely to be enough for Ireland to qualify for the World Cup, but they still needed an absence of shocks in other continental tournaments to be sure. Argentina’s Pan-American Cup success and the Netherlands’ victory at the European Championships ensured Italy and Spain’s qualification, leaving Ireland next on the list going in to the Oceania Cup.

With Australia and New Zealand already certain of their World Cup places, only a highly improbable upset from PNG would have jeopardised Ireland’s hopes. As it proved, PNG were pulverised 30-0 by New Zealand, before they tightened up defensively against Australia to concede just the 23.

Ireland, then, join hosts England, the Netherlands, the United States, China, Germany, New Zealand, South Korea, Argentina, Australia, South Africa, Italy, Japan and Spain in the line-up for the World Cup. There are two more places still up for grabs, with Belgium and India the likely qualifiers.

It’s a major boost for the squad whose ultimate goal is qualification for the 2020 Olympic Games, the World Cup providing the perfect stepping stone on that journey. The tournament will be held at the Lee Valley Hockey Centre in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park between July 21st and August 5th.

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