Korea crash Ireland party in Banbridge to take FIH Series title
Ireland had already booked Olympic playoff with win over Czech Republic
Korea celebrate a goal during their victory over Ireland in the FIH Women’s Series Final at Banbridge Hockey Club. Photograph: Jonathan Porter/Inpho/PressEye
Ireland 1 Korea 3
Korea crashed the Irish party at Banbridge as they sniped in the final quarter three times to nab the FIH Series title, denying the Green Army an extra cherry on top from a fine week.
It made for a strange atmosphere in front of an expectant sold out crowd in what was the side’s first week of home games since the World Cup silver medal.
The primary target of an Olympic playoff in October was achieved with Saturday’s 4-0 semi-final win over the Czech Republic.
But, as the sun came out for the first time, the side wanted to sign off in style, not least for crucial extra world ranking points that could bring a home draw for the Tokyo qualifiers.
And it looked like they were well set when Róisín Upton whizzed in a corner in the 21st minute to the top of the net only for the umpire to signal an obstruction. With no video review available, it was chalked off and Korea would eventually accept the reprieve.
Hyunji Kim broke the deadlock early in the fourth quarter before Eunbi Cheon seemingly made the game safe with four minutes left. Nicci Daly kept it interesting with a scrambled goal but Jina Kang extinguished that hope with six seconds left.
“We’re bitterly disappointed not to come away with the win but we can reflect on a golden ticket for October,” Upton said afterwards.
“It has been a fantastic setup and such an enjoyable week being able to host a tournament like this in Ireland.
“We can only hope to host more of these, particularly if we get our home base in Dublin, that will happen.”
As for her disallowed goal, she added: “I wasn’t too sure about that [decision]. In another tournament, we would have referred it.
“It was a change of pace from what we played this week. We love playing games like this and have that challenge.
“Korea did spread us a lot with high forwards and it was a different task when you see a 70-yard aerial. We did manage it well but maybe we could have committed more numbers forward and create more chances.”
Ireland now wait to see exactly how their ranking will be affected by the second-place finish but they look in decent shape to remain in the world’s top 10 and take a home draw for the Olympic qualifiers.
IRELAND: A McFerran, R Upton, K Mullan, S McCay, B Barr, C Watkins, L Colvin, N Daly, H Matthews, A O’Flanagan, Z Wilson
Subs: C Brown, L Tice, G Pinder, S Hawkshaw, D Duke, A Meeke, E Buckley
KOREA: S J Jang, Y Lee, H An, E Cheon, J Kang, E Cho, Y Lee, H Jang, H Cho, H Shin, S Lee
Subs: J Seo, S J Choi, S Kim, E Yu, H Kim, S Kang, Y Choi
Umpires: A Nicholson (NZ), J Wagatsuma (Jpn)