• International

GB Women Secure Paris 2024 Olympics Quota With 2-1 Win Against Ireland

GB Women secured their Paris 2024 Olympic qualification with a nervy 2-1 win over Ireland in the FIH Olympic Qualifiers Bronze medal match in Valencia on Saturday.

Sarah Jones (18') and Katie Robertson (46') scored a goal each for GB, while Hannah Mcloughlin (60') scored the consolation goal for Ireland.

The first quarter was fought intensely as both teams showcased good attacking and defending skills. GB had a better share of the ball possession and even came close to taking the lead, but the Irish goalkeeper made comfortable saves.

Ireland too made a few circle entries, but the GB defence kept them away from the goal, ending the opening quarter at 0-0.

After a cautious approach in the opening 15 minutes, GB started the second quarter on the front foot. They earned their first penalty corner in the 18th minute and were successful in breaking the deadlock. Jones cleverly chipped the ball into the net after a rebound from the Irish first rusher's stick.

The majority of the second quarter was played in the Irish half as GB piled pressure on their opponents.  However, they couldn't make much out of it, ending the first half with a slender 1-0 lead.

The start of the third quarter saw GB make relentless runs inside the Irish circle, but couldn't find a clear-cut opening to double the lead.

Defending deep inside the circle, Ireland kept making timely inroads inside GB's circle. They earned their first penalty corner of the match in the 42nd minute, but GB's first rushers made sure their 1-0 lead remained intact at the end of the third quarter.

GB showcased urgency in the final quarter and were rewarded for their efforts as they successfully doubled their lead through Robertson who found the back of the net following a well-orchestrated run from Hannah French in the 46th minute of the match.

With less than seven minutes to go for the final hooter, Ireland removed their goalkeeper to put an extra outfield player. They did manage to earn couple of penalty corners in the following minutes, but GB goalie Sebbie Heesh stood tall to deny Ireland from scoring.

GB showcased resilience in defence as they successfully ran the clock down, not giving Ireland any chance to score goals. However, they did manage to score the goal through Mcloughlin's slap shot during the penalty corner routine, but that came in at the final hooter following successful referral, making it 1-2 at the end.

On the back of the win, qualification and being awarded player of the match, Jones said: “I think we played really well throughout, and Ireland put up out a really strong performance which we knew they would. But we managed to get the job done which is the most important thing.

“I feel very emotional about qualifying for Paris. I wasn’t part of the qualifiers last time around and to come into a tournament like this and to do is fantastic. This is the most consistent we have played in a while and I am thrilled we have got it done and it gives us confidence building towards Paris.”