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Ireland's men end 108-year wait for Olympic hockey place

Ireland's men will become the first hockey team to represent the country at the Olympics since 1908.

Craig Fulton's side will compete in Rio next summer after their qualification was secured by Australia's victory against New Zealand in the Oceania Cup.

Ireland finished fifth in their World League semi-final in Antwerp back in July, but only the top three were guaranteed a ticket to Rio.

Their claim on one of the extra spots would have disappeared if New Zealand had won their continental cup ahead of Australia, who had already qualified for Rio, but the Black Sticks fell to a 3-2 defeat in Stratford.

Fulton said: "It probably hasn't sunk in yet but we're over the moon. It's testament to what the guys have achieved this year on and off the field."

The team will be the first Irish hockey team to compete at an Olympics since 1908 and the first team of any sport to represent Ireland at an Olympic Games since 1948.

The Green Machine have been patiently playing the waiting game since World League in Antwerp in July where they finished with a record high of fifth place.

They then made history by winning a bronze medal at the Eurohockey Championships in August to firmly cement their place amongst the best in European and world hockey.

 

Speaking about the historic achievement of qualifying for the Rio 2016 Olympics, coach Fulton said:

“Firstly commiseration to New Zealand and congratulations to Australia.

“We have secured our spot at Rio 2016. It probably hasn’t sunk in yet but we’re over the moon. It’s testament to what the guys have achieved this year on and off the field”.

 

Ireland will join Brazil, India, Germany, Canada, Spain, Belgium, Great Britain, Argentina, Netherlands, Australia and one remaining qualifier at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (August 5 to 21 2016).

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