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Ireland Hockey Team Deprived Of Olympic Qualification After Final Second Drama

Ireland Hockey Team Deprived Of Olympic Qualification After Final Second Drama

The Ireland hockey team came within moments of securing Olympic qualification in Canada last night, only for the video umpire to award a penalty stroke to the hosts as time expired.

As the final whistle sounded Ireland celebrated having initially thought they had won the two-legged tie 6-5 on aggregate, but Canada were awarded a penalty stroke from which they scored. Ireland's Lee Cole was adjudged to have committed a foul and after Canada's Scott Fitzgerald levelled up proceedings the game headed for a penalty shootout.

Despite starting strongly in the shootout Ireland were unable to fend off a Canadian comeback in front of a home crowd in Vancouver, missing out on qualification for next year's quadrennial event in Tokyo.

Irish captain Jonathan Bell, while acknowledging the efforts of Canada, spoke critically of the final second decision after the game.

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He said:

The video umpire should hang his head in shame. It was a terrible, terrible decision in the last moments of the game.

Fair play to Canada, They came out and went strong at us today. It was a pretty even game. We had chances. They had chances. And we did have a couple of chances to take the game away from them. But, as I say, a decision like that at this level is just not acceptable.

Irish head coach Mark Tumilty was also surprised by the late decision, claiming it to be a "a very tough call" after Ireland had already begun their celebrations.

I wouldn't see too many of those in any level of hockey, to be honest with you - for that to be given. But we had our chances in the shootout as well.

Fitzy (David Fitzgerald) did very well in goals. That's the way shootouts go. Listen, they're potluck.

It's not an easy one to take. It's probably a real low one. Not easy.

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Aonghus Ó Maicín

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