Ireland have qualified for the Euro Hockey Championships in Germany after three wins from three, inspired by Limerick woman Róisín Upton’s star performances.
The Irish Vice Captain relished the opportunity to play in front of the home support.
“It was brilliant to play here competitively and hear the home crowds’ chants.”
First up was Poland and the away side started well staying solid and resisting the Irish attack.
Deidre Duke gave the hosts the lead early into the second quarter before Upton added two more to see out a comfortable victory.
Next up was the defensively sound Czech Republic. Only one goal separated the sides as Irish forward Katie Mullan snatched the winner during a patient display from the home team.
Róisín Upton spoke to the Limerick Post on the Czechs’ defensive resolve.
“It was an interesting one. They sat deep with eleven players behind the ball for the majority of the game, so we had to stay patient, but we were happy to get over the line in the end.”
In their final game, Ireland ran out winners against Turkey in a 7-0 thrashing to secure qualification.
Upton believes this game showed the hard work from the training pitch being utilized in game.
“We create a lot of chances, but we were working on being more ruthless in front of goal. We are a young team who are rebuilding, so it’s great to be putting away chances.”
To cap an excellent tournament, the Limerick woman was presented with the tournament’s Best Player Award.
“I was obviously delighted to win the award. It was great to receive it at home in front of family. You can’t take these things for granted anymore since Covid, but qualification for the team was more important,” she explained.
The Euro Hockey Championships take place next August, but the Irish ladies have little time to rest before they face Pro League action in December.
The winter tournament will see Ireland face teams placed from tenth to twentieth in the world rankings to gain ranking points that will ultimately see them qualify for next year’s Nations Cup.