The Irish Women's Hockey team are hoping to make history today when they take on China in the World League 3 quarter-finals. If they beat China, who rank seventh in the world (Ireland rank fourteenth), they will be on the brink of qualifying for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Not only that, they'll be the first Irish sports team to ever qualify for an Olympics. While the men will have their chance at qualification in Belgium next week, wouldn't it?be be amazing if the sports history-making honours went to the women?
Check out Nicci Daly's wicked solo run and goal against South Africa:
If beating a team ranked'so'much higher'seems a bit farfetched, a look at the Irish team's successes in this tournament alone proves how capable they are of making it to Rio.
Last Wednesday they?beat South Africa (11th) by?four goals to one and on Tuesday they triumphed 2-0 over fifth-ranked USA. The USA had convincingly beaten them in three warm-up games in the last month but a huge team performance from the girls in green saw them dominate for large portions of the match and walk away with a historic victory.
Anna O'Flanagan finished out a superb run by captain Megan Frazer to seal a sweet victory over the USA:
What's even more amazing is that most of these women are not full-time athletes, hockey in Ireland is a pay-to-play sport, which put their achievements in perspective. These women are engineers, pharamacists, with?few solictors in there too.
Having fallen at the last hurdle to qualify for London 2012, the women now top their group and have some serious momentum?as they head into the crucial decider.?The Ireland v?China quarter-final?will be shown on Sky Sports 1 at 10.30am today so tune in and cheer them on, or get live match?updates from their twitter account.
Best of luck Ladies!