THERE were celebrations in Ballinspittle this week after it was confirmed that the Irish men’s hockey team has qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games.
This is fantastic news for Ballinspittle brothers, goalkeeper David Harte (captain of the Irish team) and his twin brother Conor, who are key members of the national hockey team that has ended a 107-year wait to qualify for the Olympics.
The Irish team qualified for Rio 2016 thanks to Australia’s 3-2 victory in the Oceania Cup. Australia had already qualified for Rio and, as such, Ireland were the next team in line to secure their spot at the Olympic Games.
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 has 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 – where Kinsale’s David Harte was named the best goalkeeper of the tournament – to firmly cement their place amongst the best in European and world hockey.
Ireland will join Brazil, India, Germany, Canada, Spain, Belgium, Great Britain, Argentina, Netherlands, Australia and one remaining qualifier at the 2016 Olympic Games (August 5th to 21st).