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"World of difference" | Katie Mullan explains how silver led to Irish hockey's golden Olympics moment

Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

09:36 4 Nov 2019


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The Ireland women's hockey team added another milestone to their recent achievements at the weekend.

Four years on from the heartbreak of four years ago, the surprise 2018 World Cup runners-up qualified for the Olympic Games for the very first time.

Given what they achieved at the Hockey World Cup, who's to say how far they can go in Tokyo?

Well, to look back on the feat of getting there, Nicci Daly and captain Katie Mullan joined us on Off The Ball.

hockey, Ireland, Olympics 3 November 2019; Ireland players celebrate winning the penalty strokes and qualifying for the Tokyo2020 Olympic Games after the FIH Women's Olympic Qualifier match between Ireland and Canada at Energia Park in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Mullan explained how the World Cup achievement spurred the team on to go another step upwards.

"The World Cup was no pressure, no expectation," she said.

Huge Boost

"It was our chance to show people what we knew ourselves we were capable of. And then it obviously gave us a huge boost in our Olympic qualification journey.

"Our ranking went up to eighth in the world and that meant that we got that home draw and it just made a world of difference for who we would end up playing in the qualifier.

"And we said straight after the World Cup that we set out on the goal of achieving Olympics and that was very much still the goal. That's what encouraged us to get straight back onto the pitch after we won that silver medal. And no one went wayward or went to the wayside because that's what we set out to do. So it was massive for us."

She also added that without the World Cup run, "we wouldn't have 6,000+ people in the stands" at the weekend against Canada.

Daly echoed that point, especially in light of the poor weather.

"The support was amazing. The weather on Saturday was not ideal. In fact, I think the pitch was pretty much unplayable in the second half," she said.

"But to just look around and see people standing... there was one side that was covered, but the other side had absolutely nothing in terms of shelter and everyone stayed out. Nobody left and everyone wanted to be there. They wanted to witness if we could get to the Olympics. It's just great. And then at the end of the game last night, people stayed on well after the full-time whistle. It's just great to have that kind of support."

You can watch the full chat above via our YouTube channel.


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