Ireland star Lizzie Colvin keeps Olympic Games hopes alive
Ireland star Lizzie Colvin feels the side can only get better after finishing runners-up to Korea at the FIH Series Finals hosted by Banbridge Hockey Club last week.
While it was a bittersweet finish on Sunday when the Irish girls lost 3-1 to Korea in the final at Havelock Park, they had achieved their main goal of a place in the next stage of Olympic Games qualification for Tokyo 2020.
Ireland scored 21 goals as they stormed to the top of their group and secure a semi-final place.
A 4-0 win over the Czech Republic on Saturday secured their place in the next phase of Olympic qualifying.
Ireland, ranked eight in the world following their World Cup silver medal last year, were unable to find their best in Sunday’s final against the Korean, ranked 11, and in front of a sell-out crowd had to settle for second place.
Former Portadown College girl Colvin said: “It is really hard to end with defeat. We were going in feeling really confident on the back of some successful high scoring games this week, but that is the fine margins in sport, some you win, some you lose.
“Korea are a good team, they had a good game plan today, the aerial ball was a serious threat to us and we maybe did not deal with it as much as we would have liked, but those are the games that we want to play, and next time if we get them again we will give them a good run for their money.”
Ireland did score first in the game, but it was ruled out by the umpire even though most in the ground felt it should have stood.
“If we had video referral we could have gone to it for the disallowed goal, but you have to get on with it,” said Colvin.
“We did have other chances, but we just did not capitalise on them and put the ball in the net. You just have to keep going, keep pushing and unfortunately it did not go our way today.”
Colvin added: “We got the job done to secure the qualification spot, but now it is about getting better, improving and hopefully coming into the summer we will be full steam ahead.”
Ireland will face a two-legged play-off in the Olympic qualifier, probably in November and hopefully with home advantage.
Before that in August they will compete at the European Championships in Antwerp.
Colvin said: “We have lots to focus on and we also have a new head coach coming in Sean Dancer.
“It will be really exciting, and he want to be playing very attacking positive play, so it is going to be a long summer of lots of running and shuttles, but we are looking forward to it.”
Colvin also thanked the fans who turned out at Banbridge all week saying “It is great to have such strong home support.”