Ireland has dramatically clinched a place at the 2018 Women’s Hockey World Cup.
A Long Wait
The Irish women’s hockey team has triumphantly qualified after a 15-year wait for a position in the World Cup.
Ireland’s place was confirmed following Australia’s glorious 23-0 victory over Papua New Guinea. This set Australia up for a 2-0 win over New Zealand in the final of the Oceania Cup, which was held earlier this month in Sydney, Australia.
In 2015, the International Hockey Federation introduced a new qualification process due to the increase in participating teams to 16. There are five confederation leagues: the Hockey Asia Cup, Hockey African Cup for Nations, Oceania Cup, EuroHockey Nations Championship, and the Pan American Cup. Each champion of these tournaments qualifies for the World Cup, in addition to the host nation team. The 10 highest-placed teams in the Semi-Final matches make up the final 16.
The Netherlands won the European tournament, and Argentina clinched the Pan American title allowing Spain and Italy to qualify in the semi-finals, along with Ireland.
The Irish team finished seventh in their respective World League Semi-Final matches held in July this year. They stormed to a 2-1 victory over India at their final match in Johannesburg, securing their place at the World Cup.
A significant achievement, Ireland can look forward to participating in the largest women’s hockey competition outside the Olympic Games.
The 2018 Women’s World Cup
Women are gradually becoming more included in sport; 2012 marked the first time that women were allowed to compete in every event in the Olympic programme. 2016 saw women being able to play cricket professionally in England, and Ireland’s inclusion in the Women’s Hockey World Cup will surely bring the spotlight back to women’s sport, which can often be neglected.
According to Women in Sport, only 7 percent of overall sports media coverage in the UK is of women’s sports.
To improve your own hockey skills, it is useful to watch hockey drills. You can find videos on the internet, such as those at https://www.sportplan.net/drills/Hockey/index.jsp.
Ireland, New Zealand and Australia join other women’s teams from England, China, Spain, Germany and the United States. The World Cup tournament will be held next summer at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in London.