Another 18 players set for EHL action at Easter’s FINAL8 helped propel their nations to the Olympic Games over the weekend in Valencia and Muscat.
It brings the total to over 50 players from the clubs involved to have done so this week following an incredible rollercoaster of emotions.
Ireland’s men were the last side to join the party following a 4-3 win over Korea which had all manner of drama attached to it. They featured Kampong’s Davey Harte, Old Georgians Kyle Marshall and Gantoise trio Sean Murray, Luke Madeley and Jaime Carr in their panel.
Murray was named player of the match in a towering performance in midfield and he said afterwards:“I’m just lost for words. Credit to Korea – they came out and it was a horribly tough game.
“I’ve been on the other side of that before where we’ve lost a match for the Olympic Games and now we get to feel what it’s like to qualify and I can’t put it into words how proud I am of the team and just ecstatic.”
On Saturday, meanwhile, East Grinstead trio Ellie Rayer, Laura Roper and Tessa Howard held their nerve to see off the Irish women in a 2-1 success.
They led from Sarah Jones first half goal and were in the clear in the second half via Katie Robertson’s first time finish.
Loreto’s Hannah McLoughlin did get one back on the final hooter but it was too late to affect the outcome, leading to the bizarre scenes of GB celebrating in the aftermath of that Irish goal.
In Oman, Great Britain and Germany did their qualifying business with a game to spare on Saturday with respective wins over New Zealand and Pakistan.
For GB, Pinoké’s Jacob Draper and Old Georgians quartet Sam Ward, James Albery, Liam Sanford and Lee Morton were key figures in their 3-1 win.
Ward ended the tournament as top scorer with eight goals as well as landing the player of the tournament prize.
For Germany, six Rot-Weiss Köln players were pivotal as they won 4-0 against Pakistan, Mats Grambusch, Tom Grambusch, Christopher Rühr, Johanne Grosse, Jean-Paul Danneburg and Thies Prinz all in the mix.
They went on to win the tournament overall with a 1-0 victory over Great Britain in the final.