Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Ireland women's hockey team can keep place at top table

Michelle Harvey

The Ireland women's hockey team will be hoping to emulate their male counterparts and preserve top flight status at the European Championships in Germany today.

Gene Muller's girls must beat Italy if they are to achieve their aim and then hope Azerbaijan don't beat Belgium to move ahead of the Irish on goal difference.

If that were to happen then Ireland would have to settle for a place in the second tier of European hockey in two years time.

Realistically though Ireland should have too much in the tank to let that happen as they prepare to face an Italian side that has conceded 23 goals in five matches so far in the tournament.

Bar a loss against the same opponents in Vancouver and in a warm up game before the last Europeans in Manchester, the Irish have a good record against Italy.

Buoyed by an excellent 3-1 win over Azerbaijan, Ireland should be good enough to avoid dropping into the second division.

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