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Boyles predicts Ireland will hit back after Olympic pain


Megan Frazer

Megan Frazer

©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Megan Frazer

Ireland assistant hockey coach Arlene Boyles believes her team can lift themselves after Thursday's heartache and beat the United States to keep their slim hopes of qualifying for Rio 2016 alive.

Ulster Elks player Megan Frazer will win her 100th cap today and she will be hoping to celebrate with a win over the Americans.

Ireland missed out on an automatic place in the Olympic Games when they were beaten by China in a penalty shoot-out and now they must win today and probably beat Spain or South Africa tomorrow to stay in contention.

However it will be a huge achievement if the deflated Irish girls can recover both physically and mentally after the devastating manner of their loss earlier in the week.

The United States are ranked fifth in the world and Ireland's 2-0 win in the group stages was their first in 12 attempts so the odds are stacked against them repeating the feat in more ways than one.

"There was obviously disappointment in the camp after Thursday's game and I was gutted for the girls, who were understandably wearing sad faces on the night of the match," said Boyles.

"That's the nature of international sport but, having set ourselves up to qualify at the first hurdle, it wasn't to be."

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The Pegasus coach is confident that the players can regroup and do what is required.

"We will pick ourselves up and get ready for a tough game on Saturday. We came here to qualify so that hasn't changed we just have to do it the hard way now," she said.

Fixtures, Today: 5th-8th place play-offs: Ireland v USA (10.30am); Spain v South Africa (1pm); semi-finals: Argentina v China (3.30pm); Great Britain v Germany (6pm); tomorrow (times tbc): play-offs for 7th-8th place; 5th-6th; 3rd-4th; final.

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