Road To The Olympic Games

Summer Sports

Canadian women's Olympic field hockey hopes dashed in shootout

Canada suffered heartbreak in an Olympic women's field hockey qualifier Sunday, losing 4-3 to Ireland in a penalty shootout with a berth in the 2020 Tokyo Games on the line.

Irish team to make its first-ever appearance at Summer Games in 2020 at Tokyo

Canada's women's field hockey team will not compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after dropping a 1-0 decision to Ireland in sudden-death shots on Sunday to cap a two-legged qualifier at Dublin. (Twitter/@FieldHockeyCan)

Canada suffered heartbreak in an Olympic women's field hockey qualifier Sunday, losing 4-3 to Ireland in a penalty shootout with a berth in the 2020 Tokyo Games on the line.

Canada led 3-1 in the shootout, only to see Irish goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran shut them down.

The two-legged aggregate playoff Saturday and Sunday ended scoreless after regulation time at Donnybrook Stadium, former home of the Leinster rugby team. Canada had two penalty corners in the final minute Sunday but was unable to get a shot through a sea of bodies.

The Irish women are ranked eighth in the world, compared to No. 15 for Canada.

WATCH | Highlights from the shootout:

Ireland beats Canada 4-3 in penalty shootout, secures 1st appearance at Summer Games. 1:37

The Canadian men, ranked 10th in the world, qualified for Tokyo in late October in a sudden-death shootout over No. 13 Ireland in West Vancouver.

Steph Norlander, Amanda Woodcroft and Sara McManus scored for Canada in Sunday's shootout. Nicci Daly opened Ireland's account.

Ireland forces sudden-death

McFerran stopped Brie Stairs at 3-1 to keep Irish hopes alive. Beth Barr scored to make it 3-2 and McFerran then denied Canada's Shanlee Johnston. Ireland's Choe Watkins scored to tie it up at 3-3 and send the shootout to sudden-death.

Roison Upton made it 4-3, knocking her shot in off the post. And Woodcroft couldn't beat McFerran to keep Canada in the contest.

The Canadians sat out the last six Olympics, last competing in 1992 when they finished seventh in Barcelona.

WATCH | The first leg:

Canada faces Ireland in Dublin as they battle for a spot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.  1:40:44

The Irish are coached by former New Zealand assistant coach Sean Dancer, a former Australian under-21 player. He took over in April, inheriting a team that turned heads by finishing runner-up at the 2018 World Cup.

WATCH | The second and final leg:

Canada faces Ireland in Dublin as they battle for a spot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.  2:27:37

The Irish won both their quarter-final and semifinal matches at the World Cup via penalty shootout.

Having lost their Own The Podium funding, the Canadian women turned to family, friends and supporters to fund their Olympic qualifying journey.

On coach Giles Bonnet's suggestion, the women moved to Belgium in September 2018 to join club teams. It gave them access to elite coaches and trainers while allowing the Amsterdam-based Bonnet to work with them regularly.

Joining Ireland in Tokyo will be host Japan, Argentina, Australia, China, Germany, Great Britain, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain and the Netherlands.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.