Ireland men secure Olympic qualifying spot and meet France in final of FIH Series Final

Ireland's Matthew Nelson
Ireland's Matthew Nelson

Ireland beat South Korea 4-2 in France to reach the final of the FIH International Series and secure a place in the Olympic play-offs.

They will meet France in Sunday’s final after the hosts defeated Scotland 3-0 in the second semi-final

After falling behind, Ireland scored three goals in four minutes either side of half-time and paved the way to book a place in Sunday’s decider.

Matthew Nelson, Eugene Magee, Shane O’Donoghue and Neal Glassey got the goals for Alexander Cox’s men.

Having topped their group to to reach the semi-finals, Ireland fell behind to Korea in the 10th minute of the second quarter.

Jeon Byungjin struck directly from a penalty corner and keeper David Harte got a foot to the ball but could not keep it out.

The lead lasted less than five minutes as Nelson equalised 11 seconds before half-time, pouncing from close range to finish from a Sean Murray pass.

Quick-fire goals inside three minutes of the restart gave Ireland a 3-1 lead, with Daragh Walsh and Ben Walker combining to feed Magee who put his side in front.

Magee then turned provider three minutes later, setting up O’Donoghue to score his fourth goal in two games.

Seungil Lee pulled one back for South Korea in the 10th minute of the third quarter, finishing well from eight yards out after a clever passing move from a penalty corner.

The Koreans pressed for an equaliser but Ireland held firm and Glassey made sure of victory with an excellent run and finish with just 30 seconds remaining.

The play-offs for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which the Ireland women’s team have also qualified for, will take place in September or October.