Ireland Men and Women remain unbeaten after day one of the European Olympic Repêchage in Lisbon, leaving both well on track for participation in the World Olympic Repêchage in June 2016.
Ireland Women, featuring Ulster’s Ashleigh Baxter, have taken the tournament by storm, qualifying for the knock out rounds as top seeds after victories against Romania (52 – 0), Belgium (24 – 5) and Ukraine (50 – 0). They now face Germany in the Cup Quarter-final at 11:00am this morning. The game will be streamed live here.
Further progress for the Women will see them likely face Portugal in the Semi-finals with a potential final against Spain awaiting. As it stands, with three teams to qualify for the Olympics World Repêchage from this tournament, it’s looking like Ireland, Spain and Netherlands to go through with Portugal the outside contenders!
The Men, featuring Ulster’s Aaron Cairns and David McGuigan, caused a major shock in the first game of their tournament when they came back from a 19 – 5 deficit to draw 19 – 19 with top seeds Russia. Subsequent hard fought wins, in energy sapping heat, against Georgia (17 – 21) and Italy (17 – 23) saw Ireland Men qualify for the knock-out stages in third place, a remarkable achievement for the inexperienced side.
Ireland Men now face Lithuania in the Cup Quarter-final at 11:44 this morning. The game will be streamed live here.
The heat noticeably took it’s toll in the very physical men’s game yesterday but Ireland Men should have enough in the tank to beat Lithuania and go forward for a tricky semi-final against Portugal or Russia. From there they will get two chances to qualify for the Olympics World Repêchage by either progressing to the Cup Final, with qualification guaranteed, or by winning the Third Place play off.