Hockey: Ireland women move up to eighth in rankings

Ireland captain Kathryn Mullan.
Ireland captain Kathryn Mullan.

Ireland’s medal-winning women’s hockey team have soared up the world rankings to eighth after their sensational World Cup challenge.

It is their best ever ranking and comes after Ireland made an improbable run to the final, when they lost against the Netherlands.

Prior to the World Cup, Ireland had been ranked 16th and were the second lowest ranked team in the tournament in London.

They claimed silver medals after losing 6-0 against the Netherlands and returned home to a hero’s welcome in Dublin on Monday.

Ireland will now have the chance to use their unprecedented world ranking to qualify for the Olympic Games and could even host play-off matches at home, which would improve their prospects of competing in Tokyo in 2020.

Prior to the tournament, Ireland’s best ranking was 14th.

The Netherlands remain the world’s top team and continue to occupy the number one spot they have held since 2011.

England, hosts of the World Cup, stay in second position after finishing sixth.

Graham Shaw’s Green Army entered the tournament ahead of only Italy (17th) of the teams that made it to London.

Ireland had narrowly missed out on Olympic qualification for Rio and were not favoured to progress from Pool B but they beat the United States (7th) and India (10th) to advance as winners ahead of the hosts.

Victories over India, again, and Spain followed in the knockout stages as goalkeeper of the tournament Ayeisha McFerran excelled in successive shootouts.

Australia third are third in the rankings while bronze medallists Spain are up to seventh.