Ireland star Bethany Barr keeps Olympic Games hopes alive

Bethany Barr in action for Ireland against Singapore during the FIH Series Finals
Bethany Barr in action for Ireland against Singapore during the FIH Series Finals
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It was a bittersweet finish for Ireland women at the FIH Series Finals tournament staged at Banbridge’s Havelock Park.

Although they were to lose their only game of the series in Sunday’s final, 3-1 to Korea, crucially they still secured their main goal - an Olympic Games qualifier later in the year.

Former Lurgan club player Bethany Barr, currently with UCD, was among the local contingent who featured strongly in the squad.

It was a memorable tournament debut as she scored her first international goal, celebrated her birthday and, like the other girls, kept alive her dreams of playing at an Olympic Games.

Ireland had stormed into the knockout stages by scoring 21 goals as they topped Pool B.

A 4-0 win over the Czech Republic in the semi-finals not only secured a place in the final against the Koreans but booked their place in the Olympic qualifier - a two-legged affair to be staged in November - with the Irish hoping to have home advantage for that.

Playing at Banbridg,e Barr said it was great that family and friends could make the short trip from Lurgan to the game: “It has been a great week and the support for the team has been appreciated and really helped focus the squad on achieving their goals.”

Next up for Ireland will be the European Championships in Belgium during August.