Irish men's hockey team put through the wringer as controversial call ends Olympic dream
Lives of preparation down the drain. Dreams of four years taken away from them.
The worst part about it is that the Irish men's hockey team thought they were home and dry. After a battle in Vancouver, they'd held their nerve and they'd held out the Canadians to secure a 6-5 win on aggregate with the final whistle blown.
Olympic qualification secure. Dreams in the pipeline. Relief and joy lined Irish faces. Time for Tokyo.
Until what Irish captain Jonathan Bell dubs as a 'terrible, terrible decision.' A harsh call, hometown decision written all over it.
Make no bones about it, a video referral was called by the umpire for what appears for all intents and purposes to have been an accidental collision between an Irish and a Canadian player moments earlier around the midfield.
That provided Canada with a penalty stroke which they slotted which would send the game to a penalty shootout. Ireland started well in the shootout, but would subsequently lose out in sudden death.
Team captain Jonathan Bell conveyed his frustration in a post-match interview with RTÉ and you really would have to feel for the Irish hockey team.
"The video umpire should hang his head in shame. It was a terrible, terrible decision in the last moments of the game..."
"The video umpire should hang his head in shame. It was a terrible, terrible decision in the last moments of the game." - Ireland captain Jonathan Bell speaks his mind after a controversial Olympic play-off defeat #CANvIRE pic.twitter.com/1Yh6ASxwLs
— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) October 27, 2019
The frustrating thing about it all is that in normal circumstances, a penalty corner would have been awarded, rather than a straight shot.
But that's no good to the Irish men's hockey team. This was a bitter pill to swallow.