Bann lads edge one step closer to Rio Olympics thanks to Argentina victory

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Ireland Hockey and their Banbridge HC lads are one step closer to confirming their place in the Olympic Games.

That’s because Pan-Am Games champions Argentina had already secured their spot in the finals via World League Three, allowing Canada to secure their place.

After Banbridge Hockey club lads Eugene Magee, Drew Carlisle and Stevie Dowds helped the Green Machine secure a fifth place finish in their World League Three section in Belgium, Ireland are now edging closer to confirming their spot.

There are three places still to play for in the remaining continental competitions and Ireland are now second behind Spain in line to sweep up the spots should they be diverted to the WL3 rankings.

Ireland will be next in line to qualify in the likely event that Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, England (GB) or Spain win the EuroHockey Championships in England at the end of August. No country outside that list has ever won the tournament.

Their place could then be confirmed after the Oceania Cup, which takes place from 21-25 October.

Ireland need Australia to win and they have been victorious in every Oceania Cup held so far, eight in all.

Should one of those two eventualities not materialise, Ireland could still qualify via a South African win in October’s African Cup of Nations.

They are the highest ranked team in the tournament but South Africa’s Olympic council, SASCOC has stated they will not send a team on the basis of victory in the continental championship.