Ireland women miss out on Olympics after defeat by USA

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Darren Smith

Ireland women's hopes of qualifying for the Rio Olympics are over after a 6-1 defeat by USA in the World League 3 play-offs game in Valencia.

The Irish were unable to recover from Thursday's shootout loss to China, when victory would have almost certainly secured a place at the 2016 Games.

Two Lauren Crandall goals helped the US lead 4-0 and while Anna O'Flanagan replied, the Americans netted two more.

Ireland needed to beat the US and then win a fifth-sixth place game on Sunday.

Two goals in the opening 10 minutes from Crandall put Ireland on the back foot before Katie O'Donnell added another couple to make it 4-0 in the third quarter.

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Megan Frazer pays tribute to departing Ireland coach Darren Smith

O'Flanagan pulled a goal back with her fourth strike of the competition but Paige Selenski and Jill Witmer completed the rout.

Ireland coach Darren Smith said it was a "devastating" outcome from a tournament filled with fine performances after earlier wins over South Africa, Uruguay and USA.

"The girls put their heart and soul into this tournament, trying to get an Irish team to the Olympics," said Smith.

"Today, we weren't at the races. Against China, we were."

Smith's side have to pick themselves up for Sunday's seventh-place play-off, a tie that offers extra world ranking points but little else.

Ireland, 14th in the world rankings, earned a surprise 2-0 win over the fifth-rated Americans on Tuesday which left them needing a win over China to virtually guarantee their berth in Brazil.

But despite dominating Thursday's match, Ireland were denied as they suffered a 4-3 shootout defeat after the game ended 1-1.

During the shootout, Nikki Evans had an opportunity to win it and captain Megan Frazer and O'Flanagan also missed before China prevailed.

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