Tokyo 2020: 'What a way to go out of international hockey' - Irish coach Tumilty

Ireland head coach Mark Tumilty
Ireland head coach Mark Tumilty

Ireland men's hockey coach Mark Tumilty has claimed the penalty controversy which cost his team a place at the Olympics has ended some careers.

The Irish were one second away from qualifying for the Tokyo games when Canada were awarded a penalty stroke.

Canada converted and won the resulting shootout after a dramatic two-legged play-off in Vancouver.

"That was the last international game for some lads, what a way to go out of international hockey," said Tumilty.

"They have been excellent servants to Irish hockey.

"They've had a lot of highs, this would be one of the major lows."

After winning Saturday's opener 5-3, Ireland were already celebrating a 6-5 aggregate win when Canada asked for a video referral after Lee Cole's challenge on James Wallace inside the Irish circle.

The video umpire awarded a penalty stroke, which Canada scored before prevailing in the subsequent shoot-out.

"We celebrated as if we won it," added Tumilty."

"It's a very tough call, I wouldn't see too many of those in any level of hockey to be honest for that to be given.

"We had our chances in the shootout, but that's the way shootouts go, they're pot luck, fair play to Canada, it's not an easy one to take."

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Having put themselves in a commanding position to qualify for the Olympics after Saturday's win, Ireland were outplayed by their opponents in the second leg.

Tumilty, who was appointed interim coach following Alexander Cox's resignation in September, said he is proud of his players for digging deep against a resilient Canada side.

"We probably didn't play as well as we did on Saturday," he said.

"Canada reacted well to our performance yesterday, however we still created enough chances and the guys dug in very deep right until the last seconds of the game so very proud of what they delivered over the past six weeks.

"It was a difficult period for them, there was a lot of unknown with the coaching set-up and that but they have been a fantastic group of players to deal with

"It's never a nice easy to end your international career but a strong group of lads, a lot of talent still in the group and pretty convinced they can bounce back."

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