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Anna O’Flanagan: World Cup semi-final was a massive, massive game for Irish Hockey

February 18, 2021

In the second part of a special two-part interview discussing Ireland’s incredible semi-final victory over Spain at the 2018 Women’s World Cup, striker Anna O’Flanagan talks to FIH about her memories of what proved to be an historic day for Irish sport.

The interview is part of our Legendary Moments series, with a full match replay of that enthralling semi-final clash with the Red Sticks being made available for all fans on the Watch.Hockey app.

O’Flanagan, Ireland’s all-time record scorer, talks at length about an epic encounter at the London’s Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre, where a large contingent of Irish fans made themselves heard as part of a sell-out crowd of 15,000. 

The striker reflects on the shoot-out heroics of goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran, and how a magnificent homecoming celebration in Dublin left them in no doubt that their historic achievements in London had put the sport well and truly on the map in Ireland.

“Semi-finals are tricky games because they are very much make or break”, said O’Flanagan in the interview. “You secure a medal if you win that semi-final. It was just a massive, massive game for the team, but also for Irish hockey. No Irish team had ever made it to a World Cup final before [in any sport], so we knew we would make history in so many different ways by winning that game.”

She continued: “Running out into that stadium was just so special. There were so many supporters there, and that just lifts you. The excitement and the buzz was just incredible.”

To watch Part 2 of the interview, click here.

As well as the full match replay of Ireland’s 2018 Women’s World Cup semi-final, the Watch.Hockey app also features the special documentary created by the BBC covering the Green Army’s historic exploits in London. You can find the Live Like Legends documentary by visiting the Explore section and then clicking on Special Program. Enjoy!

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