Day 7 - HWC Australia
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Ireland reach final of Dignitary Cup
Having got over the disappointment of being knocked out of the Homeless World Cup, Ireland have secured a place in the final of the Dignitary Cup with impressive wins in the quarter finals and semi finals over Poland 7-3 and Germany 8-5 to find themselves facing Nigeria in today’s final in Melbourne at 3.30 pm local time. Second only to the World Cup competition itself. The Dignitary Cup features 8 of the top sixteen teams in the World. It is a tremendous achievement for Ireland. Management team's Sean Kavanagh is delighted with the teams progress.
'It is testimony to the character of the these lads that they were able to bounce back and produce the quality displays that have enabled them to reach the final.'
Ireland 7 Poland 3
Ireland pulled away from Poland to record an impressive 7-3 victory and advance to the semi-finals of the Dignitary Cup.
A vocal crowd packed the stands for the quarter-final clash between two of the tournament heavyweights.
And they did not have to wait long for something to cheer about. Just a minute into play Poland's Thomasz Rudyk opened the scoring with a wonderfully precise shot under pressure.
But the Irish were keen to register some highlights of their own, scoring two of the next three goals to level the game at 2-2.
The intensity was lifted to yet another level as the first half drew to a close, with each team creating a wealth of scoring opportunities.
Inspirational Irish captain Ross Crosbie held his nerve to slot the third for his side, opening up a slender 3-2 half time lead.
Whatever was said in the Irish camp during the break had a profound impact on the players and inspired football saw their lead stretch to three goals midway through the second half.
Poland had their work cut out but was not prepared to concede defeat, scoring the next goal to draw within striking distance of its opponent with enough time on the clock for a comeback victory.
However the class of the Irish prevailed, a further two goals rounded out the solid win.
Ireland 8 Germany 5
In A frantic and physical game, the Irish were too strong and experienced in the wet conditions and advanced to the Dignitary Cup Final after an 8-5 win over Germany.
The Germans looked dangerous on the dry early pitch, putting the first goal on the board through key striker Denny Iwan.
The reply came in the second minute for Ireland through big man Ross Crosbie, just as the rain started to fall over Fed Square Stadium.
The slippery conditions proved somewhat dangerous and a tackle on Iwan sent him flying to the ground and grabbing at his knee.
He bravely played on through obvious pain, gaining the respect of the vocal crowd, and incredibly scored for a second time, lifting the German fans to their feet.
A slip from the German goalie gifted the Irish a penalty in the sixth minute, although he repaid his country by saving what was a certain goal in the dying seconds, holding the half time score to 3-all.
An early Irish goal after the break to Stephan Coleman was closely followed by a blue card to Jimmy Bell, leaving them a man down for two minutes.
German substitute Patrick Helliger took maximum advantage of his team's extra numbers, slamming home two goals and giving his side the lead with four minutes remaining.
Restored to four men, another Coleman goal for Ireland levelled the scores.
The Germans looked the better entering the final minutes of the match, but a huge save by keeper Thomas Cullen knocked the ball directly into the path of Farrell who converted, and seconds later knocked in the sealer.
The joint celebration at the end of the match was a great image of the Homeless World Cup spirit, as players from bothteams embraced after a hard-fought seesawing contest.
The Irish will now go on to play Nigeria in the Dignitary Cup Final on Sunday at the Fed Square Stadium.
To Download Hi-Res pics of the tournament click here for the gallery