Ireland powered their way to the second stage winning their first four games in the group one stage
Wins against Holland 12-2, South Korea 8-3 and Italy 5/3, Sweden 5-2 saw Ireland face South Africa to see who would top their group.
Ireland 5 South Africa 6
In what was described as the match of the tournament this turned out to be a thrilling encounter. Falling behind to an early goal Ireland powered their way back into the game to take a 3-1 lead before Africa countered with two quick goals to make it 3-3 and with seconds remaining before half time Africa took the lead to reach the break 4-3 ahead.
If the first half was nail-biting the second proved just as enthralling with Ireland getting an equaliser and going into the lead at 5-4 it was end to end stuff with Africa equalising and once again 30 seconds before the end of normal time the they took the lead at 6-5. Once again Ireland pushed forward and on the stroke of full time they were awarded a penalty, what drama.. unfortunately for the Irish the African keeper made a brilliant save to deny the draw they so richly deserved.
In what was a breath-taking match the teams left the field to a standing ovation.
Although Ireland have qualified in 2nd place the loss meant they were drawn in what all describe as the toughest group of the second stage, current champions Mexico await them along with former champions Chile, along with Bulgaria, Costa Rica and Hungary. If Ireland are to progress they will have to do it the hard way.
MATCH FIXTURES TODAY
IRELAND v MEXICO @ 1pm Pitch 1
IRELAND V HUNGARY @4.20pm Pitch 1