Eugene isn’t daring to dream just yet as Bann lads await Olympic confirmation

Eugene and Ireland missed out is heart-breaking fashion in 2012 and now Eugene says more of the same would be hard to take. Pic: Presseye

Eugene and Ireland missed out is heart-breaking fashion in 2012 and now Eugene says more of the same would be hard to take. Pic: Presseye

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Eugene Magee says he’s not quite convinced he’s going to Rio just yet.

The Banbridge Hockey Club captain, along with Bann team-mates Drew Carlisle and Stevie Dowds, helped Ireland to finish fifth in the World League Three tournament in Belgium.

As reported in last week’s LEADER, they now face an anxious wait for their place at next year’s Olympics to be rubber-stamped.

It would take a series of unlikely events to deny Magee and his team-mates a place on the plane but nonetheless, Eugene isn’t allowing himself to dream until it’s all certain sure.

“We’ll just have to wait and see now,” he said.

“We’re all still a bit cautious because it’s such a big thing to get your hopes up about. It was be hard to take such a disappointment.

“The likelihood is that we are going to be there but there’s always that bit of doubt. The more I think about all the things that I can happen, the more I think we could still miss out.

“The thing that is different from last time around is that we really have done all we could do this time. If things don’t work out, we can still look back and say we did out best.”

“We’re just really happy with how we played over the course of the tournament. Bar one disappointing game, we did all we could and we got as far as we could in that tournament.

“We kept improving throughout the tournament as well, which was great. To play the way we did and get the results that we did against two teams higher than us in the rankings in those final two matches was fantastic.”

Ireland showed they weren’t out of place at the highest level, drawing with Great Britain and giving the hosts and the world number one side big scares, much to the satisfaction of Magee, who has been capped over 200 times.

“We could have taken three points off GB and went very close against Belgium as well.” he said.

“Even against the world number one side, the Aussies, we did very well. We came out and attacked them and after the game, they all said that it was one of the toughest games that they played during the whole tournament.”

Eugene was also full of praise for his two Banbridge team-mates, who impressed just as much with top drawer performances in Belgium.

He said: “Stevie and Drew both played excellently throughout and I think the coach Craig Fulton was hpapy with all of our efforts. A lot of hard work went on behind the scene by the coaches and by all of us.

At this stage, Ireland are third in line to seize any remaining places but in the likely event Argentina or Canda win this month’s Pan-Am Games, they will be one step closer.

After that, should Australia keep up their dominant history in the Oceania Cup and Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, England (GB) or Spain win the European Championships later in the year, Ireland will be on the plane.

There are other complications that could also allow Ireland in if one of those evntualities fails to materialise.