EuroHockey Championships: Ireland top Pool C after 1-1 draw with Italy

Ireland players congratulate goalscorer Naomi Carroll during the 1-1 draw with Italy
Ireland players congratulate goalscorer Naomi Carroll during the 1-1 draw with Italy

Ireland drew 1-1 with Italy in the EuroHockey Championships in Budapest to top Pool C, secure fifth place and confirm progression to January's 2024 Paris Olympics qualification groups.

Ireland's position in the tournament also sees them retain their place at elite level with a place in the EuroHockey Championships in 2025.

Sofia Laurito put Italy ahead in the third quarter with a penalty corner.

Naomi Carroll scored from open play in the fourth quarter to equalise.

The possibility of a fifth place finish, one above their ranking, opened up for Ireland after their group rivals Spain surprisingly lost 2-1 to Scotland on Friday.

Ireland's game with the Italians was delayed from Friday to Saturday morning because of thunderstorms in the area.

Saturday's match was scoreless at half-time, before Laurito converted a penalty corner to nudge Italy ahead.

A 1-0 defeat would still have seen Ireland top their pool on goal difference and clinch fifth place but Carroll's 48th-minute strike saw her side pick up a point.

The Olympic Qualification groups will be played in either China or Spain next January.