Former University of Louisville field hockey standout Ayeisha McFerran helped lead Ireland’s national team to a shootout win against Canada in an Olympic Qualifier Sunday in DonnyBrook, Ireland. With the win, the Green Army earned a bid to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, marking the first-ever berth for the Irish Women’s National Team.
Facing Canada in the second leg of an Olympic qualifier, the teams played through a scoreless regulation followed by two overtimes periods before entering a shootout. Canada jumped to a 3-1 lead before the Irish roared back to gain a 4-3 advantage with the aid of a pair of saves by McFerran. The goalkeeper thwarted Canada’s final attempt to seal the victory.
This was not the only time the Larne, Northern Ireland native turned in a clutch performance on a big stage. The 2018 Best Goalkeeper of the World Cup helped Hockey Ireland became the first in the nation’s history to reach the World Cup finals last year.
Making its first World Cup appearance since 2002, Ireland entered the tournament at No. 16 in the FIH world rankings, the second lowest of any team competing in the World Cup and the lowest in their pool. They opened play with wins over the United States and India. Despite a loss to host England, the Irish emerged as the Pool B winner, gaining a spot in the quarterfinals.
Facing India in a quarterfinal rematch, McFerran again posted shutout to send the contest to a shootout where she stopped two attempts as the Irish prevailed 3-1. She followed that performance with another shootout victory, this time turning back four tries help the Green Army emerge with a 3-2 win against Spain.
McFerran is in her sixth year as a member of the Irish National Team.
McFerran graduated from UofL in May 2019 after becoming the program’s first four-time NFHCA All-American. She finished her career ranked among the school’s top three in career victories (50) victories and shutouts (20) and goals against average (1.40).
|Lori Korte Harmon|
Assistant Sports Information Director
University of Louisville Athletics