MALAYSIA crumbled like dominoes to hand Ireland their first ever Olympics ticket when they went down 4-1 in the Fifth-Sixth placing match in the World League Semifinals in Antwerp, Belgium yesterday.
By finishing fifth, Ireland are assured of playing in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, while Malaysia will have to wait their turn and hope on luck that there are plenty of double qualifications from the Oceania Cup, Pan American, European Cup and that hosts Brazil do not finish in the top six bracket in the Pan American.
The players only have themselves to blame as they had two golden chances to qualify but blew the quarterfinals 3-2 against India, and then went crashing against the Irish.
Now Malaysia are fifth reserves behind Canada, Spain, Ireland and New Zealand.
Ireland came charging in the first quarter, and scored two quick goals to place great pressure on Malaysia. Kyle Good slotted in a cheeky goal in the fifth, while a top of the semi-circle hit from Peter Caruth in the eighth minute made it 2-0.
It was a better second quarter from Malaysia, as they won their first penalty corner immediately upon restart, but the Irish defense was stubborn.
But luck ran out of the Malaysian bench when easy sitters were blown by Faizal Saari and Haziq Shamsul, and their poor attempts made Ireland goalkeeper David Harte look good.
Coaches Tai Beng Hai, Nor Saiful Zaini and team manager Stephen van Huizen got their 10 minutes at the half-time break to motivate the players, as there is still time for Malaysia to pull off an upset.
However, the Irish were better prepared with their counter attacks and made it 3-0 when Alan Sothern tappen in a cross in the 40th minute.
After six penalty corners, finally a deflection from Faiz Jali went crashing into the net in the 55th minute.
But the Irish were in no mood to give away their win and added their fourth in the 59th minute off Michael Darling.
Meanwhile, Pakistan ended their campaign on another low when they were beaten 2-1 by France. Simon Martin (13th) and Hugo Genestet (30th) scored for France and Muhammad Toseeq (48th) for Pakistan.
RESULTS: Final: Australia x Belgium x; Third-Fourth: India x Britain x; Fifth-Sixth: Malaysia 1 Ireland 4; Seventh-Eighth: Pakistan 1 France 2.