Three Rock produce miracle of Mannheim to retain Euro status

Needing to beat Danish side by four clear goals, the Dublin side pulled off the feat

Three was the magic number for Three Rock Rovers as they produced a miracle in Mannheim to maintain their place in the second tier of European indoor hockey.

Needing to beat Danish side Slagelse by four clear goals, they struck three times in the last three minutes in an incredible salvo to win out 8-4, pipping their opponents by a single effort on goal difference.

Jody Hosking got the defining touch with 22 seconds to go, redirecting Ali Haughton’s slingshot into the circle to spark the celebrations, the final connection coming with a combined age of 70 and over 20 European campaigns across indoor and outdoor.

It means Rovers will remain in the EuroHockey Indoor Club Trophy for a third successive edition, the longest Ireland have had a men’s representative at this level since Avoca from 1994 to 1996.

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Three Rock had begun the competition slowly, losing 5-2 to Slavia Prague and then 7-3 to Dutch giants Pinoké on Friday, A 3-2 loss to Swiss champions Luzerner SC sent the Rathfarnham club into the relegation pool.

Only two would do and they left it late on Saturday evening to defeat Sweden’s Partille 6-3, three goals coming in the last 100 seconds to keep their hopes alive.

They were still in a perilous position going into the final tie, needing to beat Slagelse by four clear goals.

Inspired by James Walker, they raced into a 4-0 lead in the first 15 minutes but then tied in the middle phase of the contest with the Danes cutting the deficit to 5-4.

It looked like hopes were petering out until defender Harry MacMahon his first ever goal on this stage and the dream was fully ignited when Jonas Althusmann fired in for 7-4 within 15 seconds.

Hosking then got the vital goal at the death.

He has form on this front, scoring the winner against Swiss opposition in 2020 with two minutes remaining of the Euro Trophy tournament in Türkiye to retain safety, too.

As Irish champions, Three Rock will represent the country once more in 2024.

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