LOCAL international hockey duo Ian Sloan and David Ames saw their Olympic dreams come to abrupt halt against Korea on Sunday.
Korea scored with only five seconds left in the tie and qualified as winners of the qualifying tournament and sealed their place in the finals in London this summer.
Ireland had grabbed the lead through Peter Caruth in the first half. However, the Koreans responded just six minutes before the interval with a fine goal of their own.
Nonetheless Ireland came out fighting in the second half and took a deserved lead through Tim Cockram. Back came Korea as they converted a penalty stroke to level the scores.
By this stage it looked like extra time and perhaps penalty strokes, would be needed to separate the two sides.
However, Korea scored with the last play of the game to break Irish hearts and dash any hope of participation in the Olympics this summer.
Cookstown natives Ian Sloan and David Ames featured for Ireland throughout the qualifying tournament.
Whilst there was obvious disappointment at the final whistle from the sell out crowd and the distraught panel of players, it is worth considering that this is a relatively young and inexperienced side.
The immediate goal now for coach Paul Revington and his side will be to improve their world ranking and continue their success at tournaments.
However, the main objective will be to have learnt from this horrible experience and come back stronger and more determined ahead of the qualifying for the next games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
UUP Councillor Trevor Wilson stated how proud he was of the two local players.
“First of all I would like to congratulate both David and Ian for their performance throughout the tournament. It was a terrible way to end the tournament but they should be extremely proud of how they and the team performed.”
“They have a long career ahead of them and hopefully one day they will achieve their dream of playing at the Olympics for Ireland.”