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Barr Sisters Qualify for 2020 Olympics with Irish National Team

November 5, 2019  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Bethany and Serena Barr helped Ireland qualify for the 2010 Tokyo Summer Olympics.

Bethany and Serena Barr helped Ireland qualify for the 2010 Tokyo Summer Olympics.

Liberty field hockey alums Bethany and Serena Barr helped their home nation of Ireland qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.

The twin sisters and Ireland competed in the 2019 FIH Olympic Qualifiers, with 14 nations competing in back-to-back games with aggregate scoring for seven berths. The Barrs helped the Irish National Team qualify for the Olympics for the first time ever.

Ireland and Canada were tied 0-0 through regulation of the two games before going to penalty strokes on Sunday evening. Canada led 3-1 in penalty strokes before the Irish came back in dramatic fashion to advance by a 4-3 score to reach its Olympic dream.

The Barrs, who hail from Lurgan, Northern Ireland, competed for the Lady Flames from 2013-16 and were also joined at Liberty by their sister, Natalie, who played from 2012-15 and served as an assistant coach for the program from 2016-17.

Serena, a defender, was an All-American for Liberty in 2016 and a Top 9 Honoree at the 27th annual celebration of the 2017 NCAA Women of the Year. She was also a three-time NFHCA Division I All-South Region selection.

"Qualifying for Tokyo means the world for Irish hockey. Hockey Ireland has been knocking on the door for a long time, and years of hard work from generations before us have brought us to this day. So it is a credit to all of them," she said. The work isn't over yet, and we hope to go to Tokyo and challenge for a medal."

Bethany, a midfielder, was a three-time NFHCA Division I All-South Region honoree. Both sisters were part of Liberty's 2013 and 2014 NorPac Championship teams.

"I can't begin to describe what making the Olympics means to us and to Hockey Ireland as a whole. We both feel so blessed to have been a part of the team to qualify for Ireland women's maiden Olympics, and this is something that the nation of Ireland has been pushing towards for a long time," she said. "It is a very special occasion and one we will always remember. We definitely did it in nail-biting fashion, but it is a memory we will relish for the rest of our lives!"