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Irish in London: August 6

Aug 6, 2012, 8:28 PM EDT

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There are perhaps no words that can truly describe the thriller that took place between the United States and Canada in Monday’s Olympic semifinal at Old Trafford.

Three times, the Canadian national team took the lead. Three times the Americans stormed back.

Ninety minutes was not enough. Neither was 120. A penalty shootout looked certain.

That was until the game clock read 122:22.

A cross from Heather O’Reilly, a header from Alex Morgan, and a 4-3 American victory, sending team U.S.A. to its fifth consecutive gold medal match.

Heartbreak for Canada. Jubilation for the United States.

An incredible finish and an opposite wave of emotions for the three Irish alumnae involved in the contest.

Melissa Tancredi (’04) did just about everything she could, playing all 120+ minutes for Canada and assisting on each of Christine Sinclair’s first two goals.

On the other side was Shannon Boxx (’99), who has been out since the opener with a hamstring injury. She enjoyed it nonetheless, judging from her post-game tweet.

Canada’s Candace Chapman (’05) also did not play, as she has been nursing a calf injury since the opening game.

Despite the loss, Tancredi and Chapman still hope to bring Canada its first Olympic medal in a traditional team sport since 1936. Their squad will face France in the bronze medal match at 8 am ET on Thursday, live on NBC Sports Network and the NBC Olympic Soccer Channel.

At 2:45 pm ET on Thursday (also on NBCSN & NBCSC), Boxx and team U.S.A. will go for their third consecutive gold medal when they take on Japan at Wembley Stadium. The American squad will seek to avenge last year’s disappointing loss in the World Cup Final.

Should the United States win, Boxx would become the first Notre Dame alum with three Olympic gold medals.

You’ll be hard pressed to find a match with more drama than today’s, but we’ve got two more games and hopefully, a trio of Irish alumnae who will soon be making their way back across the pond with Olympic medals in hand.

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