After over 20 months making ready within the background, the Irish girls’s hockey crew is seeking to hit the bottom working at June’s European Championships within the Netherlands.
It’s the first part of an enormous summer time that culminates within the Tokyo Olympic Video games with the Euros doubling up as a key preparation event for the Video games whereas additionally offering three potential 2022 World Cup tickets.
It means head coach Sean Dancer has chosen his strongest out there squad for the eight-team competitors at Amstelveen’s Wagener Stadium, bidding for a primary ever semi-final spot.
There, they’ll tackle world primary facet the Netherlands on June 5th in a rematch of the 2018 World Cup ultimate; on June 7th, Eire face Scotland earlier than closing out the group levels on June 9th towards Spain.
Dancer’s 18-player panel options 12 of the 2018 World Cup silver medal-winning facet and 13 of the crew that gained qualification to the Olympic Video games in November 2019 in a dramatic shoot-out in entrance of a packed-out Donnybrook Stadium.
Heroes like Ayeisha McFerran, Lizzie Colvin, Nicci Daly, Nikki Evans, Megan Frazer Hannah Matthews, Shirley McCay, Katie Mullan, Anna O’Flanagan, Lena Tice, Roisin Upton, Sarah Hawkshaw and Chloe Watkins deliver a wealth of expertise to the desk.
There have been damage points, although, which have seen Zoe Wilson and Barr twins Serena and Bethany have to take a seat out the summer time motion.
And so, over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, Dancer’s panel has developed with a number of new faces rising.
Rising UCD star Michelle Carey is about to make her formal capped worldwide debut when the Inexperienced Military take the sphere towards the Dutch.
A product of the Railway Union youth system, she has been an ever-present at coaching camps in Spain, Belfast and England for the reason that flip of the yr, scoring quite a few targets from midfield in worldwide problem matches thus far.
She is one in all three gamers making their first look in a world rating occasion. Loreto speedster Sarah Torrans will get her likelihood having been on the record of reserves for the World Cup whereas UCD’s Hannah McLoughlin has impressed in defence in current sequence towards Nice Britain and Scotland.
Cratloe native Naomi Carroll will play her first capped match for the reason that summer time of 2018, having taken the lengthy street again from an ACL damage sustained whereas in girls soccer motion for Clare. Since then, she was a part of the rejuvenated Irish indoor hockey facet in 2020 earlier than incomes her recall to the senior out of doors setup.
All going effectively, quite a few established faces will hit main milestones through the event. Evans is 2 caps shy of her 200th worldwide outing; Colvin will hit that very same mark if she performs 4 matches within the competitors; Matthews, in the meantime, is three caps away from 150 appearances in inexperienced.
Attributable to Covid-19 considerations, the European Hockey Federation has allowed an additional two gamers to affix the panel as “travelling reserves” along with the preliminary panel of 18.
Deirdre Duke will provide cowl for midfield and ahead strains whereas uncapped Muckross participant Sarah McAuley waits within the wings defensively.
For World Cup qualification, Eire will solely be completely assured of a ticket in the event that they end within the high three positions. At the moment, Spain and the Netherlands are already pre-qualified as hosts; ought to both or each end within the medal positions in Amstelveen, fourth or fifth place might present the golden ticket.
Talking on the announcement concerning the choice, coach Dancer mentioned: “It has been an extended, robust 12 months, making ready in a Covid world. It’s a credit score to the group’s power to reach at this yr’s Euros with a really balanced crew.
“I’ll get pleasure from watching the skilled gamers controlling our play together with the joy of our younger gamers equivalent to Michelle Carey and Hannah McLoughlin.
“The European Championships is a serious event with ramifications for subsequent yr’s World Cup. We now have made our goals very clear and can push arduous as a gaggle in the direction of them.”
The squad was introduced this morning in Skerries at a joint occasion run by major sponsors SoftCo and Park Developments, supporting their rise to the game’s elite ranges.
“Congratulations to the gamers which have been chosen for the Irish girls’s hockey squad for the European Championship immediately,” SoftCo co-founder Susan Spence mentioned.
“Since attaining a World Cup silver medal, this group have continued to drive ahead with Olympic qualification and the current historic victory over Nice Britain. We’re extraordinarily proud to be their essential sponsor as they go in quest of European and Olympic glory this summer time and want them each success.”
Park Developments’ managing director Sean O’Neill added: “From a Park Developments perspective, we want Sean, Katie and all of the squad all the easiest for the 2021 European Championships.
“Our journey with this crew is constructed on assist, and we’re so happy with this group’s distinctive potential to encourage so many younger sports activities folks and followers alike.”
Eire girls’s squad for EuroHockey Championships – June 5-13, 2021, Wagener Stadium, Amstelveen, Netherlands (membership/caps):
Ayeisha McFerran (SV Kampong, 100) – goalkeeper
Lizzie Murphy (Loreto, 13) – goalkeeper
Michelle Carey (UCD, 0)
Naomi Carroll (Catholic Institute, 111)
Lizzie Colvin (Belfast Harlequins, 196)
Nicci Daly (Loreto, 189)
Nikki Evans (Outdated Alex, 198)
Megan Frazer (Belfast Harlequins, 136)
Sarah Hawkshaw (Railway Union, 33)
Hannah Matthews (Loreto, 147)
Shirley McCay (Pegasus, 306)
Hannah McLoughlin (UCD, 14)
Katie Mullan (Ballymoney, 193) – captain
Anna O’Flanagan (Muckross, 207) – vice captain
Lena Tice (Outdated Alex, 109)
Sarah Torrans (Loreto, 26)
Roisin Upton (Catholic Institute, 76)
Chloe Watkins (Monkstown, 226)
Travelling reserves: Deirdre Duke (Outdated Alex, 141), Sarah McAuley (Muckross, 0)
EuroHockey Championships 2021 (all occasions Irish)
Group A (world rank): Netherlands (1st), Spain (7th), Eire (8th), Scotland (22nd)
Group B: Germany (4th), England (5th), Belgium (12th), Italy (17th)
Irish fixture schedule
June 5th, 2021: Eire v Netherlands, 2.30pm
June 7th, 2021: Eire v Scotland, 11.30am
June 9th, 2021: Eire v Spain, 11.30am
June 11th 2021: Semi-finals/relegation pool
June 12th/13th: Medal matches/relegation pool