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Squad named as Irish hockey heroes gear up for Olympic qualifiers

Stephen Doyle
Stephen Doyle

17:12 31 May 2019

The Irish hockey squad for their home-based women's Olympic qualifiers has been announced.

The upcoming FIH World Series in Banbridge gets underway on June 8 and is the first stage in the Olympic qualification process for the Irish team.

The top two teams from each FIH Series Finals will secure a place in qualification events for Tokyo 2020, which will be held later this year.

The matches give the Irish public their first chance to see their hockey heroes play at home since their World Cup silver medal success last summer.

The Green Army will take on Czech Republic, Malaysia and Singapore in Pool A, with Korea, Scotland, Ukraine and France in Pool B.

The squad selection is as follows;

1 Bethany Barr, 2 Emma Buckley (GK), 3 Lizzie Colvin, 4 Nicci Daly, 5 Deirdre Duke, 6 Megan Frazer, 7 Sarah Hawkshaw, 8 Hannah Matthews, 9 Shirley McCay, 10 Ayeisha McFerran (GK), 11 Ali Meeke, 12 Katie Mullan, 13 Anna O'Flanagan, 14 Gillian Pinder, 15 Elena Tice, 16 Roisin Upton, 17 Chloe Watkins, 18 Zoe Wilson - Reserve Chloe Brown & Nicola Evans

Since Ireland's World Cup odyssey, they have lost head coach Graham Shaw who is now in charge of New Zealand.

His replacement Sean Dancer left his role as interim New Zealand head coach before taking the Irish job but he will only be in attendance along with Arlene Boyles and David Passmore who complete the coaching ticket.

New Irish hockey head coach won't be in charge

Interim head coach Gareth Grundie will remain in charge until the conclusion of the tournament in Banbridge.

"I am happy to announce the squad which will compete in this tournament as the first stage in the Olympic qualifying process," said Grundie.

"Selection has been really difficult which means there has been healthy competition for places throughout the recent training block, which is great to see. We are looking forward to and excited to see what the next couple of weeks bring."

2018 World Cup Captain Katie Mullan is hoping that Irish supporters will come out to watch the games.

"As we take our first step towards Olympic qualification the 18 players selected for this FIH Series Final represent the 43 Green Army squad members who started this journey," said Mullan.

"We’re really excited for this home tournament and hope to play in front of a large Irish crowd. The World Cup was a starting point for us, and we’re keen to continue on this journey and stay in the top 10 in the world.

"This June tournament is an opportunity to show where we are. It’s a busy summer ahead and we’re eager to take it on."

The FIH Series Finals include some of the best teams in the world and are one of the roads to reach the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Indeed, the top two teams from each FIH Series Finals will secure a place in the Qualification Events for the next Olympic Games which will be held in October and November 2019. Banbridge, (Women) 8th – 16th  June 2019, match schedule available here.

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