Ireland women to play Great Britain in Dublin
25 Mar 2008 07:54
The Great Britain women’s team will travel to Ireland for a three match test series at the end of March. The matches will be played on 28, 29 and 30 March at the National Hockey Stadium in Belfield, Dublin.
GB Head Coach Danny Kerry is looking forward to the matches against Ireland. “This trip will be a nice contrast to our previous month in Australia. A short hop over the Irish Sea, with three back to back matches will allow us to work on a few areas of our match play against a team that is finalizing its preparations for their Olympic qualifier. Ireland showed some good form in their recent tour to New Zealand including a win against the Black Sticks. I expect the matches will be closely contested, with both groups working on specific areas of play at differing timescales of preparation.
“Rachel Walker will be making a graded return to international competition after missing the Australia trip due to surgery on her wrist and Jo Ellis will also return to action after missing all of the test matches in Australia with a pneumothorax. It’s always great to play Ireland who are dangerous in counter-attack and well organized in defense.”
The Irish team have been training intensely as they continue to prepare for their Olympic Qualifying Tournament which gives them their final opportunity to secure a spot at the Beijing Olympics. Ireland are ranked second in their group and will have to face Korea, Canada, Uruguay, Malaysia and Italy and come out on top for that final berth at the Olympics.
Ireland will play Great Britain, who have already qualified for the Olympics, three times in as many days. Coach Muller is obviously pleased with how the preparations are going “I think that our preparation for the Olympic qualifiers have gone well thus far. We have played against some quality opposition in the build up and GB will be a tough assignment. They (GB) obviously have high aspirations for the Olympics so these matches will give us another opportunity to play against a quality team, with our players exposed to the pressures that a series like this entails.”
The Coach and management have also taken this opportunity to announce stalwart Eimear Cregan as the new Irish Captain to take over from Linda Caulfield who retired last September. Eimear Cregan who is usually found up front in attacking mode, earned her first cap seven years ago against Wales and has since then been a regular face in the Irish line up. The twenty five year old who plays for Cork Harlequins has amassed an impressive 128 caps and twenty international goals in her seven years at senior level.
Commenting on the appointment Coach Muller said, “Eimear was a natural choice for captaincy and has the support of the team and the management. She has played in excess of 100 test caps and is a force on and off the field. I am sure that she will lead with dedication and enthusiasm.”
On the announcement of her appointment, Cregan was clearly ready for the role “I am honoured to be selected as captain, following in the footsteps of Rachel Kohler, Lynsey McVicker and Linda Caulfield. This is a very exciting and challenging time for Irish hockey and I will do everything I can to help Ireland qualify for the Olympics”
Team Great Britain.
Laura Bartlett, Jennie Bimson, Mel Clewlow, Crista Cullen, Alex Danson, Jo Ellis, Susie Gilbert, Beckie Herbert, Anne Panter, Helen Richardson, Katy Roberts, Chloe Rogers, Beth Storry, Sarah Thomas, Rachel Walker, Kate Walsh, Lisa Wooding, Lucilla Wright.
Emma Clarke, Eimear Cregan, Roisin Flinn, Lisa Jacob, Mary Goode, Louisa Healy, Shirley McCay, Jenny McDonough, Cathy McKean, Bridget McKeever, Hollie Moffet, Louisa Moore, Ciara O’Brien, Julia O’Halloran, Clare Parkhill, Cliodhna Sargent, Alex Speers, Emma Stewart,
Source: GB Hockey Ltd & Irish Hockey Association.