Gene Muller has opted to take an extra defender to the EuroHockey Nation’s Championships in Amsterdam next month as he announced his squad today for the Irish women’s second major ranking tournament of the summer.
Cork Harlequins’ Cliodhna Sargent (pictured) comes in for attacking midfielder Niamh Small in the one change to the side that travelled to Kazan for the Champion’s Challenge II last month. Should Sargent appear in four games in the tournament se would reach the milestone of 50 caps.
Should Ireland breach the top two in that group, a 2010 World Cup place would be guaranteed but the side will also have to negotiate Scotland and world number seven side Spain - who recently white-washed the Irish in a three-game series.
And Muller is well aware of the intense challenge that lies ahead: “The European Championships tournament is the premier event of the year for us and we are excited at the prospect of playing in Amsterdam in late August. We have prepared well for this tournament and are hoping to perform to our potential with a young and competitive team.
“Europe is the toughest world cup qualification zone, with four of the top seven teams in the world playing at this tournament so we will, no doubt, be challenged to our limit to perform.”
Ireland squad (club/caps): Lauren Barr (Ballymoney/13), Emma Clarke (Ulster Elks/76), Bridget Cleland (Ballymoney/132), Lizzie Colvin (Loreto/17), Eimear Cregan (Capt, Cork Harlequins/154), Roisin Flinn (UCD/59), Megan Frazer (Ballymoney/16), Mary Goode (Bray/57), Emma Gray (Hermes/11), Michelle Harvey (Pegasus/18), Lisa Jacob (UCD/54), Shirley McCay (Ulster Elks/71), Cathy McKean (Loreto/125), Cliodhna Sargent (Cork Harlequins/46), Alex Speers (Pegasus/60), Emma Smyth (Railway Union/12), Emma Stewart (Armagh/77), Nikki Symmons (Loreto/122)
EuroHockey Nation's Championships - match Schedule (all times GMT)
Saturday, August 22 (10:30am): Ireland v Germany
Sunday, August 23 (8:30am): Ireland v Scotland
Tuesday, August 25 (12:30pm): Ireland v Spain
Thursday August 27 & Saturday, August 29: Classifications/ Finals