Bentley to play for Ulster

 

Ulster's hopes of avenging last year's 6-0 defeat by Leinster in the Senior Interprovincial Championships received a boost this week when South African international Caryn Bentley was named in their squad for this year's tournament. Bentley will make history by becoming the first player from outside Ireland to represent Ulster in the championships, to be held in Galway later this month.

The 23-year-old from Durban became the first professional in Irish women's hockey when she was appointed player-coach of Coleraine at the beginning of the season, after helping South Africa win the World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe during the summer.

She was used largely as a short corner specialist by South Africa but scored the third of their three goals against Ireland from play.

Bentley's inclusion in the squad, made possible because she is a registered player in Ulster hockey, goes some way towards making up for the loss of three current internationals, Laura Brown, Caroline Craig and Julie Stewart, who were all unavailable for selection.

New Ulster coach Andrea McCullough, a former international, has also named 10 players from league champions Randalstown and runners-up Pegasus in her squad, and all 10 will meet this weekend at the Antrim Forum when the two giants of Ulster hockey meet in the Senior League.

The big clash in Leinster takes places tomorrow at Rathdown when Muckross take on joint league leaders Loreto, fresh from their superb 3-1 victory over Old Alexandra last Saturday. Alex will expect to make up for that defeat by collecting three points at Dardistown against Clontarf while Hermes, joint top with Loreto, should maintain their impressive start to the season when they host Genesis at Belfield.

Meanwhile, the Irish Ladies Hockey Union are inviting applications for the post of Irish senior coach, following the resignations of Terry Gregg and Peter McCabe last month.