Belfield to host first international hockey matches since October 2015
Irish women and men lining out in double-header on Thursday
Full refurbishments are set to be carried out at Belfield before the club season
Belfield will host its first international hockey matches since October 2015 on Thursday evening as a late stand-in venue, with the Irish women and men lining out in a double-header.
The women face Chile as part of a three-nations tournament at 6pm, before the men take on USA at 8pm in ties originally scheduled to be played at Rathdown.
However, watering issues at the venue led to the switch to the former national hockey stadium.
Full refurbishments are set to be carried out at Belfield before the club season, with UCD taking on the replacement costs without the support of Hockey Ireland with whom they joint-funded the last surface. The pitch lost its certificate for international matches in 2013, with a deadlock finally broken this summer over how best to replace it.
For the Irish women, the series will hopefully see the return of Megan Frazer to action after two years of injury travails. Coach Graham Shaw is hopeful she can test her knee against Chile on Thursday and then play an increased role on Saturday against Italy at Serpentine Avenue.
Shaw is also waiting on the fitness of Roisin Upton, who has missed the last four test matches with a hamstring strain, with the World Cup now just 10 days away.
For the men, the interim coaching group of John Bessell, Kai de Jager and Jonny Caren take charge of the panel for the first time since Craig Fulton moved to Belgium.
They have made a number of changes for their two game series with USA. David Fitzgerald, Stephen Cole, Luke Madeley and Sam O’Connor return to the line-up, while David and Conor Harte, Chris Cargo, John Jackson, Matthew Bell, Peter Caruth, Neal Glassey and Julan Dale step out.
Their first tie is at 8pm at Belfield before facing the same opposition on Friday at 7pm in Pembroke.
IRELAND WOMEN’S SQUAD (Three Nations tournament vs Italy and Chile, July 12th-14th): Ayeisha McFerran (University of Louisville), Grace O’Flanagan (Railway Union), Yvonne O’Byrne (Cork Harlequins), Hannah Matthews (Loreto), Lena Tice (UCD), Zoe Wilson (Belfast Harlequins), Roisin Upton (Cork Harlequins), Shirley McCay (Pegasus), Katie Mullan (UCD), Nicci Daly (Loreto), Gillian Pinder (Pembroke), Megan Frazer (Mannheimer HC), Chloe Watkins (HC Bloemendaal), Lizzie Colvin (Belfast Harlequins), Deidre Duke (UCD), Nikki Evans (HC Hamburg), Ali Meeke (Loreto), Anna O’Flanagan (Pinoke), Emily Beatty (Pembroke), Naomi Carroll (Cork Harlequins)
Thursday: Ireland vs Chile, 6pm, Belfied
Saturday: Ireland vs Italy, 2pm, Pembroke
IRELAND MEN’S SQUAD (vs USA, July 12th-13th): Jamie Carr (Three Rock Rovers), David Fitzgerald (Monkstown), Mark Ingram (HC Rotterdam), Eugene Magee (Banbridge), Owen Magee (Banbridge), Mitch Darling (Three Rock Rovers), Johnny McKee (Banbridge), Matthew Nelson (Lisnagarvey), Jeremy Duncan (Herakles), Alan Sothern (La Gantoise), Shane O’Donoghue (KHC Dragons), Michael Robson (Lisnagarvey), Sean Murray (HC Rotterdam), Daragh Walsh (Three Rock Rovers), Stephen Cole (Oree), Luke Madeley (Three Rock Rovers), Paul Gleghorne (Crefelder HTC), Jonny Bell (Lisnagarvey), Stuart Loughrey (Hampstead & Westminster), Lee Cole (Oree), Sam O’Connor (Glenanne)
Thursday: Ireland v USA, 8pm, Belfield
Friday: Ireland v USA, 7pm, Pembroke