Frazer included in Ireland squad for World Cup
Frazer is recovering from a knee ligament injury
Ireland coach Graham Shaw is confident that Megan Frazer will be fit for the World Cup. Photograph: Inpho
Frazer has played just a handful of games in the past 20 months since suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury in 2016, undergoing three surgeries, the latest of which came just a few weeks ago.
But her prodigious ability - allied to a change in competition rules - has seen the coach take a punt that she can be in full-flow for London come July 21st.
“She’s a serious talent,” Shaw told the Irish Times. “One that we haven’t seen around Irish hockey much for the last number of years so we have to give her every possible chance she can impact our team.
“For me, she lit up world hockey in 2014 and 2015 and was continuing that until the injury in 2016. It has been a very difficult period for her for 15 or 16 months but we are confident she will be flying fit.”
Taking such a chance has been aided by a tweak of the World Cup rules. Previously, nations could only work off an 18-player panel with no replacements. This time, however, medically approved subs can be brought in during the competition, something that played into Shaw’s thinking.
“You take a risk with players coming back from injury; that’s natural. We feel they will get through the next few weeks. The format does give you that bit of a comfort blanket if players do have a recurrence that you can bring in players that have been part of the squad.”
Other than that, the squad is largely as expected, a hugely experienced line-up with only Roisin Upton holding less than 50 Irish caps while all have played international ranking events in the past.
It means no place for former 19-year-old Sarah Torrans, the former Irish underage international sprinter who made a late push for inclusion. She is one of four on the replacements list along with Sinead Loughran, Naomi Carroll and Emily Beatty.
Nicci Daly is another on the comeback trail from injury. A stress fracture in her foot saw her miss last weekend’s upbeat trip to Germany but she will return for next week’s practice series against Japan in Cork.
After that, there are games against Chile, Italy and South Africa before the big date in the group stages against USA on July 21.
Ireland World Cup (July 21 - August 5, 2018): 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), Deirdre Duke (UCD), Nicola Evans (UHC Hamburg), Ali Meeke (Loreto), Anna O’Flanagan (HC Bloemendaal)