Hockey: Graham Shaw calls up eight U-21s for Scotland series
Coach challenging young guns to stake their case for a place in possible World Cup panel
Graham Shaw has called up eight of the Ireland under-21 squad for the three senior internationals against Scotland in Stormont and Banbridge later this month, challenging the players to stake their claim for a place in the panel that will, more than likely, compete in next year’s World Cup.
Just nine of the squad named for last August’s European Championships are included in the 26-player panel, Shaw choosing to rest several of his established players to give others an opportunity.
Of the eight under-21s, Loreto’s Hannah McLoughlin and Sarah Torrans and Monkstown goalkeeper Liz Murphy are receiving their first senior call-ups.
Ellen Curran (Monkstown), Erin Getty (Randalstown), Ruth Maguire (Pegasus), Jessica McMaster (Queens) and Cork Harlequins goalkeeper Emma Buckley return to the squad having been previously brought in at various points in the last 12 months.
For now, the players’ focus will be on club action with several on Hockey League duty this weekend. The pick of the fixtures looks to be the meeting of Cork Harlequins and Pegasus at Farmers Cross, both sides getting their campaigns off to a fine a start last Saturday with Harlequins beating defending champions UCD at Belfield and Pegasus putting six past Trinity.
That defeat was UCD’s first in the Hockey League since March 2016 but to get back to winning ways they’ll have to overcome a Belfast Harlequins side full of confidence after getting the better of Monkstown last weekend.
And Monkstown won’t find it easy either to register their first points with Loreto their opponents on Sunday.
Trinity and Pembroke Wanderers, meanwhile, meet at Santry Avenue a week after losing their opening games away to Ulster opposition, Pembroke beaten by Ards who will look to make it two wins out of two when they host Railway Union on Saturday.
Ireland squad: E Buckley, Y O Byrne, R Barry, R Upton, N Carroll (all Cork Harlequins), C Cassin, L Tice, K Mullan, E Russell, E Curran, D Duke (all UCD). H McLoughlin, A Meeke, J McGirr, S Torrans (all Loreto), L Murphy, S Loughran (both Monkstown), J McMaster, E Getty (both Queens), Z Wilson, L Colvin (both Belfast Harlequins), G Pinder, A Naughton (both Pembroke Wanderers), R Maguire (Pegasus), C Brown (Ards), K Lloyd (Railway Union).
Hockey League – Saturday: Cork Harlequins v Pegasus, Farmers Cross, 1.05; Trinity v Pembroke Wanderers, Santry Avenue, 2.0; UCD v Belfast Harlequins, Belfield, 2.0; Ards v Railway Union, Ards Park, 2.30. Sunday: Monkstown v Loreto, Rathdown, 4.15.