Hockey: Sargent and Frazer return for Ireland’s World Cup build-up

Experienced players named in Graham Shaw’s 29-strong training panel

After lengthy absences, two of Irish hockey's most experienced players have returned to the international set-up. Cliodhna Sargent and Megan Frazer, with over 300 caps between them, were named by Graham Shaw this week in his 29-strong training panel.

Come the end of June the Ireland coach will trim that number down to the squad that will compete in the World Cup in London the following month.

Sargent, the first Munster player to reach the double century mark in caps, returned to action for Cork Harlequins in November following the birth of her son in August, but it was a serious injury that had ruled Frazer out since October 2016. The then Irish captain ruptured her anterior cruciate and partially tore her medial cruciate ligament in training with Mannheimer just two months after joining the German club.

A number of setbacks resulted in the midfielder's recovery following surgery being slower than expected, much of her hockey time since then spent coaching her former club Ulster Elks. Frazer is hoping to get back playing with Mannheimer soon, and from then Shaw will monitor her progress.



Teenagers Sarah Torrans, Hannah McLoughlin, Ellen Curran and Emma Buckley and are also included in the panel, having impressed following their first senior call-ups last year, Buckley one of six Cork Harlequins players selected, making them the club with the highest representation on the panel. Ireland's build-up to the World Cup continues next month with two games against Scotland in Glasgow and three against England at Bisham Abbey.

Harlequins, meanwhile, await the winners of Saturday's previously postponed Irish Senior Cup tie between Belfast Harlequins and Pembroke Wanderers to see who they will play in the quarter-finals of the competition. Four clubs have already reached that stage, Railway Union and Loreto meeting at Park Avenue for a place in the semi-finals, while Lurgan take on UCD for the same prize.

Irish squad: E Buckley, Y O'Byrne, C Sargent, R Upton, R Barry, N Carroll (all Cork Harlequins), L Tice, L McGuire, K Mullan, E Curran, D Duke (all UCD), H Mathews, H McLoughlin, N Daly, A Meeke, S Torrans (all Loreto), G Pinder, A Naughton, E Beatty (all Pembroke Wanderers), G O'Flanagan (Railway Union), Z Wilson, L Colvin (both Belfast Harlequins), C Watkins, A O'Flanagan (both Bloemendaal), S Loughran (Monkstown), M Frazer (Manheim), A McFerran (Louisville), N Evans (UHC), S McCay (Pegasus).

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan is a sports writer with The Irish Times