Ireland to take on Olympic gold medallists Britain in Belfast

Three-match series to take place at Queen’s University as Olympic preparations ramp up

The Tokyo Olympics-bound Irish women's hockey team will take on Rio 2016 Olympic gold medallists, Great Britain, in a three-match series at Queen's University in Belfast later this month. The SoftCo Series games will take place on Saturday 13th, Sunday 14th and Tuesday 16th of March.

The uncapped games will be the first internationals played by the Irish team on home soil since their successful Olympic qualifiers against Canada in December 2019, which Ireland won after a shoot-out.

BBC Sport NI will be streaming all three matches on their website as well as the BBC iPlayer, while RTÉ will broadcast Sunday evening's match live on RTÉ 2 with coverage starting from 4.30pm.

Nigel Ringland will present BBC Sport NI's coverage of the three matches and will be joined on commentary by former Ireland international Alex Speers, while Evanne Ní Chuillin will present RTÉ's coverage. She will be joined by international players Cliodhna Sargent and Gillian Pinder in studio, with match commentary from George Hamilton and Sarah Scott.


"Given the past 12 months we are really excited to play these international matches at home," said Irish captain Katie Mullan. "The squad has been training hard throughout which showed in our recent matches against Spain. They are a strong team and we recorded two wins and two draws out of the five friendlies, putting us in a confident position going into our next block of training.

“These matches against GB will be great preparation for the EuroHockey Championships this summer ahead of travelling to Tokyo. As current Olympic gold medallists GB are an experienced and strong team, so this is a really good opportunity for us to put all the training into practice ahead of this summer.”

The announcement comes on the 125th anniversary of the first ever women's international field hockey match, which took place on March 2nd, 1886 at Alexandra College, with Ireland recording a 2-0 victory over England.

Match 1: Saturday,March 13th, 2pm. BBC Sport NI website, BBC iPlayer; RTE Player TBC. Match 2: Sunday, March 14th, 5pm. BBC Sport NI Online, BBC iPlayer; RTÉ 2. Match 3: Tuesday, March 16th, 3pm. BBC Sport NI Online, BBC iPlayer; RTE Player TBC.

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson is a sports writer with The Irish Times