Irish Women’s hockey squad ‘grateful to get games’ in London
Trip to London comes after tour to Malaysia was called off at the last moment
The Ireland squad will travel to Bisham Abbey in London as part of their preparation for Tokyo Olympic Games this summer. File photograph: Getty Images
The Irish Women’s squad will travel to Bisham Abbey, London, on Friday as part of their preparation for Tokyo Olympic Games this summer. The squad has already qualified for the Olympics for the first time in its history.
A 20 strong squad will travel for four matches against Britain, the Rio Olympic champions. They are scheduled to take place between the April 22nd and May 2nd. The trip comes after a tour to Malaysia was called off just days ago at the last moment due to complications in arranging matches and travel restrictions. The British team was also supposed to have travelled but also cancelled.
“We’re super excited after the disappointment of not getting to Malaysia to get the trip to Bisham Abbey over the line. We are very realistic over how often things are changing. Getting to Malaysia was going to be a bonus. It’s not as if any other nation is getting loads of games in the heat,” said Irish captain Katie Mullan.
“As an elite athlete, you normally know what you are doing in 13 months or in three hours time. It’s normally set in stone. It is tough and why we just have to function on a weekly basis and what is definitely on the plan for this week, saying what can I do this week to build towards the Olympics? Then you don’t have as many disappointments when you focus short-term.”
While the Olympic games are this year’s primary focus and probably the biggest event in which women’s hockey has competed in decades, the European Championships come first and that is the most immediate concern of the squad.
“GB plays such a fast, exciting version of hockey and that’s what we want to do too,” said Mullan. “It’s good to get games. We’re more excited to play international hockey and hit the pace we need to prepare for the Europeans [IN JUNE]. In a perfect world, playing the same team is not how you would want it, but we are grateful to get the games and it is very good preparation to focus on ourselves.”