Meet the Irish women’s hockey squad for the Olympic qualifiers

Johnny Watterson profiles Sean Dancer’s 18-strong squad for the games against Canada

Ayeisha McFerran (Ulster)

The former Larne Grammar School pupil and current 23-year-old student was voted best goalkeeper in World Cup 2018. Plays for Dutch side Kampong.

Elizabeth Murphy (Leinster)

A new face in the squad and the first St Killian’s past pupil to play for Ireland. Now with Dublin’s Loreto, the 21-year-old goalkeeper has 10 caps.

Róisín Upton (Munster)

The Catholic Institute 25-year-old is a silver medallist from the 2018 World Cup.  A teacher, she is a graduate from the American collegiate system.

Nikki Evans (Leinster)

The 29-year-old former Alexandra College player works as a solicitor in Germany and plays hockey with UHC Hamburg. A silver medallist from the 2018 World Cup.


Katie Mullan (Ulster, capt)

The 25-year-old former camogie player from Ballymoney is another pushing towards 200 caps. A leader she captained the side to the World Cup final.

Shirley McCay (Ulster)

The full-time coach is sitting on 299 caps and is about to become the most capped female in Irish sport. The 31-year-old record maker plays club hockey with Pegasus.

Elena Tice has also played international cricket for Ireland. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Elena Tice (Leinster)

A hockey and cricket international who holds more than 100 hockey caps. Plays in defence with UCD and incredibly a World Cup veteran at just 21.

Gillian Pinder (Leinster)

Former St Andrew’s pupil and a student in Business and Law, the 27-year-old midfielder plays with Pembroke and is another World Cup silver medal winner.

Beth Barr (Ulster)

One of the new faces in the squad who spent some time at UCD. Now with Belfast Harlequins, the 24-year-old made her debut earlier this year. A twin sister to Serena.

Serena Barr (Ulster)

The other 24-year-old Barr twin, who also made her debut earlier this year against Chile. Formerly with UK side Beeston and now at Harlequins with her sister.

Chloe Watkins (Leinster)

The 27-year-old trainee accountant plays with Monkstown and has over 200 caps. Earned hardcore stripes scoring in the World Cup shootouts last year.

Lizzie Colvin (Ulster)

A Trinity law graduate, the 29-year-old Belfast Harlequins midfield player works in Belfast in employment law. Now in her 11th year as an Irish international.

Nicola Daly (Leinster)

The former High School pupil is a mechanical engineer and former senior Dublin footballer. Now 31, the Loreto player’s other interests include F1.

Hannah Matthews (Leinster)

A national school teacher in Dublin, the 28-year-old plays her club hockey with Loreto. From a sporting family, her dad Phillip played rugby for Ireland.

Sarah Hawkshaw (Leinster)

The 23-year-old forward has a brother in Leinster rugby and a mum who played badminton for Ireland. She played underage Gaelic football for Dublin.

Anna O’Flanagan plays her club hockey in the Netherlands with Pinoke. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Anna O’Flanagan (Leinster, vice-captain)

The 29-year-old solicitor is one of Ireland’s pacy forwards with plenty of attitude and a cool head. Plays club hockey with the Dutch side Pinoke.

Zoe Wilson (Ulster)

Another World Cup veteran at just 22, the defender is one of the 100-plus cap players in the squad. She plays for club side Belfast Harlequins.

Deirdre Duke (Leinster)

The 27-year-old forward played football for Dublin and soccer for Ireland at age grade. A World Cup silver medallist, law is on hold until this Olympic thing is sorted.

Coach: Sean Dancer

Appointed in April when Graham Shaw left to coach New Zealand women, the former Australian Under 21 player was former assistant to New Zealand.

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson is a sports writer with The Irish Times