New coaches give Old Alexandra an edge for Catholic Institute clash

Ex-Institute player Cregan recently joined Alexandra as joint coach alongside McKean

 Old Alexandra coach and former Ireland player Eimear Cregan made 171 appearances over a 10-year period for her country. Photograph:  Donall Farmer/Inpho

Old Alexandra coach and former Ireland player Eimear Cregan made 171 appearances over a 10-year period for her country. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

 

A week after they opened their Hockey League campaign with a 4-1 win away to Belfast Harlequins, Old Alexandra host Catholic Institute, a club with which one of their new coaches is more than a little familiar.

Last month, Alexandra announced the appointment of former Institute player Eimear Cregan and her one-time international team-mate Cathy McKean as their joint first-team coaches, the pair having won 301 caps between them back in their Ireland days.

At the time of her retirement in 2011, Cregan was the most capped Irish player of all time, having made 171 appearances over a 10-year period. McKean played 130 times for her country and won just about every club honour on offer in her Loreto days.

Intriguing pairing

It’s an intriguing pairing, then, one that has a gifted set of players to work with, the arrival of Jess McGirr from Muckross and Niamh Sweeney from Railway Union strengthening a squad that already included internationals Lena Tice, Deirdre Duke and Nikki Evans.

How available internationals will be to their clubs, though, remains to be seen. Some, like Institute’s Olympians Róisín Upton and Naomi Carroll who played in their draw with UCD last weekend, are back in action, others are resting their weary bones after a gruelling summer. And with a World Cup qualifying tournament coming up next month in Italy, their 2021 international work is not yet done.

Loreto and Railway Union, meanwhile, make their first appearances of the season, away to Pembroke Wanderers and Cork Harlequins, respectively, while Muckross are at home to UCD.

Weekend fixtures
Women’s EY Hockey League Division One – Saturday:
Cork Harlequins v Railway Union, Farmers Cross, 12.45; Muckross v UCD, Grange Road, 1.0; Old Alexandra v Catholic Institute, Alexandra College, 1.30; Pembroke Wanderers v Loreto, Serpentine Avenue, 2.0.

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