Only five survivors from 2018 World Cup in 25-player women’s hockey panel

Chloe Watkins and Anna O’Flanagan are taking a break from international hockey

The decision of Chloe Watkins and Anna O’Flanagan to take a break from international hockey to focus on work means that there are just five survivors from the 2018 World Cup in the 25-player panel named this week by Sean Dancer.

Captain Katie Mullan, Ayeisha McFerran, Roisin Upton, Lena Tice and Deirdre Duke, with close to 700 appearances between them, are all included in a panel that features seven uncapped players who now have a chance to stake their claim for a place in the squad for July’s World Cup in the Netherlands and Spain and August’s EuroHockey Championship qualifiers in Dublin.

The uncapped players are the UCD trio of Ellie McLoughlin, Katherine Egan and Katie-Jane Marshall, Old Alexandra’s Holly Micklem, UCC’s Caoimhe Perdue, Ulster Elks’ Charlotte Beggs and Loreto’s Síofra O’Brien.

It’s the first time since the World Cup qualifiers in Chile back in 2010 that neither Watkins nor O’Flanagan has appeared in an Irish squad, their absence, following the retirements last year of stalwarts like Shirley McCay, Hannah Matthews and Nicci Daly, giving the panel a very new look.


Bethany and Serena Barr return, though, the twins having both suffered anterior cruciate ligament injuries in the last 18 months, but Zoe Wilson is still recovering from the same injury and remains unavailable.

Dancer will select a squad from the panel for a series of games against Britain at Lilleshall (March 13th to 18th) and for a training camp in the Netherlands later in the month.

Back home, Catholic Institute have an EY Hockey League double-header this weekend, giving them a chance to boost their title hopes. The first of those fixtures should be a test, though, a Pegasus side smarting from two defeats in a row their visitors at Rosbrien on Saturday, before they head to Dublin on Sunday to take on Railway Union.

Pembroke Wanderers are still in the driving seat at the top of the table, four points clear of Institute but having played an extra game - they meet Railway on Saturday at Serpentine Avenue.

Old Alexandra, who moved up to third last weekend, also have a double-header this weekend, starting with Muckross at home on Saturday and Pegasus away on Sunday.

Irish panel: H McLoughlin, M Carey, S McAuley, N Carey, E McLoughlin, K Egan, KJ Marshall (all UCD), B Barr, S Barr, J Kilpatrick (all Belfast Harlequins), S Torrans, E Murphy, S O'Brien (all Loreto), D Duke, L Tice, H Micklem (all Old Alexandra), N Carroll, R Upton (both Catholic Institute), C Beggs (Ulster Elks), C Perdue (UCC), A McFerran (SV Kampong), S Hawkshaw (Railway Union), E Getty (Queens), K Mullan (Ballymoney), Z Malseed (Ards).

Hockey League - Division One - Saturday: UCD v Cork Harlequins, Belfield, 1.0; Catholic Institute v Pegasus, Rosbrien, 1.30; Old Alexandra v Muckross, Milltown, 1.30; Belfast Harlequins v Loreto, Deramore Park, 2.30; Pembroke Wanderers v Railway Union, Serpentine Avenue, 2.30. Sunday: Pegasus v Old Alexandra, Queens, 1.0; Railway Union v Catholic Institute, Park Avenue, 5.0.

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan is a sports writer with The Irish Times