Twins Niamh and Michelle Carey named in Ireland squad for World Cup qualifier

Ireland coach Sean Dancer names 18-strong panel for upcoming knock-out event in Pisa

Dublin twin sisters Niamh and Michelle Carey have been named as part of Irish coach Sean Dancer's 18-player women's hockey panel ahead of next week's World Cup qualifier, which takes place in Pisa, Italy from October 21st to 24th.

Ireland take part in an eight-team qualifying event to be played in a knock-out format. Only one side will earn a place at next summer’s World Cup in Spain and the Netherlands.

Ireland, who historically made it to the final of the last World Cup in London 2018, are ranked 12th and meet France (27th) in their first game on October 21st (10.30am, Irish time) with the winner going on to play either Russia (20th) or Belarus (21st). Scotland (19th), Poland (23rd), Italy (17th) and Wales (25th) are on the other side of the draw.

Dancer's central panel features 15 of the squad that travelled to the Olympic Games in July with Niamh Carey, Erin Getty and Ellen Curran coming into the line-up.

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UCD’s Niamh, joining twin sister Michelle, is on course to make her first capped international appearance in the opening game against France. She has been part of the group for most of the past year and lined out against Britain in a couple of challenge matches.

“I am excited about the future and the balance within the squad,” coach Dancer said of his selection. “We have retained a lot of experience and have a lot of excitement coming through. It sits really nicely.

“Niamh has been in and around the senior group previously and has built on her strength on the ball and is scoring goals. She is very dangerous as an attacking player and we hope she will continue that.

“Erin played for Ireland before but never previously with me due to a long-term injury which put her out for a while but, to her credit, she has worked really hard to get back into a position to be in the green shirt again.

“For Ellen, she had issues around her calf and ankle which didn’t make things easy for her but, once again, she took that time to work on areas we wanted her to. Credit to her, she staked her claim for a spot now and looking forward to seeing her use her speed and skill to create some havoc.

In a changing of the guard, Shirley McCay, Hannah Matthews, Lizzie Colvin and Nicci Daly have since stepped back from the programme, as have Nikki Evans and Grace O'Flanagan.

IRELAND SQUAD

Ayeisha McFerran (SV Kampong, Netherlands, 110 caps), Lizzie Murphy (Loreto, 13), Lena Tice (Old Alex, 119), Róisín Upton (Catholic Institute, 86), Hannah McLoughlin (UCD, 24), Sarah McAuley (UCD, 6), Sarah Hawkshaw (Railway Union, 43), Michelle Carey (UCD, 7), Katie Mullan (capt, Ballymoney, 203), Ellen Curran (Pembroke, 24), Sarah Torrans (Loreto, 31), Chloe Watkins (Monkstown, 234), Zara Malseed (Ards, 4), Naomi Carroll (Catholic Institute, 119), Niamh Carey (UCD, 0), Deirdre Duke (Old Alex, 151), Anna O’Flanagan (Muckross, 217), Erin Getty (Queen’s, 8).