Women’s hockey: Weekend fixtures have potential for reward
National coach Graham Shaw has been extending his panel for camps that have been taking place around the provinces
Gemma Frazer of Belfast Harlequins (left) and Anna May Whelan of Railway Union. Photograph: Rowland White/Presseye/INPHO
Not that there’s ever a need for an added incentive to play your way on to the Irish senior panel, but with a busy and exciting 2019 ahead for a national team that has acquired an unprecedented status after their summer heroics, there’s an extra motivation for club players to catch Graham Shaw’s eye this season.
Ireland’s pre-Christmas plans will be firmed up over the next 10 days, Spain or Italy possible destinations for a training camp and some friendly internationals. Ahead of that Shaw has been extending his panel for the national camps that have been taking place around the provinces over the last couple of Sundays with players who show promising early-season form being rewarded.
Among them are two players returning to the panel having taken a break from international hockey for work and study reasons, Gemma Frazer and Jenna Watt of Belfast Harlequins, along with their goalkeeping club-mate Marianne Fox. Fellow Ulster woman Serena Barr, now playing her hockey in the English Premier League with Beeston, has also been invited to join the Northern-based camp.
The Harlequins trio will be back in Hockey League action on Saturday when Muckross visit Deramore Park, the Davy Frazer-coached side hoping to improve on last weekend’s disappointing display when they lost 3-0 at home to Cork Harlequins.
Cork, meanwhile, host a Pembroke Wanderers side that should be in good spirits after beating Railway Union in their last outing. Railway’s opponents at Park Avenue this weekend are table-toppers Pegasus, who have won all three of their games to date.
Loreto will expect to get back to winning ways after dropping their first points of the season to UCD; an Ards side that has yet to score a goal in the new campaign are their opposition at Grange Road. The students face a trickier-looking task – they’re away to Old Alexandra with whom they and Loreto are tied on six points, Alexandra beating Muckross 5-1 last weekend with the help of an Áine Connery hat-trick, bringing to four her tally in just two games.
Hockey League – Saturday: Cork Harlequins v Pembroke Wanderers, Farmers Cross, 1.05; Old Alexandra v UCD, Milltown, 2.0; Belfast Harlequins v Muckross, Deramore Park, 2.30; Railway Union v Pegasus, Park Avenue, 2.30; Loreto v Ards, Grange Road, 2.50.