Now that Ireland's place in next summer's World Cup is secured, their three-match series against Scotland, which begins on Sunday at Stormont, takes on added meaning, with several young players given their chance to stake a claim on a place in the squad for the tournament.
While preparations for London will intensify in the months ahead, for now coach Graham Shaw is resting several of his senior players, with some also unavailable due to work and study commitments. Just nine of the squad that played in last August's European Championships are included for the Scottish series, with most of the rest of the panel made up of under-21 players.
Monkstown goalkeeper Liz Murphy and Loreto's Hannah McLoughlin and Sarah Torrans have received their first senior call-ups, while Ellen Curran (Monkstown), Erin Getty (Randalstown), Ruth Maguire (Pegasus), Jessica McMaster (Queens) and Cork Harlequins goalkeeper Emma Buckley return to the senior panel having focused on EuroHockey Junior Championships duty with the under-21s during the summer.
After Sunday's opening game against the Scots, the teams meet again at Banbridge on Tuesday evening and Stormont on Wednesday afternoon. Internationals
Sunday: Ireland v Scotland, Stormont, 5.0. Tuesday: Ireland v Scotland, Banbridge, 7.0. Wednesday: Ireland v Scotland, Stormont, 12.30. Irish squad: E Buckley, Y O Byrne, R Barry, R Upton, N Carroll (all Cork Harlequins), C Cassin, L Tice, K Mullan, E Russell, E Curran, D Duke (all UCD). H McLoughlin, A Meeke, J McGirr, S Torrans (all Loreto), L Murphy, S Loughran (both Monkstown), J McMaster, E Getty (both Queens), Z Wilson, L Colvin (both Belfast Harlequins), G Pinder, A Naughton (both Pembroke Wanderers), R Maguire (Pegasus), C Brown (Ards), K Lloyd (Railway Union).