U16 Boys Six Nations Tournament Round Up – Spain Claim Gold

Ireland 1 Germany 3

Germany opened their account after just two minutes when Florian Sperling beat Ross Clarke in the Irish goal. Ireland recovered well with some good spells of possession and Troy Chambers equalised just before the end of the first quarter to make it 1-1.

In the 35th minute, Ireland were awarded a penalty corner, however it was not stopped and Germany were able to break quickly and won a corner of their own. Luca Kirstein’s finish made it 2-1 to Germany. The lead was extended late in the third quarter when Peer Hinrichs scored.

Despite a spirited performance from Ireland in the final quarter they were unable to close the gap and the score at full-time was 3-1 to Germany.

In the other games, a Quentin Moens goal was enough for Belgium to beat England to go top of the table. This meant that Spain needed to win in their match with the Netherlands in the final game of the day to overhaul the Belgians and it turned out to be a highly competitive affair.

The Spanish took a 1-0 lead into half-time thanks to a 28th minute penalty corner scored by Grau Albert. They extended that lead early in the second half when Eric Gonzalez slotted the ball home. The Netherlands began to up the pressure and scored twice before the end of the third quarter through Pim Haring and Guus Jansen.

Early in the fourth quarter, The Dutch were awarded a penalty stroke after a trip in the circle and Hidde Parlevliet took full advantage. With just ten minutes remaining Spain equalised through Jan Clapes and Oriol Bozal put Spain 4-3 up just a minute later. The Netherlands were unable to find a goal in the remaining minutes and Spain secured the gold medal.

Results:

Belgium 1 (Moens) – England 0

Ireland 1 (Chambers) – Germany 3 (Sperling; Kirstein; Hinrichs)

Spain 4 (Albert; Gonzalez; Clapes; Bozal) – Netherlands 3 (Haring; Jansen; Parlevliet)

Final Standings: Spain 13pts; Belgium 12pts; Germany 9pts; Netherlands 7pts; Ireland 4pts; England 0pts

U16 Boys Six Nations Tournament – Day 4 Round Up

Ireland 0 Belgium 1

Ireland had plenty of reasons to be confident going into this game, having put in two excellent performances beating England and drawing with Spain during the week. It was Belgium however, who got off to the perfect start, scoring from open play in the 2nd minute through Axel de Bolle. Despite exerting pressure on the Belgian defence throughout the first half, Ireland were unable to find an equaliser and Belgium went in at the break 1-0 up.

Ireland came into their own in the third quarter dominating possession and forcing 3 penalty corners, with Troy Chambers coming close, however they could not break down a resolute Belgian defence. Belgium began to take control in the last quarter and won 2 penalty corners early on with Ireland defending them well. Despite taking off the Irish goalkeeper Ben Whelan with 2 minutes to go, Ireland were unable to find a goal and it finished 1-0 to Belgium.

The Netherlands beat England 7-1 in the first game of the day with Ivo Visser scoring a hat-trick for the Dutch. In the final game of the day, Germany and Spain played out a 1-1 draw before Spain took the bonus point in the shoot-out 3-2.

Results:

Netherlands 7 (Boeren; Visser (3); Parlevliet(2); Haring) – England 1 (Moorhouse)

Ireland 0 – Belgium 1 (de Bolle)

Germany 1 (Sperling) – Spain 1 (Borras) (Spain won the shoot-out 3-2)

Fixtures: Saturday 21st July:

09.00 Belgium v England (Girls)

11.00 Spain v Netherlands (Girls)

13.00 Belgium v England (Boys)

15.00 Ireland v Germany (Girls)

17.00 Ireland v Germany (Boys)

19.00 Spain v Netherlands (Boys)

Photo Credit – Trevor Collins

U16 Girls Six Nations Tournament – Day 3 Round Up

Ireland 1 Spain 2

Ireland took on Spain today in their third match of the tournament. The opening quarter was evenly contested with both sides creating chances. Spain managed to win their second penalty corner in the 14th minute and after the initial shot was defended, Carla Barba Armengol was first to react to give Spain the lead. Despite some pressure from Spain towards the end of the first half, the Irish defence stood firm to leave the score at half-time 1-0 to Spain.

Ireland began brightly after the break, earning a penalty corner in the 2nd minute with Milly Lynch flicking the ball just over the crossbar. Lynch was given a second opportunity five minutes later and this time she dragged low and left to score the equaliser. Spain restored their lead just a minute later when Paula Pena Martinez slotted passed Holly Micklem in the Irish goal to lead at the end of the third quarter by 2-1.

In the fourth quarter, Spain created the better chances but could not extend their lead. Ireland pressed hard in the final minutes but could not break down the hard working Spanish defence.

In the opening game of the day, two penalty corners goals by Antonia Lonnes and a field goal from Jette Flescheutz gave Germany a 3-0 win over England. This was followed by the Netherlands beating Belgium 6-0 with Trijntje Beljaars scoring a brace.

Results:

England 0 – Germany 3 (Lonnes (2); Fleschuetz)

Netherlands 6 (Mette; Veldhuis; Beljaars (2); Roberts; Van Den Bosch) – Belgium 0

Ireland 1 (Lynch) – Spain 2 (Barba Armengol; Pena Martinez)

Fixtures: Thursday 19th July

12.00 Netherlands v England (Girls)

14.00 Germany v Spain (Girls)

16.00 Ireland v Belgium (Girls)

Photo Credit – Trevor Collins

Get To Know The Green Army Forwards

Nikki Evans

Debut: June 2010 v Australia

Caps: 163

International goals: 36

Current club: UHC Hamburg

Previous club: Hermes, Railway Union, UCD, Hermes-Monkstown

School: Alexandra College, Milltown

Position: Forward

A qualified lawyer, Nikki decided to take a year away from her professional career to go and play abroad in the German Hockey League. Having narrowly missed out on Olympic qualification for Rio and with a World Cup on the horizon, she took time away from her professional career to focus her attention solely on hockey. She comes into the World Cup off the back of a memorable season with German side UHC Hamburg, helping them to silver medals in the National Championship as well as the European Club Cup. Nikki is set to return for a second season with UHC as well as a position with international law firm, CMS. She is looking forward to developing her hockey career as well as progressing her professional career.

An infectiously high-spirited character, she is one of the central parts of the Irish forward line, leading the press through her athleticism and unrelenting work rate. Nikki has enjoyed resounding success in the domestic game, winning all major competitions. Internationally, career highlights include winning silver at the Champions Challenge I in 2014 and scoring a stunning hat-trick against South Africa in the opening game at the 2016 Olympic qualifying tournament in Valencia.

Katie Mullan

Debut: August 2012 v Wales

Caps: 151

International goals: 30

Current club: UCD

Previous club: Ballymoney

School: Dalriada

Position: Forward/Midfield

Katie Mullan took over the captaincy in the wake of Megan Frazer’s injury travails and provides a strong presence in either the forward or midfield lines where she has been used at different intervals. She has joked that she has found herself in “every position except goalkeeper” with her aggression making her an adaptable force of nature. After a prolific underage career, scoring plenty of goals for Ballymoney and at the 2010 Youth Olympics, she broke into the Irish team in August 2012. She was fast-tracked into the side for a first tournament in the Champions Challenge I, winning a bronze and scoring a last gasp equaliser against Scotland. A silver two years later at the Challenge I in Glasgow followed in 2014 as well as a silver at the

EuroHockey Junior Championships in Vienna that same year. The devastation of missing the 2016 Olympic Games was soon replaced by the super World Cup qualifying campaign with Mullan leading out the team: “I love having the opportunity to walk the team out before an international game. For me the best captains have always been those who lead by example on the pitch, Megan is a prime example of that. That’s the ethos I’m trying to go with.” In her youth, she split her hockey time with camogie at the Eoghan Rua club in Coleraine, something she credits for her hand-eye coordination before coming under the wing of former Irish internationals Bridget Cleland and Lynsey McVicker at Dalriada and Ballymoney. A move to UCD for a sports scholarship allowed her to step up further and she now divides her time between playing and her masters in biomedical engineering.

Anna O’Flanagan

Debut: July 2010 v Scotland

Caps: 168

International goals: 63

Current club: Pinoke

Previous club: Hermes, UCD, Hermes-Monkstown, HC Bloemendaal

School: Muckross Park, Donnybrook

Position: Forward

Anna O’Flanagan is quickly closing in on the national goalscoring record of 65 – held by Lynsey McVicker – and will hope she can hit that mark during the World Cup. Seldom has there been a more predatory Irish striker, her exploits all the more remarkable given she is not a direct corner shooter. Indeed, she scored 12 times in World League Round 2, the first phase of World Cup qualification, in January 2017 to pass the 50-mark and she has shown little sign of slowing down, going at more than a goal every three games. It has been a career already marked by a serious medal haul with Champions Challenge I bronze in 2012 and silver in 2014. She won the old All-Ireland Championships with Hermes when still a schoolgirl in Muckross Park before winning a national treble with UCD in 2014. She returned to Hermes-Monkstown to add an EY Hockey League and Champions Trophy in 2016. This year, she took a break from her legal pursuits to focus on hockey in the World Cup lead-up, joining HC Bloemendaal in the Netherlands. There, she won the Gold Cup.

Deirdre Duke

Debut: June 2013 v Scotland

Caps: 103

International goals: 13

Current club: UCD

Previous club: Three Rock Ladies, Hermes, Northeastern Huskies

School: Alexandra College

Position: Forward

The rangy forward has been around the squad for the most part since late 2014, playing a pivotal role in the 2015 EuroHockey Championships II success in Prague, winning gold and promotion back to the continental top tier. Shoulder surgery kept her out of World League Round 2 in 2017 but she returned to full form quickly on the club front with UCD, leading to her playing a full role in the World League Semi-Final where World Cup qualification was assured. She also played in the European Championships in Amsterdam in 2017.

Her hockey beginnings were at Three Rock Ladies before moving to Hermes HC and then taking up on a year with Northeastern Huskies in Boston. Since coming back to Ireland, she won everything in the domestic game in Ireland with UCD Ladies Hockey Club, captaining their EY Hockey League, Champions Trophy and Irish Senior Cup wins in the last two seasons. She also represented the Irish soccer team at u15 and u17 level and played Gaelic football for the Dublin underage teams for a number of years before concentrating on hockey.

Click here for the official World Cup website.

Get To Know The Green Army Midfield

Gillian Pinder

Debut: April 2011 v France

Caps: 137

International goals: 7

Current club: Pembroke

Previous club: Hermes, UCD, Syracuse University

School: St Andrew’s College, Booterstown

Position: Midfield

A wonderful, floating midfielder, Gillian Pinder has deceptive pace and an ability to ghost away from opponents in the blink of an eye. Her cracking top corner strike against Poland in the World League Semi-Final in a 2-0 win was one of the marquee moments from the tournament that brought World Cup qualification and will live long in the memory. She has amassed over 130 caps and contested three European campaigns and the painful 2015 Olympic qualifying series while also winning silver at the 2014 Champions Challenge I in Glasgow. Like Chloe Watkins, Gillian Pinder was a central force in the St Andrew’s College side that won the Kate Russell All-Ireland Schools title in 2010. She headed overseas on a scholarship for a season to Syracuse University in New York, reaching the NCAA semi-finals in 2012, before returning to Ireland and UCD as a member of the Ad Astra Elite Athlete Academy, with whom she won the national double in 2014 and 2017. Following her business and law student days at UCD, she now plays her club hockey with Pembroke Wanderers.

Chloe Watkins

Debut: July 2010 v Scotland

Caps: 194

International goals: 17

Current club: HC Bloemendaal (Netherlands)

Previous club: Hermes, UCD, Club de Campo, Hermes-Monkstown

School: St Andrew’s College, Booterstown

Position: Midfield

Chloe Watkins is part of a hockey dynasty, becoming an Irish international alongside her brother Gareth and father Gordon. Her talent was apparent throughout her teenage years, lining out in Hermes’ midfield in their All-Ireland club championships win aged 16 in 2008 while her Irish debut came a couple of months after her Leaving Cert at 18. She has since won a glut of medals at all levels of the game. At St Andrew’s College, she won the Kate Russell All-Ireland Schoolgirls Championships in 2010 before going to UCD where she won an Irish Senior Cup in 20012. 2014 saw her line out for Club de Campo in Madrid, while there on Erasmus, and win both the Spanish league and cup title. Back at Hermes-Monkstown, she added EY Hockey League and Champions Trophy victories. Most recently, she won the Gold Cup in the Netherlands with HC Bloemendaal – coached by the iconic Teun de Nooijer – having taken a sabbatical following completion of her business qualifications from UCD. Internationally, she was part of the Champions Challenge I bronze winning side in

2012 and added silver in 2014 in Glasgow with eye-catching wins over Korea and South Africa. Still just 26, she has played in every major event since 2011, scoring the winner against India in her first ranking game way back then.

Lizzie Colvin

Debut: June 2008 v France

Caps: 160

International goals: 5

Current club: Belfast Harlequins

Previous club: Armagh, Loreto, HGC

School: Portadown College

Position: Midfield

Lizzie Colvin’s super strike against India last summer was the goal that ultimately put Ireland through to the World Cup. It came with 12 minutes to go, earning a 2-1 win and seventh place at the World League Semi-Final and on course for London. It follows an impressive 10-year career in green with over 150 caps. Her senior international debut came at the 2008 Celtic Cup just a fortnight after playing in the Junior equivalent of the event. It was the same tournament that Megan Frazer also made her debut with both going on to play in the 2009 Euros and the 2012 Olympic qualifiers. She spent 18 months out of action due to a cruciate knee ligament injury in 2013, eventually making her comeback in 2015 in fine style to regain her spot as a gritty midfielder. Her beginnings in the sport were with the incredible Armagh club side that won six successive promotions to ultimately qualify for the Irish Hockey League. She became the seventh player from the club to earn an Irish cap while still at school. Colvin moved to Dublin for college, linking up with Loreto who she won the inaugural all ireland league in 2008 and Irish Senior Cup with in 2009. She spent the 2010/2011 season in the Netherlands playing with HGC while on Erasmus and eventually returned to Ulster last September to play with Belfast Harlequins and take up a job as an employment and corporate law solicitor in DWF (NI) LLP.

Ali Meeke

Debut: 2013 v Canada

Caps: 114

International goals: 1

Current club: Loreto

Previous club: Corinthian

School: High School, Rathgar

Position: Midfield

A utility player who can do a job in both defence and midfield, Ali Meeke has some of the trickiest skills in the squad with an ability to wriggle out of most situations. Her debut came aged 22 against India before getting a call for the Champions Challenge I later that same month, playing five times in a tournament that yielded wins over higher ranked Korea and South Africa en route to a silver medal. She played a full role in the 2016 Olympic qualifying campaign and the 2015 European B division success but missed out on the World Cup qualifiers in 2017 before returning to ranking tournament action at the European Championships last August in Amsterdam. On the club front, she grew up at Corinthian Hockey Club and High School in Rathgar before moving to Loreto in her late teens, winning a number of national titles. During her youth, she also played Gaelic football with Wanderers. Most recently, she was named player of the tournament at the EY Champions Trophy as she helped Loreto to the national crown in May. She works in a variety of sports roles and is trained in strength and conditioning as well as coaching.

Nicci Daly

Debut: February 2010 v Belgium

Caps: 163

International goals: 14

Current club: Loreto

Previous club: Glenanne, Muckross, Holcombe

School: High School Rathgar

Position: Midfield

A speedster with skills to burn, Nicci Daly has overcome a foot injury to take up her place in the Irish panel for the World Cup. Since her debut in 2010, she has had a colourful career with Ireland, picking up a Champions Challenge I silver in 2014 and playing a full part in the 2016 Olympic qualifying campaign. Her club career has taken her via Glenanne, Muckross and English club Holcombe to a couple of successful spells with Loreto. She previously played for the Dublin ladies Gaelic football team and is a keen motor-racing enthusiast, borne from her family’s history. Her late father Vivion raced in Formula Ford while her uncle Derek was a Formula One driver. To this end, Daly has spent time in the US working with Juncos Racing and she is planning to take part in the Formula Female Race Against Cancer following the World Cup at Mondello Park. She spent the first half of the current season in the US in Indianapolis, backing up her motor racing credentials while also coaching at University of Indiana with the Hoosiers. Daly triumphantly returned to Loreto for the second half of the campaign, playing a pivotal role in their EY Champions Trophy success.

Click here for the official World Cup website.

U16 Boys Six Nations Tournament – Day 2 Round Up

Ireland 4 England 3

Ireland got off to a perfect start and took the lead when Troy Chambers scored in the first minute. England managed to exert some pressure and won two consecutive corners but the Irish defence led by Ross Clarke in goal stood firm. The English pressure eventually led to a goal scored by Tom Moorhouse from close range. Despite some good chances for Ireland toward the end of the quarter, the score remained 1-1.

Chambers followed his great start to the first quarter by scoring again in the first minute of the second, latching on to a through ball before slotting it beyond Oliver Smart in the English goal. Ireland defended strongly for the remainder of the half to lead 2-1 at half-time.

In the third quarter, a heavy tackle outside the circle led to a penalty corner which was flicked home by Chambers for his third of the game in the 33rd minute, giving Ireland a 3-1 lead. Ireland won two further corners in the last 5 minutes of the quarter but could not extend their advantage despite England being reduced to 10, when Ellis Robson received a yellow card for a stick challenge.

Ireland’s Conor Quinn received a yellow card in the 3rd minute of the final quarter, followed by a green card for Troy Chambers and Ireland were down to 9. England took full advantage winning a penalty corner, which was deflected home by Tom Moorhouse to make it 3-2. Shortly afterwards, Rory Penrose of England saw yellow after a push on Kevin O’Dea and England substituted Oliver Smart in goal in search of an equaliser. Ireland continued to press and Evan Jennings touched home a driven ball to make it 4-2 to Ireland. Late pressure from England resulted in a penalty corner which was flicked home by Ellis Robson with less than a minute to go. Ireland lost another player when Robert Sweetnam was shown a yellow card for time wasting and England were given one final chance to score but after a goal-mouth scramble, Ireland were eventually given a free out as the final whistle was blown.

In the first game of the day, Spain took an early 2-0 lead against Belgium before the Belgians pulled one back in the 3rd quarter. Spain won a penalty stroke in the final quarter, which was dispatched by Oriol Bozal to make the score at full-time 3-1. Germany and the Netherlands played out a 1-1 with both goals coming in the first half. In the shoot-out for a bonus point, Germany took the spoils with a 3-1 win.

Results:

Spain 3 (Cabre; Amat; Bozal) – Belgium 1 (Van Bavel)

Germany 1 (Sperling) – Netherlands 1 (Visser) (Germany won the penalty shoot-out 3-1)

Ireland (Chambers (3); Jennings) – England (Moorhouse (2); Robson)

Fixtures: Wednesday 18th July

09.00 England v Germany (Girls)

11.00 Netherlands v Belgium (Girls)

13.00 Ireland v Spain (Girls)

15.00 Ireland v Spain (Boys)

17.00 England v Germany (Boys)

19.00 Netherlands v Belgium (Boys)

Photo Credit – Trevor Collins

Get To Know The Green Army Goalkeepers

Ayeisha McFerran

Debut: January 11, 2014 vs Spain

Caps: 73

International goals: 0

Current club: University of Louisville

Previous club: Larne, Randalstown, Pegasus

School: Larne Grammar School

Position: Goalkeeper

Ayeisha McFerran became the youngest goalkeeper to play for Ireland when she lined out against Spain in January 2014 a day after her 18th birthday. Since then, she has developed a reputation for being an immense shot-stopper, particularly in shoot-outs. Indeed, she made her name in that realm at the 2015 World League when she was brought in specifically for a shoot-out against Canada, winning it and a gold medal in the process. She has taken on the number one role for the most part since Emma Gray’s retirement in 2016. She started her hockey career with her hometown club of Larne, progressing to Randalstown and then Pegasus with whom she won the 2015 goalkeeper of the tournament at the IHL finals. Since then, she has been based at University of Louisville where she has been named an All-America first team selection on 3 occasions.

Grace O’Flanagan

Debut: 2012

Caps: 34

International goals: 0

Current club: Railway Union

Previous club: N/A

School: Loreto Foxrock

Position: Goalkeeper

Grace O’Flanagan played a vital role in Ireland’s qualification for the World Cup when she famously saved a penalty stroke with her first touch against India at the World League Semi-Finals in Cape Town, coming off the bench for the sin-binned Ayeisha McFerran. Ireland trailed 1-0 at the time but fought back to win 2-1. O’Flanagan is a qualified doctor, something which meant she had to step away after the panel a couple of times for study reasons in the early part of her international career. She was part of the 2013 European Championships panel before stepping back for three years, returning to the fold in 2016. She has usually been the reserve goalkeeper but took on the number one role at the 2017 Europeans in Amsterdam.

Click here for the official World Cup site.

U16 Six Nations Tournament, Cork – Day 1 Round Up

U16 Girls Six Nations Tournament

Ireland 0 Netherlands 3

Ireland began the game brightly with some promising attacks led by Isabelle Maleady and India Cotter before the Dutch took control and began to pressure the Irish defence. After a couple of fine saves and clearances by Irish goalkeeper Holly Micklem, the Dutch took the lead in the 10th minute from a penalty corner through Jill Niessen.

Ireland continued to impress in attack and were somewhat unlucky to concede from another penalty corner in the 26th minute from a Mikki Roberts drag-flick leaving the score at half time at 2-0 to the Netherlands.

In the 39th minute, Kim Hendrix made it 3-0 with a neat finish pushing the ball beyond Micklem. While the Dutch continued to press, Ireland defended strongly into the fourth quarter with no further goals being scored.

Speaking after the game coach Brendon Carolan said “I am pleased with the progression and feel the team will continue to improve as the week goes on. The gaps between the stronger sides will narrow as these players move through to Under 18s and gain more experience.”

In the first game of the day, Spain and England shared eight goals in a 4-4 draw, with England shading the penalty shootout 4-3. This was followed by a 5-0 victory for Germany over Belgium.

Results:

Spain 4 (Martinez Torres; Pena Martinez; Alba Anotnana; Barba Armengol) – England 4 (Klugmam; Alexander; Polley; Chapple). England won the shootout 4-3.

Germany 5 (Fischer; Weidemann; Prumbaum; Strauss; Fleschuetz) – Belgium 0

Ireland 0 – Netherlands 3 (Niessen; Roberts; Hendrix)

Fixtures: Monday 16th July:

12.00 Spain v Belgium

14.00 Germany v Netherlands

16.00 Ireland v England

U16 Boys Six Nations Tournament

Ireland 2 Netherlands 5

Ireland and the Netherlands opened the boys’ tournament in Cork in damp conditions in the Mardyke. The Netherlands opened the scoring after 4 minutes from a penalty corner when goalkeeper Ross Clarke initially saved but could not stop the follow up from Guus Jansen.

Just 4 minutes later, Troy Chambers won a penalty corner for Ireland which led to a penalty stroke after a Dutch stick tackle. Craig Mackay slotted home to make it 1-1. The lead was restored a minute later when Ivo Vasser got on the end of a crossed ball to deflect home to make it 2-1 to the Netherlands. Pim Haring then dispatched a penalty corner to make it 3-1 at the end of the first quarter.

Ireland dominated the second quarter and created several good chances before Luka Peters neatly lifted the ball over the goalkeeper to make it 3-2 to the Netherlands at half time.

The Dutch started the second half strongly and Hidde Parleviet scored 2 goals in 3 minutes to make it 5-2 to the Netherlands after 6 minutes.

In the fourth quarter, Ireland picked up a yellow card for Troy Chambers before the Dutch went down to 9 players with 2 yellow cards in 2 minutes. Just 2 minutes later, the Dutch were reduced to 8 with another yellow card given and Ireland dominated play but could not capitalise on their numerical advantage and the match finished Ireland 2 Netherlands 5.

After the game Niall Denham said “we can definitely take a lot of positives from the game but we are disappointed we didn’t we did not push them closer and we are looking forward to improving throughout the week.”

Four second half penalty corner conversions saw Spain beat England 4-0. In the last game of the day, Belgium scored a late winner from a penalty corner to beat Germany 2-1.

Results:

Ireland 2 (Mackay; Peters) – Netherlands 5 (Jansen; Visser; Haring; Parlevliet (2))

Spain 4 (Bozal (3); Gonzalez) – England 0

Germany 1 (Poljaric) – Belgium 2 (Ofrim; De Bolle)

Fixtures Tuesday 18th July:

12.00 Spain v Belgium

14.00 Germany v Netherlands

16.00 Ireland v England

Photo Credit – Graham Catchpole

U16 Six Nations Tournament, Cork – Day 2 Round Up

U16 Girls Six Nations Tournament

Ireland 0 England 4

England started brightly and won a corner after just two minutes, which Beth Alexander dispatched with a straight strike. England kept the pressure on and won four further corners in the first half but the Irish defence stood strong and the score remained 1-0 at half time.

Two further goals from Beth Alexander gave England a 3-0 lead at the end of the third quarter. Caitlin Polley added another just in the 51st minute after some sustained pressure on the Irish defence making it 4-0 at fulltime.

In the opening game of the day, Spain lost to Belgium 2-1 having taken a first quarter lead. This was followed by a highly competitive game between Germany and Netherlands, with Germany taking a 4-2 lead with 10 minutes remaining. Netherlands scored with a minute to go and Germany held off a late attack to win 4-3.

Results:

Spain 1 (Casado de la Fuente) – Belgium 2 (Barry; Struyf)

Germany 4 (Weigand; Fleschuetz (2); Strauss) – Netherlands 3 (Van Loon; Winter; Dicke)

Ireland 0 – England 4 (Alexander (3); Polley)

Fixtures: Wednesday 18th July

09.00 England v Germany

11.00 Netherlands v Belgium

Get To Know The Green Army Defence

Shirley McCay

Debut: January 2007 v Canada

Caps: 267

International goals: 6

Current club: Pegasus

Previous club: Ulster Elks, KHC Dragons, Old Alex, Omagh

School: Omagh Academy

Position: Defence/Midfield

The most capped female sportswoman in Ireland, Shirley McCay is now in her 11th year as part of the Irish team, providing a wealth of experience and a tenacious attitude combined with an eye for a long pass from the back. She has gone through three tough Olympic qualifying campaigns, narrowly missing out on places at 2012 and 2016, and six European Championships before finally getting to the promised land with this World Cup qualification, a just reward for her enduring efforts. McCay was part of the side that won silver at the Champions Challenge I in Glasgow in 2014. In her early days, she went to school at Omagh Academy, helping win their only Kate Russell All-Ireland Schoolgirls Championship in 2005. She went on to have two successful spells with Ulster Elks, winning two Irish Senior Cups, either side of a spell at KHC Dragons in Belgium and time in Dublin with Old Alex.

Zoe Wilson

Debut: January 2016 v Spain

Caps: 73

International goals: 8

Current club: Belfast Harlequins

Previous club: Randalstown, University of Syracuse, Harvestehuder THC

School: Ballyclare HS

Position: Defender

Zoe Wilson has been a key component of the Irish defence since she broke into the team in 2016 following a season in the US with Syracuse University where she won an NCAA Championship. It followed an incredibly successful youth career, captaining Ireland’s Under-18s to an unbeaten victory at the EuroHockey Youth Championships II in Italy in 2015. An impressive showing at the Hawkes Bay Cup in 2016 saw her cement her place in the senior squad and she made her ranking tournament debut in January 2017 at the World League Round 2 in Malaysia, playing 33 times for Ireland during the year. She had initially come to prominence when she scored the winning goal in the Ulster Schools Senior Cup for Ballyclare HS at just 14. After school, she moved from her club, Randalstown, to the USA before returning to Europe, spending a year in Germany with Harvestehuder THC before linking up with Belfast Harlequins.

Roisin Upton

Debut: November 2016 v Scotland

Caps: 40

International goals: 8

Current club: Cork Harlequins

Previous club: Catholic Institute, UConn Huskies

School: Crescent Comprehensive College

Position: Midfield/defender

Roisin Upton is a relative newcomer to the Irish team, making her debut in November 2016 before establishing herself as one of the driving forces in either midfield or defence. She had been on Graham Shaw’s radar for a long time from her performances at youth level and the coach twice tried to get her involved but for a hip injury in 2015 and then a stress fracture in early 2016 to delay her introduction. Those calls came following an incredible spell in the US where she won two NCAA titles – named an All-American both times – with the UConn Huskies, captaining the side in 2015. Just a month after her debut, she went straight into the tournament squad for World League Round 2 in Malaysia, the start of the World Cup qualifying process. She grew up in Limerick, captaining Crescent Comprehensive College to the Munster title and helped Catholic Institute break up Cork Harlequins’ monopoly of Munster club success.

Elena Tice

Debut: November 2016 v Scotland

Caps: 68

International goals: 6

Current club: UCD

Previous club: Loreto

School: St Gerard’s

Position: Defender

Despite her tender years, Lena Tice has already amassed over a combined 100 caps across cricket and hockey. She made her cricket debut at just 13 and 272 days and went on to win 40 caps across T20 and ODIs before turning her focus to hockey. On that front, she debuted a fortnight before her 18th birthday but quickly established herself in the national set-up, earning selection for the Hawkes Bay Cup in April 2016 just a couple of months before her Leaving Certificate. The defender has a wide range of passes and has been an almost ever-present since her debut. She led St Gerard’s to a first-ever Leinster schoolgirls Senior Cup title in 2015, scoring the winning goal in the final, and was head girl a year later before earning an Ad Astra scholarship to UCD. She was born in England and lived in USA and Austria before her family settled in Wicklow.

Yvonne O’Byrne

Debut: January 2014 v Spain

Caps: 113

International goals: 5

Current club: Cork Harlequins

Previous club: n/a

School: Mount Mercy

Position: Defender

The dynamic defender has been a pivotal part of the Irish side since her major tournament debut in 2015 at the Olympic qualifying tournament in Valencia – the World League Semi-Final. The Cork woman has helped her country to gold at the 2015 EuroHockey Championships II in Prague and World League Round 2 in Malaysia and, since June 2017, she has played in over 28 consecutive games for Ireland. She took up hockey at Mount Mercy where she made the senior team at the age of just 14, winning the All Ireland Schools Kate Russell Cup that same year. O’Byrne captained Munster at each underage level as well as her club, Cork Harlequins, when just 20, winning the Munster senior league.

Megan Frazer

Debut: June 2008 v Wales

Caps: 128

International goals: 30

Current club: Mannheimer HC

Previous club: Ballymoney, Ulster Elks, University of Maryland Terrapins

School: Foyle and Londonderry College

Position: Defence/Midfield

One of the most talented players Ireland have ever produced, Irish coach Graham Shaw will hope Megan Frazer can put her injury woes behind her after a nightmare 20-month run. A cruciate knee ligament injury has kept her out for that time and while she returned to action in May at the European Cup with her club side, Mannheimer HC, she since had complications which required further keyhole surgery. In her youth, she was highly decorated during her time at Foyle and Londonderry College, top scoring on the hockey field for three seasons and leading the school to a maiden Ulster schools title in 2009. She also excelled at soccer and cricket at youth level and was named the Derry & District Young Sportswoman of the Year for 2005/06. It saw her elevated to the national team while still in school and she played in the 2009 Euros before departing for the US and the University of Maryland Terrapins. There, she was a three-time All-American and won the NCAA Honda Sports Awards as the nation’s best player. She was made Irish captain in 2014 by coach Darren Smith at the age of 23 and led the side to Champions Challenge I silver in Glasgow. In 2015 in Valencia, she came within a width of a post of sending Ireland to a first Olympic Games, her shot rebounding out in a shoot-out against China, an effort that would have sent the team to Rio. On the club front, she helped Ballymoney reach the Irish Senior Cup final before moving to the US and then won the title with Ulster Elks on her return. She moved to Mannheim in 2016 but sustained her injury soon after. Megan returned to international action after almost 2 years away as she played in the recent fixtures against Italy and Chile.

Hannah Matthews

Debut: June 2014 vs Italy

Caps: 108

International goals: 4

Current club: Loreto

Previous club: n/a

School: Loreto Beaufort

Position: Defender

Daughter of Irish rugby international Phillip, Hannah Matthews reached her 100th international cap in June in the series against Canada at Serpentine Avenue. Her ranking tournament debut came in front of a home crowd at World League Round 2 at Belfield in 2015 where she was part of a defence that conceded just twice in six games. That year ultimately ended in disappointment at the World League Semi-Finals. From 2015 to now, she has been part of each ranking event, providing an ice cool calmness. On the club front, aged 18, she memorably scored the winning penalty stroke to win Loreto – her only club – the Irish Senior Cup, showing nerves of steel. More recently, she captained the Beaufort club to the EY Champions Trophy in May. She combines an international hockey career with her work as a primary school teacher.

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