Hockey Ireland is pleased to announce the appointment of Alexander Cox as the new head coach of Ireland men’s hockey team. Cox joins Hockey Ireland and the Green Machine with an abundance of experience having previously held the roles of assistant coach with both the Dutch men’s and women’s national teams, winning gold at the 2012 London Olympics with the latter. He has been the head coach of Kampong men’s team since 2012 and will remain in that role. While there, he has lead the side to the top of the Hoofdklasse for 2 years in a row, as well as winning the Eurohockey League title in 2016.

Commenting on his appointment, Cox said “I’m honored to be the new head coach of the Irish senior men’s team. The Irish culture, the work ethic and persistency of the team, motivates me to start our preparation towards the World Cup in India. I’m looking forward to working with the team, staff and Hockey Ireland”.

Hockey Ireland CEO Jerome Pels welcomes the arrival of Cox to Hockey Ireland “After an extensive recruitment process, we are delighted Alexander is joining our team, and are excited by what he can bring to the Green Machine and hockey in Ireland. His experience speaks for itself and we feel he is the right person to lead the Green Machine in this exciting World Cup year”

Alexander will begin his role on August 1st. Prior to that the Green Machine will travel to Dusseldorf for the 4 Nations Cup where they will be defending their title against Argentina, Germany and France. Watch the 4 Nations Cup by clicking here.

4 Nations Cup Dusseldorf fixtures (all times are local):

26/7/18 5pm Ireland vs Argentina

27/7/18 7:15pm Ireland vs Germany

29/7/18 9:30am Ireland vs France

Ireland Squad:

David Harte (Captain)

Jamie Carr

John Jackson

Jonny Bell

Matthew Bell

Luke Madeley

Matthew Nelson

Alan Sothern

Peter Caruth

Sean Murray

John McKee

Owen Magee

Michael Robson

Daragh Walsh

Paul Gleghorne

Jeremy Duncan

Lee Cole

Stuart Loughrey

Stephen Cole

Alison Keogh will take to the World Cup pitch in London this week as one of the chosen-few umpires. Below Alison talks about how she began her umpiring journey and how it has brought her to one of the biggest events in sport.


I started playing at 12 as it was the primary sport of my secondary school, Loreto Beaufort in Dublin. Needless to say, having joined the sport quite late, I wasn’t very good! Despite this though I loved the game and persisted, gradually getting somewhat better and rarely missing a session. My love quickly turned to passion though when I joined my club Three Rock Rovers at 16. Three Rock quickly became a second home to me and over the next few years I made my way from 5ths to 1sts/2nds, embraced the social side of the club, met some of my closest friends, joined committees, and eventually became club captain. I have a lot to thank the club for in giving me these experiences and opportunities. Probably my most important first experience they gave me though was picking up a whistle and umpiring a game!

When I joined Three Rock, my Dad, who had umpired years beforehand, was persuaded back onto the pitch to umpire some of my games. I quickly began to question him as to why calls were being blown against me. At first this was done politely after a game, but as I began to learn the rules this quickly progressed to on-pitch questioning, which then progressed to on pitch shouting, before eventually becoming post-match rows in the car on the way home!!! Like most people, I was told that I seemed to know the rules so well as a player that I should see how it feels on the other side of the whistle. So, at 19, having never done any other games, I stepped onto a pitch to umpire the Three Rock Ladies 5ths in Division 14, and surprisingly found myself enjoying myself.

It took me a while to fully embrace umpiring as initially I didn’t want to give up playing. I umpired 3rds and 4ths club games for Three Rock intermittently before the Leinster Hockey Umpires Association began appointing me to Division 2 games. In my first year of this senior hockey I got a call one night informing me that the European Hockey Federation was running an Umpire Development Programme and that Ireland would like to put me forward if I was interested. If selected a group of young umpires would be mentored over 3 years, involving trips to watch international tournaments, practical weekends at club games in other countries and support for any questions etc., that you may have. The idea was to fast-track and support individuals to international standards. It wasn’t a decision I made lightly as I still loved playing, but I took the faith of those around me and decided to put myself forward. Thankfully I was chosen and from 2009 to 2012 I was part of the UDPs Group 4 We were brought on weekends to the Euronations, the Indoor World Cup, the EHL and practical weekends in Dublin and Glasgow. All the while during these three years I was doing less and less playing, and more and more umpiring, including my first international tournament which was the u18 Europeans in Holland in 2011. It was a gradual process but by 2012, at 24, I was umpiring every weekend.

I was awarded my FIH international badge in 2013 following the EuroNations C Division competition in Greece. By then I was doing Division 1 in Leinster, progressing to the IHL and then the EYHL when it began. Umpiring is much like driving a car though, its only when you have your license that you really learn how to drive! There are four further grades of international umpire ahead of the FIH badge, so I realised that if I wanted to go to the top, I still had a lot of work to do! Since I earned my badge I have umpired an Irish Senior Cup final, four IHL/EYHL finals, 11 u21 international matches, and 43 senior international matches. Those matches have taken place at a range of competitions and venues including the u21 Euronations in Belgium, the Junior World Cup in Chile, the Euronations in Holland, and the World League Finals in New Zealand, progressing up the ranks to the World Development Panel (the 2ndhighest rank). Listing them like that makes them sound easy but there was a lot of learning experiences and challenges in between all of those tournaments and years!

Best and worst parts

Umpiring challenges depend on where you are in your own progress, but it also depends on the game itself. Initially when I started umpiring the hardest thing was actually knowing where to stand, and what to call! I could see fouls happening, but I couldn’t work out which came first, and then often forgot to call anything at all! Needless to say some of these games weren’t enjoyable as I knew I wasn’t always being consistent, or calling the right things, and players naturally got frustrated by this. However, through listening to the advice I was given, by attending training courses, and by simply getting out on the pitch to expose myself to more games I gradually started to realise where I had to stand and how to manage situations. The higher you go, the decision making actually become easier believe it or not! But the challenges change. There’s obviously more pressure and scrutiny the higher you go so the mental side of your game becomes more important. Mistakes happen, so it’s important to make sure that you’re able to move on from it once you’ve made a mistake and not let your standards drop for the rest of the game. That can take a lot of work to get right though, it doesn’t always happen easily!

One of the questions I get asked most is why do I do this. That answer is easy! I have travelled the world and most importantly made some great friends. I can honestly say that some of the people that I have met through umpiring are some of my best friends, and are people I stay in touch with even outside of hockey. There are very few things in life that give you that sort of opportunity, let alone one that allow you do that while being involved in the sport that you love. Along with that, umpiring gives me the best seat in the house! There really is nothing like the atmosphere from a crowd as one of the worlds best players makes an attack on goal, and I feel so privileged to be a part of that.

Advice (in general/pre game/pre tournament etc.)

Regardless of what the game is though, whether its club or international, you’re always trying to do your best. In my mind the best games I have are the ones where no one talks about the umpiring! To do that I usually make sure I follow a routine. Obviously you’ve to get a good night sleep the night before a game. On the day itself I usually do a few mindfulness exercises and listen to a specific playlist to help prepare. Coffee is also a must! Pre-game, no matter how often you’ve umpired with someone, we always have a chat about how we plan to manage the game, areas of control etc., so that as a team we are on the same wave length.

In terms of tournaments, the standards for internationals are so high now that you always need to be physically prepared. We do fitness tests three times a year so obviously making sure you’re fit and strong is a critical part of your game and preparation. My gym routine is definitely one of the most important parts of my umpiring. After that, you want to make sure you’ve tested yourself before heading to a tournament. The LHUA and IHUA are great at giving me a variety of games, including mens, before tournaments as its important to get out of your comfort zone. I would usually get feedback at some of these things too so that I’m focused on what I have to work on. Internationally we have a bank of clips from previous tournaments that we can access online so it’s always important to look back over those and see how you can improve, and what you’ve done well.

Self-reflection is probably one of the things that separates the best umpires out there. It is so important to be able to look back on a game and think about why you made a decision, could you have changed anything, how it all went. If you can recognise this yourself, it means you can continually select the next steps you need to take in order to improve. Starting off, this isn’t always easy! If you’re really not sure, seek out feedback from people that are more experienced. It’s not always pleasant to hear about what you need to improve on but listen to what they say and take the time to work on it. It takes persistence and commitment but it’s the only way to keep improving.

If you’ve never umpired before and you’re worried you don’t know the rules there are always 1-2 courses in each half of the season within each province that you can attend, ask questions and clarify rules. There are plenty of us out there who are really willing to answer questions and help new people so I would definitely say to get in touch and you will be helped from there. Throughout all stages of my journey I’ve been supported so well by both the LHUA and the IHUA, with the support changing and adapting as I have. So please do get in touch! Once you attend these courses there is no experience like getting out onto a pitch so you’ll have to go and practice everything you learned but at least you will be able to do it with a bit more confidence!

Ireland 0 Germany 5

Germany went into this game knowing that a win or a draw would secure overall victory in the tournament. The Irish defence found it difficult to deal with early German pressure and went 2-0 down after goals by Isabella Schmidt and Sophia Schwabe. Germany added a third from Jule Fischer just before the end of the first quarter.

Ireland managed to deal with further German pressure in the second quarter and defended well throughout to leave the score at half-time 3-0 to Germany.

Furhter goals from Jule Fischer and another from Schwabe in the second half made it 5-0 at full-time.

England managed to secure the bronze medal with a 1-0 over Belgium in the first game of the day thanks to a Georgia Brown strike. A 4-0 win for the Dutch over Spain secured the silver medal for the Netherlands.


Belgium 0 – England 1 (Brown)

Spain 0 – Netherlands 4 (Dicke; Van Loon (2); Hendrix)

Ireland 0 – Germany 5 (Schmidt; Scwabe (2); Strauss; Fischer)

Final Standings: Germany 15pts; Netherlands 12pts; England 8pts; Belgium 6pts; Spain 4pts; Ireland 0pts

Vitality Hockey World Cup, London

Ireland 3(Duke x2, McCay)

USA 1(Paolino)

The Green Army have beaten world number 7 USA in their opening World Cup clash.

It was the perfect start for the Green Army against the USA as Deirdre Duke got the scoreboard ticking in the 5thminute. The vision of Roisin Upton came to the forefront as she picked out Duke and sent the ball the length of the pitch to the waiting UCD stalwart in the circle. Duke still had work to do though as she dragged Jackie Briggs from her goal and rounded her to score from a tricky angle. But the Americans didn’t take the goal lying down and Lauren Moyer drew a great sliding save from Ayeisha McFerran in the Irish goal moments later. Gillian Pinder won the first penalty corner of the match and Shirley McCay, Ireland’s most capped female athlete, made it 2-0 with one of her trademark sweeps from the top of the circle. Margaux Paolino got the USA off the mark with a well worked penalty corner routine in the 15th minute as she deflected home a sweep from the top of the circle. Irish captain Katie Mullan could have very nearly made it 3 for the Green Army when she picked up a ball in front of goal from Duke but Briggs did well to smother the shot. Ashley Hoffman saw her penalty corner drag ricochet off the crossbar and Melissa Gonzalez’s rebound shot on the volley was well saved by McFerran to ensure her side held the lead going into half time.

The Green Army came out of the half time break with the same fire and determination as Mullan drew an early stick save from Briggs. Duke got her second in the 41stminute; great build up play down the right side by Megan Frazer and Evans to set Duke up infront of goal for a composed finished past Briggs. USA won two penalty corners in the third quarter but a mistrap and a deflection wide meant the Irish held the advantage. Duke was hunting for a hat trick as she picked up a super pass from Lena Tice into the circle but her reverse shot fizzed just wide. USA, never a side to be underestimated, started to up the pressure and a snap shot by Caitlin van Sickle drew a superb diving glove save from McFerran in the dying minutes.

Speaking after the match, head coach Graham Shaw said “USA are one of the best pressing teams in the world and they can put you on the back foot with their physicality. But I thought we were magnificent and I’m incredibly proud of the group. One of the most pleasing things was how we saw the game out and I thought we looked really composed, we stayed disciplined and structured, and we’re over the moon with that result”.

Starting: N Evans, K Mullan (Captain), S McCay, G Pinder, R Upton, A McFerran, C Watkins, L Colvin, H Matthews, A O’Flanagan, Z Wilson

Subs: G O’Flanagan, Y O’Byrne, M Frazer, E Tice, N Daly, D Duke, A Meeke

Ireland’s Pool B Vitality Hockey World Cup Fixtures:

Ireland 3vs1 USA 21/7/18 6pm

Ireland vs India 26/7/18 2pm

Ireland vs England 29/7/18 7pm

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.


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

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.


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

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.


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

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.

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.

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.


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