Curran riding crest of wave ahead of World Cup

As weeks go, Ellen Curran says there have been few better for her. Just a few hours after her inclusion in the Irish World Cup side, college results landed – a first class honours in her masters of Biomedical Engineering.


“Pretty much the same day – it’s been a really good week for me!” she said during the SoftCo Series against Japan, admitting the journey has not been plain sailing.


She earned her call-up to the Green Army in November 2016 as a teenager but found it tricky to settle in the panel. For both the 2018 World Cup and the 2019 Olympic qualifiers, she was in the shake-up for selection until late in the day but missed out.

Again, at the start of 2020, she was an ever-present in the Olympic preparation camp in South Africa before Covid fell.

“It was a really difficult period. During Covid, I picked up a niggle and it impacted my performance and I did have a lull for about a year. I wasn’t really in contention for the Tokyo squad.


“Post-Tokyo, I was gunning for that spot at the qualifiers, made it for that tournament and subsequently took a break from the setup. I just put my mental health and it worked.


“I went back to my club Pembroke – becoming EY Champions and ISC finalists – and was back to finally enjoying it. I got the opportunity to come back into the setup and am now playing the best hockey I ever have.


“For me, personally, it’s been the most comfortable I have been in the setup. For a long time, I probably struggled with confidence within the group but I think I am really coming into it now. Maybe it just took from going from midfield into right back which is new for me but a great experience.”


As for the SoftCo Series, Curran has been heartened by the performances from the young Irish side against the world number 10 side who recently won the Asia Cup.


“We do want to win games for confidence but where we really want to win games is at the World Cup and that is the target. With this new group, we have made such progress from being in Japan to this series. The vibe is really positive, everyone is playing well and we are starting to gel at a nice time.


“I was surprised at the numbers of fans who have been here, given Wednesday was a 5pm start on a Wednesday! It’s brilliant to see so many people out and taking an interest before we head to the World Cup and hopefully we will see many of them over in Amsterdam.”