Ireland hockey squad named for 2021 season as side prepare for first Olympic Games next summer

<p>Ireland’s women’s hockey team secured their place for Tokyo last year</p>

Ireland’s women’s hockey team secured their place for Tokyo last year

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13:42pm, Sat 19 Dec 2020
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Ireland women's hockey head coach Sean Dancer has named his 23-player squad for 2021 ahead of the team’s first Olympic Games next summer.

The side created history in 2019 as they secured a place for their first Games after winning against Canada in a penalty shootout.

Uncapped stars Zara Malseed and Beth Barr have been included, but Gillian Pinder has been left out.

Several 2018 World Cup silver medallists have been named, including captain Katie Mullan, Ayeisha McFerran, Lizzie Colvin and Shirley McCay.

The team will also compete in the European Championships in Amsterdam in June before the postponed Olympics a month later. 

The Europeans will be the only time the team has a chance to qualify for the World Cup in 2022, which will be hosted by both the Netherlands and Spain.

Dancer said: "This has been a tough process, reducing the number of athletes on the panel.

“We've seen some new talent come in and make an impression, which is a great sign for the longer-term vision of the sport in Ireland.”

Mullan added: “We are very excited for 2021 with 2 major international competitions on the calendar, Europeans and the Olympic Games. However, first and foremost we just cannot wait to play some international test matches again in the New Year.”

The squad will be cut down to 16 players and two reserves for the Olympics.

Ireland squad:

Goalkeepers: Ayeisha McFerran, Elizabeth Murphy, Grace O'Flanagan.

Defenders: Beth Barr, Megan Frazer, Hannah Matthews, Shirley McCay, Hannah McLoughlin, Elena Tice, Roisin Upton, Zoe Wilson.

Midfielders: Michelle Carey, Elizabeth Colvin, Nicola Daly, Deirdre Duke, Sarah Hawkshaw, Katie Mullan, Chloe Watkins.

Forwards: Naomi Munster, Nicola Evans, Zara Malseed, Anna O'Flanagan, Sarah Torrans.

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