Evans and McCarthy set for senior bow

Gene Muller has announced three changes from the World Cup qualifying squad for the upcoming Four-Nations event in Essen, Germany which gets underway on June 25.

Nikki Evans (left) looks set for an international debut following her inclusion for that tournament – which features high quality games against India, Germany and Australia – as well as a three-game series against Australia in early July.

Nicci Daly also comes back into the set-up to add to her two caps earned earlier in 2010. They come back into the panel at the expense of Maryland-based Megan Frazer while Roisin Flinn also makes way for the summer series.

As part of the goalkeeper rotation Louisa Healy steps out for the tournament in Germany with Emma Gray back in the squad while Mary Goode will be the netminder to sit out the home series with Australia.

For that selection, Cork Harlequins’ Sinead McCarthy is included as one an extra defender in a move that could see Nikki Symmons moved slightly further up the field.

McCarthy (right) was one of the standout performers in last month’s IHL finals and seriously impressed for Munster in the interpros, capping a fine debut season since moving to Ireland from Poynton in England.

Commenting on his selection coach Gene Muller said “We are delighted to have secured these fixtures and our players are excited at the prospect of competing against this calibre of opposition.

“Australia and Germany are traditional powerhouses in women’s hockey and will be a stern test for us.

“India are the Commonwealth gameshosts and are gearing up for the World Cup later this year. They are an emerging force in Asian hockey.”

Four-Nations tournament (Essen, Germany) panel:
Emma Clarke (Leicester; 67 caps); Bridget Cleland (Ballymoney; 144); Lizzie Colvin (Loreto; 31); Eimear Cregan (Catholic Institute; 165); Nicci Daly (Loreto; 2); Nicola Evans (Railway Union; 0); Mary Goode (Bray; 67); Emma Gray (Hermes; 12); Michelle Harvey (Pegasus; 32); Lisa Jacob (UCD; 67); Shirley McCay (Dragons; 85); Audrey O’Flynn (UCC; 8); Julia O’Halloran (UCC; 48); Cliodhna Sargent (Cork Harlequins; 59); Niamh Small (Loreto; 27); Emma Smyth (Railway Union; 26); Alex Speers (Dragons; 72); Nikki Symmons (Loreto; 136)

Australia series (Belfield)
Emma Clarke (Leicester; 67 caps); Bridget Cleland (Ballymoney; 144); Lizzie Colvin (Loreto; 31); Eimear Cregan (Catholic Institute; 165); Nicci Daly (Loreto; 2); Nicola Evans (Railway Union; 0); Louise Healy (Loreto; 49); Emma Gray (Hermes; 12); Michelle Harvey (Pegasus; 32); Lisa Jacob (UCD; 67); Sinead McCarthy (Cork Harlequins; 0) Shirley McCay (Dragons; 85); Audrey O’Flynn (UCC; 8); Julia O’Halloran (UCC; 48); Cliodhna Sargent (Cork Harlequins; 59); Niamh Small (Loreto; 27); Emma Smyth (Railway Union; 26); Alex Speers (Dragons; 72); Nikki Symmons (Loreto; 136)

ESB Ireland Senior Women fixture schedule
June 25: Ireland vs Australia, 7pm, Four-Nations; Essen, Germany
June 26: Ireland vs Germany, 5pm, Four-Nations; Essen, Germany
June 27: Ireland vs India, 12pm, Four-Nations; Essen, Germany
June 30: Ireland vs Australia, 8pm, Belfield
July 2: Ireland vs Australia, 7.30pm, Belfield
July 3: Ireland vs Australia, 4pm, Belfield

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