Interim Irish women’s national coach, Denis Pritchard has announced a series of changes for the Irish senior women’s training panel in the lead-up to the Champion’s Challenge I.
There has been a large number of changes from the CPP with midfielders Shirley McCay and Lizzie Colvin set to go travelling and English-based Emma Clarke unavailable through work commitmments. Nicci Daly has also moved to England for college and so was not considered.
On the goalkeeping front, Grace O’Flanagan and Sammy-Jo Greer are added to the panel to make a quartet vying for the number one jersey. Steph Quinn and Zara Delany’s elevation into the national side continues while the impressive year for UCD sees a string of players now in formal, central roles.
Sarah Greene, Nicola Gray, Leah Ewart and Brenda Flannery are in to join club mates Niamh Atcheler, Chloe Watkins and Anna O’Flanagan. Ali Meeke is another U-21 to step up while Katie Mullan is in from the U-18 national team.
Commenting on his selection of 28 athletes Pritchard said: “Following the success of the U-21 program during the summer, I am including six of the European winning squad, along with some of the Ireland ‘A’ players who competed against England and showed well in the final stages of the domestic season.
“We have a limited preparation duration, which now includes eight warm up matches, giving all a chance to win a place on the Electric Ireland Champions Challenge I squad.
“It is encouraging to see young talent coming through to mix it with the senior group, competition for places will add to the intensity of our training. There will also be development opportunities for some individuals outside of this group.”
The Electric Ireland Champions Challenge I tournament will take place in UCD from September 29 through to October 7.
Ireland senior women’s panel: Emma Gray (Hermes), Pamela Smithwick (Old Alex), Grace O’Flanagan (Railway Union), Sammy-Jo Greer (Leeds Met), Sinead McCarthy (Hermes), Steph Quinn (Pegasus), Sarah Greene (UCD), Audrey O’Flynn (Hermes), Cliodhna Sargent (Cork Harlequins), Michelle Harvey (Pegasus), Niamh Atcheler (UCD), Brenda Flannery (UCD), Nicola Gray (UCD), Nikki Symmons (Loreto), Leah Ewart (UCD), Chloe Watkins (UCD), Ali Meeke (Loreto), Emma Smyth (Railway Union), Alex Speers (Railway Union), Aine Connery (Hermes), Miriam Crowley (Hermes), Anna O’Flanagan (UCD), Nikki Evans (Railway Union), Naomi Carroll (Catholic Institute), Niamh Small (Loreto), Lisa Jacob (Hermes), Zara Delany (Railway Union), Katie Mullan (t.b.c.)
Not Available for selection: Shirley McCay (travelling), Lizzie Colvin (travelling), Deirdre Duke (College in USA), Gillian Pinder (College in USA), Kerri McDonald (College in USA), Emma Clarke (work commitments), Nicci Daly (college in England)