IHA announce series of 11 challenge matches for senior women


The IHA have confirmed a series of 11 initial fixtures this summer in the build-up to August’s European championships in August as the Irish women attempt to bounce back from their World League elimination.

Head coach Darren Smith has had a productive few weeks, taking in the Irish Senior Cup final along with each round of the Irish Hockey League as he monitors players for his panel.

Smith has also utilised the games in the Irish Hockey League to meet with a number of IHL Club Coaches and to stress the close link between the IHL and the development of the Green Army Squad.DSC_9286

Smith will name a list of trialists following conclusion of this year’s IHL finals for an international trial weekend from May 24 to 26. Following this trial, a national squad of approximately 24 players will be selected along with a development squad for the Euros in Belgium from August 17 to 25.

The squad will warm up with test matches against South Africa, Scotland, Germany, Wales and Canada before they face Netherlands, Belgium and Belarus in Pool A at Boom in August.

Following the Euros, in mid-September a 2013-2014 national and development squad will be named with the aim of allowing the national coach to evaluate and move players in or out of both squad based on their performances.

Speaking about the upcoming schedule, Smith said: “I’ve enjoyed watching the IHL over the past month. Seeing the top Ireland clubs matching up has seen some high quality hockey, I’m looking forward to seeing how it concludes because there are multiple potential winners.

“The other aspect which has been beneficial is creating a link with each IHL club, starting information sharing and talking hockey. I want this to continue.”

Smith added “I’m at Queens University in Belfast to take in the triple header on Saturday to get a chance to see Ballymoney, Lurgan and Pegasus against Quins, UCD and Loreto.

“This weekend’s games are pivotal to the IHL so we will see a bit of pressure. This summer will be very important as we set our sights toward Rio 2016. Plenty of tests, training and time together.”

Irish senior women’s summer fixtures schedule
June 11:
Ireland vs Scotland (Edinburgh)
June 12: Ireland vs South Africa (Edinburgh)
June 22: Ireland vs Canada (Dublin)
June 23: Ireland vs Canada (Dublin)
June 25: Ireland vs Canada (Dublin)
July 1: Ireland vs Wales (Belfast)
July 2: Ireland vs Scotland (Belfast)
July 4: Ireland vs Scotland (Belfast)
July 5: Ireland vs Scotland (Belfast)
July 8: Ireland vs Germany (Dusseldorf)
July 9: Ireland vs Germany (Dusseldorf)

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