Keith Crawford and Chris Tyrrell lead the Leinster U-21 women’s panel for the third time this weekend and fourth inter pro campaign in total having previously worked with the junior interpros before.
It brings a weight of experience to the scene that is bolstered by 11 players from last year’s squad that are returning including Hayley Mulcahy, Rachel Barnett and Erika Hinkson who are involved a for a third successive year.They are looking to win back the interpros having lost by one goal on goal difference. St Andrews captain Rachel O’Brien and Trinity goalie Charlotte Dunne are the first time Leinster selections who have both been in excellent form this year.
The former is one of three sixth year students in the squad along with Alex’s Millie O’Donnell and Mount Sackville’s Sarah Hawkshaw. Emma Russell returned from Syracuse on Saturday for the week leading up to the tournament having been in the country long enough after Christmas to train with the squad and play a friendly.
To that end, Leinster have beaten both Loreto and Pembroke to date with the squad having been selected before Christmas with eight of the ten first teams in Leinster represented.
Aisling Naughton’s step away from the sport is keenly felt at this level but there is still a great deal of attacking options available with Tyrrell stating: “Its going to be a fast and attacking side who so far in the friendlies have shown there well capable of playing some really nice hockey.
“Ulster are extremely strong on paper this year but think we’ve an excellent all round balanced squad so optimistic that we’ll play some good stuff and have a real go at winning this thing.”
Ulster boss Ali McNeill admits her side has “an embarrassment of riches” but says that getting her side to gel together is her side’s biggest task for the tournament.
“Leinster could be our biggest threat but Munster and Connacht have given us problems in the past so none of the teams is going to be easy,” she told the Belfast Telegraph.
Senior internationals Chloe Brown and Katie Mullan are part of their strikeforce while Lucy McKee is another of whom there is high hopes.
** On the men’s side, Banbridge native Peter Brown is an eye-catching name in the Leinster Under-21 panel as the Ulster man swaps white for blue for the interprovincial series that takes place in Grange Road from February 7 to 9. To read more about their panel, click here
Leinster women’s U-21 squad: Rachel Barnett (Railway Union), Charlotte Dunne (Trinity), Emily Beatty (UCD), Laura Gray (Old Alex), Sarah Hawkshaw (Railway Union), Erika Hinkson (Old Alex), Kate Lloyd (Railway Union), Jennifer Long (Corinthian), Orla Macken (UCD), Hayley Mulcahy (Loreto), Rachel O’Brien (Pembroke Wanderers), Avril O’Carroll (Trinity), Millie O’Donnell (Old Alex), Orla Patton (Hermes), Laura Pinder (Hermes), Sarah Robinson (UCD), Emma Russell (Old Alex), Anna May Whelan (Trinity)
Coaches: Keith Crawford, Chris Tyrrell
Manager: Michelle Heming
Leinster men’s Under-21s: Mark Ingram (GK, Pembroke), Stefan Gallagher (GK, Avoca), Peter Brown (UCD), Kirk Shimmins (UCD), David Kane (Pembroke), Ravin Nair (UCD), Sam O’Connor (Glenanne), David Watkins (UCD), Lee Cole (Monkstown), Harry Spain (Pembroke), Brian O’Malley (Glenanne), Mark Loughrey (Pembroke), Simon McKeever (Pembroke), Jordan Sutton (Corinthian), Jeremy Duncan (UCD), Ben Campbell (YMCA), Ross Canning (UCD), Harry Morris (Three Rock Rovers)
Coach: Rory O’Donoghue
Assistant Coach: Liam Canning
Manager: Graham Woods
GK Coach: David Cole
Ireland U-18s: Jamie Carr (St Andrews/Monkstown), Keith O’Hare (Sutton Park/Suttonians), David Nolan (St Andrews/Monkstown), Darragh Walsh (Wesley/Three Rock Rovers), Jonny McCormack (Newpark/Three Rock Rovers), Jack Ryan (Sutton Park/Suttonians), Neil Byrne (St Colmcilles/Glenanne), John Mullins (Mount Temple/Clontarf), Ben McCrea (Wesley/Three Rock Rovers), Jazze Henry (St Andrews/Monkstown), Jordan Larmour (St Andrews/Monkstown), James Milliken (Friends/Lisnagarvey), Peter McKibbin (Regent House/Annadale), Sean Murray (Wallace/Lisnagarvey), Andrew Smyth (Drumragh/Cookstown), Chris Heath (Campbell College/Annadale), Timothy Watt (Banbridge Academy/Banbridge), Daniel Nelson (Wallace/Lisnagarvey), Aaron Reid (Banbridge Academy/Banbridge), Mark McNellis (Wallace/Lisnagarvey)
Non-travelling reserves: Clyde Buttimer (Ashton/Cork C of I), Richard Couse (St Andrews/Avoca)
U-21 Intepros match schedule (all at Grange Road)
Friday, February 7: Leinster v Irish U18, 4pm, Front Pitch; Ulster v Munster, 6.30pm, Back Pitch
Saturday, February 8: Irish U-18 vs Munster, 11am, back pitch; Leinster vs Ulster, 3.30pm, front pitch
Sunday, February 9: Ulster vs Irish U-18, 11.30am, front; Leinster v Munster, 3.30pm, front pitch
Friday, February 7: Connacht v Ulster, 4.30pm, Back Pitch; Leinster v Munster, 6pm, Front Pitch;
Saturday, February 8: Ulster v Munster, 12.30pm, front pitch; Connacht v Leinster, 2pm, back pitch
Sunday, February 9: Munster v Connacht, 9.30am, front pitch; Ulster v Leinster, 1.30pm, front pitch