A quartet of US-based players have been added to Graham Shaw’s Irish senior women’s panel of 26 players for their upcoming warm-weather training trip to Valencia where they will take on the Spaniards five times between January 15 and 19.Syracuse duo Emma Russell – who is set to feature in Thursday’s Irish Times – and Zoe Wilson are included following superb seasons in which they helped the Orange to the programme’s first NCAA title. UConn Huskies’ Roisin Upton, a two-time NCAA winner, is also added while Ayeisha McFerran, currently with University of Louisville, returns to the panel for the first times since the Euros.
They are among a series of additions to the panel from the side that took on Scotland in a series in November with Anna O’Flanagan and Nicci Daly also returning. Cliodhna Sargent, though, is not included for this trip.
Speaking about the selection, Shaw said: “We are very excited about bringing this squad to Valencia, Spain in January. We are a young experienced squad with all our best hockey ahead of us and believe this group of players can have a real impact on world hockey in the coming years.
“We will have a few new faces with us for the first time and we are really looking forward to seeing how they go. This camp will be extremely testing with up to three sessions a day combined with games against Spain. Physically and mentally, we will have a very good idea of where we are by the end of this camp.”
Schedule (all in Valencia, times to be confirmed)
January 15: Ireland vs Spain
January 16: Ireland vs Spain
January 17: Ireland vs Spain
January 18: Ireland vs Spain
January 19: Ireland vs Spain
Ireland squad: Stella Davis (Pembroke), Yvonne O’Byrne (Cork Harlequins), Kate Lloyd (UCD), Chloe Brown (Ards), Nikki Evans (Hermes), Katie Mullan (UCD), Shirley McCay (Ulster Elks), Megan Frazer (Ulster Elks), Elena Tice (Loreto), Naomi Carroll (Hermes), Emily Beatty (UCD), Gillian Pinder (UCD), Hayley Mulcahy (Loreto), Hannah Matthews (Loreto), Gemma Frazer (Ulster Elks), Deirdre Duke (UCD), Kerri McDonald (Ards), Ali Meeke (Loreto), Pamela Smithwick (Old Alex), Anna O’Flanagan (Hermes), Chloe Watkins (Hermes), Nicci Daly (Muckross), Zoe Wilson (Randalstown/Syracuse University), Emma Russell (Old Alex/Syracuse University), Roisin Upton (Catholic Institute/University of Connecticut), Ayeisha McFerran (Pegasus/University of Louisville)