A massive 10 Dubliners have been included in the Irish Under-18 boys team to face Scotland in a three-game series in Jordanstown this weekend as the scramble for selection for this summer’s European Championships hots up.
Indeed, the squad named features eight of the side that played in the Leinster Senior Cup, four each from the victorious St Andrew’s and the runners-up Wesley College. For coach Gareth Borland, it is almost a completely new line-up with only Matthew Nelson back from the side that finished fifth in Europe last year.
Calum Robson and Kyle Marshall could have been two other returnees but they are among four injured players with goalkeeper Luke Roleston, Matthew Crookshanks and Wesley striker Gavin Gibney also out.
But, of those selected, there is a large amount of quality. Guy Sarratt (Andrew’s) and Sam Hyland (Wesley) were both members of the Monkstown club side that won the Irish Senior Cup last Sunday.
Sarratt is joined by John Guilfoyle and goalkeeper Ben Bradley as well as Leinster final goalscorer Ben Walker who moves straight up from last year’s Irish Under-16 panel of the other Andrew’s players. From the Wesley crew, defender Harry MacMahon, David Mawhinny and right-wing flyer Mark Samuel get the nod.
The High School’s Conor Empey and Mount Temple’s David Power complete the representation from the capital selected by Borland. Following training matches against the Leinster and Munster Under-21s, training camps in February and earlier in March, the overall squad has been reduced to 25.
Speaking about the process, Borland said: “The interpro tournament showcased the talent we have on offer this year. Since then, the players have worked exceptionally hard during the first phase of the selection process and we appreciate their attitude and application.”
Borland has added the vastly experienced Ronan Walsh as team manager while Elun Hack, who arrived in Ireland to coach UCD’s men this year, has come in as the assistant coach.
The championships themselves usually take place every two years but a realignment in the international calendar for the Under-21 World Cup means there is back-to-back to event to make the lead-in between the two age groups more stream-lined. The championships will be held on home turf in Cork from July 24-30.
On the girls side, the multi-talented Carey twins Michelle and Niamh have both been selected in the Irish Under-18 girls panel for their series with Scotland in Jordanstown.They are among 11 Dubliners named in Steven Arbuthnot’s 22-player selection for the three games against Scotland and the coach has been impressed by the quality.
“The technical ability of all the girls was of a very high standard and we have noticed significant improvements in some targeted areas. With the level of play being so high, the group should be commended for making selection a difficult process.”
Alexandra College’s Freya McDermott is included for a second successive year, as is Cork goalkeeper Emma Buckley, from the side that won the European B division last summer. That success earned Ireland a place in the top tier for this summer’s championships which will be held in Munster in July.
McDermott is joined in the panel by schoolmate Katherin Egan, Loreto Foxrock’s Ellen Curran and Hannah McLoughlin, Loreto Beaufort’s Grace McLoughlin, St Kilian’s Elizabeth Murphy, Holy Child Killiney’s Abbie Russell, Mount Anville’s Suzie Kelly and Loreto on the Green’s Sarah Torrans.
Ireland’s Under-16 boys and girls, meanwhile, travel to Glasgow for a three game series each against Scotland.
Ireland boys squad for series with Scotland (March 25 to 27, Jordanstown): Ben Bradley (GK, St Andrews College/Pembroke), Conor Empey (The High School/Three Rock Rovers), John Guilfoyle (St Andrews College/Monkstown), Sam Hyland (Wesley College/Monkstown), David Mawhinny (Wesley College/YMCA), Harry MacMahon (Wesley College/Three Rock Rovers), David Power (Mount Temple/Clontarf), Mark Samuel (Wesley College/Three Rock Rovers), Guy Sarratt (St Andrews College/Monkstown), Ben Walker (St Andrews College/Three Rock Rovers), Conor Robinson (GK, Bandon Grammar/Bandon), Calum Crowley (Bandon Grammar/Bandon), David Jennings (Bandon Grammar/Bandon), David Lynch (Ashton Comp/Cork C of I), Alexander Tinney (Royal & Prior/Raphoe), David Rae (Southern Regional/Kilkeel), Matthew Nelson (Wallace High School/Lisnagarvey), Andrew O’Hare (Wallace High/Lisnagarvey), Scott McCabe (Wallace High/Lisnagarvey)
Ireland U-18 girls for Scotland series: Elizabeth Murphy (St Kilian’s/Hermes), Ellen Curran (Loreto Foxrock/Hermes), Michelle Carey (Colaiste Iosagain/Railway Union), Suzie Kelly (Mount Anville/Hermes), Niamh Carey (Colaiste Iosagain/Railway Union), Sarah Torrans (Loreto on the Green/Corinthian), Hannah McLoughlin (Loreto Foxrock/Loreto), Freya McDermott (Alexandra College/Old Alex), Abbie Russell (Holy Child Killiney/Old Alex), Katherine Egan (Alexandra College/Old Alex), Grace McLoughlin (Loreto Beaufort/Railway Union), Emma Buckley (GK, Mount Mercy/Cork Harlequins), Michelle Barry (Ashton HC), Megan Todd (GK, Portadown College/Lurgan), Kerrie Burns (Portadown College/Lurgan), Rachel Burns (Rainey Endowed/Rainey), Alana Doyle (Royal School Armagh/Ards), Kathryn Edgar (Lurgan College/Lurgan), Erin Getty (Belfast Royal Academy/Randalstown), Rosie Henderson (Friends/Pegasus), Hannah Irwin (Royal School Armagh/Ulster Elks), Jess McMaster (Belfast High School/Ulster Elks)
Under-18 fixtures (all at Jordanstown)
Friday, March 25: Ireland boys v Scotland, 2pm; Ireland girls v Scotland, 4pm
Saturday, March 26: Ireland boys v Scotland, 2pm; Ireland girls v Scotland, 4pm
Sunday, March 27: Ireland boys v Scotland, 9.15am; Ireland girls v Scotland, 11.15am
Under 16 boys for Scotland series: Nick Judge (St Andrews/Three Rock Rovers), Luke Adams (Newpark/Three Rock Rovers), Matteo Romoli (St Andrews/Monkstown), Robert McCollum (Wesley College/Three Rock Rovers), Ewan Ramsay (Newpark/Monkstown), Ben O’Grady (Wesley/YMCA), Alistair Empey (High School/Three Rock Rover), Hugo Burns (Wesley College/Corinthian), Ben Johnson (Newtown/Waterford), Ross Smyth (Bandon Grammar/Bandon), Conor Beck (Villiers/Limerick), Patrick Hunter (Wallace High/Lisnagarvey), Fergus Gibson (Sullivan/Annadale), Harry Dow (Bangor Grammar/Bangor), Tom Robson (Sullivan Upper/Annadale), Jack Haycock (Cookstown HS/Cookstown), Harry Morris (Sullivan Upper/Lisnagarvey), Matthew Morris (Sullivan Upper/Lisnagarvey)
Under-16 girls for Scotland series: Sarah Dunleavy (Salerno/Greenfields), Jodie Douglas (Wesley College/Railway Union), Christina Hamill (Loreto Foxrock/Genesis), Caroline Mathews (Holy Child Killiney/Muckross), Siofra O’Brien (Loreto Foxrock/Avoca), Niamh Shaw (Muckross Park/Railway Union), Caitlin Sheerin (Loreto Foxrock/Avoca), Sophia Cole (St Columba’s College/Railway Union), Natasha Twomey (Mount Anville/Mount Anville), Caoimhe Perdue (Ursuline Thurles/Cashel New Inn), Lauren Ryan (Villiers/Catholic Inst), Yasmin Pratt (Kilkenny College/Kilkenny), Sophie Thomas (Kilkenny College/Kilkenny), Ellie McLoughlin (GK, Kilkenny College/Carlow), Erin Anderson (Rainey Endowed/Rainey), Anna Nawn (Limavady Grammar School/Ballymoney), Elle Kirgan (Dalriada/Ballymoney), Gemma Ferguson (GK, Ballyclare High School/Mossley)
Fixtures (all at Glasgow Hockey Centre)
Friday, March 25: Ireland Boys v Scotland, 2pm; Ireland Girls v Scotland, 4pm
Saturday, March 26: Ireland boys v Scotland, 1pm; Ireland Girls v Scotland, 3pm
Sunday 27 March: Ireland boys v Scotland, 10am; Ireland Girls v Scotland, 10am