Sinead Loughran will link up with the Irish women’s team for the Hawkes Bay Cup in New Zealand following an injury to Shirley McCay, a broken bone in her hand ruling her out of the tournament.
Loughran will earn her first cap for Ireland once the tournament commences on Saturday, April 2 with the first game taking place at 5am Irish time against China.The Green Army are drawn in Pool B alongside host New Zealand, China and India while Pool A is comprised of Australia, Korea, Japan and Canada.
Ireland’s first match sees them pits them against the team who dealt them the cruellest of blows at World League 3 in Valencia last June, denying them an Olympic place.
“There will obviously be emotion involved in that opening match but we will be 100% focused on each opponent and take one match at a time. There were plenty of lessons to take from Valencia and the China match in particular, I’m confident we’ve matured as a squad and will be as prepared as possible when we face the world number 5.”
They will play again on Sunday against India, their closest ranked opponent before finishing up the pool games against world number four New Zealand.
Shaw added: “We are delighted with the invitation to Hawkes Bay as the only European nation. This is a fantastic opportunity for the Green Army as the level of opposition we will face will provide a real test and give us a great insight to where we sit with the top nations in World Hockey.”
** You can live stream all the matches at this link
Ireland squad for Hawkes Bay Tournament (April 2-10): Ayeisha McFerran (GK, University of Louisville), Pamela Smithwick (GK, Old Alex), Yvonne O’Byrne (Cork Harlequins), Sinead Loughran (Hermes), Cliodhna Sargent (VC, Cork Harlequins), Hannah Mathews (Loreto), Lena Tice (Loreto), Zoe Wilson (Syracuse University), Megan Frazer (C, Ulster Elks), Gill Pinder (UCD), Katie Mullan (UCD), Chloe Watkins (Hermes), Nicci Daly (Muckross), Nikki Evans (Hermes), Anna O’Flanagan (Hermes), Emily Beatty (UCD), Naomi Carroll (Hermes), Deirdre Duke (UCD)
Hawkes Bay Cup (all in Unison Cup)
Pool A: Australia, Korea, Japan, Canada
Pool B: Ireland, New Zealand, India, China
Pool B fixtures (all times Irish)
Saturday: New Zealand v India, 3am; China v Ireland, 5am
Sunday: New Zealand v China, 3am; Ireland v India, 5am
Tuesday: China v India, 4am; New Zealand v Ireland, 6am
Saturday, April 9: semi-finals; classification games
Sunday, April 10: Final; bronze medal match; classification matches