Ireland’s chances of reaching the final stage of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup finals have been dealt another blow, writes John Flack, with news that Chloe Brown has been ruled out of contention for a place in the squad for the World League II tournament in Malaysia in January.
The Ards striker broke her her ankle when playing for her club in Saturday’s EY Irish Hockey League defeat by Cork Harlequins at Londonderry Park..Brown suffered the injury after being struck by the ball in the early stages of the game and will spend six weeks on crutches and, most likely, several more in rehab ruling her out of the trip to Kuala Lumpur.
National coach Graham Shaw confirmed that the player will miss the tournament although, should Ireland qualify, as expected, she will be back in contention for the final eliminator in June.
It’s also a massive blow for her club as Brown had played a key role in lifting Ards into play-off contention in the EYHL with her scoring exploits.
Her loss represents another set-back for Ireland, who are already resigned to being without team captain, Megan Frazer, for the first stage of the qualifying campaign in Malaysia.
Frazer ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament in October during a training session with Mannheimer in Germany.
Brown says she is ‘devastated’ by the news after bravely playing on in Saturday’s match, despite being in considerable pain after the incident which occurred in the early stages of the 3-1 loss to the Munster side.
“I was standing about 10 metres away from the Cork player who smashed the ball and caught me on my ankle in the first five minutes of the match.” she said.
“I had to hobble off as I was finding it hard to continue although I stayed on for the rest of the first quarter of the game.
“Once the second quarter started, I went back on for another five minutes to see if if could run the injury off but ended up coming off as it was too painful to sprint and even turn.
“At that point I knew something was not right so I left the game to head to the A&E department at the local hospital and they concluded that I had a fractured fibula.
“Gutted is an understatement. I would instead say I’m devastated as I had been working so hard for the past four months to get fitter and stronger in order to compete for selection for the upcoming tournament in Kuala Lumpur.
“This is sport, it happens but this injury could not have come at a worse time and, unfortunately, it has.
“I have to deal with it and stay positive and make sure that I see the bigger picture. I will be working hard over my recovery period to get back to where I was before this happened.”