While numerous of Irish women have headed east to European competitions, over a dozen will line out this season for US universities as the battle to be NCAA champions tips off in earnest this year.University of Louisville’s Ayeisha McFerran is the star turn of the Irish in America having been named in the Longstreth/NFHCA All-America First Team for the last three years and has been in the All-West region first team selection for the same period.
Of the Irish abroad, Louisville are the highest placed, rated currently as the 12th best in the US.
The Monmouth Hawks – ranked 36th at the moment – have landed one of Ireland’s brightest prospects with Yasmin Pratt moving from Kilkenny College and Muckross.
She was the star of the Kate Russell Championships and also scored some beautiful goals in Irish underage action this summer. With Muckross, she top scored in Leinster Division One and the EYHL playoffs, scoring 21 times.
Pratt is joined at Monmouth by goalkeeper Kate O’Hogan from Railway and Mount Anville after three interpro gold medals across Under-16 and 18 campaigns.
They will have plenty of coaching guidance there with Kilkeel man Davey Williamson – a member of the US senior women’s coaching team – and new arrival Chris Tyrrell on the staff.
Limerick woman Clodagh Moloney has moved from UCC to University of Massachusetts following a strong spell in the Munster leagues, winning three Division One titles.
Speaking about her move to the states, she said: “I loved Amherst and the surrounding towns. Everybody was so friendly and the place had quite a European vibe about it. UMass seems to have the perfect balance of professionalism and academia combined with the necessary social side to a university.”
UMass are currently rated 22nd in the early season NCAA rankings.
Former Muckross and Mount Anville player Katie Ronan is in her second year at the Drexel Dragons having received a CAA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll award in her freshman year. She played 13 times for the 48th-rated Drexel in her maiden season.
Another hot prospect, North Kildare and King’s Hospital goalkeeper Jade Arundell has been snapped up by 40th rated Michigan State. She has been the number one keeper for the past few seasons at the back of miserly Kildare first team and her exploits also helped KH go on a run to the Claudia Tierney Cup final.
Rutgers Scarlets Knights have two very talented Ulster women in their line-up – Katie Larmour and Kerrie Burns – bolstering their bid to try and rise from 23rd and push for results in the Big Ten.Burns scored in her seasonal opener against the Richmond Spiders and was previously part of the Irish Under-18s. Larmour, meanwhile, is in her third season following a glorious schools career as the key player for MCB in the 2016 Kate Russell.
She was named in the all Mid-Atlantic regional second team in her first year but year two was curtailed by injury.
Lisburn’s Pippa Best switches to Kent State from the Liberty Flames where she played 53 games and scored six goals in the last three years. Kent are ranked 43rd in Division One.
At the Temple Owls in Philadelphia, Kathryn Edgar is in her third year at the college having played 30 times since being cleared to play in 2016. In addition to being a key player for the 61st ranked side, he was named to Temple’s President’s Honor Roll for having a GPA of 3.5 or above.
The 66th rated Vermont Catamounts have a pair of former Muckross players in Claudia Cotter and Clodagh Ferry. Cotter played in all 17 games for Vermont in her freshman year and made 16 starts at midfield. Ferry was part of the Muckross side that won the Leinster Senior Cup in 2017
Former St Gerard’s student Robyn Murray joins 22nd ranked Old Dominion following a couple of great years with the Bray school. Fermoy’s Niamh Sexton is at Lock Haven, listed at 57th, for a second successive season.
Galway’s Kelsey Hengerer is in her second year with the Richmond Spiders, the 35th rated side in the country, following several appearances in her debut year.
On the coaching front, Mark Egner is joined at William & Mary by Simon Pearson while Jordan McKee coaches in Delaware.