Ali Meeke will become the first Irish woman to play in the Pro Series Indoor festival in South Africa on Friday evening following her selection for the International All Stars team.The World Cup star is looking forward to the “amazing opportunity”, lining out alongside a glittering array of talent of the short-form of the sport for four exhibition games against the host country in Cape Town.
“I got an exciting email after our very successful campaign at the World Cup this summer from Miles Warren,” she told The Hook. “’Would I be interested in representing Ireland on the all stars team in South Africa?’ It took me no time to decide whether I would play or not.
“What an amazing opportunity. I’m so privileged to be representing Ireland in this indoor series, especially when you look at the line up of players. They all play indoor for their national teams and have a wealth of indoor experience and exposure.”
She will line out with indoor World Cup winners like Janne Muller-Wieland from Germany and European champ Kiki van Wijk from the Netherlands as well as players from Poland, Sweden, Zimbabwe and Namibia.
The call-up was something of a surprise for Meeke with indoor hockey in Ireland showing the green shoots of a comeback.
The Leinster league has expanded this term to ten teams and gets under way on Sunday, boosted by the decision to re-introduce an Irish international indoor team in 2020.
“Unfortunately the indoor scene is not as big in Ireland,” Meeke says of the situation. “However, I feel the great efforts being put into our league and now, with PSI setting up in Ireland, that the game will only grow!
“I love indoor hockey so much and I’m overjoyed that I got the invite to be a part of the All Star exhibition series. Another step forward for women’s sports and Irish hockey! It really does show the impact we had this summer.”
On the men’s side, Ronan Gormley will make his second appearance at the PSI showdown in South Africa having made his debut a year ago alongside Ross Canning.
Get down to UCT tonight to support International Indoor Hockey at its best!
@sa_womens_indoor vs International All Stars – 18:30
African All Stars vs Europe All Stars – 19:30
— PSi Hockey (@PSiHockey) December 14, 2018