Chloe Brown described her call-up to replace Megan Frazer in the Irish women’s squad for the FIH Series Finals semi-final against the Czech Republic as something of a whirlwind.
The 25-year-old was at work at Ardingley College in England, preparing for a school sports day when the call came through, leading to a mad dash to get to Banbridge in time.“I got the call there had been an injury and may need to start preparing to come over,” she said. It’s been a whirlwind since then, getting to the airport at about 10.30pm, getting home, meeting the girls first thing this morning.”
It was her 57th cap but first time playing in a ranking match since the 2015 European B division in Prague. It follows a fine maiden season with East Grinstead, highlighted by their English indoor championship success.
“I loved every moment. I am orange through and through and will be Ards until the day I pass away. But I have learned a huge amount with East Grinstead, not just in attacking positions but also working off the ball, working with the GB girls like Laura Unsworth and Sophie Bray.
“I’ve also been playing a different indoor game. We won the indoor the last seven years [with Ards]. With EG, it’s different game and a different set-up, getting through to the Super Sixes and having a ‘dramatic’ 10-0 final win! So we’re now off to Holland next February for the A division, the hockey capital of the world!”
As for linking up with the panel, it is mixed emotions but she felt she grew into the game against the Czechs.
“All the girls did such a super job in the group stages; I just had to be ready in case they needed me. If I wasn’t called up, I am still their number one supporter. It was unfortunate there was an injury but I am happy that I am here now.
“It was strange at the start; I haven’t had much time to process it all. Once that first goal went in, it felt great. Everything started to come back together and it is great being back in the squad.”
And she paid tribute to interim Irish coach Gareth Grundie for having faith in her, the pair linking up again having worked with each other at Ards for a long time.
“It’s been great having Gareth alongside. He is a coach I really value and is part of the reason why I’ve developed so much in the last five years.”