Chloe Brown has pulled out of the Ireland women’s hockey squad which is preparing for the European Championship and the final stage of the qualifying process for the Tokyo Olympic Games. writes John Flack.
The former Ards player, who now lines out for English Premiership side East Grinstead, is unable to commit to the Euros in Belgium next month and the intense build up to the two-legged Olympic eliminator, likely to be held in early November.
The Ireland squad will be going into a centralised training camp, for up to three days a week, ahead of the Tokyo qualifier – against opposition still to be determined – which will decide whether Sean Dancer’s team can make it to a first Olympics.
The fact Brown is working (as a PE teacher) in England is thought to have been a crucial factor in her decision to make herself unavailable for selection.
The news comes as a disappointment for Ireland’s new head coach Dancer and even more so for Brown, who has suffered many disappointments in the past, having narrowly missed the cut for several tournaments.
In fact, of her 58 caps to date, only seven of them have been awarded in official events with the rest coming in friendlies.
The 25-year-old played in the 2015 second-tier Euros in Prague and the remainder of her tournament caps came in the recent FIH Hockey Series event in Banbridge when she was called up to replace the injured Megan Frazer for the last two matches.
Dancer said: “Chloe just feels that, at this time, it’s not quite right for her and I think it’s tied in with her work and the fact that she’s currently living in England.”
“So she feels she just can’t commit to the programme which is something different and, to me, it’s one for everyone to adapt to – the girls and Irish hockey.
“Certainly, it’s a loss to the group and it’s important that the player makes the decision herself and this was Chloe’s decision.
“We will support her as well as we can and the door is always open so, if things change in the future, she will be welcome back.”