Dave Passmore has named his panel of 18 for the Irish Under-21 women’s side whose EuroHockey Junior Championship gets underway on Saturday, July 13 in Valencia.
The squad will feature seven players from the 2017 vintage with Sarah Torrans, Erin Getty, Liz Murphy, Jessica McMaster, Hannah McLoughlin, Ellen Curran (all senior caps) and Michelle Carey.
— JuniorGreenArmy (@JuniorGreenArmy) July 3, 2019
The Eugene F Collins sponsored side will, however, be without Abbie Russell due to an injury sustained at Easter while Getty will under go a fitness test before the first match having sprained her ankle in a practice match in late June.
Railway Union’s Amy Elliott or Muckross’s Yasmin Pratt wait in the wings as non-travelling reserves. Caoimhe Perdue and Caitlin Sherin get the nod just a couple of weeks after completing their Leaving Certificate.
Head Coach Passmore commented that: “the whole #juniorgreenarmy have worked hard over the past ten months to best place themselves for this tournament and the fitness levels are very high within the group.
“This will help in the intense heat of Valencia. Managing a group with such a diverse background has its challenges and we still haven’t played together with full availability due to exams, placement and injuries.
“That said we have a good balance to the group with the ability to vary how we play. The final selection calls were the hardest I have ever made and the girls who missed out are exceptionally unlucky.”
Ireland completed their preparations in midweek with a 5-0 loss to Belgium on Tuesday before bouncing back to draw 0-0 with the same opponent a day later.
The Junior Green Army will be in a five-team group as a result of the incomplete tournament two years ago, also in Valencia, when the Spanish hosts fell victim to food poisoning en masse.
As a result, no relegation occurred, leaving nine nations in the competition – one group of four, one of five. Ireland’s is a tough line-up, facing the raging hot favourites from the Netherlands and a strong Spanish side.
As such, games against France and Russia – first on the agenda – are key ones. The former will be reasonably well known to Ireland with the majority of the squad playing at the recent FIH Series in Banbridge with over 250 caps shared between the side.
We are delighted to announce our continued sponsorship of @IreGirlsJAG with @irishhockey. Best of luck to the U16, U18 and U21 teams for the rest of the season #juniorgreenarmy #EFC #EmpowerFutureChampions pic.twitter.com/ugVInuc8lp
— Eugene F Collins (@EugeneFCollins) July 4, 2019
Commenting on the pool Passmore added “There will be no easy matches in this pool. Obviously Netherlands will be the clear favourites although I have been very impressed with the quality of the Spanish team in recent matches.
“France have 15 of the team who were so competitive in the Banbridge World Series and eight of the Russian team played for their senior team in Hiroshima where they were unlucky not to make the final losing to Japan on a shoot-out. That said, if we can fine-tune our finishing we can match any team on our day.”
The top two in the Euros will definitely qualify for the 2020 Junior World Cup while there will likely be more places confirmed in due course at the discretion of the FIH.
Ireland Under-21 squad: Michelle Barry (Co-Capt, Cork Harlequins), Michelle Carey (UCD), Niamh Carey (UCD), Ellen Curran (UCD), Katie Fearon (Railway Union), Laura Foley (Catholic Institute), Erin Getty (Co-Capt, Queens), Christina Hamill (Loreto), Hannah Humphries (GK, UCC), Jane Kilpatrick (Loughborough Students), Erica Markey (Trinity), Hannah McLoughlin (UCD), Jessica McMaster (Queens), Lizzie Murphy (GK, Loreto), Siofra O’Brien (Loreto), Caoimhe Perdue (Cork Harlequins), Caitlin Sherin (Loreto), Sarah Torrans (Loreto)
Non-Travelling Reserves: Amy Elliott (Railway Union), Yasmin Pratt (Muckross)
Head Coach: David Passmore
Manager: Una McCarthy
Coach: Steven Arbuthnot
Coach: Mike Hughes
Physiotherapist: Stephen Brownlow
Performance Analyst: Aaron Passmore
Performance Scientist: Orlaith Curran
Performance Skills: Aine MacNamara
GK Coach / Video: Ronan Passmore
EuroHockey Junior Championships, Match Schedule (all in Valencia)
Pool A: Ireland, Russia, Netherlands, Spain, France
Saturday, July 13: Ireland v Russia, 5.45pm
Monday, July 15: Ireland v Netherlands, 8pm
Wednesday, July 17: Ireland v Spain, 8pm
Thursday, July 18: Ireland v France, 8pm
Saturday, July 20/Sunday, July 21: Crossover matches