Six Nations beckons in Eindhoven for JAG girls teams

The Irish Under-18 and 16 girls are looking forward to the culmination of eight months work as they take on a high-quality Six Nations tournament at HC Oranje-Rood in Eindhoven.

There, they will meet sides from England, Germany, Belgium, Spain and the Dutch hosts with the Under-18s facing the English on Sunday at 3.20pm (Irish time).

Skipper Olivia Berry is looking forward to the challenge: “I can confidently say we are more than prepared to compete in the Six Nations Tournament this week.

“Our talented training panel came together in November and as a result of the whole squad pushing each other to their limits, we managed to build a solid core.

“The healthy environment has been developed through our coaches and management team which drives confidence into our game.

“Throughout the year we have played several series against top sides such as England, Belgium and Scotland which has taught us a lot and proven that our hard work on and off the pitch was paying off.”

Last weekend, they saw off the Scots 5-0 with goals from Nicola Torrans (two), Caitriona Beggs, KJ Marshall and Leah Clery.

This week’s panel features a smattering of players with EYHL experience like Marshall and Iseult Cambay with Pembroke and Muckross back-line Sarah McAuley, Ellie McLoughlin and Lisa Mulcahy.

Katie Mullan’s younger sister Olivia is also in the line-up whole Anna Horan – part of the Crescent Kate Russell winning side – returns to the panel with Aisling Murray unable to travel while Ellen Reid was a last-minute call-up to the Under-21s.

Coach Gavin Groves added: “We are really excited for the challenge that this six nations offers us. The players have worked incredibly hard all year through and we feel that they are in a great place to show off their talent in this tournament. This tournament is a great place to gain vital high level playing experience.

“We wouldn’t have been able to run such a program if it wasn’t for the incredible backing of the JAG fundraising group and parents who supported every aspect of this program. The whole management team is incredibly grateful for their continued support.”

For the Under-16s, England have withdrawn from the competition and so Ireland will meet a Dutch Under-15 outfit first up.

Coach Sarah Scott’ assessment is: “This has been an excellent learning year for this U-16 group where we were able to offer the full international experience to over 26 players who had exposure to top quality opposition and top class strength & conditioning program.

“They worked very hard over the last six to eight months. None of this would be possible if it wasn’t for the JAG fundraising group who were able to facilitate the funding of U16/17/18 programs and partly 21s.

“It is astonishing what they have raised and the sponsors they have secured who are all now fully behind the Junior age group programs. I can’t thank them enough.”

A trio of Newpark’s groundbreaking junior side are involved, namely Zoe Watterson, goalkeeper Erika Gallagher and captain Milly Lynch who said: “To be chosen by the coaches is an honour and Ill do the best to lead the team against strong opposition”.

Ireland Uner-18 Girls: Anna Horan (Cresent Comprehensive/Catholic Institute), Caoimhe Byrne (Newbridge College/Pembroke Wanderers), Charlotte Beggs (Rainey Endowed/Rainey), Ellie McLoughlin (GK, Kilkenny College/Muckross), Emma Paul (Wesley College/Pembroke Wanderers), Eva Lavelle (Alexandra College/Railway Union), Iseult Cambay (GK, St Andrews College/Pembroke Wanderers), Katie Jane Marshall (St Andrews College/Pembroke Wanderers), Laura Noble (Holy Child Killiney/Pembroke Wanderers), Lisa Mulcahy (Mount Anville/Muckross), Niamh McIvor (Belfast Royal Academy/Mossley), Nicola Torrans (Loreto The Green/Corinthian), Nikki Barry (Ashton/Cork Harlequins), Olivia Berry (Captain, Royal School Armagh/Banbridge), Olivia Mullan (Dalraida/Ballymoney), Rachel Kelly (Loreto Kilkenny/Old Alex), Sarah McAuley (Muckross Park/Muckross), Sophia Cole (St Columbas College/Railway Union)

Under-18 schedule (all at HC Oranje-Rood, Eindhoven – times are Irish)

Sunday, July 14: Ireland v England, 3.20pm

Monday, July 15: Ireland v Netherlands, 3.20pm

Wednesday, July 17: Ireland v Germany, 12.40pm

Friday, July 19: Ireland v Belgium, 9.40am

Saturday, July 20: Ireland v Spain, 3pm

Ireland Under-16 Girls: Niamh Hogan (GK, Ulster Elks/Ballyclare HS), Erika Gallagher (GK, Avoca/Newpark School), Lucy Crowe (Railway Union/Muckross Park), Milly Lynch (Capt, Corinthian/Newpark School), Zoe Kilpatrick (V. Capt, Lurgan LHC/Wallace HS), Jen Hamill (Genesis/Loreto Foxrock), Zoe Watterson (Avoca/Newpark School), Lauren Cripps (Cork Harlequins/Mount Mercy), Ella Brown (Lisnagarvey/Friends), Sarah Kirgan (Ballymoney/Coleraine Grammar), Ali Griffin (Pembroke Wanderers/Mount Anville), Annabel Sweetman (Loreto/Kings Hospital), Ella Armstrong (Pegasus/Methodist College Belfast), Robin McLoughlin (Loreto/Loreto Beaufort), Leah O’Shea (Cork Harlequins/Mount Mercy), Ciara Dunne (Galway/Salerno Galway), Sophie Dix (Pembroke Wanderers/Loreto On the Green), Isabel Bowen (Three Rock Rovers/The High School)

Under-16 schedule (all at HC Oranje-Rood, Eindhoven – times are Irish)

Sunday, July 14: Ireland v Netherlands Under-15, 2.40pm

Monday, July 15: Ireland v Netherlands, 11.40am

Wednesday, July 17: Ireland v Germany, 10.20am

Friday, July 19: Ireland v Belgium, 3pm

Saturday, July 20: Ireland v Spain, 9.40am

Partners of The Hook