Ali Meeke, Sarah Patton and Hannah Humphreys will all make their indoor international debut at the EuroHockey Championships III in a fortnight’s time following Dave Passmore’s final selection for the event in Bratislava.
It will be Ireland’s first major tournament since a sixth place finish in the 1990 Euros in Germany with the hiatus from the short-form version of the sport only ended in December with a six-game tour of South Africa.
As such, it is very much uncharted territory with Passmore’s side having to start again in the bottom tier of continental competition in a seven-team group with two promotion spots on the line.
Passmore has kept nine of the 14 players that travelled to Africa with Kate McKenna, Roisin O’Brien, Niamh Small, Tori Hastings and Jessica McMaster not included this time around.
Meeke will become a dual-international as a result, joining Chloe Brown and Naomi Carroll with that accolade while Railway Union’s Orla Fox captains the side with Brown her vice captain.
“There has been plenty of competition for the final squad, and not having the complete group of players together has challenging,” Passmore said of the selection.
“But I am happy this is the group best placed to represent us in a fortnight. Several players were very close to selection and the final places came down to small margins. Having not competed at this level before, and never in in the European championships it is hard to know what to expect”
Ireland are up against Denmark, Finland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
“You look at the C division and people will say the teams aren’t any good,” Passmore said of the line-up. “Well, they are not very good from an outdoor perspective but for teams like Denmark and Finland, they only really play indoors. No one will be easy.
“Spain will be the obvious favourites but each of the other nations would see indoor as more of a strength than their outdoor game and breaking these teams down will need patience and good decision making.”
Irish women’s squad for European Championship III (Bratislava, January 24-27): Caroline Adams (Ards), Sophie Barnwell (Muckross), Amy Benson (Ards), Chloe Brown (Vice Capt, East Grinstead), Naomi Carroll (Catholic Institute), Orla Fox (Capt, Railway Union), Erin Getty (Queens University), Hannah Humphreys (GK, UCC), Ali Meeke (Loreto), Sarah Patton (UCD), Orla Patton (UCD), Millie Regan (GK, East Grinstead)
reserves: Victoria Hastings (Queens),
Holly Jenkinson (Railway Union)
Head Coach: David Passmore
Manager: Gareth Myburgh
Assistant Coach: Mike Hughes
Athletic Therapist: Amy Phelan
Video: Liam Passmore
Fixture schedule (all times CET)
Friday, January 24: Ireland v Portugal, 11am; Ireland v Spain, 5pm
Saturday, January 25: Slovakia v Ireland, 12.30pm; Ireland v Denmark, 5.15pm
Sunday, January 26: Ireland v Finland, 8.15am; Ireland v Slovenia, 12pm