The Irish women’s Under-23 and 21 development panels and program of camps for 2020 have been laid out, providing a continued pathway for players to feed into the senior squad.
It comes at a key time with the potential for a new wave of players to come into the Green Army panel with the conclusion of the Olympic cycle in Tokyo later this year.
The national development squad has been introduced as part of the HookedforLife review and aims to help address the gap created by recent developments in the game which has seen athletes reaching senior level at an older age.
The introduction of the squad last year for the first time allows athletes to continue development after the Under-21 age group for two further years and they will compete in matches at Under-23 level.
This will culminate in a five or six nations tournament in June in Dublin and then a six nations in Cardiff in August featuring England, Germany, Russia, Scotland and Wales.
Selection is based on an athlete’s potential to play at senior level within four years. Players will be supported in two to three strength and conditioning sessions per week with mid-week regional sessions starting in March at Abbotstown.
The Under-21 squad provides a longer term, development opportunities for players aged 18 to 20 and it is expected that some players will move into the development squad from here once they have been assessed within match play.
David Passmore will oversee the programme; he explained the thinking behind it: “This development is an important one for the women’s game in Ireland and will allow us to develop a number of players who have been in the Under-21 program further with a view to them reaching the senior squad after the Tokyo cycle.
“A number of the group are currently training with the seniors which allows them to understand the intensity of training required. The program has been carefully planned with Sean Dancer who has taken a great interest in the up and coming talent since his arrival last May”
“The group of younger players that have move up from Under-18s, along with some players who have developed while at college in England, means the group has a good mix and we enjoyed a great training camp at Abbotstown last week. Our aim will be to have a crop of talented players vying for senior squad places once the Tokyo cycle is over.”
The men’s development squad plans will be finalised in the coming weeks. Both programs will not receive central Hockey Ireland funding; they remain funded by the panels themselves whether by sponsorship, private donations, fundraising or contributions from the players.
National Development Squad: Roisin Begley (Catholic Institute), Nadia Benallal (Beeston, England), Michelle Carey (UCD), Niamh Carey (UCD), Sophia Cole (Railway Union), Amy Elliott (UCD), Katie Fearon (Railway Union), Christina Hamill (Loreto), Hannah Humphreys (GK, UCC), Jane Kilpatrick (Loughborough Uni), Sarah MacAuley (Muckross), Zara Malseed (Ards), Erica Markey (Trinity), Jess McMaster (Queens University), Ellie McLoughlin (GK, Muckross), Hannah McLoughlin (UCD), Caoimhe Perdue (UCC), Ellen Reid (Banbridge), Caitlin Sherin (Loreto), Sarah Torrans (Loreto)
Others in consideration for the Development Squad: Abbie Russell (UCD), Tori Hastings (Queens), Katherine Egan (UCD), Yasmin Pratt (Monmouth Uni, USA)
Under-21 squad: Olivia Berry (Pegasus), Gemma Ferguson (GK, Ulster Elks), Laura Foley (Catholic Institute), Anna Horan (Catholic Institute), Jade Lamont (GK, Nottingham Trent University, England), Katie Jane Marshall (UCD), Katie McKee (Beeston, England), Emily McStea (Queens University), Lisa Mulcahy (Loreto), Siofra Murdoch (Harvard, USA), Laura Noble (Pembroke), Siofra O’Brien (Loreto), Millie Regan (GK, East Grinstead)
April 9-13: Training & Matches against Great Britain Elite Development Program, Warwick, England
June 5-14: Warm Weather Training Camp and Matches v USA Development and U21s, USA
June 20-27: 5-6 Nations Under-23 Tournament, UCD, Dublin
August 8-15: EHF U23 6 Nations, Cardiff, Wales (ENG / GER / IRL / RUS / SCO / WAL)