Zoe Wilson is set to miss this summer’s Olympic Games following an ACL injury sustained in Ireland’s last challenge match in Spain in January.
She has since undergone surgery and her recovery is “progressing well” but, with the Olympics less than five months down the road – and the Euros a month earlier – the timescale looks to be against her to be back in time.
She is the big absentee from the Irish panel named by Sean Dancer for this weekend’s uncapped series against Great Britain at Queen’s.
It means a defensive berth is now up for grabs and, to that end, Muckross’s Sarah McAuley has earned a call-up and joins the panel for these games.
She is one of four uncapped players alongside Zara Malseed and Carey twins Michelle and Niamh who all featured in that January series in Spain. UCC’s Caoimhe Perdue will also travel with the panel, taking part in training sessions and gaining exposure to senior international level hockey.
Speaking about the updated panel, Dancer said:“These matches give us the opportunity to test an extended group of players against a world class team. Niamh Carey performed well as a late replacement on the Spanish tour in January and Sarah McAuley has shown competitiveness and composure in defence in recent inter squad matches. I look forward to getting back to high quality international matches with the squad at the weekend.”
All matches in the SoftCo Series will be available to view via streaming or broadcast. BBC Sport NI will be streaming all three matches on their website as well as the BBC iPlayer, while RTÉ will broadcast Sunday evening’s match live on RTÉ 2 with coverage starting from 16:30.
Nigel Ringland will present BBC Sport NI’s coverage of the three matches and will be joined on commentary by former Ireland international Alex Speers; while Evanne Ní Chuillin will present RTÉ’s coverage, joined by Cliodhna Sargent and Gillian Pinder in studio, with match commentary from George Hamilton and Sarah Scott.
Ireland squad for GB series (March 13-16): Beth Barr (Belfast Harlequins), Michelle Carey (UCD), Niamh Carey (UCD), Naomi Carroll (Catholic Institute), Lizzie Colvin (Belfast Harlequins), Nicci Daly (Loreto), Deirdre Duke (Old Alex), Nikki Evans (Old Alex), Megan Frazer (Belfast Harlequins), Sarah Hawkshaw (Railway Union), Zara Malseed (Ards), Hannah Matthews (Loreto), Sarach McAuley (Muckross), Shirley McCay (Pegasus), Ayeisha McFerran (SV Kampong), Hannah McLoughlin (UCD), Katie Mullan (Ballymoney), Lizzie Murphy (Loreto), Anna O’Flanagan (Muckross), Grace O’Flanagan (Railway Union), Lena Tice (Old Alex), Sarah Torrans (Loreto), Roisin Upton (Catholic Institute), Chloe Watkins (Monkstown)
Match dates, times and where to watch:
Saturday March 13th, 2pm: BBC Sport NI website, BBC iPlayer. RTE Player TBC.
Sunday March 14th, 5pm. BBC Sport NI website, BBC iPlayer, RTE 2
Tuesday March 16th, 3pm. BBC Sport NI website, BBC iPlayer. RTE Player TBC.