Muller names Celtic Cup 18-player panel

Gene Muller has named his first 18-player tournament panel of a hectic summer, picking a squad for the trip to Largs for the Celtic Cup which runs from June 3-6.

With the Champion’s Challenge at the end of June and the Europeans in August, the competition provides somewhat of a tournament environment, though France’s pulling out a couple of months back may stunt the competitive nature.

In place of a third full-blooded game, Ireland will play the Scots on June 6 in a challenge match on the Bank holiday Monday.

Foreign-based Hannah Bowe (Slough), Emma Clarke (Leicester) and Lizzie Colvin (HGC, Netherlands) all come into the selection having missed out on the recent series with France.

Unavailable are Loreto trio Nikki Symmons, Nicci Daly and Niamh Small who will be in the midst of Loreto’s preparations for the EuroHockey Club Champions Challenge II which get underway a week after this series.

Nicola Evans’ comeback from a broken hand will not materialise at this stage while Anna O’Flanagan and Niamh Atcheler are the other two members of the CPP who sit out this tournament.

Wales return to the competition after sitting out the 2010 edition in Nice while Ireland will be hoping to end Scotland’s reign and take the title for the first time since 2006.

Last year, they missed out based on their head-to-head result with the Scots while 2008 goal difference came into play to deny the Irish.

Speaking about the selection, national coach Muller said of the Celtic Cup opponents: “We have not played against Wales in two years and Scotland has been a regular opponent for us. Both Celtic Cup matches will be very competitive and exactly what our team needs at this stage of our preparation for the ESB Electric Ireland Champions Challenge I.
“Our players are excited to be playing these matches after a demanding preparation stage.”

Women’s Celtic Cup, fixture schedule:
Friday, June 3:
Scotland vs Wales, 7pm; Saturday, June 4: Ireland vs Wales, 2pm; Sunday, June 5: Ireland vs Scotland, 2pm

Challenge match, Monday, June 6: Ireland vs Scotland

Ireland: Emma Gray (GK, Hermes), Hannah Bowe (Slough), Emma Clarke (Leicester), Lizzie Colvin (HGC), Aine Connery (Hermes), Miriam Crowley (UCC), Michelle Harvey (Pegasus), Lisa Jacob (Hermes), Sinead McCarthy (Hermes), Shirley McCay (Old Alex), Jean McDonnell (Railway Union), Audrey O’Flynn (Hermes), Julia O’Halloran (Railway Union), Cliodhna Sargent (Cork Harlequins), Pamela Smithwick (Old Alex), Emma Smyth (Railway Union), Alex Speers (Capt, Railway Union), Chloe Watkins (UCD)

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