Irish tour to Malaysia cancelled at last moment

The Irish women’s Olympic preparations have suffered a frustrating speed-bump as their hastily arranged warm-weather trip to Malaysia was called off on the day of departure.

The original plan had been to travel to the Olympic venue in Tokyo this month but local restrictions saw that proposed trip go up in smoke.

Kuala Lumpur came up as an alternative venue with Great Britain and Japan also intending to travel with Ireland set to play at least four uncapped matches as part of a 19-day camp.

Irish coach Sean Dancer. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Hockey Ireland duly organised flights and insurance in the last few days to be able to confirm the tour by 4pm on Thursday afternoon with a Friday departure flight.

But within 12 hours, changes in Malaysia regulations made the trip untenable with Great Britain’s women also no longer travelling with a change in circumstances limiting the ability to play matches.

It means coach Sean Dancer and Hockey Ireland High Performance Director Adam Grainger are back on the hunt for alternative options to work into their schedule ahead of a busy summer that also features the European Championships in June.

Speaking on the decision, Dancer said: “We informed the squad early this morning, and everyone is disappointment that we will not be able to make this opportunity happen.

“At this point in our build up to Europeans and the Olympics, the health and wellbeing of our staff and players is paramount. Weighing up the potential performance benefit of heat and humidity versus the uncertainties we live with at this time globally, particularly with travel and quarantine periods, has been incredibly difficult.

“I am confident we can control our build up well in Ireland to put the team in the best position to compete this summer.”

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