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O'Byrne and Upton included in Irish squad

Wednesday, 27th June, 2018 4:22pm

Two Cork-based players have been named on the Irish women's hockey team that will play at the World Cup, while a number of others were left disappointed.

Yvonne O'Byrne and Roisin Upton have both been included in the 18 person squad that will travel to London in July. It's Ireland's first time featuring at the tournament since 2002.

Ireland sit in Pool B alongside hosts England, currently occupying the number two spot in the world, USA who sit at seventh, and India who are ranked tenth.

The Irish girls go into the tournament ranked sixteenth in the world and are seeded 15 out of the 16 teams but they received a timely boost recently, beating Olympic bronze medalists Germany in Dusseldorf.

Speaking at the announcement, head coach Graham Shaw said: “There were some difficult calls when selecting this World Cup squad, and that is a testament to the quality and depth we have in the larger panel. 2002 was the last time an Irish hockey team was present at a World Cup, so we are very proud to be representing Ireland at the showcase event of our sport.

“But we are entirely focused on the task at hand and our first goal is to get out of the Pool; it will be tough given the calibre of the three teams in Pool B with us but that is what a World Cup is about, and we have a belief in our ability and know what we are capable of.”

The side’s first match of the tournament takes place on 21 July against the USA, a traditionally physical side and renowned for their fitness in world hockey. India come next on 26 July and offer a different challenge entirely. The sides met in a crucial seventh/eighth place playoff tie at World League in Johannesburg last summer with the Green Army coming from a goal down to claim a 2-1 victory but India have won the Asia Cup since then, beating higher ranked China in the final.

Hosts England are the final Pool B opponent for Ireland on 29 July with England retaining a large portion of their Olympic gold medal team from Rio. The winners of each pool progress straight through to the quarter-final and the bottom placed team goes home. The second placed team in Pool B will play off against the third placed team in Pool A, and the third placed team in Pool B will play against the second placed team in Pool A.

Meanwhile Cork is hosting a three-match series this week as the Irish men's squad welcome France to Leeside.

The first of three games takes place tonight, Thursday 28 June, and will mark the final match of Ireland’s top goalscorer, Corkman John Jermyn.

The game will be played at Jermyn's club - Cork Church of Ireland in Garryduff - with the final two fixtures taking place at the Mardyke on 30 June and 1 July. Tip-off for the Garryduff fixture is at 7pm while both of the Mardyke fixtures will take place at 2pm.

Speaking about his final game, Jermyn said: “I can’t think of better way to call an end to my career than in front of a home crowd in Garryduff where I first started training 32 years ago with my hero Reg Treacy. It has been a huge privilege to represent Ireland for the last 16 years, give or take a year.

“Those years have been an amazing journey throughout which I have made a load of lifelong friends in my teammates. The highlight of which was fulfilling a lifelong ambition to play in the Olympics. I have been lucky enough to work with some world class coaches and support staff whose tireless efforts are really appreciated by the players. I'd like to wish the team all the best in the upcoming World Cup in November.”

Ayeisha McFerran (University of Louisville)

Grace O’Flanagan (Railway Union)

Yvonne O’Byrne (Cork Harlequins)

Hannah Matthews (Loreto)

Elena Tice (UCD)

Zoe Wilson (Belfast Harlequins)

Roisin Upton (Cork Harlequins)

Shirley McCay (Pegasus)

Katie Mullan (UCD)(captain)

Nicci Daly (Loreto)

Gillian Pinder (Pembroke)

Megan Frazer (Mannheim)

Chloe Watkins (Bloemendaal)

Lizzie Colvin (Belfast Harlequins)

Deirdre Duke (UCD)

Nicola Evans (UHC)

Ali Meeke (Loreto)

Anna O’Flanagan (Bloemendaal)

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