Ireland names squad for Olympic Qualifier
02 Apr 2008 12:45
Irish national women’s team coach Gene Muller announced his eighteen selected to compete for Ireland in the WorldHockey Olympic Qualifier in Victoria, Canada later this month. The announcement comes just days after Ireland played Great Britain in a series of matches which gave the coach one last chance to evaluate players in a competitive environment before he made his final decision.
The Olympic Qualifier take place in Victoria, Canada from the 26th April – 4th May and present Ireland with a final chance to secure a berth at the Beijing Olympics next August. Competing in such a qualifier is no easy feat, and Ireland who are currently ranked 14th in the world will have to play against Korea (9th), Italy (19th), Canada (23rd) Uruguay (24th) and Malaysia (25th) and finish in the top two to secure a place in the Finals on May 4th for a play off where the winner takes all and earns themselves the coveted spot at Beijing.
The last few months has seen the Irish squad training with the intensity and at a level which you would expect from full time professional athletes. Recent months have seen them competing and training in South Africa, New Zealand and Spain, and last weekend in Dublin against Great Britain.
Commenting on the preparation phase, Muller appeared happy with how things have gone to date “I have been very happy with our preparation in the build up to this tournament. We have played quality teams like South Africa, Spain, New Zealand, China, and Great Britain in the last 3 months, and produced some quality performances.”
“The players have been fantastic in the way that they have approached our preparation, and I feel that we have made good strides. My hope is that the team plays well and does justice to how they have applied themselves.” He continued.
The team will compete in one more final series of matches this weekend as part of their preparations when they play hosts to France in UCD, Dublin. This will afford Muller the opportunity to continue with his fine tuning before they board the plane to Canada.
Emma Clarke, Eimear Cregan (Capt), Mary Goode (GK), Louisa Healy (GK), Lisa Jacob, Jenny McDonough, Shirley McCay, Cathy McKean, Bridget McKeever, Hollie Moffett, Louisa Moore, Ciara O’Brien, Julia O’Halloran, Clare Parkhill, Cliodhna Sargent, Alex Speers, Emma Stewart, Nikki Symmons.
Source: Irish Hockey Association