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Fired-up Zoe home to spur Town's Shield defence

By John Flack

Published 26/10/2016

Return: Zoe Wilson is currently home from Germany
Return: Zoe Wilson is currently home from Germany

Irish international Zoe Wilson will be eligible to play in Randalstown's Denman Ulster Shield semi-final with Queen's on Sunday week, which is a major boost for the holders.

The 19-year-old plays most of her hockey with German club Harvestehuder, but is back home this week and she could also come into the reckoning for a place in the squad for Saturday's Premier League trip to Raphoe.

Wilson is allowed to play for Town as they are not in the EY Irish Hockey League and therefore cannot secure direct entry into Europe next season.

The governing body's rules do not permit players to represent two clubs that can qualify for European competition in the same season, so the Antrim girl is available until she returns to Germany for the remainder of the outdoor campaign.

Wilson's Ireland team-mate Megan Frazer, who plays for Harvestehuder's Bundesliga rivals Mannheimer, falls into a different category.

She is still registered with the Ulster Elks, who play in the IHL, and so the Ireland captain cannot play for the student side.

Both of the Ulster exiles are home for the duration of the indoor hockey season in Germany and will be heavily involved with Ireland's preparations for the next World Cup qualifying cycle, which begins in January at the World League II tournament in Malaysia.

Wilson says she is enjoying her hockey in Hamburg - where Harvestehuder are based - despite the fact that her new team's results have been a mixed bag.

"We are in mid-table and the games in Germany are very competitive and every point we pick up is critical," she said.

"But it's been a really great move for me and I am really enjoying the hockey and Hamburg, although I am looking forward to playing for Randalstown again.

"I am scheduled to return to Germany for the remainder of the outdoor season in March and am looking forward to it."

There are two other top-flight games scheduled for the weekend, with newly-promoted Banbridge taking on Dungannon on Friday night and Lurgan facing North Down on Saturday.

The game between Queen's and Ballymoney is off because the students are involved in the Chilean Cup - the Irish Inter-varsities Championship - which is being hosted by the University of Ulster at Jordanstown from Saturday to Monday.

The Belfast sides are in the same group alongside NUIG while favourites UCD join UCC and Trinity in the other, with the top two from each progressing.

Belfast Telegraph

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