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Mullan hoping pain in Spain will spur Ireland in World bid

 

By John Flack

Ireland women's hockey captain Katie Mullan insists that her team can erase the bitter memory of their last appearance in World League 3 as they prepare for tomorrow's opening game of the 2017 edition against Japan in Johannesburg (11am UK time)

Two years ago in Valencia, UCD and former Ballymoney player Mu Mullan hoping pain in Spain will spur Irelandin World bidllan was a member of the Ireland squad who narrowly failed to qualify for the Rio Olympics after an agonising penalty shoot-out defeat by China.

This time around the tournament is being used as a qualifier for next year's World Cup in London and Ireland's first target will be a top-four finish in pool A which would keep them on course for their ultimate goal and redemption.

Mullan said: "For all of us who were at the 2015 World League 3, it was heartbreaking but I think the biggest thing we can take from it is a realisation of how different we are now as a squad.

"We are technically and tactically better and much more experienced although part of the disappointment of Valencia will never go away but we are keen to rectify it."

Mullan will play a key role up front, having reverted to her former position and she scored the winning goals as Ireland defeated higher-ranked Germany and Korea in their final build-up tournament last month.

The 23-year-old added: "Our initial goal is to finish in the top four in our group and the biggest focus for that will be the Japan and Poland games."

After tomorrow's game, Ireland play Germany, the Poles and England, before facing a quarter-final against a team from the other pool comprising USA, Chile, South Africa, India and Argentina should they book a top-four berth.

Belfast Telegraph

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