Ulster five in squad as Ireland women chase World dream
Five Ulster players have been named in the Ireland Women's Squad for the World League semi-finals in Johannesburg next month when places in the 2018 World Cup will be up for grabs.
Former Ballymoney striker Katie Mullan, now playing at UCD, is joined by Lizzie Colvin, who is looking for a new club after moving back north from Dublin, German-based Zoe Wilson, Ulster Elks' Shirley McCay and goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran, who is on a hockey scholarship in the United States.
There are no real surprises in the 18-strong panel, although the Ulster contingent could have been bigger had Ards striker Chloe Brown and Megan Frazer not been unavailable for selection due to injury.
Mullan, who scored the winner in Ireland's first-ever victory over Germany at the weekend, will continue as team captain in the absence of Frazer, who is recovering from a bad knee injury.
Ireland face Japan, Germany, Poland and England in the first phase of the competition, from July 8-23, needing to avoid last place in the group to be in with a chance of making the World Cup in India next year.
Commenting on his squad, national coach Graham Shaw said: "Selection was very tight with some difficult decisions, and this is testament to how hard this group has worked and developed over the past few months."
Ireland Women's Squad: G O'Flanagan; H Matthews; Z Wilson; S McCay; L Colvin; L Tice; C Watkins; K Mullan; G Pinder; A O'Flanagan; S Loughran; N Evans; N Daly; D Duke; E Beatty; R Upton; Y O'Byrne; A McFerran.