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Women's Hockey: Big boost for Town as McCay gets Ireland call from Muller

By John Flack

Published 09/12/2006

Shirley McCay has received a boost ahead of tomorrow's Winemark Ulster Shield semi-clash between Randalstown and Ards at Lisnagarvey (1pm).

The 'Town midfielder is one of four players to be added to the Irish senior training panel by coach Gene Muller.

McCay represented Ulster at both U21 and senior level this season and has come through Muller's open-door policy.

The other girls added to the squad are southern-based Kerry McComish, who hails from the north, Christine Quinlan and Emma Smyth.

Places are up for grabs at a training session next weekend after which Muller will name a 22-strong panel to travel to South Africa for six internationals next month.

Muller has spoken out in favour of his open trials which allowed him to search for previously undiscovered talent as far as the Irish seniors are concerned.

"I held the open trial as I did not feel confident that I had identified all the players who could play for Ireland in the future," he commented.

"I had seen many players at various inter-provincial tournaments and club matches, but there are always players who are missed for a variety of reasons.

"I wanted to give these players an opportunity for further assessment."

"Adding these girls to the forthcoming camp will give me an opportunity to further assess them and see them play and train with the best in Ireland."

Meanwhile, McCay will be hoping to celebrate her call-up with victory against Ards tomorrow.

In the second-half of the double-header Armagh will start slight favourites against Ballymoney (3pm).

Today's top league game is the meeting of Ballymena and Pegasus at the Showgrounds.

The Braid girls will hope to fare better than their north-east neighbours, Ballymoney, did last week when they shipped in seven goals against the champions.

Belfast Telegraph

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