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Amy Hunter giving her all to be a big hitter in both cricket and hockey



Stick to it: Amy Hunter (left) with elder sister and Harlequins team-mate Sophie

Stick to it: Amy Hunter (left) with elder sister and Harlequins team-mate Sophie

Stick to it: Amy Hunter (left) with elder sister and Harlequins team-mate Sophie

Local cricketing sensation Amy Hunter is also a hotshot on the hockey pitch and she will be hoping to grab the headlines once again in a different white-ball game at the weekend following her history-making batting heroics for Ireland in Harare last month.

On Sunday , she will line out for the Ulster Under-18 team who start their youth inter-provincial hockey campaign against Connacht in Dublin.

With full-on training for both sports in recent weeks, Amy hasn’t had time to catch her breath with cricket’s World Cup qualifiers to come in Zimbabwe later this month and the switch back to hockey preparations since she made cricket headlines across the globe.

The Methodist College student became the youngest cricketer, male or female, to hit a one-day international century when she smashed an unbeaten 121 in the ODI series against Zimbabwe.

It was a remarkable way to celebrate her 16th birthday for the precociously talented youngster and Amy’s life has been pretty hectic ever since.

She revealed: “Straight afterwards, I found myself very busy doing interviews and fulfilling other engagements. It was an incredibly exciting time and not something I’d ever experienced before.

“My school mates were very excited for me and they were all very supportive and were happy to see me doing well.”

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While she’s obviously looking forward to returning to Zimbabwe for the World Cup qualifying tournament, Amy’s recent focus has been on hockey and the build-up to Ulster’s inter-pro title bid.

Having previously represented the province at U16 level, she works under the supervision of Ulster Hockey’s talent coach Shirley McCay, who recently announced her retirement from the international arena after winning a record 316 caps for Ireland and making her swansong at the Tokyo Olympics.

Now a role model herself in cricket despite her tender years, Amy, who plays hockey alongside her older sister Sophie at Belfast Harlequins, is a big admirer of the 33-year-old Pegasus star.

Amy added: “I have really enjoyed working under Shirley and the opportunity to train under her at such an early stage has really helped my skills and tactical awareness.”

Amy is supported by the Mary Peters Trust and says she owes a debt of gratitude to the 1972 Olympic gold medallist.

She added: “The Mary Peters funding has been incredibly important for me and it has greatly helped with my trips to Dublin for training.

“There is no doubt that Mary is a role model of mine and, in particular, I find it inspiring that a local person has achieved so much as she has and established herself on the world stage.”

Amy would dearly love to follow in the footsteps of another Olympian in the shape of Lena Tice, the current Ireland defender who played senior international cricket before concentrating on hockey, winning a silver medal along with McCay at the 2018 World Cup in London.

However, unlike the Wicklow woman, who had to choose between the two sports and opted for hockey, Amy would like to be able to play both at the highest possible level without having to sacrifice one for the other, having already fulfilled her aim of becoming a senior international cricketer at such a young age with unprecedented success.

She explained: “Undoubtedly, I want to play to the highest level in both sports and, so far, the two haven’t clashed although, occasionally, I have had to choose what training sessions I am going to attend but generally there hasn’t been much of an issue.”

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