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Ards are Hungary for Euro success

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Ards face a trip into unknown territory when they represent Ireland at the European Indoor Championship tournament in Budapest in February.

The draw has pitted the national champions against their counterparts from Wales, Croatia, Portugal, Serbia and Sweden along with their Hungarian hosts.

The three-day competition, which will be staged on a round robin basis, will get under way on Friday, February 21.

Ards defeated Beleneses from Portugal to clinch the bronze medals at the corresponding tournament in Lisbon earlier this year.

"We are in the process of finalising the budget and will be able to do that when we hear from the organisers," said Ards captain Naomi Elliott.

"Then it will be a matter of launching a fundraising drive but there is enthusiasm among the girls and that is half the battle."

Meanwhile, the line-up for the Ulster and All-Ireland Indoor Championship, in which Ards will be going for a hat-trick of provincial and national titles, has been confirmed.

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Due to a lack of interest from Leinster clubs, the Irish Hockey Association agreed that the Ulster tournament would double as a national competition and the winners will progress to Europe in 2015.

As a consequence, two Connacht sides, Galway and NUIG, will be taking part along with four from Ulster in the tournament.

All-Ireland champions Ards will also be joined by two Premier League rivals, the Ulster Elks and Queen's, in the round robin event scheduled for December 21-22 at the Queen's PE centre.


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