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Getty in fitness battle ahead of Benalmadena trip

By John Flack

Seven Ulster players have been named in an extended Ireland squad for this month's internationals against Spain - but Erin Getty faces a race against the clock to be fit for the trip.

The 19-year-old defender picked up a hamstring injury when playing for Queen's in the Ulster Indoor Championship 10 days ago and a decision won't be taken on her availability until closer to the squad's departure.

Ireland are due to play four internationals against their hosts in Benalmadena as both teams prepare for the World Cup finals in London in the summer.

Chloe Brown (Ards), Shirley McCay (Pegasus), Lizzie Colvin and Zoe Wilson (both Belfast Harlequins) along with UCD pair Katie Mullan and Leah McGuire make up the Ulster contingent in the 29-strong panel.

Most of the Irish internationals will be in action for their clubs this weekend as the EY Irish Hockey League continues with a full programme.

Belfast Harlequins have shot into play-off contention after a superb 4-3 comeback win over Loreto in Dublin on Sunday but face a tough trip to Munster to face their Cork namesakes.

Pegasus are just five off the pace and will be expected to account for Pembroke at The Dub.

Ireland's most capped player, Shirley McCay, was pleased with their 6-2 win at Trinity last week.

She said: "We now look forward to an exciting few weeks and have our eyes firmly fixed on the play-offs."

Ards are on a high after lifting their seventh Irish Indoor title in a row on Sunday but it's back to outdoor business again on Saturday when they host Monkstown.

In the Ulster Premier, Dungannon look to bounce back from Saturday's 2-0 home defeat by Banbridge when they host Rainey. Ballymoney sit out the action but Queen's remain title favourites and should overcome Portadown. Champions Lurgan are at home to Randalstown while Randalstown face the Elks at Antrim Forum tonight.

IRELAND: Grace O'Flanagan, Emma Buckley, Clodagh Cassin, Zoe Wilson, Erin Getty, Yvonne O'Byrne, Lena Tice, Chloe Watkins, Chloe Brown, Ali Meeke, Lizzie Colvin, Anna O'Flanagan, Ellen Curran, Deirdre Duke, Nicola Evans, Naomi Carroll, Hannah Matthews, Emma Russell, Sarah Torrans, Rebecca Barry, Emily Beatty, Aisling Naughton, Gill Pinder, Shirley McCay, Leah McGuire, Roisin Upton, Katie Mullan, Nicci Daly, Kate Lloyd.

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