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Harvey and Brown receive recalls to the Ireland squad

By John Flack

Michelle Harvey and Chloe Brown have been recalled to the Ireland team to play three test matches against Italy later this month in Newtownabbey as preparation for the next stage of the Olympic qualifying process.

Former Pegasus midfielder Harvey, now playing in Belgium, returns to the squad after almost a year's absence while Ards striker Brown was unlucky to miss out on a place in the World League 2 panel last month.

Two of the games will take place at Ulster University with one at Mossley - the precise dates are still to be confirmed.

It's expected that several more test matches will be organised ahead of the tournament in Valencia, which begins on June 10.

Ireland captain Megan Frazer, who was named player of the tournament after leading Ireland to the gold medals in the World League 2 final, says she's glad for the team to be coming north.

"The atmosphere in Dublin was fantastic but it will be nice to have a chance to play closer to home and give local hockey followers a chance to see us in action," said the Ulster Elks player.

"The games will be part of a training camp and the facilities are ideal at the University with support from the Sports Institute for Northern Ireland (SINI) available on site."

The games at Jordanstown will be part of a bigger event which will also involve the Brazilian men's team, who are due to arrive in the province today for a three-week training camp.

"We're planning to make it a Festival of Hockey and we'll have school children along and arrange coaching sessions between games," said UU's Director of Sport Nigel Dobson.

The South Americans won't have long to settle in because they will be in action tomorrow night when they travel to Steelweld Park to play Cookstown.

The Brazilians will be using Jordanstown as their training base during their stay and two games have also been pencilled in against the Ulster U21s on April 15 and 17.

IRELAND: E Beatty (UCD); C Brown (Ards); N Carroll (Cath. Institute); L Colvin (Loreto); A Connery (Hermes); N Daly (Loreto); K Dillon (Railway Union); S Davis (Pembroke Wanderers); D Duke (UCD); M Frazer (Ulster Elks); M Harvey (Leuven); H Matthews (Loreto); S McCay (Ulster Elks); A McFerran (Pegasus); A Meeke (Loreto); H Mulcahy (Loreto); Y O'Byrne (Cork Harlequins); C Sargent (Cork Harlequins); E Smyth (Railway Union).

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