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Injured Barr ruled out of Olympics while Malaysian warm-up is cancelled


Bethany Barr

Bethany Barr

�INPHO/Bryan Keane

Bethany Barr

Ireland Women's head coach Sean Dancer has been hit by a double whammy with confirmation that Bethany Barr has been ruled out of the Olympics due to a serious knee injury and the proposed hot-weather training camp to Malaysia has been called off due to Covid issues.

Barr suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in training earlier this week and becomes the third Ulster player in the squad to miss out on Ireland's trip to Tokyo.

It's a huge blow for the player, her family and Ireland as she joins her twin sister Serena and Zoe Wilson in sustaining ACL injuries which normally have a recovery period of between eight and 12 months.

Bethany had been ever-present in the Irish squad since making her debut against Chile in Santiago in January 2019.

She helped Ireland qualify for a first Olympics by scoring a crucial goal in the shoot-out win over Canada in November of the same year.

Ireland were trailing Canada 3-1 in the penalty decider at Donnybrook when Barr nutmegged the keeper to keep Irish hopes alive and the rest is history as they say.

Bethany's sister was the first of the ACL victims, suffering the injury last September when playing for the twins' club, Belfast Harlequins, in a friendly.

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Wilson was next to undergo surgery following her knee injury which was sustained in an international with Spain in January.

Now there are just six Ulster players left in Dancer's squad, namely Shirley McCay, Megan Frazer, Lizzie Colvin, team captain Katie Mullan, Ayeisha McFerran and Zara Malseed.

Ireland's now abortive trip to Malaysia would have been a useful exercise in several ways, notably to allow the coaching ticket a chance to run their eye over potential replacements for the injury victims.

The camp was to have included at least four games against Great Britain and at least one against Malaysia.

However, a last-minute extension of quarantine rules which would have left the players in isolation for seven days on their arrival in Kuala Lumpur rendered the trip unviable and Great Britain have also pulled out.

Dancer said: "At this point in our build-up to the Europeans and the Olympics, the health and wellbeing of our staff and players is paramount.

"Weighing up the potential performance benefit of heat and humidity versus the uncertainties we live with at this time globally, particularly with travel and quarantine periods, has been incredibly difficult."​​

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