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Ireland are set for Malaysia as preparation for Tokyo hots up

Sean Dancer
Sean Dancer

By John Flack

The Ireland women's hockey team have added a trip to Malaysia to their itinerary as the build-up to next year's Olympic Games continues to take shape.

Sean Dancer's squad will be flying out to Kuala Lumpur in early March for a warm-weather training camp and several international matches.

Although the line-up has still to be confirmed, there is a possibility Great Britain will also be taking part in a tournament of some description along with hosts Malaysia.

Olympic champions GB have been listed in the same group as Ireland in Tokyo, but that won't be a concern for Dancer, as teams regularly play each other in such circumstances.

More important for the Ireland head coach is the fact his squad will have the opportunity to familiarise themselves with similar conditions to those in Japan in the summer.

Malaysia is hot and humid all year round, with temperatures in the low to mid 30s Celsius, which will be ideal preparation.

Dancer said: "These are going to be the hottest Olympics ever staged, so it is important we get used to the conditions we will face in Tokyo."

Before the trip to Malaysia, Ireland will be travelling to South Africa for a four nations tournament in January, with the opposition still to be confirmed.

Meanwhile, in the EY Irish Hockey League on Saturday, the top tie is the meeting of Loreto and champions Pegasus.

Pegasus will welcome back Ireland defender Shirley McCay, who missed Sunday's 1-0 win over Cork Harlequins, which left her team three points clear at the summit.

Belfast Harlequins will still be without the honeymooning Ireland star Lizzie Colvin for the visit of UCD to Deramore.

FIXTURES: Friday: Senior One: Club KV v Armagh (8pm); Saturday: EY Irish Hockey League: Belfast Harlequins v UCD (4pm); Catholic Institute v Old Alex (1pm); Cork Harlequins v Pembroke (1.05pm); Loreto v Pegasus (2.45pm); Muckross v Railway Union (3.15pm); EY IHL 2: Pool A: Cork C of I v Lurgan (12noon); NUIG v Trinity; Pool B: Monkstown v Ards (2.30pm); UCC v Queen's (12noon); Irish Hockey Challenge: Galway v Larne (1pm); Civil Service v Weston (1pm); Bangor v Botanic (4pm). Ulster Premier League: Rainey v Raphoe (4pm); Denman Ulster Shield: Pool A: Lisnagarvey v Randalstown (2.30pm); Pool B: Dungannon v Banbridge (1pm); Pool C: Ulster Elks v Ballymoney (2.30pm); Senior One: Ballymena v Dromore (2.30pm); CI v Coleraine (1pm); North Down v Portadown (2.30pm); Omagh v Priorians (2.30pm).

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