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Ireland hockey captain Mullan earns professional move as exodus continues

By John Flack

Ireland women's captain Katie Mullan has landed a glamour move to Germany next season and will join the growing number of international hockey players who are plying their trade abroad on a professional basis.

The Coleraine woman is unable to name her new club at this stage, as contract negotiations are continuing, but it is a top-flight outfit that plays in the German Bundesliga.

Mullan recently graduated from UCD with a Masters degree in Biomedical Engineering and feels the time is right to make the move.

She believes it will help her become an even better player and she also revealed that several of her team-mates who helped Ireland capture a set of silver medals at the World Cup could be following in her footsteps.

Nikki Evans recently put pen to paper on a new deal with Hamburg while Chloe Watkins and Anna O’Flanagan are continuing their stint in Holland.

Megan Frazer has been on the books of Mannheimer for two years and fellow Ulster woman Zoe Wilson spent a season with Harvestehuder.

Mullan said: “I feel good about it and I am really excited, especially as some of my team-mates will be playing in Germany as well, so that makes it even more special.

“There are huge benefits and the girls that have gone abroad have come back better players and they’ve had a different life experience on the continent.

“Conversations have been going on for the last couple of months, so it was matter of finding the right deal for me and there are just a few final details to be sorted out.”

Meanwhile, Mullan has reiterated the urgent need for more investment into women’s hockey in Ireland to grow the sport and build a World Cup legacy.

The priority, she says, should be a national training facility, with the former national stadium at UCD now ruled unfit to stage international hockey.

Mullan has also appealed for the Irish business community to consider investing into hockey on the back of Ireland’s heroics in London.

Global software company, Softco, sponsored the women’s team to the tune of more than £20,000 after coming on board six weeks before the World Cup and reaped a rich return.

However, women’s hockey is still very much the poor relation in Ireland when it comes to financial backing.

Mullan is a former camogie player and that sport’s governing body receives some £450,000 in sponsorship annually from one firm while ladies’ gaelic football benefits from three times that amount from another.

“Our sponsors Softco have been brilliant and we couldn’t have asked for anything more from them before, during and after the World Cup,” she said.

“We have had a great relationship with them but we will always be open to others coming on board because we need all the financial support we can get.”

Meanwhile Ireland’s under 21s fell to a 2-0 series defeat to their English counterparts, after losing 1-0 at Stormont to a late penalty corner yesterday following a similar result on Saturday.

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