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Ireland hockey stars are setting out to take America by storm

By John Flack

The Ireland women's hockey team are hoping that lightning doesn't strike twice in more ways than one when they take on the United States in the second match of the three-test series in Pennsylvania.

A violent thunderstorm held up play for 45 minutes in the opening match before Ireland eventually went down 3-0 to the world-ranked number five team.

The Americans are full-time athletes but Ireland coach Darren Smith insists that his squad will be well prepared as they go into the World League 3 tournament in Valencia next month.

"Ireland is a small country and most of the players are within a couple of hours of Dublin so I don't think it's necessary for them to relocate for centralized training," said the Kiwi.

"We are playing seven matches in 10 days in America (four against Canada next week) so that's perfect preparation for the next stage of the Olympic qualifying process in Spain."

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