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Ireland select strong Ulster contingent

 

Euro ties: Bethany Barr
Euro ties: Bethany Barr
Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

There are six Ulster players in the Ireland squad for this month's EuroHockey Championships in Antwerp.

World Cup heroines Ayeisha McFerran, Katie Mullan, Lizzie Colvin, Shirley McCay and Zoe Wilson are all included, as is new Belfast Harlequins recruit Bethany Barr.

The one Ulster World Cup star to miss out is Megan Frazer, sidelined with a knee injury. It's the latest in a catalogue of injury blows for the influential midfielder, who was sidelined for 19 months after rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament and partially tearing her medial ligament in a freak training accident with Mannheimer in October 2016.

Barr holds her place after being added to the panel for the first stage of the Olympic qualification process earlier this summer. The 23-year-old defender spent four years on a hockey scholarship in the United States before returning home to play for UCD last summer and moving north last month.

Vital World Ranking points are at stake for all teams in the EuroHockey tournament as the Olympic qualification process heats up.

The Green Army will take on England, Germany and Belarus in Pool B, with their opening match against England on Sunday.

Head coach Sean Dancer said: "We have had a good preparation period leading into this competition, with the opportunity to push and develop our squad with a number of international games.

"Our selection has plenty of experience and we will be expecting them to stand up when it counts and make the most of our opportunities.

"The EuroHockey Championship is an excellent competition with Olympic qualification for the winner, this is a great challenge that our group is looking forward to."

Squad: Ayeisha McFerran, Roisin Upton, Nicola Evans, Katie Mullan (C), Shirley McCay, Elena Tice, Gillian Pinder, Bethany Barr, Chloe Watkins, Elizabeth Colvin, Nicola Daly, Hannah Matthews, Elizabeth Murphy, Sarah Hawkshaw, Anna O'Flanagan (VC), Zoe Wilson, Deirdre Duke, Alison Meeke

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