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Irish captain Katie Mullan excited about Banbridge switch

Happy captain: Katie Mullan
Happy captain: Katie Mullan

By John Flack

Ulster hockey fans will have a belated chance to salute Ireland's World Cup heroines before they embark on their Olympic qualifying campaign in June.

Three of the team's build-up matches against Canada have been switched from Dublin to Banbridge, which will also stage the World Hockey Series event.

Ireland will play their first home game since their unprecedented silver medal finish in London last August against the Canadians at Serpentine Avenue in Dublin on Friday, May 24.

The squad will then move to Banbridge for the remaining three matches, to be staged at Havelock Park on the following Saturday, Monday and Tuesday.

Ireland will also play Korea in a warm-up match behind closed doors at the tournament venue on Wednesday, June 5 - three days before the event hits off.

The venue switch makes perfect sense as it will allow the players to familiarise themselves with the pitch and general infrastructure at the Co Down venue.

Skipper Katie Mullan, who is from Ulster, said: "We are excited about Banbridge hosting the series and are focused on qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics."

Meanwhile, Pegasus will lift the EY Irish Hockey League title on Saturday if they can secure the point they need against bottom club Muckross at the Dub.

Ards hope to pick up something from their game at Railway to avoid automatic relegation.

TONIGHT: Ulster Premier: Ballymena v Banbridge (7.45pm); Lurgan v Mossley (7.45pm); Dungannon v Queen's (8pm).

Senior One: Portadown v Raphoe (8.15pm).

TOMORROW: EY IHL: UCD v Muckross.

Ulster Premier: Lisnagarvey v Ulster Elks (8pm)

FRIDAY: Ulster Premier: Ballymena v Mossley (7.45pm).

SATURDAY: EY Irish Hockey League: Old Alex v Belfast Harlequins (3.30pm); Pegasus v Muckross (2.30pm); Railway v Ards (2.30pm); Cork Harlequins v UCD; Pembroke v Loreto.

IHL 2: Pool 1: Greenfields v Trinity; Corinthian v UCC. Pool 2: Dungannon v Catholic Institute (1pm); Lurgan v NUIG (1pm).

Ulster Premier: Banbridge v Ballymoney (2.30pm); Queen's v Rainey (1pm); Randalstown v Ulster Elks (2.30pm).

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