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Megan Frazer on course for timely injury return to give Ireland a boost


All set: Megan Frazer (left) and Emily Beatty are counting down to Canadian battles
All set: Megan Frazer (left) and Emily Beatty are counting down to Canadian battles

By John Flack

Megan Frazer hopes to be fit for Ireland's Olympic qualifier with Canada in November after being forced to miss last month's European Championship in Antwerp due to the latest in a catalogue of injuries.

The 28-year-old suffered knee damage which had previously ruled her out of the latter part of the first stage of the qualifying process for Tokyo in Banbridge in June.

But Frazer is confident she can make it for the two-legged showpiece against Canada, scheduled for a pop-up pitch to be laid over the existing artificial grass surface at Energia Park - the Donnybrook rugby stadium - on November 3-4.

The Londonderry woman's recent career has been dogged by injury after being sidelined for 19 months after rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament in a freak training accident with Mannheimer in October 2016.

Her latest setback is tendinitis on the knee - unconnected to the original cruciate damage she sustained - but she is on the road to recovery after a frustrating couple of years.

"It's been a very big test of my patience, it's been difficult to say the least but I'm very lucky in that I've had the right support around me at the Sports Institute for Northern Ireland," she said.

"My family and partner and the girls in the hockey squad have also been great and can't do enough, but, in short, it's been absolutely terrible.

"But I've been pretty lucky in that hopefully there is light at the end of the tunnel, and I'm getting there."

The temporary hockey surface at Donnybrook will be laid over the next few weeks, but any concerns that the Ireland squad would have little time to train on the type of pitch they will encounter in the double-header with Canada have been eased.

"The new pitch is going to be identical to the one at our new national training centre at Abbotstown, so there are no issues on that front as we'll be based there in the build-up," Frazer added.

"At Donnybrook, the first thing that struck me wasn't just the size of the stadium and the big stand, but the floodlights are huge, like the ones you see in big stadia.

"The fact we're going to get the chance to play under the lights, with 7pm starts for both matches, is hugely exciting, and I think there is going to be a great atmosphere."

Ireland continue their preparations with a triple-header against China in Dublin, starting on Saturday and continuing on Sunday and Tuesday, before facing Germany at the end of October, with the possibility of a couple of extra warm-up games being fitted in.

Further details about the qualifiers - including news of both matches being shown live on RTE television -were announced at the stadium in south Dublin yesterday, with tickets to go on sale on October 1.

Fixtures: Tonight: Senior Cup Pool A: Priorians v Ballymena (8pm); Pool B: Club KV v Dromore (8pm):

Friday: U16 inter-pros (Cork): Ulster v South East (2pm); U18 inter-pros: Ulster v South East (3.15pm);

Saturday: International: Ireland v China (5.30pm); Senior Cup Pool A: CI v Armagh; Portadown v Priorians; Senior Cup Pool B: North Down v Club KV (4pm); Omagh v Coleraine (2.30pm); U16 inter-pros: Ulster v Leinster (12pm); Ulster v Connacht (5pm); U18 inter-pros: Ulster v Leinster (1.15pm); Ulster v Connacht (6.15pm);

Sunday: International: Ireland v China (4pm); U16 inter-pros: Ulster v Munster 11am); U18 inter-pros: Munster v Ulster (12.15pm)

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