| 17.2°C Belfast

Michelle Harvey's shooting for an Ireland recall


On form: Michelle Harvey (right) has scored nine times this season

On form: Michelle Harvey (right) has scored nine times this season

©INPHO/Donall Farmer

On form: Michelle Harvey (right) has scored nine times this season

Michelle Harvey is poised for a return to the Ireland squad after several months in the international wilderness.

The former Pegasus midfielder has been rattling in the goals for Belgian Premier League side Leuven, where she is captain.

Currently she is second in the scoring charts with nine goals already this season as she averages more than one a game.

Harvey was omitted from the squad after helping Ireland claim the silver medals at the Champions Challenge tournament in Glasgow in June, but national coach Darren Smith has indicated that there will be changes in the 24-strong training panel.

Dublin sources have suggested that Audrey O'Flynn is considering retiring from international hockey and if that prevails then Harvey could well get the nod.

The Hermes player isn't in the squad that is currently playing a three-match test series against Scotland, with the final encounter scheduled for this afternoon.

O'Flynn is Ireland's leading penalty corner striker and that's an area in which Harvey excels.

All of her goals have come from set pieces, seven from corners and two from penalty strokes and Smith will be well aware of this.

"We have a national squad of 24 operating and we will have an open door policy regarding players who stand out joining the squad," said the New Zealander.

Smith has also underlined the importance of penalty corners as his squad continue their preparations for their bid to qualify for the next Olympic Games.

Smith hopes to arrange around 10 more internationals between now and the World League 2 tournament in Dublin in March which will be the first phase of the Rio 2016 qualification process.

Meanwhile Premier League leaders Ulster Elks welcome back Shirley McCay and Megan Frazer from Ireland duty for Friday night's game with Portadown at Edenvilla Park. They will be aiming to make it five wins from five against Jane McKimm's side who lost 4-0 to Queen's at the weekend.

Pegasus and Ards also boast 100 per cent records and they will be expected to maintain those against Lisnagarvey and Randalstown. Winless Ballymoney play Queen's at the Joey Dunlop Centre while Lurgan host Belfast Harlequins.

Belfast Telegraph