Belfast Telegraph

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Michelle steps up bid for Ireland recall

By John Flack

Michelle Harvey hasn't given up on returning to the Ireland squad after missing out on selection for the Olympic qualifying process and the European Championship trip to Prague over the past few months.

And she's hoping to catch the eye of assistant Ireland coach Arlene Boyles during the Christmas break away from her commitments as a professional hockey player with Belgian side Leuven.

Now in her third season with the club, Harvey refined her skills at Pegasus and Boyles just happens to coach the reigning Irish champions.

The 26-year-old has been training with Pegasus and, with several players expected to miss the warm-weather training camp in Spain next month for a variety of reasons, she is aiming to impress Boyles to earn a recall.

Harvey won the last of her 132 caps in the friendly series with Italy at Ulster University earlier this year but failed to make the cut for the World League 2 series in Valencia.

"I've been in touch with (Ireland's head coach) Graham Shaw and have sent him some video clips of me in action for Leuven and he told me that the door is still open," Harvey explained.

"I am home until the middle of January now while the other players back in Belgium play indoor hockey, so I will also be chatting to Arlene."

Harvey, however, is unable to play for Pegasus while she's at home - she is ineligible as both the Belfast side and Leuven are chasing a place in Europe.

Saturday sees the EY Irish Hockey League continue and Pegasus have a trip to Dublin to tackle Railway Union.

The Belfast side go into the game on the back of three wins in a row after making a disappointing start to the campaign.

Boyles said: "We know where we want to be at the end of the season and that's in the play-offs, and so far it's been going quite well after a slow start."

The Ulster Elks should have too much fire-power for basement side Greenfields at Jordanstown but Ards have a tough game against Cork Harlequins, who ran Hermes close in the Irish Senior Cup at the weekend.

Elsewhere, Ulster Premier League leaders Belfast Harlequins should be too strong for struggling Armagh while second-placed Lurgan entertain Ballymoney, who were the only non-IHL team from Ulster to progress in the cup.

Sunday sees the Senior Cup semi-finals take place at Stormont with Knock facing Ballymena before Raphoe play Banbridge in the second part of the double-bill.

Belfast Telegraph


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