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New boss Sean will run eye over Irish squad in Scottish battles

 

By John Flack

New Ireland women's head coach Sean Dancer won't have long to wait before taking over the reins in a competitive environment, with confirmation that Scotland are to visit Stormont for three internationals next month.

The games, scheduled for the Belfast venue on July 13, 15 and 16, will form part of the preparation for the European Championship in Antwerp in August.

Then, Ireland will take part in the final eliminator for a place in the Tokyo Olympics following their second-place finish at the FIH Hockey Series event in Banbridge at the weekend.

Despite losing 3-1 to Korea in the final, Ireland are expected to have home advantage - based on their world ranking - in the two-legged qualifier to be held on a Saturday and Sunday in either late October or early November.

Scotland are coached by former Coleraine, Ulster Under-21 and South Africa striker Jennifer Wilson, and will be using the Irish games as preparation for their second-tier European bid.

There is also the possibility that a couple of games against Italy will be staged in Ireland ahead of the trip to Antwerp, where Dancer's team have already arranged two build-up matches against their Belgian hosts.

Dancer said: "If the team gets to the Olympics, then eighth ranking doesn't need to be the target, we need to be aiming higher and I don't think there should be any lack of confidence that we can't get there."

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