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Quins' pair Frazer and Watt answer Ireland call

 

By John Flack

Belfast Harlequins midfielder Gemma Frazer and striker Jenna Watt have been called up to the Ireland senior training panel after impressing the national coaching staff.

Frazer, who was part of the squad previously and has already racked up several caps, took a time out to concentrate on her studies two years ago.

Watt was also a member of the extended panel in the past but she too opted out to focus on her work commitments when she was training to be a solicitor.

In another boost for Quins, goalkeeper Marianne Fox has been added to the Ulster-based regional training squad working under assistant Ireland coach and former Ards boss Gareth Grundie.

Harlequins, of course, had two players on the World Cup squad in Zoe Wilson and Lizzie Colvin and now their representation at international level has grown.

While Harlequins continue to receive recognition on the bigger stage, their form at club level dipped on Saturday as they fell to a disappointing 3-0 home defeat to their Cork namesakes in the EY Irish Hockey League.

On a miserable afternoon in more ways than one, Davy Frazer's side were second best all over the pitch and looked badly out of sorts as they lost for the first time in three starts.

The Munster side thoroughly deserved their first win of the season and in Irish defender Cliodhna Sargent they had a star performer.

Sargent was one of the unlucky players to miss out on a place on the World Cup squad after returning to action last January following maternity leave.

Wilson did her best to inspire the hosts but there was no way back after they trailed 2-0 at the end of the third quarter following goals from Olivia Roycroft and Michelle Barry before Zara Bowles added a third.

"We didn't stick to our game-plan and hit far too many long balls which isn't our normal style," said Wilson.

"We had a few chances when we were 2-0 down and a goal then might have changed things but they took their opportunities and deserved to win.

"It's a dent to our hopes of reaching the play-offs and we will be aiming to bounce back against Muckross on Saturday but it's still very early days."

Pegasus, in contrast to their Belfast rivals, go marching on and are now clear leaders following a 4-0 win over Ards at Londonderry Park and a 2-0 defeat for Loreto at UCD.

Alex Speers continued her fine form with two of the goals with Stephanie Thompson and Kate Gourley also on target.

In the IHL's second tier, a late goal from Irish international Jessica McMaster sealed Queen's their second win from two as they defeated UCC 4-3 in Cork.

Lurgan fell to their second defeat when going down 3-2 to Catholic Institute in Limerick while in the Ulster Premier Ballymoney stay at the top after Nikki Parke's second half equaliser made it 1-1 against Ulster Elks.

Banbridge and Mossley fought out a 1-1 stalemate, while Ballymena came from two down to draw 2-2 at Dungannon.

EY Irish Hockey League: Belfast Harlequins 0 Cork Harlequins 3 (O Roycroft, M Barry, Z Bowles); Pembroke 2 (E Beatty, G Pinder) Railway 0; UCD 2 (A Russell 2) Loreto 0; Muckross 1 (K Fitzgerald) Old Alex 5 (A Connery 2, R Gray, E Russell, L Jacob); Ards 0 Pegasus 4 (A Speers 2,S Thompson, K Gourley)

IHL 2 Pool A: UCC 3 (A Collins, J Clein, L Ryan) Queen's University 4 (C Whiteside, E McStea, T Hastings, J McMaster)

Pool B: Monkstown 5 (R Moore, S Moore, A Barnwell, L Grehan, R Carrigan) NUIG 2 (M Corcoran, B Anderson); Catholic Institute 3 (R Upton, K Daly, L Foley) Lurgan 2 (L McNeill, S McClure)

Ulster Premier League: Banbridge 1 (O Berry) Mossley 1 (K Dixon); Dungannon 2 (L Cassels, L White) Ballymena 2 (B McFerran, C Gillespie); Randalstown 0 Lisnagarvey 8 (K McIlwaine 3, J Flynn 2, L Hughes, R Chambers, C Gillard); Ulster Elks 1 (E Quinn) Ballymoney 1 (N Parke)

Senior One: Armagh 1 (Y Morrow) Castle 1 (K Manderson); CI 0 Portadown 3 (C Dunn 2, S-J Corry); Club KV 3 (J Doak 2, R Hewitt) North Down 2 (H Brittain, A Kimber); Priorians 1 (E Allen) Coleraine 2 (C Lyttle, K Caithness); Omagh 2 (D Darragh, A Buchanan) Raphoe 2 (L Patterson, W Patterson).

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