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Unhappy Ruth walks away from Irish panel

 

Ruth Maguire
Ruth Maguire

By John Flack

Ruth Maguire has pulled out of the Ireland training panel which is currently preparing for the first stage of the qualifying process for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The Pegasus vice-captain says she wasn't enjoying the experience, having made limited strides in her three years in the programme which involves a huge commitment.

She was part of the extended panel ahead of last year's World Cup but didn't make the cut.

Maguire was picked for the first games after Ireland's unprecedented silver medal finish in London when the team travelled to Spain for three unofficial internationals last December.

She then went to Chile for four internationals in Santiago in January but missed out on the return trip to Spain for five games against the host team and India in February.

Maguire explained: "I just wasn't enjoying the programme. I have been part of it for three years and yet I have only six caps despite playing really well.

"I wasn't enjoying it because of the intense environment you get in international sport, and didn't feel I was suited for it at this particular time.

"So I have made the decision to stop and I would rather play for my club and enjoy it rather than stress over the Irish programme."

The 23-year-old midfielder recently helped Pegasus lift the EY Irish Hockey League title for the first time since the competition's expanded format.

The Belfast club finish their 18-match programme on Saturday when they face Belfast Harlequins before taking part in the Champions Trophy, contested by the top four finishers over the May Bank Holiday weekend in Banbridge.

The play-off series winners will earn a place in Europe next season, although Pegasus have already sealed the first spot on offer by winning the regular season campaign.

Loreto and UCD have been competing in two of the European competitions this weekend and their finishing positions will determine in which divisions next season's representatives will take part.

Loreto struggled in the top tier in Amsterdam and will meet Belarussians Gridno for seventh place today (8.30am) after losing 4-0 to Den Bosch and Hamburg.

UCD, who are competing in the second-tier Club Trophy event, have a bronze medal play-off in Rochester today.

The Dublin students will be up against Belgian side Waterloo Ducks (1pm) after a 3-2 defeat by Dinamo Moscow yesterday left them second in their pool.

UCD trailed 2-0 at half-time but goals from Ulster woman Leah McGuire and Sarah Patton saw them draw level before the Russians grabbed a late winner.

McGuire had also been on target in Saturday's impressive 5-1 win over Edinburgh University, who included former Ards player Zara Malseed.

EuroHockey Club Cup: Saturday: Loreto 0 Hamburg 4.

Today: Seventh-Eighth place play-off: Loreto v Ritm Gridno (8.30am).

EuroHockey Club Trophy: Saturday: UCD 5 (S Young, N Heistercamp, N Carey, L McGuire, M Carey) Edinburgh 1.

Yesterday: UCD 2 (S Patton, L McGuire) Dinamo Moscow 3.

Today: Third-Fourth place play-off: UCD v Waterloo Ducks (1pm).

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