Belfast Telegraph

Frazer thrilled to rejoin Armagh in shock switch

 

New look: Gemma Frazer
New look: Gemma Frazer

By John Flack

Gemma Frazer has quit Belfast Harlequins after three seasons with the EY Irish Hockey League club and joined Armagh in a shock move.

It's a huge boost for the ambitious Ulster second-tier outfit and, at the same time, a blow for Harlequins as Ireland midfielder Frazer had been one of their most influential players.

Quins had earlier lost World Cup silver medallist Zoe Wilson, who has returned to Randalstown to act as player-coach.

To compensate, the south Belfast side have added Irish international twins Serena and Bethany Barr to their roster for the new season.

Frazer, a double Irish Senior Cup winner with Ulster Elks before moving from Jordanstown across the city, like Wilson, is also moving back to the club where she learned her hockey.

The 24-year-old has nine Ireland caps and returned to the squad after two years out for three internationals against Chile in Santiago in January.

Frazer says she is happy to be back at her old club, who have designs on a return to the IHL, having last played in the national league under its previous format six years ago.

She said: "I am very excited to be back playing with Armagh and I really enjoyed my previous few seasons with them.

"The club has aspirations to get back to playing top-flight hockey and I want to be part of that exciting journey.

"They have made some important signings to reinforce their ambition so we will all be working hard to achieve our goals."

Armagh are coached by Ian Hughes, the brother of recently retired Northern Ireland football legend Aaron, who played hockey for Cookstown in his youth.

Ian said: "We are delighted with our summer signings so far and Gemma will be a huge addition with her vast experience and talent.

"Hopefully, the sleeping giant that is Armagh Hockey Club will now reawaken and recruiting Gemma will certainly assist the process."

Harlequins coach Phil Mills was naturally disappointed but not totally surprised by Frazer's decision.

He said: "We are obviously disappointed to lose a player of Gemma's quality.

"But she teaches in Fivemiletown so that was a three-hour round trip to train and a major factor for her."

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