| 20.2°C Belfast

Zoe Wilson hails call to hold Euros before Ireland launch Olympic bid



Zoe Wilson in action for Ireland

Zoe Wilson in action for Ireland

©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Zoe Wilson in action for Ireland

The Ireland women's hockey team have received a boost ahead of next year's Olympics with confirmation that the European Championship has been brought forward to June 2021.

Originally, the Amsterdam tournament was to have started just 10 days after the conclusion of the postponed Tokyo showpiece next August.

Now, though, Ireland will have the benefit of five competitive matches in the build-up to the Olympics in addition to several more that will be scheduled, Covid-19 permitting.

Ireland have been handed a favourable draw for the Euros as they prepare to take on World No.1 and reigning champions the Netherlands, Spain and Scotland in their group.

While the Dutch game will almost certainly be damage limitation, Ireland have had the upper hand in recent encounters with newly-promoted Scotland and Spain, who they defeated in the 2018 World Cup semi-finals.

Randalstown and Ireland defender Zoe Wilson said: "The switch in dates allows us ideal preparation for the Olympics and the European Championship is always a very competitive tournament."

Ireland will be aiming for a semi-final spot, having gone close to securing a place in the last-four in last year's Euro tournament in Antwerp.

Ireland's men will contest the second-tier Europeans in Poland in August 2021 as the event has now been put back until after the Tokyo Olympics.

Belfast Telegraph