Roisin Upton named in Irish Hockey side ahead of World Cup Qualifying competition in Pisa

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IRISH women’s coach Sean Dancer has named an 18-player central panel and two travelling reserves ahead next week’s World Cup qualifying competition in Pisa.

Limerick’s Roisin Upton is included in the central panel that panel features 15 of the squad that travelled to the Olympic Games in July with Niamh Carey, Erin Getty and Ellen Curran coming into the line-up.

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The eight-team competition will be played in a knock-out format with only one side earning a place at next summer’s World Cup which will be played at venues in Spain and the Netherlands.

Ireland (12th ranked) meet France (27th) in their first game on October 21st (10.30am, Irish time) with the winner going on to play either Russia (20th) or Belarus (21st). Scotland (19th), Poland (23rd), Italy (17th) and Wales (25th) are on the other side of the draw.

FIH Women’s World Cup 2022 – European Qualifier; Pisa, Italy (October 21 to 24, 2021)

  • Thursday, October 21: Ireland v France (10.30am, Irish time)
  • Saturday, October 22: Semi-finals / classification matches
  • Sunday, October 23: final / classification matches

Against all odds, the Irish Women’s Hockey Team reached the final of the 2018 World Cup where they were beaten by Spain in the decider.

The 2022 World Cup will take place in Terrassa, Spain & Amstelveen, Netherlands.

24 July 2021; Roisin Upton of Ireland celebrates after scoring her side’s first goal during the Women’s Pool A Group Stage match between Ireland and South Africa at the Oi Hockey Stadium during the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

While it was a disappointing Olympics for the Irish squad, Dancer is excited about the new faces in the squad as he said,

“I am excited about the future and the balance within the squad. We have retained a lot of experience and have a lot of excitement coming through. It sits really nicely.”

Shirley McCay, Hannah Matthews, Lizzie Colvin, Nikki Evans, Grace O’Flanagan and Nicci Daly have stepped back from the program since the Tokyo games.

Reflecting on that changing of the guard, coach Dancer said it is “a natural” progression for the side in the wake of the Olympic Games, paying tribute to their immense contributions to the cause.

“It’s amazing how much effort the players have put into not just the last three years but the last eight to ten years to qualify for their first ever Olympics, giving it everything they’ve got,” Dancer said.

“It is natural some will step away and, for others, they needed a good break to refresh and get back to life, work, family and social things. I wanted to make sure everyone got a good break and once all the dust had settled, it certainly great to have a lot of experience in the group.

“Anna O’Flanagan, Chloe, Róisín, Ayeisha, Lena, Katie, Deirdre – we do have a huge amount there from the Olympics and beyond. We have to draw on that first of all and expect those guys to stand up under pressure which I certainly know they will.

“The flip side is the excitement. We have players who have never had a test match before; first ever event and they get to try qualify for a World Cup.”

Irish Head Coach Sean Dancer

The tournament also allows for two travelling reserves with Charlotte Beggs and Jane Kilpatrick joining the panel in Pisa.

While first opponents France are the lowest-ranked side in the competition, Dancer is more than wary of what they have to offer.

“France has been preparing well, not just this year, but with 2024 in their sights and getting there as host nation, they have a lot to play for. They did really well in the European Division 2 tournament. First team to meet, it will not be easy but we have to back our experience and what we have done in the last 18 month to get over the top of them.”


Irish senior women’s panel for World Cup qualifiers (club/caps):
Ayeisha McFerran (SV Kampong, Netherlands, 110)
Lizzie Murphy (Loreto, 13)
Lena Tice (Old Alex, 119)
Róisín Upton (Catholic Institute, 86)
Hannah McLoughlin (UCD, 24)
Sarah McAuley (UCD, 6)
Sarah Hawkshaw (Railway Union, 43)
Michelle Carey (UCD, 7)
Katie Mullan (captain, Ballymoney, 203)
Ellen Curran (Pembroke, 24)
Sarah Torrans (Loreto, 31)
Chloe Watkins (Monkstown, 234)
Zara Malseed (Ards, 4)
Naomi Carroll (Catholic Institute, 119)
Niamh Carey (UCD, 0)
Deirdre Duke (Old Alex, 151)
Anna O’Flanagan (Muckross, 217)
Erin Getty (Queen’s, 8)

Travelling reserves
Charlotte Beggs (Ulster Elks, 0)
Jane Kilpatrick (Belfast Harlequins, 0)

Head coach: Sean Dancer
Assistant coaches: Gareth Grundie, David Fitzgerald
Manager: Lisa Jacob
Physical trainer: Claire Brady
Physio: Stephen Brownlow
Video Technician: Mark Kavanagh

FIH Women’s World Cup 2022 – European Qualifier; Pisa, Italy (October 21 to 24, 2021)
Thursday, October 21: Ireland v France (10.30am, Irish time)
Saturday, October 22: Semi-finals / classification matches
Sunday, October 23: final / classification matches

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