Hockey: Ireland aiming to end five-year wait
Published 04/06/2011 | 05:00
Ireland's women will hope to end a five-year wait to win back the Celtic Cup in Largs, Scotland this weekend.
Gene Muller has predominantly used the tournament as a testing ground for emerging talent.
This time round, though, he has almost a full deck to choose from, with English-based Hannah Bowe and Emma Clarke, along with Lizzie Colvin, who spent last season in The Hague with HGC, all available for the first time since August 2010.
Nikki Symmons, Nicci Daly and Niamh Small have been left out due to European club commitments with Loreto.
Nikki Evans' hand injury has not fully healed, but, other than that, it is a strong selection for battles against hosts Scotland (today, 2.0) and Wales (tomorrow, 2.0).
With France pulling out of the competition, Ireland will play Scotland on Monday in a challenge match.
The tournament represents the starting point of a huge summer for Irish hockey with August's European championships the ultimate target.
Olympic qualification is on offer for the top three sides -- the Irish are currently rated fifth in the continent.
Prior to that, Dublin will host the Champion's Challenge later this month.
World champions Argentina were also confirmed earlier this week as visitors to these shores, arriving in August as part of the Euros build-up.
Nowitzki sparks late Mavericks fightback
Dirk Nowitzki sparked Dallas to a stunning fourth-quarter comeback as the Mavericks fought back from 15 points down to beat the Miami Heat 95-93 and even the NBA Finals at one game apiece.
Mavericks All-Star forward Nowitzki, who scored 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, hit a driving lay-up with three seconds left to provide the winning margin.
Miami's Dwyane Wade launched a 28-foot, three-point attempt at the buzzer but it hit the back of the rim, eliciting a collective groan from the 20,000 at American Airlines Arena.