Saturday 19 January 2019

Shaw set to blood some new faces in Chile series

Megan Frazer. Photo: Craig Mercer/Sportsfile
Megan Frazer. Photo: Craig Mercer/Sportsfile

Stephen Findlater

Ireland's women play their first official Test matches since their World Cup heroics when they take on Chile four times, starting on tomorrow evening in Santiago.

Sixteen of the squad of 26 is made up of London's silver-medal winners but it is likely that coach Graham Shaw will hand out debuts to Ulster twins Bethany and Serena Barr, Gemma Frazer, Sarah Hawkshaw and teenager Amy Elliott over the course of the series.

Megan Frazer, though, will sit out these games having broken a bone in her hand while in Chile and has already undergone surgery. She will be out for 4-6 weeks.

The South American side - ranked 16th in the world - provide a well-matched challenge with the Irish winning the last five meetings, but all by a single goal.

Ireland have all been in situ for a week, taking in numerous double sessions to lay the base for a busy year ahead with Olympic qualification the single target.

Qualifying

It starts off with the Hockey Series Finals in June in Dublin - hopefully at Belfield - where they will be top seeds to take one of the two guaranteed tickets to the final Olympic qualifying events.

They take on the year with extra fire in the belly with Thai food company Saba coming on board as the Green Army's official nutrition partner this week.

On home turf, the Jacqui Potter Cup continues apace for Leinster women's clubs with Railway Union reaching the quarter-final on Monday, with four second-half goals earning a 4-0 win over Three Rock Rovers.

UCD face a potentially tricky tie against Old Alex's second string.

They line out with Bethany Barr and Lena Tice on senior Irish duty while seven more players are with the Irish U-21 side in Alicante.

Irish Independent

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