Saturday 25 May 2019

Irish women get home comforts in bid for Olympic qualification

Ireland call: Luke Madeley. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Ireland call: Luke Madeley. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Stephen Findlater

The Irish women's hockey team are looking forward to home comforts next summer following confirmation Ireland will host the next phase of the Olympic qualifying process in June.

It is the perfect stage on which to build on their new fan base in the wake of the World Cup silver medal.

The exact venue is still to be set in stone with a current impasse between UCD and Hockey Ireland over the redevelopment of Belfield which would otherwise be the obvious choice.

Alternative venues that could host the eight-team, nine-day long event would be Lisnagarvey, Banbridge, Stormont or the Mardyke but all would require temporary stands and other infrastructure put in place.

The eighth-ranked Green Army will be top seeds for the competition ahead of Korea (10th) and Scotland (18th) the main contenders.

The top two from this event will advance to the final Olympic play-off head-to-heads.

Elsewhere, Alexander Cox has named a 20-player Irish men's squad for next month's World Cup in India who will all travel to the event.

It includes 10 Olympians from Rio while Luke Madeley is the newest face. He is the only member of the panel yet to have played in a ranking level tournament before but he has been in superb form at club level for Three Rock Rovers.

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