Saturday, February 24, 2024

Chloe Watkins returns to Irish hockey team for Olympic qualifying showdown

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The return of experienced Chloe Watkins has boosted Ireland’s Olympic hockey hopes ahead of next month’s qualifying showdown.

Watkins, 31, won the last of his 237 senior caps in October 2021, but recently rejoined Sean Dancer’s squad and is looking to punch his ticket to Paris.

The World Cup silver medalist was selected on Friday as part of the last 18 squad for the final qualifying tournament, which begins on January 13 in Valencia, Spain.

Watkins will be joined by Bethany Harper, who has returned from an anterior cruciate ligament injury, bringing the total number of players remaining from Ireland’s last successful Olympic campaign to nine.

Ireland will face Belgium, Ukraine and South Korea in the pool stages, knowing they will need to finish in the top three in the eight-team tournament to qualify.

Watkins and Harper will add “valuable experience,” Dancer said.

“As a Group, we have prepared differently from September to December, seeking to take advantage of growth opportunities and deliver tangible benefits to individuals. Not only did it make a difference, but it also helped challenge the group in different ways.

“There has been increased competition for places, but this is a result of the progress of the group and the determination of the individuals to succeed.”

He added: “We have made every effort and now we are ready to play.”

Ireland Women’s Hockey National Team

  • elizabeth murphy
  • Aisha McFerran
  • Elena Neal
  • roisin upton
  • sarah mcquarley
  • Ellen Curran
  • Bethany Harper
  • hannah mcloughlin
  • katie mckee
  • sarah hawkshaw
  • chloe watkins
  • charlotte beggs
  • Michelle Carey
  • Kathryn Mullan
  • Deirdre Duke
  • naomi carroll
  • Niamh Carey

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