Thursday 18 January 2018

Hockey U-18 Girls: Blues in green

Lena Tice (navy) in action for her school, St Gerard's
Lena Tice (navy) in action for her school, St Gerard's
Ireland’s Leinster contingent (above, l-r) of Emma Canning, Amber Curran, Lena Tice, Clodagh Cassin, Sally Campbell, Ava Beatty and Sarah O’Loughlin who took part in the tour of Scotland

Six Leinster players were to the fore as the Irish Under-18 girls ran up two wins over Scotland and another over Wales over Easter holidays as part of their preparations for the European championships in July in Italy.

Cup winners St Gerard’s provided Lena Tice and Sarah O’Loughlin to the panel along with High School’s Emma Canning – moving up from Under-16 level – Alexandra College’s Ava Beatty, Loreto Foxrock’s Ellen Curran and St Andrew’s Sally Campbell.

They were comprehensive winners in all three, starting with a 6-1 win over the Welsh with Sullivan Upper’s Zara Malseed banging home a hat-trick. Campbell returned from an injury that saw her ruled out of St Andrew’s cup title defence to net, too.

O’Loughlin and Beatty helped Ireland cruise to a 5-1 win over Scotland in the next tie with Ulster starlet Rhianna Campbell – who helped her club Pegasus to Irish Hockey League glory last Sunday – netted twice.

And the three-game tour was completed with a 4-0 victory as Zoe Wilson grabbing a brace with Campbell getting her second of the week.

It was a confident step forward for the side who will play in the second tier of European competition this summer following relegation from the elite eight two years ago.

Indeed, Scotland are part of the top tier and the two comprehensive victories for Graeme Francey’s side shows that they will be one of the favourites to move back up.

Their initial group sees them face Poland, Lithuania and the Czech Republic with Wales, Ukraine, Austria and Italy on the other side of the draw.

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