Ayeisha McFerran and Deirdre Duke absent for Ireland’s Nations Cup campaign

Lizzy Murphy set to get a run of games in goal during the tournament in Valencia

Ireland will be without two of their most experienced players when they start their Nations Cup campaign against Spain next Sunday, goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran and Deirdre Duke unavailable for the tournament due to work reasons.

“We look forward to having them back with us again early next year,” said coach Sean Dancer after naming an 18-strong squad for the trip to Valencia.

“This provides an opportunity for our squad to grow, with Lizzy Murphy already having strong performances in practice games and the first half of her club season in Germany. I am excited to see her step up to this challenge ahead,” he said.

The eight-team tournament offers the winners a ticket in to the FIH Pro League, with Spain (7th) and India (8th) the only two nations ranked in the world top 10. After playing the hosts, Ireland (13th) will take on Italy (18th) and Korea (12th), needing a top-two finish in their pool to make it in to the semi-finals. The other pool is made of India, Japan (11th), Chile (14th) and South Africa (20th).


Back home, a Leah Clery hat-trick sent holders Catholic Institute on their way to a 4-1 win over Old Alexandra in the Irish Senior Cup quarter-finals. They will be joined in the last four by Monkstown, who pulled off an upset with a 3-2 win over UCD, and Railway Union, who beat Belfast Harelquins 2-0. Avoca and Corinthian meet in the last of the quarter-finals on Monday evening.

Irish squad: E Murphy (Grossflottbeker, Germany), S O’Brien, S Torrans, C Hamill (all Loreto), H McLoughlin, S McAuley, M Carey, N Carey (all UCD), R Upton, N Carroll (both Catholic Institute), K Mullan, S Hawkshaw (both Railway Union), H Micklem, E Tice (both Old Alexandra), E Curran (Pembroke Wanderers), C Beggs (Ulster Elks), C Perdue (UCC), Z Malseed (Ards).

Irish Senior Cup Women – Quarter-finals: UCD 2, Monkstown 3; Belfast Harlequins 0, Railway Union 2 (K Dillon, L Lloyd); Catholic Institute 4 (L Clery 3, L Foley), Old Alexandra 1 (D Duke).

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan is a sports writer with The Irish Times