Ireland coach Sean Dancer sounds confident note ahead of tough EuroHockey Championship campaign

Women’s team will face England, Scotland and Germany in their pool games in Mönchengladbach

The Irish women’s hockey team have a formidable enough opening to their EuroHockey Championship campaign in Mönchengladbach on Friday (4.0 Irish time) with England their opponents in their first pool game.

After playing Scotland on Sunday, the challenge won’t get any easier when they take on Germany, ranked at four in the world, on Tuesday.

A top two finish in the pool is required to make the semi-finals, so Ireland (13th in the world rankings) would need an upset against either England (sixth) or the Germans if they were to progress.

The more realistic aim, though, is to finish in the tournament’s top six, thereby guaranteeing they remain in the top tier of the European Championships, as well as sealing a spot in next January’s Olympic Qualification groups in Spain or China.


Coach Sean Dancer is, though, setting his sights high. “As a group we have made fantastic improvements over the past 12 months on and off the field and we have high ambitions, knowing the tough challenge of a very competitive European Championship.

“This year’s Europeans also double as the first step of the Olympic qualification process, adding extra pressure on all those involved. We will need to stay focused on ourselves and play our attacking style of play.”

Ireland captain Katie Mullan said: “Five of the top 10 nations in the world rankings are taking part in the tournament so it will be a real challenge for us, but we feel we are ready to face it.”

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan is a sports writer with The Irish Times