Locals called up to Irish senior hockey squad

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IMPRESSIVE performances at the Euro Hockey Junior championships in Portugal have earned Ballymoney hockey player, Sammy-Jo Greer, (pictured) a call up to the Ireland senior squad.

And it’s a double celebration for Ballymoney as Katie Mullan has also been provisionally named in the 28-player panel by Interim National coach, Denis Pritchard.

Sammy Jo and Katie join four others from the successful Irish side which swept the boards at the Portugese under-21 tournament winning most of their matches by a large margin.

They will take their places alongside a number of Ireland ‘A’ players who competed against England and showed well in the final stages of the domestic season.

Eight scheduled warm up games have now been pencilled in and this could hinder Sammy Jo and Katie’s appearances for their club.

However, for Sammy Jo and Katie it is a major honour and a further step on the road to future caps.

It is also a fillip for Ballymoney who are now preparing for the new season with renewed confidence.

Matches are scheduled to start in mid-September and coach Liz Lamont feels the team will do better this year particularly with the return of Lauren Barr and Bridge Cleland.

Twenty-year-old Sammy-Jo wasn’t available last year because of University commitments in England, but will be now available for consideration given that she is continuing her education in Northern Ireland.

She will, however, face stiff competition from Angie Platt, the current goalkeeper, whose form has been impressive.

Ballymoney’s high standing in Ulster and Irish hockey has always been good, but for the forthcoming season it could well be enhanced.