HOCKEY: Ireland crowned European Champions

Ireland celebrate winning EuroLeague II Championship
Ireland celebrate winning EuroLeague II Championship

Ireland has been crowned Eurohockey Championships II winners after a dominant 5-0 victory over Czech Republic! Ireland controlled the game from start to finish in a confident performance that further solidified their promotion to the top division in European hockey.

Katie Mullan was first on the score sheet as she fired the ball home from close range in the 8th minute. The game was filled with a plethora of chances for Ireland but the second goal didn’t come until the 32nd minute when Megan Frazer expertly converted a penalty stroke. The third goal came courtesy of a darting run by Watkins and a precision perfect pass to the waiting Brown.

Carroll, the second highest goal scorer in the tournament with 5 to her name, made it 4-0 in the 43rd minute as she sidestepped 2 defenders and calmly slotted the ball under the already-committed goalkeeper. The chances didn’t ease with Mullan, Daly, Pinder and Brown all shooting wide in the second half. Beatty created the final goal with a shot that deflected into the goal off a Czech defender.

The Green Army were crowned deserved champions and Megan Frazer, the squad’s talented captain, earned the prize of tournament MVP.

Today also marked a significant achievement for Shirley McCay who, in earning her 209th cap, became the most capped woman in Irish hockey history. The ever-humble McCay said “To become the most capped female Irish player is an achievement I am extremely proud of. Female athletes are gaining more recognition than ever before and I am delighted to be able to create history today.

Playing for Ireland has always been a gratifying and humbling experience for me and cap 209 was no different. I’m thrilled we could mark it with a win! We have shown immense character and mental resilience to do what we came to achieve and regain our A division status”.

Despite the huge personal achievement for McCay she was quick to pay gratitude to those around her “I am lucky to be surrounded by a group of incredibly talented players and a backroom staff to match, so a huge thank you must go to them for making these opportunities a reality”.

Speaking about the achievement of his most capped player, coach Graham Shaw said “To play 209 times and become the highest capped female player for your country is a testament to her hard work, commitment and dedication. Shirley is a great team player and a fantastic person so we are thrilled for her as she thoroughly deserves this honour”.

Team: McFerran, Brown, Mullan, McCay, Frazer (C), Carroll, Pinder, Watkins, Daly, Matthews, Sargent

Subs: Davis, O’Byrne, Lloyd, Duke, McDonald, Meeke, Beatty.