Cork Harlequins’ Yvonne O’Byrne was one of a couple of surprise omissions from the Irish women’s squad named for the FIH Series Finals which start in Banbridge next week.
The 126-time international has been part of each major ranking tournament with the Green Army since 2015, culminating in last summer’s World Cup silver medal.
Along with striker Nikki Evans – who was named on the reserve list – she was one of just a few from London who did not make it this time with reserve goalkeeper Grace O’Flanagan having stepped back.
It means tournament debuts for Sarah Hawkshaw, Bethany Barr and goalkeeper Emma Buckley in the panel named by Gareth Grundie who is the interim coach for this event before Sean Dancer takes over on a full-time basis.
Catholic Institute’s Roisin Upton is the only outfielder from Munster to make the cut. O’Byrne, meanwhile, posted on Twitter that “perspective is everything” following a meeting with a young Ashton hockey club member who had relapsed with leukaemia whom she presented with a signed Irish jersey on Thursday.
What a pleasure it was for me to meet this incredible young lady today. Anna is a talented hockey player from @AshtonHockey who last year relapsed with Leukaemia. Anna's positivity is infectious, her drive & determination, inspirational. Perspective is everything @Munster_Hockey pic.twitter.com/2GA1SpJlsk— Yvonne O' Byrne (@yvonne_obyrne) May 30, 2019
In terms of injuries, the only player from the wider panel to miss out was Sarah Torrans while Limerick-based Sinead Loughran withdrew due to work and study reasons.
Ireland start their campaign next Saturday, June 8 against Malaysia before facing the Czech Republic a day later. They finish off with a tie against the lowest ranked side Singapore. Top spot in the group goes straight through to the semi-finals while second and third go into the quarters.
If Ireland reach the final, they go through directly to October’s Olympic qualifiers and boost their chances of a home draw. Miss out and they will have to play a waiting game to see if their world ranking is good enough to be involved in those qualifiers.
A McFerran (GK, University of Louisville), E Buckley (Racing Club de Bruxelles), R Upton (Catholic Institute), K Mullan (Club an der Alster), S McCay (Pegasus), M Frazer (Mannheimer HC), L Tice (UCD), G Pinder (Pembroke), B Barr (UCD), C Watkins (Monkstown), L Colvin (Belfast Harlequins), N Daly (Loreto), H Matthews (Loreto), S Hawkshaw (Railway Union), A O’Flanagan (Pinoke), Z Wilson (Belfast Harlequins), D Duke (Dusseldorfer HC), A Meeke (Loreto)
C Brown (East Grinstead), Nikki Evans (UHC Hamburg)