By: Alan Good On: March 23, 2010 In: International Comments: 13

Audrey O’Flynn will face up to the biggest test of her fledgling international career next month after she was yesterday named in Gene Muller’s 18-strong Ireland squad for the World Cup Qualifiers in Chile.

The five-times capped UCC captain is the squad’s main bolter, and displaces 80-cap veteran Emma Stewart of Armagh, in what was likely to have been the primary marginal call for Muller. Nicci Daly and Rachel Mulligan are the others to lose out.

UCC’s Audrey O’Flynn: drag-flicking abilities may have helped her win marginal call for inclusion in Ireland squad. Picture: Adrian Boehm

O’Flynn’s drag-flicking prowess probably made Muller’s decision somewhat easier; she rifled in three goals in two games in practice matches against Germany U21 last weekend.

Muller has reshuffled his defence ahead of the Santiago test, with Loreto midfielder Nikki Symmons now occupying the sweeper role, while O’Flynn has been moved from central defence to a full-back berth.

The composition of the rest of the panel for the tournament, which takes place from April 24 – May 2, is as expected.

Catholic Institute’s Eimear Cregan will skipper the team from the front, with Ballymoney defender Bridget Cleland her deputy.

Ireland’s form has been somewhat iffy this year, and the presence of world number five Australia in their pool means they must pull off a significant shock to qualify for the August showpiece in Argentina.

With just one team to advance from the six-strong pool – which also includes Chile, Ukraine, Malaysia and Scotland – the girls in green will attempt to play to their number two seeding for a one-off shot in the final, likely to be against the Hockeyroos.

Muller said: “Our main aim will be performing to our potential. Our preparation has been thorough and we have no immediate injury scares, which bodes well for the team.

“There are no easy points given the evenly-matched nature of the teams, so mental toughness will be paramount to progress. Australia are the obvious stand-out team having recent lost in the Champions Trophy final.”

IRELAND women’s squad for World Cup qualifier, Santiago, Chile (April 24-May 2): M Goode (GK, Bray), L Healy (GK, Loreto); B Cleland (Ballymoney, vice-capt), L Colvin (Loreto), E Cregan (Catholic Institute, capt), R Flinn (Old Alex), M Frazer (University of Mayland, USA), M Harvey (Pegasus), L Jacob (UCD), S McCay (Dragons, Belgium), A O’Flynn (UCC), J O’Halloran (UCC), C Sargent (Cork Harlequins), N Small (Loreto), E Smyth (Railway Union), A Speers (Dragons, Belgium), N Symmons (Loreto).

Qualifier pool (world ranking in brackets): Australia (5th), Ireland (15th), Chile (16th), Ukraine (21st), Malaysia (22nd), Scotland (23rd).

13 Comments:

    • Questions
    • March 24, 2010

    What does performing to our potential mean? Does that mean Meuller wants to finish 2nd in the group in line with their world ranking? Due to our small population and nature, Irish teams are all about underdog performances, I dont think gene has got that aspect of our countrys culture as of yet.

    Also he changes his team position wise too much, what about a bit of consistency. So Niki Symmons is now a defender, dont believe she has ever played their at club or Irish level before this season!!! Shirley McCay was his defender of choice last year, Louisa Moore the year before.

    Does this fella really know what he is doing? Serious questions need to be asked?

    • Jean Casey ASHTON HC
    • March 24, 2010

    Congrats Audrey on being selected for World Cup Qualifiers. Really well deserved, delighted for you. Best of luck with the tournament and to also to Cliodhna Julia and Eimear, great to see Munster been represented so well.

    Jean

    • Phil
    • March 24, 2010

    Congratulations to Audrey and best of luck to the girls in Chile.

    • :)
    • March 24, 2010

    Congrats Aubrie….
    Your unreal!!

    • Amy
    • March 24, 2010

    Congratulations to all selected. Good luck with the tournment 🙂
    Amy

    • Ali
    • March 24, 2010

    Aubs, you’re unreal!!!!!

    • Albert
    • March 24, 2010

    Super well done Audrey!

    • Kay
    • March 24, 2010

    Well done Audrey!! Super work!! Best of luck to the rest of the Munster girls as well!!

    • OB
    • March 24, 2010

    Well done Auds!!! Delighted for you!
    And of course Cli, Juls + Cregs!!
    Brill to have 4there from Munster
    although would love to see few more
    that have missed out!!!!

    • GD
    • March 24, 2010

    How unreal is it having 3 former MMC players on the squad?! whoop 😀

    • Kym Daly (Catholic Institute)
    • March 25, 2010

    Well done to Cregs, Aud, Julia and Cli for making squad.

    The very best of luck to you and all the Irish squad members in the WCQ.

    Kym 🙂

    • DAVE HERBERT
    • March 26, 2010

    well done audrey, you are the best in the world at what you do!

    • PAT DAWSON
    • March 26, 2010

    WELl DONE GIRLS YOU ALL DESERVE IT, ENJOY IT FIRST AND GET US TO THE WC AND LONDON 2012. THEN AND ONLY THEN WILL IRISH HOCKEY BE ON THE MAP. GOOD LUCK

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