“We have trained very hard for this tournament. The players and staff have been fantastic especially during the last 3 months of intensive training. The players are all healthy and fit going into the tournament.” Commented Coach Gene Muller earlier this morning.
Ireland (15th) will face some of the world’s best in their pool including Germany (3rd), Spain (7th) and Scotland (22nd) with whom they have enjoyed a close rivalry with over the years. The two Celtic Nations have competed against each other 128 times; Ireland has secured 48 wins, 35 draws and endured 45 losses to the Scottish which will mean their second match of the tournament on Sunday 23 will no doubt be a close affair.
Coach Muller is very much aware of the challenge that lies ahead but is clear about Ireland’s objectives “The first aim is to retain A division status in Europe.”
With all the months of training, practice matches and recent internationals Muller has the right to show confidence in his side “We are in a very tough pool with Germany, Spain, and Scotland and we will be tested in all of these matches. I am confident that if we perform well, we will stay in the A division. If we are playing well, we can challenge for World Cup qualification by making the semi finals of the Europeans.”
Pool A offers no easier competition with The Netherlands (1st), England (8th), Azerbaijan (13th) and Russia (23rd) all vying for semi final spots which will guarantee an automatic qualification to the World Cup as a top four finisher.
Ireland’s campaign starts this Saturday against Germany, followed by Scotland on Sunday before they take on Spain in their final pool game on Tuesday (25). The classification and finals will take place on the 27 and 29 August.
Team Ireland: Lauren Barr, Emma Clarke, Bridget Cleland, Lizzie Colvin, Eimear Cregan, Roisin Flinn, Megan Frazer, Mary Goode, Emma Gray, Michelle Harvey, Lisa Jacob, Shirley McCay, Cathy McKean, Cliodhna Sargent, Alex Speers, Emma Smyth, Emma Stewart, Nikki Symmons.