Saturday, June 15, 2024

Ireland hockey women turn heat up on Tokyo Olympics prep

Ireland midfielder Chloe Watkins says that the recent friendly series win over Great Britain was the perfect temperature check ahead of the Green Army’s Tokyo Olympics campaign.

Watkins played a leading hand in Ireland’s three-match series victory over GB in Belfast last month, while heat chamber training has also given Ireland the best preparation possible ahead of their first Olympic Games.

Watkins said: “It was a big scalp for us, we had never beaten them before but at the same time we are well aware it was a friendly series and a lot of months out from Japan.

“We are not looking to peak now but it was a temperature check that things are working well in training, going in the right direction and we are gelling in matches.”

“I was apprehensive going into the GB series. I didn’t know where we would stand and often a March series is a tough one because you come off the back of a long training period and there is fatigue.

“You are not necessarily peaking for a tournament so sometimes it can go wrong. It was great to get good results, good performances most importantly and feeling like we controlled things in a way we hadn’t done before against them. We can take that confidence into the next few months.”

Ireland’s series was broadcast widely and helped give the team a return to the publicity which saw them become front page news after reaching the 2018 World Cup final.

Speaking in her role as an FBD ambassador, one of Team Ireland’s sponsors, she added: “Publicity is not too much at the front of our minds but we had a lot of momentum from the qualifiers coming into the Olympic run-in in 2020

“Confidence, interest, excitement was high – all that stuff so getting some of that momentum and generating interest and excitement again in the team is always a good thing. Getting confidence up in the squad in good performances will always help.”

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