Saturday, May 25, 2024

Ireland women’s hockey trio who led Green Army to World Cup final retire

Ireland’s Deirdre Duke, Anna O’Flanagan and Chloe Watkins have announced their retirements from international hockey.

The trio were part of the 2018 Hockey World Cup squad who won silver after a breathtaking run to the final.

Duke made her International debut in June 2013 against Scotland and went on to a play a total of 173 times for Ireland. She began her hockey career with Three Rock Rovers and also played senior hockey with Hermes while still in school.  

She won the All-Ireland Club Championship with Hermes in 2008 in a team featuring Watkins and O’Flanagan. 

She was part of the 2021 Olympics squad, where Ireland finished 10th, and also played at the 2022 Women’s World Cup

O’Flanagan made her international debut in July 2010 against Scotland and went on to play a total of 220 times for Ireland. Her first international goal arrived in April 2011 against France, the first of 89 International goals. She is the all-time record goal-scorer for the Ireland women’s team.

Taking a break from her legal career to prepare for the 2018 Women’s World Cup in her first year she was coached by former world player of the year Teun De Nooijer, culminating in a Gold Cup win with HC Bloemendaal. She spent her second season in the Hoofdklasse with Pinoké.

Watkins played a total of 242 times for Ireland after her 2010 debut.

Hailing from a famous hockey family, her father Gordon and brother Gareth also played for Ireland. 

During the 2018 World Cup silver medal run, Watkins scored twice in the shoot-outs. In the quarter-final against India she scored the winning effort to send Ireland through to the semi-final. She also scored in the semi-final against Spain. In the final against the Netherlands she made her 200th senior international appearance for Ireland. 

And her prowess in the shoot-out continued to the Olympic qualifiers in 2019 when she coolly slotted her effort on the backhand to keep the contest alive against Canada, leading to that famous “Watkins Wink” directed at goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran. 

Watkins revealed in the summer of 2020 that she had undergone surgery after she experienced heart palpitations at a training camp in South Africa. She said she was lucky to have caught it in time with the elective surgery likely to have been put on hold had it been during lockdown time. She recovered in time to be a member of the Tokyo Olympic squad.

Total Hockey

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