Matthews hopeful Ireland women can get preparation back on track

HANNAH Matthews is hoping the Ireland Senior Women’s Hockey team will see their preparation for Tokyo 2020 back on the rails following the cancellation of the squad’s trip to South Africa.

The Loreto player had been included in the panel by Head Coach Sean Dancer for the tour which would have seen them play eight games against China, South Africa and Japan while also gaining experience in competing in humid conditions similar to those expected in Tokyo later this summer.

Hannah Matthews Ireland compressor

Hannah Matthews

“This was a key trip and obviously it was massive for our preparation” Matthews told The Echo.

“The quality of these games is hard to come by, but as the days went by and the Coronavirus crises worsened we could see that it was the right decision not to travel.

“We’ll work hard to get a new programme together, but with everything changing so rapidly, that could be very difficult” said the Terenure woman.

Commenting on the decision, Hockey Ireland Performance Director, Adam Grainger, said “After a robust and productive conversation with players and staff today, management have decided to cancel the Senior Women's upcoming trip to Durban.

“While it could be argued that the performance benefits still outweigh the risks of traveling to Durban, the concern expressed by players and staff combined with 'Coronavirus unknowns' made the decision to cancel this travel the best solution.”

It means that club duty could well be the next thing to which Matthews will turn her attention and it all looks positive on that front.

Indeed she and her Loreto team mates currently top the Women’s EY Hockey League table by three points albeit having played one game more than closest rivals Pegasus and Old Alex with UCD just one point further back.

“It’s a really competitive league this season” said Matthews.

“Usually around this point you’ll have two front runners challenging for the title, but there are a few teams really in the running and so it’s great to be at the top in a season when it’s so competitive” she added.

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