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02/06/2014 14:35
Ireland's roster reduced to 12 players and aiming to make history this weekend
2015 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Women

Dublin, Ireland, June 2, 2014.  The Irish women’s volleyball panel of 15 players has been reduced to 12 for this weekend's Pool A qualifications at Bells Sports Centre in Perth, Scotland, for the Small Countries Division of the 2015 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Women.  History has not favored Ireland in past qualification rounds.  The team has not picked up any wins at the last time of trying in 2012 in Malta, preceded by a solitary and dramatic 3-2 victory against Iceland in the qualifiers back in 2010.

Realistically, a top-two slot for qualifying for the Final Round may be far-fetched for the Irish. As well as gaining valuable experience, the minimum expectation however for Ireland is to beat Northern Ireland, while the ultimate goal of course is to add to that, with a win against Malta in the last match the next likeliest chance, potentially meriting a third place finish, contemplates an official press release of the Volleyball Association of Ireland.

The team suffered a frustrating straight-set loss to the Truman State University Bulldogs from USA in its most recent challenge match, so it is eager to get back to the winning ways of earlier in the year when it beat Northern Ireland twice.

Coincidentally, it is Northern Ireland that provides the opposition for Ireland in its opening qualifier this Friday at 16:00 local time.  Any win from this would serve as a relieving and morale-boosting springboard for a daunting following day when the Irish face defending champion Cyprus at 13:00, followed later that evening by a match-up with host Scotland at 19:00 in front of what will surely be a large home crowd.  The Girls-in-Green then play their last match on Sunday at 13:00 against Malta, who will be setting its targets on a top-two finish, having qualified for last year's finals.  By then however, Malta may potentially have their own qualification hopes dashed also by Scotland and Cyprus, possibly allowing Ireland the opportunity to catch them off-guard and grab a second qualifier win, which they have not done since January 2004 in DCU, helping them on that occasion to their place in the 2005 finals - Ireland's only appearance in a European Championship Final Round to date.

Head coach Wim Roosenburg from the Netherlands and assistant Adam Wong from Canada retained the following 12 players:

Aebhin Nugent (UCD)
Aisling Clancy (Naas Cobras)
Clodagh Doherty (DVC)
Edel Nolan (Ballymun Patriots) - captain
Elaine McGeary (non-league)
Heather Clancy (Naas Cobras)
Jenny King (Tallaght Rockets)
Leanne Dignam (DVC)
Martha Muldowney (NUIG Alliance)
Regina Halpin (Trinity College)
Sharon Lee (Naas Cobras) - vice captain
Victoria Dowling (Tallaght Rockets)

Click here for more info on the Small Countries Division of the 2015 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Women.

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