Roisin Upton in action for her club Cork Harlequins in the Irish Senior Ladies Hockey Cup final
LIMERICK woman Roisin Upton is a key member of the Ireland women’s hockey team which will be looking to secure qualification for the 2018 World Cup through the World League semi-finals which begin in Johannesburg this Saturday.
Former Crescent College Comprehensive star Upton has won 15 caps for Ireland to date since making her senior debut last November.
The 23-year-old, who plays club hockey with Cork Harlequins, helped her US college side, the UConn Huskies to two NCAA titles – in 2013 and 2014.
Ireland will open their campaign with a tough fixture against world number 11 Japan on Saturday. The game will be shown live on BT Sport 3 from 10.45am Irish time.
The girls in green will then face Olympic Bronze medalists Germany, and Poland before a three-day break which then see's them round out their pool games against world number two side England.
World League offers the Irish side the chance to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in London, in doing so they would become the first Irish women’s team to play at a World Cup since the 2002 Perth tournament.
Another Limerick hockey player, former Laurel Hill Colaiste forward Rebecca Barry, from Ballybricken, was also a member of the Ireland Womens Senior team which won the World League 2 title in Kuala Lumpar in January to qualify for the World League semi-finals.
However, former Ireland U-18 captain Barry, who received a scholarship from the University of Richmond in Virginia after her Leaving Cert, has been troubled by injury in recent times.
The 16 teams to compete in Johannesburg beginning this weekend will be comprised of England as World Cup hosts, 5 Continental champions and 10 highest placed National Associations in the Semi-Finals of World League (Johannesburg & Belgium) not qualified under the first two criteria.