Ulster players Shirley McCay and Lizzie Colvin to play on with Ireland

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I'd regret not pursuing my Olympic dream - McCay

Ulster's Shirley McCay and Lizzie Colvin have decided to be part of the Ireland women's hockey squad which will prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Ireland will host the first phase of the Olympic qualifiers in June.

Both players had taken time away from the international scene after the World Cup to consider their futures.

The pair have been named in a 26-strong squad for a training camp in Spain next month, with games against the hosts and India scheduled as part of the tour.

Ireland defeated both Spain and India in shoot-outs on their way to the World Cup Final last August.

The Irish team will face India on Friday 1 February and Sunday 3 February, before matches against Spain on 4, 6 and 7 February.

"It is important to spend time training together as a group and get international matches under our belt early in the year, so we are pleased to be going to Spain in the coming weeks to face tough opposition in both the hosts Spain and India," said Ireland coach Graham Shaw.

"All three teams know each other well so we're expecting five extremely competitive matches."

Pegasus player McCay, 30, from Drumquin, is Ireland's most capped sportswomen with the World Cup Final her 273rd appearance for her country.

McCay had indicated she would consider retirement prior to Ireland winning silver medals at the World Cup in London.

This will be her fourth Olympic campaign, having suffered disappointment in the previous three, including in 2015 when a shoot-out loss to China in the World League semi-finals cost Ireland a place in the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Lizzie Colvin
Colvin was part of the Ireland squad which narrowly missed out on Rio 2016

Armagh woman Colvin, 29, who plays for Belfast Harlequins, has 161 caps to her name and was also part of that squad that narrowly missed out on Rio 2016.

McCay and Colvin join 12 of their World Cup team-mates in the squad for Spain, but goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran and Megan Frazer are not included.

McFerran has returned to the University of Louisville while Frazer is recovering from a broken hand suffered on the recent trip to Chile.

Other Ulster players in the squad are sisters Bethany and Serena Barr, Leah Maguire and former Ards player Chloe Brown - who now plays for East Grinstead in England.

As well as the FIH Series finals and Olympic qualifiers in June, Ireland will also face Great Britain, Canada and Belgium in series during 2019, as well as the Eurohockey Championships in Antwerp in August.

Ireland squad to face India and Spain

Liz Murphy (Loreto), Emma Buckley (Racing), Bethany Barr (UCD), Hannah Matthews (Loreto), Lena Tice (UCD), Serena Barr (UCD), Hannah McLoughlin (UCD), Chloe Brown (East Grinsted), Katie Mullan (Club an der Alster), Ali Meeke (Loreto), Roisin Upton (Catholic Institute), Ellen Curran (UCD), Nikki Evans (UHC), Anna O'Flanagan (Pinoke), Sarah Torrans (Loreto), Deirdre Duke (UCD), Sarah Hawkshaw (Railway Union), Aisling Naughton (Pembroke), Lizzie Colvin (Belfast Harlequins), Emily Beatty (Pembroke), Yvonne O'Byrne (Cork Harlequins), Sinead Loughran (Pembroke), Leah McGuire (UCD), Shirley McCay (Pegasus), Nicci Daly (Loreto), Zoe Wilson (Belfast Harlequins).

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