HOCKEY star Gemma Frazer is looking forward to getting down to the knitty gritty of training with the Ireland ladies team after the Omagh teaching student was added to the national squad for the first time.
Ireland head to the States and Canada next month as they continue their warm-up for the World League 3 qualifying tournament in a bid to secure a place at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Last week coach Darren Smith selected a touring squad of 20 that includes Drumquin woman Shirley McCay and named Frazer among five additions to the national set-up for 2015. Frazer, a teaching student at Omagh Academy, is delighted to get the call and is looking forward to embracing the challenge having got her foot in the door.
“ This is an amazing opportunity for me, it was a great surprise and I am really excited to get down and train with the best hockey players in Ireland,” she said.
“All the hard work and commitment this season with the Ulster Elks and the Ulster U21 squad has paid off and I can’t thank my coaches from Jordanstown and Ulster enough for all their support and development throughout the year.
“Obviously the success of the Ulster Elks winning the Irish Senior Cup Final has worked in my favour. It’s a great boost.”
Ireland have had a settled squad for the past two years as Smith’s resurgent charges continue their bid to qualify for Rio.
That’s going to make it even more difficult for Gemma to make her mark however she’s relishing the challenge.
“There’ll be a lot of pressure now on me to play to my potential. It’ll be good to get down and see what it’s like to train with the squad. To have my name on the list is really good and the hard work starts now.
“It’ll mean a lot more travelling but I did it at underage level so I know what to expect. This, of course, will be a lot higher level and it’ll be tougher.”