SHIRLEY McCay, who remains the most capped Irish athlete after competing in last week’s European Hockey Championships in Amsterdam, has said she will likely call it a day if Ireland, as expected, play in next year’s World Cup.
The World Cup takes place in London next summer and McCay, who won her 250th cap in the 3-1 win over the Czech Republic, and Ireland are in pole position to qualify.
If they do then the Drumquin woman says she will probably call time on an illustrious international playing career spanning some 12 years.
“The World Cup is next year and fingers crossed we qualify. That will probably be my last jaunt. I’ll be 30 then and it would be a great time to hang up the boots!” she said.
“It’s in London, it’ll be a really good tournament and we definitely want to be there. We should qualify. It will take a major shock in the other continental championships to push us out of our spot.
“We are depending on others but at the same time it’ll be a major shock if we are denied our place.”
The European Championships proved something of a mixed bag for Graham Shaw’s team but crucially they maintained their Division A status which is key to their continued progression and development.
Defeating the Czechs was the high point but it was their opponent’s victory over Scotland on the final day which ensured they kept their place amongst the elite.
Reflecting on her 250th appearance McCay added, “It’s hard to think that it’s been ten and half years. It’s seems like yesterday when I played my first game, yet part of me feels I have been there for so long.
“When I set out I never imagined I play 250 times for Ireland, not in a million years.
“I wouldn’t have managed it if wasn’t for the team around me. I’m so grateful for everyone around me; all my family and friends, and all the support I’ve got throughout the years. Obviously, it’s a very special occasion and I’m very proud to win my 250th cap.”
FULL STORY IN THIS WEEK’S ULSTER HERALD
Posted: 8:00 pm September 1, 2017