A qualified lawyer, Nikki decided to take a year away from her professional career to go and play abroad in the German Hockey League. Having narrowly missed out on Olympic qualification for Rio and with a World Cup on the horizon, she took time away from her professional career to focus her attention solely on hockey. She comes into the World Cup off the back of a memorable season with German side UHC Hamburg, helping them to silver medals in the National Championship as well as the European Club Cup. Nikki is set to return for a second season with UHC as well as a position with international law firm, CMS. She is looking forward to developing her hockey career as well as progressing her professional career.
An infectiously high-spirited character, she is one of the central parts of the Irish forward line, leading the press through her athleticism and unrelenting work rate. Nikki has enjoyed resounding success in the domestic game, winning all major competitions. Internationally, career highlights include winning silver at the Champions Challenge I in 2014 and scoring a stunning hat-trick against South Africa in the opening game at the 2016 Olympic qualifying tournament in Valencia.
Debut: August 2012 v Wales
International goals: 30
Current club: UCD
Previous club: Ballymoney
Katie Mullan took over the captaincy in the wake of Megan Frazer’s injury travails and provides a strong presence in either the forward or midfield lines where she has been used at different intervals. She has joked that she has found herself in “every position except goalkeeper” with her aggression making her an adaptable force of nature. After a prolific underage career, scoring plenty of goals for Ballymoney and at the 2010 Youth Olympics, she broke into the Irish team in August 2012. She was fast-tracked into the side for a first tournament in the Champions Challenge I, winning a bronze and scoring a last gasp equaliser against Scotland. A silver two years later at the Challenge I in Glasgow followed in 2014 as well as a silver at the
EuroHockey Junior Championships in Vienna that same year. The devastation of missing the 2016 Olympic Games was soon replaced by the super World Cup qualifying campaign with Mullan leading out the team: “I love having the opportunity to walk the team out before an international game. For me the best captains have always been those who lead by example on the pitch, Megan is a prime example of that. That’s the ethos I’m trying to go with.” In her youth, she split her hockey time with camogie at the Eoghan Rua club in Coleraine, something she credits for her hand-eye coordination before coming under the wing of former Irish internationals Bridget Cleland and Lynsey McVicker at Dalriada and Ballymoney. A move to UCD for a sports scholarship allowed her to step up further and she now divides her time between playing and her masters in biomedical engineering.
Debut: July 2010 v Scotland
International goals: 63
Current club: Pinoke
Previous club: Hermes, UCD, Hermes-Monkstown, HC Bloemendaal
School: Muckross Park, Donnybrook
Anna O’Flanagan is quickly closing in on the national goalscoring record of 65 – held by Lynsey McVicker – and will hope she can hit that mark during the World Cup. Seldom has there been a more predatory Irish striker, her exploits all the more remarkable given she is not a direct corner shooter. Indeed, she scored 12 times in World League Round 2, the first phase of World Cup qualification, in January 2017 to pass the 50-mark and she has shown little sign of slowing down, going at more than a goal every three games. It has been a career already marked by a serious medal haul with Champions Challenge I bronze in 2012 and silver in 2014. She won the old All-Ireland Championships with Hermes when still a schoolgirl in Muckross Park before winning a national treble with UCD in 2014. She returned to Hermes-Monkstown to add an EY Hockey League and Champions Trophy in 2016. This year, she took a break from her legal pursuits to focus on hockey in the World Cup lead-up, joining HC Bloemendaal in the Netherlands. There, she won the Gold Cup.
Debut: June 2013 v Scotland
International goals: 13
Current club: UCD
Previous club: Three Rock Ladies, Hermes, Northeastern Huskies
School: Alexandra College
The rangy forward has been around the squad for the most part since late 2014, playing a pivotal role in the 2015 EuroHockey Championships II success in Prague, winning gold and promotion back to the continental top tier. Shoulder surgery kept her out of World League Round 2 in 2017 but she returned to full form quickly on the club front with UCD, leading to her playing a full role in the World League Semi-Final where World Cup qualification was assured. She also played in the European Championships in Amsterdam in 2017.
Her hockey beginnings were at Three Rock Ladies before moving to Hermes HC and then taking up on a year with Northeastern Huskies in Boston. Since coming back to Ireland, she won everything in the domestic game in Ireland with UCD Ladies Hockey Club, captaining their EY Hockey League, Champions Trophy and Irish Senior Cup wins in the last two seasons. She also represented the Irish soccer team at u15 and u17 level and played Gaelic football for the Dublin underage teams for a number of years before concentrating on hockey.