Cherise Mc Caughley, 15, has been selected to the team that according to head coach Vytautas Lukosevicius consists of Irelands finest female ice hockey players that can possibly win a medal at the tough competition.
She will travel to Jelgava, Latvia from Thursday to next Monday where they will take part in the Agrofirma Tervete Ice Hockey Cup, which consists of Ireland All Stars, three Latvian teams – Zemgale, Saga and Laima – whose team is primarily made up of the Latvian Ladies national team – and the Blue Whales from Estonia.
Cherise, who is also a Dundalk Bulls Ladies player, said ‘I felt amazed when I found out I got picked for the team because there was so many good players that my coach could have chose from.”
The youngster also reckons that the team could take home a medal, as they look to follow in the footsteps of the Senior Irish National Team that won gold in Luxembourg. She said ‘Yes, I think we have a strong team and we all work together really well. I think there is a good chance of a medal being brought home and that would be great following Ireland’s success in Luxembourg’.
The skilful defender added ‘We are up against some very good competition and these teams have been playing together for a long time. The best thing for us to do is to keep our heads in the game and play as a team. The tournament is not going to be easy and a lot of hard work is needed but I think we have a good chance of securing a medal’.
The team is made up of ladies from three teams – The Belfast Ice Vixen, the Cubs and the Dundalk Bulls Ladies. Cherise says that the All Stars ‘get along very well’ and ‘its a lot easier for the team to gel’ with the guidance from their coach Vytautas.
Asked what is she looking forward to the most, the once figure skater turned hockey player said ‘I’m looking forward to experience what hockey is like in Latvia and also playing against women who have been playing the sport most of their lives which gives us a bit more confidence on the ice’.
Ice Hockey, which is the fastest team sport on earth, Cherise says the sport is intense and no game is ever the same. ‘It is an extreme sport that is intense and extremely fast but the best thing is that no game is ever the same. Some games you win and others you lose and in this game it is very hard to predict who is going to come out the winners, as any team can win on any given day’.
Concluding, the second year pupil said ‘Hopefully we will bring a medal back to Ireland and promote women’s hockey across Ireland and enjoy the experience. Let’s go All-Stars’.
Speaking briefly ahead of the tournament, Lorna Hoey, another player on the Dundalk Bulls Ladies said ‘I’m really looking forward to the Latvia venture. We have improved so much over the last two years and I think we have a great chance of taking a medal and hopefully we will do Ireland proud’.
Coach Vytautas Lukosevicius said ‘I have chosen what I believe to be a very strong squad and I am confident that we will win a medal. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but we will have to work hard like we always do and I strongly believe that this team is ready to take a medal.’