The Irish Hockey Association has released the schedule of international matches confirmed for the Irish senior women’s squad in their preparation for the 2005 European Nations Championships in Dublin in August.

The schedule includes fixtures against top opposition, including the likes of reigning Olympic champions, Germany, and fellow European Nations Championship competitors Netherlands, England, Scotland, Ukraine and France.

Home fixtures are scheduled to be held in Dublin, combined with two four nation tournaments in France and Germany and the annual Celtic Cup (this year held in Scotland).

“These matches, especially the four-nation tournaments, will prepare the team in technical and tactical areas and bring the necessary international experience,” Ireland women’s senior coach, Riet Kuper, said.

“The matches against Germany and Holland in particular will be a great opportunity to play matches at the highest possible level.”

Ireland captain, Lynsey McVicker, is similarly enthused by the program.

“For Ireland it’s an exciting build up to the Europeans with a great opportunity to play against the world’s top teams, including the Olympic and World Cup champions,” she said.

The full fixture schedule is:

18-19 June: Ireland v England, Dublin
1-3 July: 4 Nation Tournament, Lille, France
3-7 July: Training Camp
8-10 July: 4 Nation Tournament, Bremen, Germany
22-24 July: Celtic Cup, Edinburgh, Scotland
29-30 July: Ireland v Germany, Dublin
5-7 August: Ireland v Belgium, Dublin
14-20 August: European Nations Championship, Dublin