McFerran’s delight at first Ireland cap

Larne Grammar pupil Ayeisha McFerran proudly shows off her Ireland shirt. INLT 04-904-CON
Larne Grammar pupil Ayeisha McFerran proudly shows off her Ireland shirt. INLT 04-904-CON

Larne Grammar School pupil Ayeisha McFerran has spoken of her delight at winning her first senior international cap for the Irish Ladies’ hockey team.

The talented goalkeeper made her debut as a second-half substitute in a 3-2 defeat to Spain in Terassa earlier this month.

It’s a remarkable achievement for the 18-year-old who said she was thrilled to be involved with the team at such a young age.

“When I got the call to say I was going to be part of the squad it was unbelievable; I wasn’t expecting it at all,” she said. “I trained with the team a few times during the summer but to get the call-up, it’s something I just can’t explain. Every athlete aspires to play for their country but to do it at such a young age is just an unbelievable feeling.”

McFerran was one of a batch of new faces called up to Darren Smith’s panel, something she says made it easier for her to integrate. However, she did admit to some serious pre-match nerves before her first appearance.

“Having the girls there meant we could be comfortable around each other and play our own game. But when I knew I was actually going to take part I was so nervous. Once I got my warm-up done and got the first five minutes over, I started to settle into the game and calmed down.”

She added: “Playing at Larne, Randalstown and with school has helped me to get to where I am. Now I just want to keep going forward and try and get my face in more often. My ultimate is to get that number-one spot, but that will take years of practice. Hopefully, it will come.”