Emily Beatty said “it was like she never left” when she arrived into the team hotel the evening before the Hockey World Cup final following her late call-up.
“Whirlwind” hardly describes it for the former Alexandra College stuent who was “devastated” to initially be left out of the Green Army panel but had to stay very much on our toes for her opportunity to come.
Prior to the World Cup, Graham Shaw said the speedy midfielder was incredibly close to making the cut, scoring a classy winner against Chile and impressing in the draw with Italy in the warm-up series.
With Roisin Upton carrying a hamstring injury and Megan Frazer a doubt, too, it was a very tough call to leave her out. Shaw, though, knew the circumstances were such that he would probably need to call on his reserve panel at some stage.
“It was the most devastating setback in my hockey career,” Beatty told the Dublin Gazette – at the launch of the Dublin Sports Fest this week – about the moment she learned she would not be part of the World Cup panel of 18.
“To get so far, put so much work in and then come agonisingly short was very tough. With the girls doing so well, it was unfortunate for one of them to have an injury and never what you want. When the girls did go away, Graham did say there is always a chance.”
“Unfortunately, we didn’t have the funding to bring the reserves along to the tournament. So we had a fitness and gym schedule to do on our own time in case anything was to happen.”
Along with Sinead Loughran and Naomi Carroll, Beatty headed away to Spain to get away from things but resisted temptations to cut loose.
“The World Cup is such a major event, you would be mad to do anything jeopardise yourself and your position. We just relaxed and did our fitness sessions!”
The trio crowded around screens to watch the early games; after that, there were a few times when the phone buzzed before she eventually got the call for the final.
Indeed, she had her bag packed with supporter’s kit but soon had to swap that out for her playing gear and the chance to finally play on the biggest stage.
“Over the tournament, I thought I might be brought in after the quarter-finals but Gilly [Pinder] got the all clear.
“When they got to the final, you do think the chance is probably over. I saw Gilly and Megan getting strapped up on tv. With hockey, with everyone playing every match, there’s always that chance and we always had to be ready!
“After the semis, I was supposed to be heading over just to support the girls but I got a message there was an injury and they didn’t really know what the story was! I ended up having to change my flight to Saturday and on Sunday morning got told Megan was unfortunately injured and so I was in and playing!
“For me, to get out there and play after all the years of hard work, was a fantastic opportunity and the girls were so welcoming.
“It was like I had never left; I had played so much of the build-up and practice matches, been with the girls for so many years and so many tournaments.”
The silver medal followed and a further whirlwind followed, ending with a trip to Aras an Uachtaran last Friday.