Northern Ireland senior women’s team midfielders Caragh Hamilton and Megan Bell will not be playing at the UEFA Women’s European Championships this summer.
It was confirmed today that both players have sustained injuries that will keep them out of the tournament, which kicks off in England early next month.
Rangers midfielder Bell, who has had cruel luck with injuries over the past couple of years, has torn a hamstring – and has already undergone surgery to repair it. She is expected to be out of action for a couple of months at least.
And Glentoran Women midfielder Hamilton, who has also had her fair share of injuries in recent times, has damaged a thigh and that has also ruled her out of being part of the first Northern Ireland senior women’s team to play at a major tournament.
Hamilton said: “MRI scans revealed a rare and complex form of quadricep tear. Surgery is not required, however an expected recovery time of between eight and 12 weeks minimum was outlined by the consultant.
“It’s a hard pill to swallow and the news has been difficult to process. I’m no stranger to long term injuries but this one definitely hits the hardest.”
Both players would have been very much in the frame to make Northern Ireland manager Kenny Shiels’ final squad for UEFA Women’s Euro 2022.
Hamilton, who has scored five times and earned 27 caps for her country, made her senior debut 10 years ago. The 25-year-old’s last appearance for the team was as a substitute in the Women’s World Cup qualifier against England back in April.
Bell, who was an unused sub in that qualifier in Belfast, has 17 caps and one goal to her name. The 21-year-old made her senior debut just under five years ago.
Shiels said he “felt so sorry” for both players and wished them a speedy recovery. And he added that they would be sorely missed.
He will announce his final squad for the Euros later this month.