New faces in Irish hockey squad for Four Nations
New coach Craig Fulton still auditioning players for Rio 2016 campaign
Ronan Gormley has been recalled to the Ireland squad for the Four Nations tournament in Barcelona. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
It is part of being an amateur outfit that the Irish hockey team is almost completely revised from the team that travelled to Malaysia last week for the Champions Challenge competition, to the one selected for the Four Nations event in Spain next week. Work and exam commitments excluded some players.
It is also a pertinent question to ask what players will be fully available over the next two years as Ireland try to qualify for the Rio Olympics. Time has been lost with the 14 month reign of Andrew Meredith. New coach Craig Fulton now has to go over similar ground to find his best mix.
There are more than half of his squad of 20 travelling to Spain were not available to him for the trip to Malaysia. It is Fulton’s third trip away with the team since his appointment last month and it’s probably right he should see as many players as he can, although, less than two years is woefully short for an Olympic campaign.
Familiar faces are back, such as Ronan Gormley, and others such as Pembroke’s Maurice Elliot are in again as Ireland face Russia, Wales and Spain. Ireland open the tournament against Russia on Tuesday.
“I have only been in the job for about a month now and Spain is the third Test series of which I can see another group of Irish players compete against top opposition,” said Fulton. “This is testament to the current depth in Irish men’s hockey at present.”
IRELAND SQUAD (for Four Nations tournament, Barcelona; May 13th -16th): D Harte (GK, Kampong), D Fitzgerald (GK, Monkstown), S West (GK, Three Rock Rovers), J Jackson (Reading), C Harte (Pembroke), P Gleghorne (Instonians), B Doherty (Royal Beerschot), S Loughrey (Cannock), J Bell (Lisnagarvey), R Gormley (Krefeld), S O’Donoghue (UCD), J Lynch (Lisnagarvey), M Robson (Annadale), D Buser (Lisnagarvey), J Corry (Instonians), M Watt (Surbiton), M Darling (Three Rock Rovers), T Cockram (Lisnagarvey), A Sothern (Pembroke Wanderers), M Elliot (Pembroke Wanderers).