Players irked by withdrawal

 

MEN'S HOCKEY:THREE ROCK Rovers have called for an EGM following Ireland’s withdrawal from a Champions Challenge tournament in Argentina. On the agenda is budgeting and funding structures and other pertinent issues regarding the decision, the first time an Irish team has had to pull out of a recognised FIH (International Hockey Federation) competition.

Ireland are not alone in pulling out of tournaments and actually the Irish Hockey Association (IHA) is in good standing with the FIH as it offered to host the current women’s Champions Challenge tournament in Belfield when the original host withdrew.

The fine for the men could be as high as 15,000 Swiss francs (€12,400) but it could be lower depending on how the case is presented. Spain pulled out of two junior World Cups and the USA pulled out of an Olympic qualifier in New Delhi so it is not a rare occurrence, if undesirable.

The IHA’s mistake is that they didn’t bring the players with them on this one and the players are now rightfully angry. But it is not a coaching or preparation issue, which was the official explanation given, but a problem of funding and an issue of priorities and what is important in Irish hockey with reduced resources.

The men’s team used a lot of money in preparing for the Olympic qualifier in Dublin, including two weeks in Spain and it almost paid handsomely and the way the IHA belatedly see it is that the World Series next February is more important. The way the players see it is that they qualified for Argentina by winning the Champions Challenge in Dublin and deserve to go in with teams world ranked from eight to 14.

The job of the IHA now is to convince the Irish squad the association is still player focused and the future remains bright.

WEEKEND FIXTURES

Saturday: Leinster Senior League, Division One – Corinthians v Pembroke Wanderers Whitechurch, 12.45; Glenanne v YMCA, Glenanne Park, 2.0; Three Rock Rovers v UCD, Grange Road, 1.0; Monkstown v Fingal, Rathdown School, 1.30; Railway Union v Avoca, Park Avenue, 1.45. Division Two – Weston v Suttonians, Griffeen Valley Park, 2.0; Kilkenny v Dublin University, Kilkenny College, 1.0; Clontarf v Rathgar, Mountemple, 12.30.

Sunday: Leinster Senior League, Division One – Three Rock Rovers v Corinthians, Grange Road, 3.0; Pembroke Wanderers v Glenanne, Serpentine Avenue, 3.0; Avoca v UCD, Newpark School, 4.0; Monkstown v YMCA, Rathdown, 2.45.

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