David Harte on the brink of becoming first Irishman to win Dutch hockey league
He previously became the first Irish player to win the Euro Hockey League in 2016
David Harte produced an immaculate shoot-out save for Dutch club SV Kampong on Wednesday night to see him move to the brink of becoming the first Irish person to win the Hoofdklasse, the best national club league in the world.
His diving touch to keep out Oliver Polkamp came in the eighth round of the shoot-out against Rotterdam after normal time had ended 1-1. It gave Kampong victory in their best of three series with the next tie taking place on Saturday with a third date – if required – set for Sunday.
If they win either of those ties, the Kinsale man will add yet another major accolade to his growing list. He became the first Irish player to win the Euro Hockey League in 2016 and is also the only player from this island to win an FIH Player of the Year gong, winning the best goalkeeper crown in both 2015 and 2016.
Previously, Dubliner Phelie Maguire played in the Hoofdklasse playoffs with HGC, reaching the final in 2007 before falling to Bloemendaal.
Following these Dutch finals, Harte will link up with the Irish camp ahead of an eye-catching three-game series against Pakistan in Lisnagarvey in the first week of June.
The world number 14 side last visited these shores in June 2011 when they played in front some of the biggest, and loudest, crowds seen at the National Hockey Stadium in UCD.
Since then, Ireland memorably beat the Pakistanis for the first time in 2015 when Alan Sothern’s single goal handed Ireland a 1-0 that went a long way to assuring Olympic qualification.
This time, they come to Ireland off the back of a series in London with Garvey hosting the series that runs from June 1st to 4th.
It comes a couple of days after two uncapped matches against England at Bisham Abbey on May 27th and 28th.