Fulton brings mix of experience and youth to play Netherlands

Dutch games to mark return of Mitch Darling and Peter Carruth to 20-man squad

 Mitch Darling:  he has not featured in the Ireland  side since the 2016 Rio Olympics, having taken a break.  Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Mitch Darling: he has not featured in the Ireland side since the 2016 Rio Olympics, having taken a break. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

It is interesting that Irish coach Graham Shaw has included seven teenagers in his significantly widened Irish women’s panel.

Ushering in the new generation with a World Cup coming up next summer is a bold step, although those young players are going to have to climb over a number of established bodies to secure their ticket with the London-bound squad in July.

Shaw’s counterpart in the men, Craig Fulton, brings a mix of youth and experience to meet the Netherlands next week in two friendly matches at Upward HC in Arnhem.

It should be a testing trip as the current European Champions will provide Fulton with two uncapped games, with the series marking the return of Mitch Darling and Peter Carruth to the 20-man squad.

Darling has not featured in the side since the 2016 Rio Olympics, having taken a break, with Carruth involved for the first time since June due to injury.

The Netherlands are preparing for World League 4 in India in December. It’s the final international Irish fixture for the year, with Fulton soon to turn his mind towards next year’s plans for India and the men’s World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar in December 2018.

Top of the table

There’s just one face from Glenanne in the Irish squad, that of Sam O’Connor. Glenanne have been setting the tone of the EY Irish Hockey League, and strengthened their position at the top of the table last weekend as they fought off Railway Union at Park Avenue. There were chances for both sides, with Shane O’Donoghue and Stephen Brownlow scoring for Glenanne.

Railway have another tough game on Saturday with the visit of Lisnagarvey, while Glenanne are also going to have to dig deep when they travel up to Havelock Park to meet Banbridge.

Saturday: EY Irish Hockey League - Cookstown v Three Rock Rovers, Cookstown 2.30; Cork C of I v Pembroke, Garryduff 2.30; Monkstown v Annadale, Merrion Fleet Arena, 2.30; Banbridge v Glenanne, Havelock Park, 2.45; Railway Union v Lisnagarvey, Park Avenue 3pm.

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