Harte recovers from leg injury that threatened his hockey World Cup
Three Rock Rovers have the comfort of a home draw against Belfast’s Annadale in the Irish Senior Cup
Ireland’s David Harte: he will need to be at his sharpest in seven days’ time against Australia. Photograph: Freddie Parkinson/Inpho
The Netherlands gave Ireland’s men’s hockey team something of a lesson this week. In the final match before Ireland meet Australia in the first of their World Cup pool games in a week’s time, the Netherlands passed one of the best goalkeepers in the world and Irish captain David Harte seven times with a 7-1 win last weekend.
The good news is that Harte has recovered from a leg injury that threatened to keep him out of the World Cup. A scan showed that the leg he injured was not broken. He will need to be at his sharpest in seven days’ time against the number one side in the world.
Ireland have made it through to two previous World Cup finals, Buenos Aires in 1978 and Lahore 1990, both times finishing in 12th position.
In the past few years, however, the side has made real headway in the rankings and in major tournament performances. In 2015 the team qualified via the Hockey World League semi-finals for the 2016 Olympics, and in the same year won an historic bronze medal at the European Championships.
However, with a frustrated Irish coach Craig Fulton moving to a job in Belgian hockey earlier this year, new coach Alexander Cox has had little time with an Irish side that carries a world ranking of 10 to India.
Domestically, the third round of the Irish Senior Cup gets under way with seven matches taking place. Defending champions Three Rock Rovers have the comfort of a home draw against Belfast’s Annadale. However, the home side will be missing their three Irish players, defender Luke Madeley, midfielder Daragh Walsh and forward Mitch Darling.