Hockey: Ireland facing life after Craig Fulton

Dutch experience of Cox will be useful as Ireland face into four nation competition

Departed Ireland head coach Craig Fulton. Photo: Gary Carr/Inpho

Departed Ireland head coach Craig Fulton. Photo: Gary Carr/Inpho

 

A week into the All Ireland hockey league and soon the interest in hockey will turn towards the men’s World Cup at the end of November in India.

The women’s stunning silver medal run in the Olympic Park in East London has put a sharper focus on how the men are expected to perform, especially as they have had to adjust to a new coach Alexander Cox coming in for the departed Craig Fulton.

South African Fulton will be a hard act to follow. Following the retirement of former Irish captain Ronan Gormley during the week, his career high points including a European bronze medal, qualification for Rio 2016 Olympics and Ireland’s elevated ranking into the top 10 in the world all happened under Fulton’s watch.

On the issue of the flight of coaches, Irish Hockey might usefully assume that women’s coach Graham Shaw is being approached by other nations and act now rather than react later.

The Dutch experience of Cox will be useful as Ireland face into a four nation competition in Spain next month involving the hosts, Argentina and Netherlands. With 16 of the most recent 28-man squad now playing their hockey outside of Ireland, pitch time together may be the first hurdle Cox must leap.

Ireland face the Dutch, ranked fourth in the world on October 29th followed by a game against eighth-ranked Spain on the 30th and finally against Argentina, the world number two team, on November 1st before the classification matches.

The first match of the World Cup in Bhubaneswar takes place at the end of November against Australia, the number one ranked side in the world.

EY Hockey League fixtures

Saturday: Annadale v Glenanne, Strathearn Grammar 2.30; Cookstown v Lisnagarvey, Cookstown 2.30; Pembroke v Monkstown, Serpentine Avenue, 2.30; YMCA v TRR, Wesley College 2.30; Banbridge c Cork C of I, Havlock Park 2.45

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