Ireland hoping to floor it on return to international indoor hockey

Ireland open their campaign against Wales in Spanish city of Santander on Friday

Ross Canning (right) is one of three Three Rock Rovers players in the Ireland squad for the  EuroHockey Indoor Championship III in Santander, Spain. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Ross Canning (right) is one of three Three Rock Rovers players in the Ireland squad for the EuroHockey Indoor Championship III in Santander, Spain. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

 

History of sorts is in the making in the northern Spanish city of Santander on Friday as an Irish men’s indoor team compete in the first international tournament, the EuroHockey Indoor Championship III, since Ireland staged a four-nation event in Loughlinstown, Dublin in 1987 involving Australia, Canada, England and Ireland.

The following year a number of the England players, including David Faulkner, Martyn Grimley and Imran Sherwani, along with Ireland’s Jimmy Kirkwood, would travel to Korea as Britain and win the Olympic gold medal.

Avoca were to the fore then, with six players of the 12 in the Loughlinstown event, a dominance that has been passed after a 30-year hiatus to Railway Union and Three Rock Rovers, with three of the current Irish squad also coming from German side Crefelder.

Kenny Carroll coaches the team, who first face Wales and Scotland on Friday, with Spain and Slovenia on Saturday before the playoffs for classification on Sunday.

Because Ireland is only re-engaging with the indoor game after a long spell away, they go into the competition at European level three. But to offset the lack of international experience, Carroll has selected a number of Irish players that have a wealth of club experience at European level and that should tell.

Brendan Parsons, now 40, has played in five European club events with Railway while Three Rock’s Ross Canning, whose father Liam was a duel indoor and outdoor international, Harry Morris and Mark English are also experienced on the boards. Glenanne’s Rowland Rixon-Fuller, a former Zimbabwean international, is also ready to go for Ireland.

John Jackson, quickly back into competitive mode after the wickedly controversial end last autumn to the Irish outdoor team hopes of qualifying for this year’s Olympic Games, captains Ireland.

IRELAND INDOOR (squad): R Canning (Three Rock Rovers), M English (Three Rock Rovers), N Glassey (Crefelder THC , Germany), J Jackson (Team Bath Buccaneers , England, capt), J Lynch (Monkstown, vice-captain), H Morris (Three Rock Rovers), S O’Keeffe (Railway Union), B Parsons (Railway Union), R Rixon Fuller (Glenanne), C Robson (Crefelder THC , Germany), M Robson (Crefelder THC, Germany), S West (Team Bath Buccaneers, England).

IRELAND INDOOR (squad) 1987: T Allen (Monkstown), P Shier (Avoca), N Crawford (Team Kaliber), J McKee (Team Kaliber), M Cullen (Avoca), J Watterson (Avoca), S Filgas (Avoca), J Cole (Avoca), I Morris (Lisnagarvey), K Morris (Team Kaliber, J Kirwood (Lisnagarvey). Coach: Terry Gregg.

Fixtures
Friday, January 17th:
Ireland v Wales, 12pm; Ireland v Scotland, 6pm; Saturday, January 18th: Ireland v Spain, 12.15pm; Ireland v Slovenia, 5.40pm; Sunday, January 19th: Classification matches.

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