Ireland’s hockey internationals return home as Leinster League begins

Ireland coach wants more player back from playing abroad

Conor Harte and Peter Caruth's return to play their hockey on Irish shores following stints from the Netherlands and Belgium respectively, looks set to mark a change in attitude from Ireland's top international players.

Under former Ireland coach Paul Revington, players were encouraged to seek out paid opportunities in Europe's top leagues to help raise their standard. It led to upwards of 15 Irish players scattering themselves in leagues across the continent. The upshot of these moves, however, made it increasingly difficult for the national side to train together and new coach Andrew Meredith has voiced his desire to have more players back in Dublin to reduce the costs of players' travel for this purpose.

As such, he will be pleased that Harte has returned to Pembroke while former Annadale man Caruth has joined reigning national champions Monkstown. Those two sides will certainly be in the title hunt in Leinster along with UCD and Three Rock Rovers in a league that looks set to improve markedly in quality.

There are quite a number of top players on the move. Pembroke have brought Harte back after a couple of years plying his trade with SCHC in the Netherlands. The sweeper will line out against YMCA who appear to be vulnerable due to a couple of departures. Johnny Bruton has switched to Three Rock, Ian McHugh has gone back to Australia while Polish international Krystian Makowski has also departed.


Three Rock open up with a derby date against Corinthian who have four South African players back under the coaching of compatriot Brendon Carolan. The pick is Jethro Eustice but he will be called away during the campaign for African Cup of Nations duty.

Rathgar, meanwhile, make their Division One debut against Glenanne. Formed just four years ago, Graham O’Neill’s team have not gone down the route of many promoted sides and have recruited minimally from abroad with just Dutchman Lennaert Bakker added to their ranks.

Railway Union meet Fingal in the other tie while Monkstown and UCD's start to the season is delayed by a week.
Men's Leinster League Division One: Rathgar v Glenanne, 1pm, High School; Three Rock Rovers v Corinthian, 1pm, Grange Road; Railway Union v Fingal, 2.30pm; YMCA v Pembroke, 3pm, Milltown.

Stephen Findlater

Stephen Findlater

Stephen Findlater is a contributor to The Irish Times writing about hockey