Irish men’s hockey team plan trip to South Africa
Qualification for Rio may begin in Africa as the men’s team seeks warm weather training
Ireland men’s head coach Ned Fulton. Hoping to lead squad on a training camp to South Africa in the New Year. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
The trip is to help prepare the side for the hot conditions they might face in their World League Two tournament in the USA which begins at the end of February 2015.
The top three teams from that tournament qualify for World League Three and from there teams can qualify for the Rio Olympic Games in 2016. Ireland will travel to America as the top-ranked team in the tournament.
South Africa is the desired destination because of the conditions, which are similar to those the team will face in San Diego in Southern California, where the qualifying tournament is being staged. Irish coach Ned Fulton, a South African, has a good knowledge of the climate and the playing facilities in the country.
The Belgian and Dutch national teams will also be in South Africa at the same time for similar reasons and games against both have been mooted. Trinidad and Tobago (ranked 29th in the world) recently emerged to join Ireland (15), Russia (19), Canada (16), Austria (23), Chile (26), USA (28) and Italy (32) for the qualification event at the USA Olympic Training Centre in Chula Vista. WEEKEND FIXTURES – Leinster Senior League – Division One – UCD v Glenanne, Belfield UCD, 1pm; Monkstown v YMCA, Rathdown School, 1.30pm; Avoca v Pembroke Wanderers, Newpark Comp, 2pm; Railway Union v Three Rock Rovers, Park Avenue, 2.15pm; Corinthians v Rathgar, St Columba’s College, 2.15pm.