John Jackson returns for Ireland’s two hockey wins over the USA
The 33-year-old came back after six-month break to help the side to 5-0 and 2-0 successes
Ireland’s John Jackson during a test match against the USA at Pembroke, Dublin. Photograph: Adrian Boehm
John Jackson is relishing his chance to return to the Irish senior men’s hockey team after a six-month break which saw him miss December’s World Cup.
The 33-year-old lined out in Ireland’s two wins over the USA at Pembroke over the weekend, helping the side to 5-0 and 2-0 successes.
The games were Ireland’s first formal preparation games for the FIH Hockey Series Finals in June, a vital step on the road to Tokyo 2020.
Jackson had been a mainstay of the side since 2006, but could not play a full part in the World Cup programme. However, he is now back in full flow, combining elite hockey with his job at Pride Park school in Bath as well as being a new father.
“I needed that six months to figure out how it all works in combination with school,” he said.
“It is the nature of being an Irish hockey athlete, but I am delighted Alex [Cox] has given me the chance to come back in. I still feel I have something to offer. I love being part of the group; I love representing my country and want to be the best I can be. It was a necessary six months out, but I am raring to go for this next six months and, hopefully, 18 months.”
His Friday return saw Ireland ease home with Shane O’Donoghue and Matthew Nelson scoring in the first 20 minutes before Conor Harte and Ben Walker stretched the lead to four.
Eugene Magee completed the win in the final quarter but then was rested for the Sunday tie with a tight hamstring. There O’Donoghue and Luke Madeley scored drag-flicks in the first 20 minutes for a 2-0 success.