John Jackson to lead Ireland at the European Championships in Belgium

Ireland drawn against the Netherlands, Poland and England


Mossley man John Jackson will lead Ireland at the European Hockey Championships next weekend following the release of the 18-player men’s senior squad to play in Boom, Belgium.

He formally takes over the mantle from long-time skipper Ronan Gormley who remains in the panel, returning to the set-up having missed the three pre-tournament warm-up games in Hamburg last month.

Gormley took over the captaincy from Paddy Brown back in June 2008 but Jackson donned the armband a couple of times in his absence at the Celtic Cup in 2009 and has long been part of a leadership group.

This key installation is one of a number of changes to Andrew Meredith’s panel with Stephen Cole and Kirk Shimmins the bright new faces in six switches from the World League round three, the last elite level competition Ireland played in.

Shimmins, a feisty midfielder, only finished his Leaving Certificate at Wesley College in June and made his senior international debut in Hamburg against Germany while Cole had just a handful of caps to his name.

Elsewhere, the changes were more expected. Eugene Magee, the side’s standout midfielder, has recovered a knee injury to bring a wealth of experience while fellow centurion Mitch Darling is available again, too.

Ireland have been drawn against the Netherlands (world number three), Poland (20) and England (4).