Ireland men’s and women’s hockey teams have been announced for the European Championships were announced yesterday in Dublin.
The Championships begin in Monchengladbach, Germany, on August 20th and also doubles as an Olympic Games qualifier for both teams, with an additional tournament next spring representing the last chance to book a ticket to London.
For the men’s side, a finish in the top four or top three if England (Olympic hosts as GB) do not finish in the top four would see them through to London 2012.
For the Irish women, a top-three finish or top two if England (Olympic hosts as GB) do not finish in the top three would secure their place in the Olympics for the first time.
In recent times the women’s programme has been centrally pooled in Dublin and many of the men assigned to top European sides in Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands and of the16 men selected yesterday nine play outside Ireland.
For both teams it is a tough ask, the draw for Monchengladbach has Ireland in a group with the Netherlands, ranked third in the world and fourth-ranked England as well as 17th ranked France. Ireland are ranked 18th and will have to get a result against England or the Netherlands as well as the French to advance towards Olympic qualification.
The Irish women’s team, ranked 15th in the world, has Belgium, England and Germany in their pool.Their first match is against the Germans before they face Belgium, with England lined up for the third pool game after the rest day.
Ronan Gormley, who plays with Spanish side Club de Campo, captains the men’s side, who have selected 16 players and 10 reserves, with two players to come into the squad to bring it to a travelling 18 after Ireland play Argentina in two Test matches at UCD this weekend. Teenager Ian Sloan, son of former Irish captain Martin, is included.
The women’s side, captained by Railway Union’s Alex Speers, also face the world number one side, Argentina, in two Tests, on August 12th and 13th, also in Belfield. Coach Muller has also included a teenager in his squad, UCD’s Chloe Watkins.
MEN : D Ames (Beeston), P Caruth (Annadale), T Cockram (Lisnagarvey), M Darling (Den Bosch), D Fitzgerald (GK, Monkstown), P Gleghorne (Instonians), R Gormley (Club de Campo, capt), C Harte (SCHC), D Harte (GK, SCHC), J Jackson (Mossley), J Jermyn (Cork C of I), E Magee (Dragons), G McCabe (Santander), A McConnell (Hurley), I Sloan (Cookstown), M Watt (Santander), 17th 18th player TBC. Reserves: J Brennan (Glenanne), P Blakeney (Three Rock Rovers), C Cargo (Reading), R Flannery (Pembroke), S Loughrey (Loughborough), P Maguire (Leuven), B McCandless (Banbridge), A Sothern (Den Bosch), I Walker(YMCA), G Watkins (Monkstown).
Pool B : Aug 21st v England, Aug 22nd v France, Aug 24th v Netherlands
Finals preparation : August 6th – Ireland v Argentina; August 7th – Ireland v Argentina.
WOMEN : E Clarke (VC, Leicester), L Colvin (Loreto), A Connery (Hermes), M Crowley (UCC), E Gray (GK, Hermes), M Harvey (Pegasus), L Jacob (Hermes), S McCarthy (Hermes), S McCay (Old Alex), A O’Flynn (Hermes), J O’Halloran (Railway Union), C Sargent (Cork Harlequins), N Small (Loreto), P Smithwick (GK, Old Alex), E Smyth (Railway Union), A Speers (capt, Railway Union), N Symmons (Loreto), C Watkins (UCD).
Pool B: Aug 20th v Germany, Aug 21st v Belgium, Aug 23rd v England.