Irish Hockey Association: Two Ireland men have announced their retirements from international hockey after nine-year careers.

Following the Irish triumph in the European Nations Trophy in Rome last September, David Smyth has decided to draw a line under his international career.

Smyth made his decision to end their career with a gold medal around his neck.

“I decided that Rome would be my final tournament in an Irish shirt, this is due to a combination of family and work commitments,” he said.

Smyth joined the Irish Senior squad in the summer of 1996 and received his first cap against Switzerland in 1999. The main highlights of his hockey career were playing Spain in the opening match of the 2003 Barcelona European Nations Cup and winning the European Nations Trophy in Rome 2005.

“David’s retirement will be a big loss to Irish hockey as he has been a key figure in the Irish defence over the past number of years. He won 63 caps in total and will be well remembered by his team mates for being an ever popular and exceptionally well respected player and he can look back with much pride on a distinguished international career and to have been part of the squad to put Ireland back in A division with Europe’s elite,” Ireland Manager Steven Hiles said.

Chris Jackson also announced his full retirement last weekend from international hockey due to work commitments.  

During his impressive career the midfielder amassed 66 caps since making his debut as an 18 year old in 1996 against France, his last game was against Italy in the 2003 Europeans in Barcelona.

“It is sad to lose someone of Chris's talent and international experience but we all respect his decision and thank him for the contribution he has made to Irish Hockey over many years after coming through all the underage levels into the senior ranks,” Hiles said.

National Coach Dave Passmore opted for experience for his Rome campaign but fully acknowledged that there were several younger talented players who were unlucky not to make the final 18. The stepping down of these two senior players will surely open the door for exciting new talent to move to the fore of an Irish team that is rich in young talent and potential as it gears up for World Cup and ultimately Olympic campaigns.

Smyth and Jackson take with them, however, a huge pool of experience, with 129 caps earned between them.