Irish Hockey Association: Ireland’s men’s team for the BDO Hockey World Cup Qualifier in Changzou, China, in April has been named.
Coach Dave Passmore’s includes some of the younger squad members who have contributed to notable recent wins for the Irish recently against South Africa, Egypt, Italy and France.
Gaining their first experience in a world-level tournament will be Phelie Maguire, Timmy Cockram, Ronan Gormley and goalkeeper Mark Ruddle, with John Jermyn making a return after being unavailable last year.
Other younger players who have impressed after performing well in Rome retain their places, such as Iain Lewers and Mark Gleghorne.
The team is supported by a group of experienced senior players, headed by captain Patrick Brown, who clocked up his 100th cap for Ireland recently against France.
Brown, Justin Sherriff, Mark Irwin, Jason Black and Stephen Butler have 456 caps between them, and will balance the squads youth with important experience.
“Selection was very tight and Eugene Magee was very unlucky to miss out as he has had some promising performances this year,” Passmore said.
“He misses out due to the overall squad’s requirements, in particular from set pieces, rather than the nature of his performances.”
Magee may still be selected if Munster’s Karl Burns fails a fitness test on his lingering hamstring injury on 25 March.
“Karl adds much to the squad because of his versatility and his attacking and defensive corner attributes.
“He is completing daily rehabilitation sessions and we are hopeful he will have recovered in time to be fully fit for China.”
Ireland complete what has been an intensive preparation programme with two more Test matches against France at Three Rock Rovers at 18:00 on St Patricks Day and as a curtain-raiser to the Men’s Irish Senior Cup Final on Sunday 19 March at the National Hockey Stadium in UCD (11:00).
The programme has included a camp in South Africa, together with trips to Egypt and France, with Tests against Belgium and England in late 2005.
“The preparation for the squad has been hampered by retirements, injury and unavailability and it has been impossible to select from the entire group of players throughout the whole preparation period.
“We have played the last nine matches physically tired so the progress of the team will only really be seen once the tapering period has been completed in the final run-in to China. The lads have worked fantastically hard on all areas of their game and could not have done more to give themselves the best shot of qualification for the World Cup.”
Ireland’s quest to qualify for the BDO Hockey World Cup in September commences in China on 12 April 2006 with its first pool game against England. Ireland also plays Belgium, Egypt, Pakistan and Canada before finals/classification matches concluding on 23 April.
Both Irish men’s and women’s squads campaigns in their respective World Cup Qualifiers will be officially launched to media at the ESB Women’s Senior Cup Final on Sunday, 26 March.
Andy Barbour, Jason Black, Mark Black, Paddy Brown, Karl Burns, Stephen Butler, Timothy Cockram, Mark Gleghorne, Ronan Gormley, Charlie Henderson, David Hobbs, Mark Irwin, John Jermyn, Iain Lewers, Phelie Maguire, Mark Ruddle, Graham Shaw, Justin Sherriff, Coach: David Passmore, Assistant Coaches: Denis Pritchard and Craig Fulton, Manager: Steven Hiles
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