The Best Foreign XI (Part One)

The Leinster senior league has seen many foreign players come and go in the past ten years. Some have been good, some not so. Some came and went, others have been instrumental in Leinster hockey. Here’s my opinion on the best team line-up to have played on local soil…

Goalkeeper – Marc Carrera (Spain) – Three Rock Rovers – A former Spanish under 21 international, Marc seemed to be in Ireland more for the lifestyle than furthering his hockey career in 2005/6. His performance in the ISC quarterfinal win over Instonians was truly inspired, however, and showed what he could do after a good night’s sleep. Much loved around Rovers, Jameson also lamented the Carrera’s departure from Leinster hockey.

Right Back – Craig Fulton (South Africa) – Pembroke Wanderers – The South African was hardly of veteran status when he joined Pembroke’s ranks and so the hiring of an Olympian (the first to play in Leinster since David Judge) with nigh on 200 caps raised a number of eyebrows for the 2006/7 season. His poise on the ball and experience on the training ground has been a key instigator in Pembroke’s back-to-back All-Ireland titles.

Centre Back – Matthias Bechmann (Germany) – Three Rock Rovers – The less illustrious brother of floppy haired German legend, Christoph, player-coach Matthias was nonetheless a serious grafter at the back. Bechmann was instrumental in Rovers first indoor cup title for 20 years; signing up a few of his German cronies including 63 time international Ulli Moessel, for the competition.

Sweeper – Eric Geerts (Belgium) – YMCA – Although ‘the waffle’s’ play never truly matched his talk, Eric still packed a serious punch at the short corner and despite his fairly flaky exterior, he could nail a tackle or two. Given little credit, his time with YM coincided with two of their best recent league finishes in 2000 and 2001.

Left Back – Aaron Clauson (Australia) – Corinthian – The first of Corinthian’s Aussies to make the list, Clauson’s rampaging from full back was perfectly suited to the Whitechurch Park side’s 100 mile an hour brand of hockey that saw the side nab third spot on numerous occasions.

Centre Midfield – Paul Armitage (Australia) – Corinthian – Before my first senior match, I was warned about Trapper, with rumours of a couple of international caps for Australia. Ten year’s later the Western Australian is still the best I’ve played against. Strange to think he joined Corinthian when they were languishing in division 2. Within a few short years, Trapper had clocked up enough Leinster time to make the provincial squad and his club was contenders – a position they maintained after his departure.

Part two to come soon…

Disagree? Who do you think are the best foreign imports? Avoca’s Kiwi contingent? Naas’ Jurgen van der Poort? Trinity’s JPP van der Elfinhausen? Have your say…

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