Iain Lewers declaration for Great Britain has caused shockwaves through Irish hockey in the past week. As one of Ireland’s standout players in the past year, the news has come as a big headache for the national team management.
Irish assistant-coach Craig Fulton sums up the mood.”It’s a huge disappointment. He’s come through quite strongly in the last 18 months, and in terms of going forward for the next cycle he was always in our plans, and now he’s not, so we have to go back to the drawing board and mix it up a bit.”
Fulton, though, believes that Ireland will be able to deal with the loss and become stronger as the side has a talented pool of young players coming through.”We have got a strong U-21 group coming through, 10 of whom were on display in the Celtic Cup, so we’re not in dire straits. There’s a lot of talent out there and we’ve got to harness it.
“The players know what we need to do to perform, we’re not that far off. If we were drastically off the money I think it would be a different scenario [regarding people declaring for Great Britain].”I think this group who have been through the qualifying tournaments know that massive changes aren’t needed, it’s just little details.”
Returning to Lewers, Fulton feels the former Annadale man is taking a huge step into the unknown.”Iain will get his hockey in Holland, but to take three years out of international hockey at the height of his career … who knows what will happen? It’s a tough decision, but you’ve only got one life.”