Kenny Carroll could become the first Irish men’s senior international from Railway Union since the late, great Joey O’Meara following the announcement of Paul Revington’s squad for a three-game series with Canada.
Like O’Meara, it would make the rangy defender part of a rare breed of dual cricket and hockey internationals, Carroll being part of Ireland’s ground-breaking 2007 World Cup squad and has played six ODI’s in Irish colours. O’Meara won 52 caps in Ireland’s green in a career spanning seven years from 1970 to 1977.
The 28 year-old Carroll is one of eight uncapped players included in a 32-man panel for the Canuck’s visit which encompasses an April 17 fixture at the National Hockey Stadium in Belfield before taking in two games at the new pitch in Stormont on April 19 and 20.
The other possible debutants have Leinster connections bar Stephen Dowds – who is a doubt through injury – with Davy Carson (Corinthian), Shane O’Donoghue (Glenanne) and Three Rock’s Stephen West all called up, along with former Pembroke man and current Loughborough student Stu Loughrey, from the Irish Junior Celtic Cup team from last summer.
Ronan Flannery and Gary Shaw are slightly more mature introductions having performed consistently well for the past few seasons.
This series begins Ireland’s extended build-up to the European Championships later this year which have three automatic Olympic qualification places on offer.
Speaking about the enlarged squad, Revington sees this series as a chance for players to push their claims for a place in the setup:
“Our squad will be re-united after two months of club involvement with players returning highly motivated to add their quality to our Ireland path. The series also has the potential for new caps as the squad pushes hard to create a larger base of international players across Ireland.”
Revington has named two panels, one for the Dublin game and the other for the games in Belfast with ten players coming in for the latter games.
The changes are mainly based around availability lines as the first game coincides with the Irish Senior Cup final four weekend which affects Annadale, Cookstown, Banbridge and Monkstown players.
European-based players are also more prevailent in the second squad with Dutch-based Conor and David Harte, Alan Sothern, Mitch Darling and Andy McConnell along with Santander duo Geoff McCabe and Mikey Watt coming in.
Players participating in EHL games will be limited to just one game of the three while skipper Ronan Gormley stays at his Madrid-base and Phelie Maguire does not travel from Belgium.
Despite a big performance in the Munster Senior Cup final, David Hobbs remains outside of Revington’s selection for the time-being.
Ireland men’s senior squad for Canadian series:
April 17 selection: David Ames (Beeston), Peter Blakeney (TRR), Joe Brennan (Glenanne), Jonny Bruton (YMCA), Chris Cargo (Reading, England), Kenny Carroll (Railway Union), Davy Carson (Corinthian), Timmy Cockram (Lisnagarvey), Ronan Flannery (Pembroke), Alan Giles (Pemrboke), Paul Gleghorne (Instonians), John Jackson (Mossley), John Jermyn (Cork C of I), Tim Lewis (Krefelder), Stuart Loughrey (Loughborough Students), Jason Lynch (Lisnagarvey), Michael Maguire (TRR), Shane O’Donoghue (Glenanne), Adam Pritchard (Pembroke), Gary Shaw (Glenanne), Iain Walker (YMCA), Stephen West (TRR)
April 19-20 selection: Davy Carson, Peter Caruth (Annadale), Timmy Cockram, Mitch Darling (Den Bosch, Netherlands), Stephen Dowds (Banbridge), David Fitzgerald (Monkstown), Paul Gleghorne, Conor Harte (SCHC, Netherlands), David Harte (SCHC), John Jackson, John Jermyn, Tim Lewis, Stuart Loughrey, Jason Lynch, Michael Maguire, Geoff McCabe (Santander, Spain), Bruce McCandless (Banbridge), Andy McConnell (Hurley, Netherlands), Alan Sothern (Den Bosch), Mikey Watt (Santander)