The Ireland Masters squad fly out to Singapore on Wednesday to compete in the International World Cup in Singapore. This is the squad’s second World Cup after the very successful trip to Hong Kong in 2009.
The team are competing in the O-40s age group which will see an intensive programme of high calibre hockey over the space of eight days in hot and humid conditions with temperatures likely to be in the 30s.
The side features five Leinster players with Pembroke EHL squad member Peter Priestly who is likely to pull the strings in midfield with club mate Stewart Atkinson at the back. Three Rock’s Rob Carter can use his pace down the flanks while Suttonians duo Colm O’Hare and Nick Pheifer complete the local contingent.
Ireland have been preparing hard throughout 2011 with training sessions across the country, taking in Home Nations tournaments at Lisnagarvey (O-45s and 55s) and Swansea (O-40s and O-50s). These saw the 40s and 45s both finish second to England in matches which were a great build up for the World Cup, notably grabbing a 0-0 draw with the English in the last competitive match prior to Singapore.
The team will face six matches, five in group B and one play-off cross over match, facing India on October 29 before playing Scotland (30th), Malaysia (31st), Singapore Dutch (November 2) and New Zealand, the defending world champions a day later.
The trip will also be used to meet old friends from the Hong Kong tournament from other countries like Australia and to build new links with other attending Masters squads so Ireland Masters hockey continues to grow and be recognised worldwide.
The squad are fully prepared and eager to get started and under youthful management will look to build on results from two years ago at the pinnacle tournament at this age group.
Under the leadership of overall co-ordinator, Andy Nye, Ireland Masters is a growing brand of hockey which now has teams to compete at four age groups, O-40s, 45s, 50s and 55s. The Ladies Masters have also grown in the last two years with the aim to have two competing teams for the 2012 tournaments.
** The Ireland Masters management would like to thank all players, clubs and oppositions, including the Ireland U-16 boys, for their time in turning out for training, practice and matches throughout 2011 in the build up to Singapore.
Ireland Masters: Iain Kelly (Belfast Harlequins), Mark Brown (Ballynahinch), Peter Priestly (Pembroke Wanderers), Andy Nye (Lisnagarvey), Stewart Atkinson (Pembroke Wanderers), Mark Murray (Lisnagarvey), Colm O’Hare (Suttonians), Stephen Magee (North Down), Dara Crowe (Catholic Institute), Nick Phiefer (Suttonians), Richard Tinney (Raphoe), Graham Higgin (Instonians), Phil Thomas (Campbellians), Hugh H Kelly (Barnes HC), Billy Pollock (Cliftonville), Stuart Egner (Cork Harlequins), Kieran McGoldrick (Larne), Rob Carter (Three Rock Rovers)
Manager: Jamie Millar (Lisnagarvey)
Umpire: Mervyn Logan
** Adrian Boehm was at a recent warm-up game between the Irish O-40s and a Three Rock Rovers’ Club Captain’s XI. You can see his photos from the game below