Paul Revington served up few surprises on Tuesday with the announcement of his “core” and “peripheral” Irish men’s panels for the lead-up to the Olympic qualifying tournament which takes place in Dublin in March.
He largely kept faith with the panels who took on last summer’s two major events – the Champions Challenge II and the Europeans – with Jason Lynch and Iain Walker the only two in the central panel of 24 not to play a part in either tournament.
Sothern missed much of last summer with a broken metatarsal bone in his foot, only recovering to play in one test match against Argentina. He has since fired 16 goals on his return from Holland to play with Pembroke but is battling with the likes of Peter Blakeney and Gareth Watkins for a place in the core setup.
Maguire, though, has been signed up in the meantime by the Mumbai Indians to play in the inaugural World Series of Hockey in what could be a high profile showcase of his talent.
Another returnee is Brian Doherty who enjoyed the switch from Braxgata to Royal Beerschot where he has been afforded more pitch-time and drag-flicking opportunities, helping the Belgian club side to a share of fourth place going into the winter break. He missed most of last summer with a broken hand when many players stepped up to Irish level in a hectic schedule.
For the likes of young stars like St Andrew’s student David Cole and Lisnagarvey’s Peter MacDonnell, the naming of the two squads is a vote of confidence as they taste life in the senior squads on a formally recognised basis for the first time.
With 13 of the core panel and three of the peripheral panel based abroad, Revington will base his squad out of Ireland from January 16-29 and February 4-12 to avail of warm weather training, the details of which are not yet confirmed, and will also have the benefit of hosting a number of international games in the run up to the Dublin Olympic Qualifiers.
He said “We enter another exciting period as an Ireland squad on the back of the hard work put in by everyone over the course of the past 18 months.
“While we are identifying a core and narrowed squad for the coming months, the panel of players in the peripheral squad will still indicate the value we place on building and growing an enlarged Ireland squad as we prepare to tackle the new challenges together in 2012.
“The core squad is by no means a ‘closed squad’ and as per previous years there is always scope for players to push their way into selection contention. The period December 2011 to March 2012 will be filled with training and game opportunities for the squad as we prepare to tackle the Olympic qualifier on home soil together.”
CORE: D Ames (Beeston), P Blakeney (Three Rock Rovers), J Brennan (Glenanne), C Cargo (Reading), P Caruth (Annadale), T Cockram (Lisnagarvey), M Darling (SCHC), D Fitzgerald (GK, Monkstown), P Gleghorne (Instonians), R Gormley (Club de Campo), C Harte (SCHC), D Harte (GK, SCHC), J Jackson (Braxgata), J Jermyn (Cork C of I), S Loughrey (Loughborough Students), J Lynch (Racing Brussels), E Magee (KHC Dragons), G McCabe (Santander), B McCandless (Banbridge), A McConnell (Hurley), I Sloan (Cookstown), I Walker (GK, YMCA), G Watkins (Monkstown), M Watt (Santander).
PERIPHERAL: J Bell (Lisnagarvey), P Brown (Banbridge), J Bruton (YMCA), D Carlisle (Banbridge), K Carroll (Railway Union), D Carson (Corinthian), D Cole (Monkstown), S Cole (Monkstown), B Doherty (Royal Beerschot), S Dowds (Banbridge), R Flannery (Pembroke Wanderers), D Hobbs (Cork C of I), I Hughes (GK, Cookstown), B Lynch (GK, Cork C of I), P MacDonnell (Lisnagarvey), M Maguire (Royal Uccle), P Maguire (Hurley), S O’Donoghue (UCD), A Sothern (Pembroke Wanderers), C Sweetnam (Cork C of I), R Sykes (Monkstown), S West (GK, Three Rock Rovers)