Uncapped Ali Smith (pictured, left) was confirmed today as the 18th member of the Irish men’s senior panel who travel to Santander to play a series of three games against Olympic-bound Spain.
Outgoing coach Paul Revington will rely on Spainish-based Irish captain Ronan Gormley (Club de Campo) and striker Mikey Watt (Santander) for insider info on a side Ireland beat 3-2 to oust for a best-ever fifth-place finish at last summer’s European championships.
Along with Smith, relative newcomers Philip Brown (Banbridge), Shane O’Donoghue (UCD) and Stephen Cole (Monkstown) will join up with Ireland A on Sunday after their time in Spain with the seniors.
Indeed, it is a much changed panel from the one that contested the Olympic qualifiers in March with ten changes from the Dublin tournament.
Kenny Carroll, Davy Carson, Jonny Bruton, Johnny Bell, Jason Lynch and Drew Carlisle are the other incoming players for the series which sees Ireland play on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
The afore-mentioned ‘A’ panel will be run by Ireland U-21 coach Brendon Carolan and will use the games to run the rule over some of his charges expected to be in contention for the European squad later this summer.
Beerschot corner ace Brian Doherty and Three Rock keeper Stephen West have prior U-21 international experience and are both included along with Railway’s Peter English.
Glenanne’s Stephen Brownlow could make his first appearance in Irish green while Kirk Shimmins moves up from the Irish U-18s.
Dublin-based Cork natives Nick Burns and Ben Dobson (UCD) and Karl Lynch (Pembroke Wanderers) are among them, and they are joined in the squad by provincial colleagues Clinton Sweetnam and Smith.
C of I’s international centurion pair David Hobbs and John Jermyn are also involved, the latter included along with Bruce McCandless due to their unavailability for the senior side’s trip to Spain.
Carolan has named extended panels for both games, which will be whittled down to 18 for each clash next week.
On Monday, meanwhile, Miles Warren has narrowed his panel to 18 for the U-16 European Championships, which take place in July.
Nine Leinster players are included with Monkstown trio David Nolan, Jazze Henry and Jamie Carr named along with duos from Three Rock and Suttonians – the former having defensive duo Luke Madeley and Ben McCrea while Gavin O’Brien and Jack Ryan are in from Sutton.
Hugh Lavery means both goalkeepers come the blue province while Neil Byrne is another Glenanne representative.
Ireland senior men’s panel to play Spain in Santander (June 12-15): J Bell (Lisnagarvey), P Brown (Banbridge), J Bruton (YMCA), C Cargo (Reading), D Carlisle (Banbridge), K Carroll (Railway Union), D Carson (Corinthian), S Cole (Monkstown), D Fitzgerald (GK, Monkstown), R Gormley (Club de Campo, capt), C Harte (SCHC), D Harte (GK, SCHC), J Jackson (Braxgata), J Lynch (Cork C of I), E Magee (Dragons), S O’Donoghue (UCD), M Watt (Santander), A Smith (Bandon).
Ireland Senior, fixture schedule (Santander, Spanish time):
Tuesday, June 12: Ireland vs Spain, 9.15pm
Thursday, June 14: Ireland vs Spain, 1.45pm
Friday, June, 15: Ireland vs Spain, 1.45pm
Ireland A men’s panel to play England A in Dublin (June 16/17, squad of 18 for each game TBC): R Arneill (Lisnagarvey), M Bell (Banbridge), P Brown (Banbridge), S Brownlow (Glenanne), N Burns (UCD), D Buser (Lisnagarvey), S Cole (Monkstown), M Crooks (Cookstown), B Dobson (UCD), B Doherty (Beerschot), P English (Railway Union), D Hobbs (Cork C of I), I Hughes (GK, Cookstown), J Jermyn (Cork C of I), K Lynch (Pembroke Wanderers), P MacDonnell (Lisnagarvey), B McCandless (Banbridge), S O’Donoghue (UCD), K Shimmins (Pembroke Wanderers), S Sloan (Cookstown), A Smith (Bandon), T Smyth (Cookstown), C Sweetnam (Cork C of I), S West (GK, Three Rock Rovers).
Ireland A, fixture schedule:
Saturday, June 16: Ireland A vs England A, 4pm
Saturday, June 17: Ireland A vs England A, 1pm
IRELAND U16 Boys squad for EuroHockey Youth Championships, Vienna, Austria (July 5-8): J Carr (GK, St Andrew’s/Monkstown), H Lavery (GK, Sandford Park/Pembroke), A Burns (Midleton College/Cork C of I), N Byrne (St Colmcille’s/Glenanne), J Henderson (Friends School/Lisnagarvey), J Henry (St Andrew’s/Monkstown), L Madeley (Wesley/Three Rock Rovers, capt), B McCrea (Wesley/Three Rock Rovers), J McKee (Banbridge Academy/Banbridge), P McKibbin (Regent House), D Nolan (St Andrew’s/Monkstown), G O’Brien (Sutton Park/Suttonians), R Poots (Regent House/North Down), J Ryan (Sutton Park/Suttonians), A Smyth (Drumragh College/Cookstown), M Sullivan (Friends School/Lisnagarvey), J Wilson (Wallace High/Lisnagarvey), S Wolfe (Ashton/Cork C of I).