World League to test new Irish midfield combinations

Brendon Carolan’s first squad as interim Irish coach shows five changes from the panel that reached the Olympic qualifying tournament final last March as Ireland embark on the first phase toward potential World Cup qualification for the Hague in 2014.

Ireland have been grouped with Sweden, Wales and Austria in the first round of the World League – which runs from September 7-9 – needing to finish inside the top two in the round-robin event to progress to round two, something they would expect to negotiate with something to spare

The first task looks to be the reconstruction of the midfield options with David Ames, Loughborough-bound Ian Sloan and Geoff McCabe listed as unavailable as are utility-man Chris Cargo and full-back Stu Loughrey.

The players to come in are defenders Kenny Carroll and Johnny Bell, front men Jonny Bruton and Stephen Dowds, pictured, while Bruce McCandless, subject to a fitness test, is a versatile option. For all five, it will be their first appearances in a world ranking event. The upshot of the changes means a number of players are likely to take on more responsibility in the midfield exchanges alongside the likes of John Jermyn and Eugene Magee.

Speaking about the selection, Carolan said: “I am looking forward to the green machine continuing on all its hard work done over the summer. We will continue to drive the team’s standards of excellence throughout all events, with the World League round one in Cardiff being the first phase.”

Ireland: Jonathon Bell (Lisnagarvey), Jonny Bruton (YMCA), Kenny Carroll (Railway Union), Peter Caruth (Braxgata, Belgium), Tim Cockram (Lisnagarvey), Mitch Darling (Three Rock Rovers), Stephen Dowds (Banbridge), David Fitzgerald (Monkstown), Paul Gleghorne (Instonians), Ronan Gormley (Crefelder HTC, Germany), Conor Harte (SCHC, Netherlands), David Harte (Kampong, Netherlands), John Jackson (Braxgata), John Jermyn (Pingouin, Belgium), Eugene Magee (Crefelder HTC), Bruce McCandless (Banbridge), Andy McConnell (Hurley, Netherlands), Mikey Watt (SCHC)

Friday, September 7: Austria v Sweden, 3.30pm; Ireland v Wales, 6pm
Saturday, September 8: Ireland v Austria, 2pm; Wales v Sweden, 4.30pm
Sunday, September 9: Ireland v Sweden, 12pm; Wales v Austria 3pm

Partners of The Hook