Neal Glassey and Mark Ingram look set to win their first international caps next week as the Irish senior men take on France in a pair of test matches in Lille.
Mossley’s Glassey is a complete newcomer to the panel having impressed in the summer with the national Under-21 side before being named his club’s captain this term.Ingram has been involved in panels before and is one of two goalkeepers included alongside the vastly experienced David Harte.
Striker Jonny Bruton is back after 18 months away from the panel to set up his own business. Otherwise, the panel has a young look to it and features five players from the Banbridge side that has won 14 games in succession so far this term.
Ireland meet the French on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week as part of ongoing preparations for the 2015 World League round two in the US, part of the Olympic qualifying process.
To that end, Ireland have been grouped with Chile, Austria and Italy in the preliminary round of the tournament with Canada, Russia, USA and Trinidad and Tobago in the other pool.
From there, Ireland go into the now standard quarter-final playoffs with victory vital in that tie to keep alive chances of earning a top three spot and a place in World League 3 in which the places to Rio 2016 will be doled out.
The Green Machine have had an intense period with twelve national sessions over the last three months and Coach Fulton was looking forward to putting the team back into match mode.
“There is a good mix of youth and experience in this current Irish Senior Men’s team and all the squad players have been working hard and are ready to play,” Fulton said of the panel.
The Irish team will have one more tour before Christmas, travelling to Alicante, Spain from December 15-20 where they will play against both Spain and Poland twice. The squad for that trip will be announced following this French tour.
Match Schedule (Lille, France – French times)
November 25: Ireland v France, 6pm
November 26: Ireland v France, 11am
Ireland for two-game series with France, November 25 and 26, Lille): Jonny Bell (Lisnagarvey), Mathew Bell (Banbridge), Peter Brown (Banbridge), Jonny Bruton (Three Rock Rovers), Drew Carlisle (Banbridge), Mitch Darling (Three Rock Rovers), Stephen Dowds (Banbridge), Neal Glassey (Mossley), Paul Gleghorne (Instonians), Kyle Good (Dragons), David Harte (Kampong), Conor Harte (Racing), Mark Ingram (Pembroke Wanderers), John Jackson (Reading), Bruce McCandless (Banbridge), Shane O’Donoghue (Dragons), Michael Robson (Annadale), Michael Watt (Surbiton)
Head coach: Craig Fulton
Assistant coach: Jonny Caren
S&C/ Manager: Stephen Barry
Physio: Stephen Haslam
Video: Mark Kavanagh