Ireland’s two most capped players, Eugene Magee and Ronan Gormley, are back in Craig Fulton’s men’s national panel for their trip to South Africa later this month.There, they will take part in a warm-weather training camp with test matches against the hosts as well as top five world-ranked sides the Netherlands and Belgium as preparation for the Olympic qualifying bid ramps up.
Both missed a two-game series with France in November and are among seven players to come back into the panel of 22. Racing Club de Bruxelles duo Alan Sothern and Chris Cargo are back in the fold while rising stars Kirk Shimmins and James Lorimer also return.
David Fitzgerald will don the goalkeeping pads in the absence of David Harte – along with twin brother Conor – who is in Delhi at the professional Hockey India League until early February.
He is one of two goalkeepers in the squad with Mark Ingram retaining his place following his debut in that French series following an impressive season to date with Pembroke. Neal Glassey, the other first-timer from that trip, is also retained.
Of that French selection, Banbridge pair Matthew Bell and Peter Brown miss out but the Co Down club remains the most represented team with Drew Carlisle, Bruce McCandless, Magee and Stephen Dowds – who already has 50 club goals to his name this season – all included.
Coach Fulton said of the selection: “This is a really important training and match phase for us in our preparations. Selection again was really tight and this camp will form the basis for the final selection for World League 2. We are all very excited and can’t wait to get training and playing together”.
The team leave on January 21 and will return to Ireland on February 2.
Ireland: Jonny Bell (Lisnagarvey), Jonny Bruton (Three Rock Rovers), Drew Carlisle (Banbridge), Peter Caruth (Monkstown), Chris Cargo (Racing Club de Bruxelles), Mitch Darling (Three Rock Rovers), Stephen Dowds (Banbridge), David Fitzgerald (Monkstown), Neal Glassey (Mossley), Paul Gleghorne (Instonians), Kyle Good (Dragons), Ronan Gormley (Krefeld), Mark Ingram (Pembroke), John Jackson (Reading), James Lorimer (Lisnagarvey), Eugene Magee (Banbridge), Bruce McCandless (Banbridge), Shane O’Donoghue (Dragons), Michael Robson (Annadale), Kirk Shimmins (UCD), Alan Sothern (Racing Club de Bruxelles), Mikey Watt (Surbiton)
MATCH SCHEDULE (all local times)
January 25: Ireland V South Africa, Hartleyvale, Capetown – time to be confirmed
January 26: Ireland V South Africa, Hartleyvale, Capetown, 7pm
January 28: Ireland V Netherlands, Stellenbosch, 3pm
January 29: Ireland V Netherlands, Stellenbosch, 3pm
January 31: Ireland V Belgium, Hartleyvale, Capetown, 3pm
February 1: Ireland v Belgium, Hartleyvale, Capetown, 2pm