Craig Fulton has made three changes to the Irish panel for the European championships which begin next weekend in London with Michael Robson, Matthew Bell and Jonny Bruton coming into the side.
They come in for Jonny Bell, Drew Carlisle and Stephen Dowds for the competition as Ireland look to build on their fine fifth place showing at World League Round 3 in Antwerp last month.Ireland are placed in a group with red-hot Germany who have won both the Champions Trophy and their WL3 campaign in Argentina in the past year while Belgium and France make up the pool. England, the Netherlands, Spain and Russia are on the other side of the draw.
Speaking about the side, Fulton said: “Final selection was done this week after a three-week block of training and two important matches against world number two Holland last weekend.
“It is a strong squad and there is plenty of belief and confidence in the group going into the Europeans on the back of good performances in Belgium. At the same time we are well aware of the challenge that lies ahead against the quality opposition at the tournament. Our goal is simple to finish as high as we possibly can.”
Ireland fell 5-0 and 3-2 to the Netherlands in their most recent warm-up games, improving markedly between the two games.
If Ireland were to upset the odds and land overall victory in the competition, it would bring with it an Olympic spot. Should any other side bar France or Russia win the Euros, Ireland will move a place closer in the qualification list for Rio 2016. All the Ireland matches will be broadcast on BBC on the red button.
Elsewhere, goalkeeper David Harte has been one of three players retained by Dabang Mumbai for the 2016 and 2017 Hockey India League.
Harte proved invaluable to Dabang Mumbai last season and a team representative said “Clearly, David Harte is an international stalwart and was an easy choice for us. I am confident we will work towards setting up a strong core for the team in addition to these players and build a winning team for the upcoming season.”
Chris Cargo and Conor Harte, meanwhile, have been retained by Racing Club de Bruxelles for next season. Their panel will be among some of the favourites for the Belgian league next term following the additions of Tom Boon and Simon Gougnard from Bloemendaal.
Ireland squad for European championships (August 22-30, London): Mathew Bell (Banbridge), Jonny Bruton (Three Rock Rovers), Peter Caruth (Monkstown), Chris Cargo (Racing Club de Bruxelles), Mitch Darling (Three Rock Rovers), David Fitzgerald (Monkstown), Paul Gleghorne (Lisnagarvey), Kyle Good (Monkstown), Ronan Gormley (Krefeld), Conor Harte (Racing Club de Bruxelles), David Harte (Kampong), John Jackson (Reading), Eugene Magee (Banbridge), Shane O’Donoghue (Dragons), Michael Robson (Annadale), Kirk Shimmins (UCD), Alan Sothern (Racing Club de Bruxelles), Michael Watt (Surbiton)
Reserves: Lee Cole (Monkstown), Drew Carlisle (Banbridge), Neal Glassey (Lisnagarvey), Mark Ingram (Pembroke), Stuart Loughrey (Cannock)
Saturday, August 22, 8:30am: Ireland vs France
Sunday, August 23, 8:30pm: Ireland vs Germany
Tuesday, August 25, 1:15pm: Ireland vs Belgium
Thursday, August 27: Classification matches
Saturday, August 29: Classification/finals