Comeback kid John Jermyn is hopeful he can keep his out of office email notice on beyond June 16 as he continues his return to the Irish men’s senior international panel.
The all-time top goalscorer was on the mark on Tuesday evening in the first game of the Ballsbridge énergie Fitness Match Series with Korea, his second goal in as many games having notched one against Germany.
That series in Hamburg were Jermyn’s first games for Ireland since the autumn of 2012 and the Cork man, now 33, says he is loving being back in the frame.
“It’s a great bunch of lads and it’s amazing to be involved in a pretty much fully professional environment,” he told The Hook.
“We’ve been away two weeks pretty much non-stop. It gives you a load of time to concentrate on your game and block everything else out – apart from maybe the fundraising. We’re getting close to our target so we can concentrate totally on our hockey.”
He credits the introduction of the EY Hockey League as a crucial factor in reigniting his international career. While reports back in September and October about a call-up appeared tongue-in-cheek after he scored three hat tricks in succession.
But, in order to prepare for the national league, Jermyn admits he went “a bit crazy on the training” and his confidence duly grew.
“I didn’t really expect to be in this position! But playing the IHL, I really enjoyed it and thought ‘I can keep up with these young fellas’.
“I hit the ground running. Coming into the IHL, we had something to look forward to. I knew that to compete, I would have to get fit.
“Sometimes in Munster hockey, you could come back late to preseason and not the best shape ever and then work your way through it while still getting the results. I knew, this time, there would be no hiding place in the IHL. I got a bit crazy on the training and as fit as I have ever been.”
C of I’s season was one of peaks and troughs, top in October before dropping into a scrap to avoid relegation. A late season surge meant they finished seventh, a finish Jermyn says is “pretty good for a Munster side” and he is hopeful his side will maintain much of their panel for next season without too many losses to “Dublin and abroad”.
As for the return to the national panel, he says: “It had been in the back of my mind but once I got myself really fit, it moved very much to the forefront of my mind.”
He was called back into Craig Fulton’s panel after the warm-weather training camp in South Africa in January, initially part of a group of 11 players who joined the main panel each Sunday.
After some impressive showings, though, he was assimilated into the 27-man central crew who trained three days a week until the end of April and have since gone full-time.
And he is hoping that his status in that group will continue beyond the next selection cut-off date, keeping him away from his lawyering day job.
“The out of office is on until June 16 and then I will hopefully be changing that to August!”
** Ireland face Korea in the second Ballsbridge énergie Fitness Match Series game this evening at 7pm in the Merrion Fleet Arena