Ahead of the Olympic Games in Rio, here are some of the key facts and figures relating to the Irish men’s team as they look to make history after 108 years away from the elite event. The stats show some of the challenges ahead for the team but also give a strong idea about what they have already achieved and how they have broken new barriers at every step in recent years.
244 – Ronan Gormley’s caps total at the start of the tournament, the highest of all-time. He has captained the side on 121 occasions
108 – the amount of years since Ireland last played at the Olympic Games when they won silver in London 1908; it is also 68 years since Ireland contested a team sport at the Olympics, the basketballers playing in 1948.
90 – John Jermyn’s goals total – the record for an Irish player. He has done so at an average of a goal every 1.91 games. Of players to score more than ten goals for Ireland, only Justin Sherriff has a better goals per game record, scoring at 1.72 (93 caps, 51 goals)
9 – the nine most capped players of all-time are in the Irish squad to play in Rio
6 – the number of different countries Mikey Watt has played club hockey in; Grange (Scotland), RS Tenis (Spain), SCHC (Netherlands), KHC Dragons (Belgium) and Surbiton (England) along with Instonians and Lisnagarvey in Ireland. He joins Hampstead and Westminster in England for next season.
5 – the number of current squad members who have scored over 50 international goals – John Jermyn (90), Alan Sothern (59), Timmy Cockram (56), Mikey Watt (55) and Shane O’Donoghue (51)
10 – Ireland is currently on its longest run of games without a win since 1980, following seven defeats and three draws. The last win was against Canada in Dublin on June 12. In terms of days, the total of 43 days is nowhere near the highest, however with the current record standing at over two years without a win.
** The truth behind this figure, though, is that all 44 matches that Ireland have played since June 2015’s World League semi-finals exclusively against Tier 1 sides, the majority playing at the Olympics.
This has clearly been a strategic decision to maintain their match programme at the very highest level and, with that, making results harder to come by. Leading into the World League semi-finals, Ireland lost seven games in succession before ending that run with a 2-2 draw against world number four side Great Britain.
37 – Ireland’s 37th international match was the last time they played at an Olympic Games, earning the silver medal despite an 8-1 final defeat against England.
901 – Saturday’s match against India will be the 901st in Irish hockey history.
39,361 – the amount of days that have passed since Ireland’s last Olympic appearance.
4/246 – the number of players and caps formerly played for Ireland – Iain Lewers (88), Mark Gleghorne (73), David Ames (64) and Ian Sloan (21) – that now form part of the Great Britain squad
12 – Ireland’s current world ranking, their highest of all-time
Head to heads (all times Irish)
Vs India (world ranked 5); Saturday, August 6, 3pm
Record – 1 win, 1 draw, 4 losses (Goals for 12; goals against 19), last win 3-2 in Leverkusen in 2004
Most recent meeting – June 2016, Ireland 1 (K Good) India 2
In world ranking events, Ireland have played India twice, both in 2013 in the World Cup qualifying process. The results include a 3-2 loss in Delhi before drawing 4-4 in the World League semi-finals in Rotterdam.
Vs Netherlands (world number 2), Sunday, August 7, 11pm
Record – 1 win, 1 draw, 37 losses (Goals for 30; goals against 147), last win 1-0 2-1 in Dublin in 1995
Most recent meeting – July 2016, Ireland 0 Netherlands 5
In world ranking events, Ireland ran close in the European Championships in 2015 (1-0), 2013 (2-1) and 2007 (1-0) as well as a spectacular 7-4 loss in 2011. In 2013, the Dutch won 5-0 in Rotterdam in the World League semi-finals.
Vs Germany (world number 3), Tuesday, August 9, 4.30pm
Record – 3 wins, 1 draw, 18 losses (Goals for 22, goals against 77); last win 3-2 in Mannheim in May 2013 as part of an overall series victory.
Most recent meeting – July 2016, Ireland 0 Germany 2
In world ranking events, Germany won 2-0 in 2015’s European Championships in the most recent tie. This is Ireland’s only ranked fixture since 1995.
Vs Canada (world number 15), Thursday, August 11, 3pm
Record – 14 wins, 10 draws, 5 losses (goals for 47; goals against 37); last win 2-0 in June 2016 (Timmy Cockram and Kyle Good with the goals)
Most recent meeting – Ireland 2 (Alan Sothern 2) Canada 2 at Santry Avenue, June 2016
Ireland are unbeaten in nine games against Canada, winning five and drawing four. Incredibly, though, there has never been more than two goals between the teams in 29 previous meetings.
In world ranking events, Ireland beat Canada 2-0 (Shane O’Donoghue) in San Diego at World League Round 2 in February 2015. The only other meeting in a competitive match in the last 20 years was in Changzhou City in 2006 in the World Cup qualifier, Mark Gleghorne and Stephen Butler scoring in a 2-1 win.
Vs Argentina, (world number 7), Friday, August 12, 11.30pm
Record – 3 wins, 3 draws, 17 losses (goals for 35, goals against 69); last win 4-1 (M Watt 2, T Cockram, J Jermyn) in Paris in July 2011
Most recent meeting – Ireland 1 (T Cockram) Argentina 2 at Buenos Aires, July 2016-08-04
Timmy Cockram and John Jermyn have both scored six times against Argentina. In world ranking events, Ireland lost twice to Argentina in Quilmes (ARG) in 2012 at the Champions Challenge I. In the last world ranking meeting not on Argentine turf, however, Ireland won 1-0 in Auckland with Ronan Gormley scoring the only goal. That was in the 2008 Olympic qualifiers.
** Statistics with thanks to the incredible work of Steven Hiles who has put together comprehesive information on all the men’s internationals dating back to 1893.