Cork and Ireland legend Jermyn says goodbye at packed Garryduff

Men’s senior international test match
Ireland 1 (J Jermyn) France 1 (E Tynevez)

John Jermyn signed off on his international career in front of the “biggest crowd” he has seen at his Garryduff home, scoring a typically powerful penalty corner into the bargain.

The third minute goal did not quite prove a winner as Etienne Tynevez grabbed a 41st minute equaliser but it did not overly matter in the wider context. It was the final act of a 16-year international career, one which yielded 93 goals including this last one.

That he got to finish at the Cork C of I venue he started the game 32 years ago in front of a crowd primarily in situ, filling the grandstand and spilling down the hill, to say thank you and goodbye to him was something precious few other players get to receive.

“Personally, to have my home crowd here is fantastic,” Jermyn said afterwards. “It’s testament to Ned [coach Craig Fulton] to allow me back into the squad [just for this].

“I had no real right to be here but he said ‘there’s three games and we would like to give you a swansong on your home turf’. I really appreciate that and will always be thankful for it and I hope others will get that same treatment.

He has tried to retire before, notably in 2012 after the agonising Olympic qualifying campaign. This time, though, while tempted to make a push for a World Cup spot, family definitely comes first.

“I didn’t expect to get back [in 2016]. When I made the call to Ned this time, he said ‘hang on!’ No second thoughts this time. They have given me the [individualised] shirt for this so there’s no going back now – I am definitely retired.

“As for the World Cup, I would love to. Seeing some of the programmes they have brought in, the game trackers, the stats they have, they are really taking it to the next level. It’s taking the professionalism to the next level and I think they will do very well.

John Jermyn with the Irish team following their tie with France

“But my wife and I are expecting another kid on November 26 [two days before the World Cup] so that makes up the mind!”

Whether he will go straight into coaching – especially with Neil Welch taking a step back next term at C of I – he reckons that may be a few years down the line.

“I have a three year old daughter so maybe the Under-7s soon enough! Maybe in the not too distant future but right now I just want to enjoy my club hockey!”

As for the French game, other than that early salvo, though, the French were determined to mix things up. For Ireland, there were too many technical errors, allowing the visitors to gain control and possession in dangerous positions all too frequently.

Four first half penalty corners were well shut down with Stu Loughrey brilliantly taking a Victor Charlet drag off the line. The towering French defender would also clatter the post early in the second half as David Harte’s save count increased.

Tynevez eventually squeezed a chance over Harte in the 41st minute, a remarkable piece of innovation from a crouching position to flip the ball over his shoulder and over Harte.

“They are off the back of six games and have game practice under their belt,” Jermyn reflected. “We were a little bit rusty but came into a little bit more as the game wore on. Hopefully in UCC we can turn things around and get two big wins.”

Fulton, meanwhile, paid tribute to the C of I man: “Getting that goal is a beautiful ending, and I think everyone is really happy for him, it’s a great way to go out.

“He is an all-round great guy and to have a player of his caliber as part of the group has been a great asset to the team. For him to finish off here in Garryduff in front of his family and friends is priceless.”

Ireland face France on Saturday and Sunday at the Mardyke in the final two games of the series, the latter being coach Fulton’s last game in charge before he moves to Belgium to be their assistant coach.

Ireland: D Harte, J Jackson, J Bell, C Cargo, M Nelson, A Sothern, J Jermyn, S O’Donoghue, M Robson, C Harte, P Caruth
Subs: N Glassey, J Dale, D Walsh, P Gleghorne, J Duncan, S Loughrey, M Ingram

France: A Thieffry, P van Straaten, T Genestet, H Genestet, B Rogeau, V Lockwood, C Masson, F Goyet, C Peters-Deutz, E Tynevez, V Charlet
Subs: M Branicki, A Ferec, J-L Kieffer, N Dumont, G Baumgarten, A Coisne, C Saunier

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