Ireland’s record goalscorer, John Jermyn will formally hang up his international hockey stick in front of his home crowd at Garryduff on Thursday evening when the men’s side take on France in a test match.
The 36-year-old scored 92 times in 178 games, culminating in the 2016 Olympic Games. He has not been part of the international setup since then but has been training for the past month with Ireland in anticipation of this big send off.
It is not the first time that he has tried to retire. In the wake of the 2012 Olympic qualifiers – when Ireland felt to a heartbreaking last minute defeat to Korea – Jermyn did send on notice of his intention to retire to Hockey Ireland.
But the missive was not formally acted upon by the governing body and no further public action took place to recognise the retirement. He did not play for Ireland between December 2012 and May 2016 but some spectacular league form for Cork C of I saw a couple of, initially tongue-in-cheek, suggestions of a recall ahead of the Rio Olympics.
Coach Craig Fulton soon explored the possibility of getting him back in the mix and he returned in May 2016 ahead of the Games where he added two more penalty corner goals to his tally.
One of the Ireland all-time greats, Thursday marks a fitting way to end the Cork native’s career at the venue where he first picked up a stick.
“I can’t think of a better way to call an end to my career than in front of a home crowd in Garryduff where I first started training 32 years ago with my hero Reg Treacy,” Jermyn said of the fixture.
“It has been a huge privilege to represent Ireland for the last 16 years, give or take a year. Those years have been an amazing journey throughout which I have made a load of lifelong friends in my teammates. The highlight of which was fulfilling a lifelong ambition to play in the Olympics.
“I have been lucky enough to work with some world class coaches and support staff whose tireless efforts are really appreciated by the players. I’d like to wish the team all the best in the upcoming World Cup in November.
“There really are too many people to mention but I must thank my employers Ronan Daly Jermyn for their continued support.
“Last but certainly not least, to my family, without your never-ending support, none of the last 16 years would have been possible. I can’t thank you enough.”
The series is also the last one for coach Fulton before he takes up a role with Belgian hockey. David Harte and Mark Ingram return to the line-up from the one that beat Germany in a series in May with Dave Fitzgerald stepping out.
Kirk Shimmins and Stephen Cole are also out for this series with Neal Glassey, Jonny McKee, Julian Dale, Sean Murray, Eugene Magee, Peter Caruth and Stu Loughrey coming in along with Jermyn.
Ireland (v France from June 28 to July 1, Cork): D Harte (SV Kampong), M Ingram (Pembroke), J Carr (Three Rock Rovers), J Bell (Lisnagarvey), C Harte (Racing Club de Bruxelles), P Gleghorne (Lisnagarvey), S Loughrey (Hampstead & Westminster), J Jermyn (Cork C of I), M Bell (Crefelder HTC), L Cole (Oree), M Robson (Lisnagarvey), S O’Donoghue (KHC Dragons), C Cargo (Hampstead & Westminster), D Walsh (Three Rock Rovers), S Murray (Lisnagarvey), N Glassey (Lisnagarvey), E Magee (Banbridge), P Caruth (Annadale), M Nelson (Lisnagarvey), M Darling (Three Rock Rovers), J Duncan (Herakles), A Sothern (Pembroke), J McKee (Pembroke), J Dale (Cork C of I), O Magee (Banbridge)
Men’s International Fixtures in Cork:
Thursday, June 28: Ireland vs France, 7pm, Garryduff
Saturday, June 30: Ireland vs France, 2pm, UCC
Sunday, July 1: Ireland vs France, 2pm, UCC