Cookstown – Men’s EY Hockey League preview

Last season: 9th EY Hockey League, won promotion-relegation playoff vs Bangor; Irish Senior Cup second round

Coaches: Michael Haycock (13th season), Andrew Barbour (1st season), Ian Hughes (1st season) and Stephen McCartney (4th season)

Players in: Callum Anderson (Queen’s University) Players out: Jon Ames (MCC, Australia)

Cookstown’s Stu Smyth. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Overview: Michael Haycock will take on sole charge of the team after Stephen Cuddy stepped down from his position of co-coach in the summer lay off. His team includes former Ireland internationals Ian Hughes (GK coach) and Andrew Barbour with video analysis coming from Stephen McCartney who is going into his fourth season with Cookstown.

Haycock has a young squad which has been bolstered by the return of strikers Andy McWhirter and Raymond Miller from long-term injury/illness and Callum Anderson from his time starring for Queen’s University in the Ulster Premier.

The team will also look to Cookstown underage Ireland internationals Josh McCabe, Michael Kerr, Jack Haycock and Stewart Wylie – scorer of a wonder goal in the boys interpros last weekend – to add a dynamism and youthful enthusiasm to the team. No long term injuries to worry about.

Cookstown are, ideally, aiming to have secured their survival in the EYHL by Christmas and push on from there. Ambitions remain restrained with hopes of continuing the upward trajectory set during the latter half of last season. They aim to be competitive in every single quarter of hockey.

Irish Senior Cup draw: third round vs Avoca/Belfast Harlequins (away)

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