Former Australian international Tim Cross is set for a first Irish appearance this weekend as he was confirmed in Alexander Cox’s side for the upcoming two-game series with Scotland in Glasgow.
He lined out for the Kookaburras eight times, including at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in 2015, but has since spent enough time away to be eligible to switch to Green Machine.
Cross is an Irish passport holder and has been based in the Netherlands where he plays with Tilburg in the Hoofdklasse. There, he met up with Cox to discuss the potential of trying to break into the side.
This weekend’s double-header will act as a trial of sorts for the 28-year-old in a series against one of Ireland’s direct rivals at next month’s European Championships.
It is a small buck in the trend of players coming up through the Irish system before declaring for England – and subsequently Great Britain – with Iain Lewers, David Ames, Mark Gleghorne and Ian Sloan having beaten that path.
Most recently, Banbridge’s Kyle Marshall lined out last weekend for the England Under-21s in the European Junior Championships.
On the flip side, Tom Kavanagh – whose family hails from Bray – is another who grew up in Australia and trialled with Ireland in the lead-up to the 2012 Olympic qualifiers. His brother, Fergus, went on to win bronze at those games for Australia.
The squad is, otherwise, a youthful one. Lisnagarvey defender Peter McKibbin is another potential debutant. He is among an array of changes from June’s FIH Series Finals squad with Mark Ingram, David Fitzgerald, Stu Loughrey, Kirk Shimmins, Jeremy Duncan and Jonny McKee all coming back in.
David Harte, Jamie Carr, Conor Harte, Luke Madeley and Neal Glassey are rested. The games will take place at Glasgow Green on Saturday (3pm) and Sunday (12pm).
Soon after, Ireland will head to Barcelona for a four nations tournament with England, Malaysia and Spain before the Euros comes into focus from August 16th.
Ireland squad versus Scotland (July 27-28, Glasgow Green): Mark Ingram (HC Rotterdam), David Fitzgerald (Monkstown), Jonathan Bell (Lisnagarvey), John Jackson (Bath Buccaneers), Lee Cole (Royal Oree), Paul Gleghorne (Crefeld), Matthew Bell (KHC Dragons), Peter McKibbin (Lisnagarvey), Stuart Loughrey (Hampstead & Westminster), Tim Cross (Tilburg), Shane O’Donoghue (KHC Dragons), Stephen Cole (Royal Oree), Daragh Walsh (KHC Leuven), Kirk Shimmins (Pembroke), Sean Murray (HC Rotterdam), Michael Robson (Crefeld), Matthew Nelson (Crefeld), Ben Walker (Three Rock Rovers), Jeremy Duncan (Herakles), Johnny McKee (Banbridge)