Paul Gleghorne admitted it was a “weird” experience in the lead-up to an international match against older brother Mark but said that once the first whistle went, it was business as usual.
The pair shared a smile in the pre-match handshakes but, scarcely a minute in, the two contested a 50-50 ball down the left channel. As both lunged for the ball vigourously, it squirted out at a 90 degree angle, both players letting the other know they were there without either gaining a significant upper hand.
From there, Paul made his usual whole-hearted tackles, notably midway through the second half with a full-length dive to nip the ball away from Barry Middleton.
Mark, meanwhile, had a rambunctious game, twice being told to cool it by umpire Kris Cholewa while being a regular thorn in the Irish defence with aggressive runs.
Honours even, perhaps, in their personal duel but both brothers admitted there was little time to notice exactly who had the upper hand in a lively tie that England edged 3-2.
Speaking to The Hook, Paul explained how it panned out for him: “You are just so concentrated on trying to implement the tactics and trying to play. Sometimes, you don’t always notice who you are marking.
“I could have been marking my brother or maybe not; you’re just trying to find a free man. It was weird in the lead-up to it, playing your brother in an international game but once we were in the game, that stuff goes out the window.”
Unprompted, Mark’s thoughts followed very similar lines: “It’s strange. You want your brother to do well but to play against him, you obviously don’t want that! We had a wee smile when we were shaking hands at the start of the game but once you’re in it, the game is too quick to be able to tell.”
While the pair knew it was likely they would line out tonight, Paul said that there was not too much made of what is a very rare occurrence. Nonetheless, he does see Mark as an inspiring influence.
“We talked a fair bit in midweek about the documentary about Ryan Giggs! Not too much on the actual game; we do talk regularly but its generally more banter than any sort of meaningful chat about hockey.
“There’s a disparity [between where our teams are currently at]. It’s good as a motivating factor to see someone you know so well, playing on that stage and knowing the work that has gone into it. It also gives us faith, ourselves, that we can be there as well at the level so it is a good thing and obviously, I am very pleased when he does well but not against us!”