Peter Caruth has quit Annadale to take up the role of assistant player-coach at their EY Hockey League rivals Corinthian in the new season, representing a major blow for the Belfast club, writes John Flack.
Caruth played for Ireland at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and has been recalled to the national squad which is currently preparing for next month’s European Championship in Antwerp and the Tokyo qualifiers.
The 32-year-old striker, who has 137 caps, would have been close to the double-century mark, had it not been for a series of injuries in recent years, having last represented his country in June 2018.
But he is now back to full fitness following knee surgery which ruled him out of the playing arena for the second-half of the last IHL season.
It’s probably more than coincidence that Annadale struggled somewhat after losing their talismanic striker as he concentrated solely on coaching after Christmas.
Caruth says he is looking forward to combining playing and coaching with his new club, who secured promotion to Irish hockey’s top-flight last season.
It will be his second spell in Dublin, having played for Monkstown for three years before rejoining Annadale, where he learned his hockey as a youngster.
Caruth said: “While it’s a wrench to be leaving Annadale, I am looking forward to the new season with Corinthian and I reckon they can do quite well in what will be their first IHL campaign.
“I enjoyed my time at Dale and was glad to be able to do my bit in helping them get into the IHL in my first season as player-coach and, equally important, see them stay there.
“I wish them well but there will be no room for sentiment when I play against them and I don’t think they would want there to be.”
Caruth hopes to add to his international caps tally sooner rather than later, as preparations continue for the Euros and the last phase of Olympic qualifying for Tokyo 2020.
He could come back into a match-day 18 as early as the weekend as Ireland continue their build-up with two games against Scotland in Glasgow.
The next Irish men’s panel could also feature former Australian international Tim Cross. He played six times for the Kookaburras but has an Irish passport and has completed a three-year hiatus from international action that clears him to declare for Ireland. Last season, Cross played in Tilburg in the Netherlands.
Elsewhere, Sam O’Connor is another Irish international on the move to Belgium where he will play with EHL-bound Beerschot while acting as the “T1” head coach with the women’s side. Glenanne’s Sarah-Jane Kelly will also join the Belgian club.
UCD’s men have announced Michael Styles as their new coach for their return to the EYHL. He takes over the reins from Rudi Wortmann who stood down following their promotion in the spring following spells as Monkstown head coach and working with Joe Brennan at the Glens.
Styles’ younger brother Iain has played with the students for the past few seasons.