Hockey World League form puts Ireland in confident mood ahead of EuroHockey Championships
Ireland men head into the Unibet EuroHockey Championships 2015 in London next week hoping to improve upon their good form witnessed at the Hockey World League (HWL) Semi-Final in Antwerp, Belgium earlier this summer.
Ireland’s ‘Green Machine’ will be drawing upon the positives taken from their fifth place finish at that event as they bid to win the European title for the first time in their history and in doing so gain automatic qualification for the Rio 2016 Olympics.
In Antwerp, Ireland recorded wins against Pakistan and Malaysia, both ranked above Ireland in the FIH world rankings.
A 6-0 win against China, a draw against world number five ranked Great Britain (competing as England during the EuroHockey Championships) and a narrow loss to the hosts Belgium, ranked fourth in the world, will provide them with further confidence as they head to London.
Four of the world’s top five teams will be competing in the EuroHockey Championships. However, the squad have faced Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, the three highest ranked teams in Europe, as part of their preparations in recent months.
Ireland is placed in Group B along with Germany, ranked third in the world, Belgium, ranked fourth, and France, ranked 17 in the world.
Ireland Head Coach Craig Fulton has named an experienced team, with Eugene Magee and Ronan Gormley having over 400 caps between them.
The squad is much the same to that which secured fifth place in Antwerp, with three changes to the squad which includes the addition of Michael Robson, Mathew Bell and Jonny Bruton.
Discussing the selection and tournament, Coach Craig Fulton said: “It is a strong squad and there is plenty of belief and confidence in the group going into the Europeans on the back of good performances in Belgium. At the same time we are well aware of the challenge that lies ahead against the quality opposition at the tournament. Our goal is simple: to finish as high as we possibly can.”
Ireland men: Mathew Bell-Banbridge;Jonny Bruton-Three Rock;Peter Caruth-Monkstown; Chris Cargo-Racing; Mitch Darling-Three Rock; David Fitzgerald-Monkstown; Paul Gleghorne-Lisnagarvey; Kyle Good-Dragons; Ronan Gormley-Krefeld; Conor Harte-Racing; David Harte-Kampong; John Jackson-Reading; Eugene Magee-Banbridge; Shane O’Donoghue-Dragons; Michael Robson-Annadale; Kirk Shimmins-UCD; Alan Sothern-Racing; Michael Watt-Surbiton.
For more information about the event, and to buy tickets, visit:http://eurohockey2015.co.uk