Revington ready to meet his new players

NEW Ireland senior men’s hockey coach Paul Revington gets his first chance to see his new charges in action later this month as Scotland arrive for a three-game series.

While the South African doesn’t officially take up his new post until January, he will arrive in Ireland for a ten-day reconnaissance mission that includes taking in the games at Havelock Park in Banbridge.

Revington, who was appointed last week and is a former head coach of the Springboks, said the trip would be a “vital” part of familiarising himself with Irish hockey.

“Outside of watching a few league games, meeting key role players involved within the high performance end of hockey, watching the squad play games against Scotland and experiencing both Dublin and Belfast as hockey centres, I will, most importantly, get to meet the players personally for the first time,” he said.

High performance director Dave Passmore has selected three squads for the games — two of which are Tests, the other non-capped — to give Revington the chance to view fringe players as well as established regulars.

Cork Church of Ireland goalkeeper Mark Ruddle returns to the fold after spending most of 2008 on the sidelines with knee tendonitis problems, while club-mates Adam Pritchard and Jonny Bruton also get a chance to impress.

A number of Ireland’s stars-in-waiting, including Three Rock’s Peter Blakeney, Mossley’s Simon Todd, Cookstown’s David Ames and Peter Caruth of Annadale, are also included.

Passmore said the matches come at the “perfect time” following Revington’s appointment: “He will be able to view just about all the most talented Irish players over the course of the matches, and observe them carefully on and off the pitch.”

The Irish women will also take on the Scots in three games, with coach Gene Muller — a compatriot of Revington — announcing a 19-strong squad.

However, he is without a number of influential figures due to injury and international sabbaticals, including the experienced triumvirate of skipper Eimear Cregan, Bray shot-stopper Mary Logue and Ciara O’Brien, as well as South African native Louisa Moore and UCC’s Julia O’Halloran.

As a result, a number of players who made their international bows during the Celtic Cup in July — including Hermes netminder Emma Gray, Loreto’s Lizzie Colvin, Ballymoney forward Megan Frazer and Michelle Harvey of Pegasus — are included again.

However, there is no place for UCC’s Aine Connery or club-mate Audrey O’Flynn, who impressed Muller at an open trial in October and was called into the squad for a recent ‘super camp’ but will have to wait a little longer to earn her first cap.

There was better news for the Cork students on the domestic front however, as O’Halloran’s strike gave UCC a 1-0 win over Bandon at the Mardyke last night.

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