John Jermyn is set to receive the perfect send-off to his international hockey career this evening as he lines out one last time for Ireland at his home ground of Garryduff against France.
The 36-year-old Cork man will formally retire from international hockey after 178 matches and an Irish record of 92 goals – prior to tonight – over the course of 16 years, culminating in the 2016 Olympics, marking him out as one of the all-time greats.
“I can’t think of a better way to call an end to my career than in front of a home crowd in Garryduff where I first started training 32 years ago with my hero Reg Treacy,” Jermyn said of the fixture.
“It has been a huge privilege to represent Ireland for the last 16 years. Those years have been an amazing journey throughout which I have made a load of lifelong friends.”
The C of I man rose up through the club as well as the Ashton system, winning an All-Ireland schools title in 1999. His Irish debut followed in June 2002 as a dynamic midfielder, getting his first goal against Scotland a couple of days later.
For a long time, he diced with Stephen Butler for primary drag-flicking duties before becoming the go-to man. His career encompassed five European championship campaigns, three World Cup and Olympic qualifying campaigns but a major world level event looked set to escape him.
That was especially the case when he penned a retirement letter in the wake of the Champions Challenge in 2012, hot on the heels of the agonising Olympic qualifiers when Ireland came within seconds of a spot at London.
The letter, though, was never publicly announced with the wags on the Cork C of I account joking “he’s not retired yet” after three successive hat-tricks at the start of the 2015/16 season.
But coach Craig Fulton saw plenty of potential still in Jermyn and coaxed back after over 30 months away just before the Rio Olympics. He would go on to score twice in Ireland’s first Games since 1908.
Since then, Jermyn had been set to play in the World League Round 2 in 2017 but a freak leg gash sustained when cycling home from training put paid to that.
Now, though, he gets the perfect stage to say goodbye to the green jersey in front of his friends, club mates and family at the venue which made him an Irish hero.
Ireland (v France from June 28 to July 1, Cork):
D Harte (SV Kampong), M Ingram (Pembroke), J Carr (Three Rock Rovers), J Bell (Lisnagarvey), C Harte (Racing Club de Bruxelles), P Gleghorne (Lisnagarvey), S Loughrey (Hampstead & Westminster), J Jermyn (Cork C of I), M Bell (Crefelder HTC), L Cole (Oree), M Robson (Lisnagarvey), S O’Donoghue (KHC Dragons), C Cargo (Hampstead & Westminster), D Walsh (Three Rock Rovers), S Murray (Lisnagarvey), N Glassey (Lisnagarvey), E Magee (Banbridge), P Caruth (Annadale), M Nelson (Lisnagarvey), M Darling (Three Rock Rovers), J Duncan (Herakles), A Sothern (Pembroke), J McKee (Pembroke), J Dale (Cork C of I), O Magee (Banbridge)
Men’s International Fixtures in Cork:
Today: Ireland vs France, 7pm, Garryduff
Saturday: Ireland vs France, 2pm, UCC
Sunday: Ireland vs France, 2pm, UCC