Alexander Cox to name squad as Ireland get sponsor boost

Irish coach Alexander Cox is set to make his first significant squad announcement next Tuesday as the men’s hockey World Cup in India comes into view.

Alexander Cox to name squad as Ireland get sponsor boost

By Stephen Findlater

Irish coach Alexander Cox is set to make his first significant squad announcement next Tuesday as the men’s hockey World Cup in India comes into view.

The Dutchman was appointed in late July and formally took on the role in August, naming a training panel of 28 players.

Since then, he has overseen a series of two-day training camps in Lisnagarvey and in Utrecht. Olympian Peter Caruth has stepped back from the squad since then but, other than that, there has been no major changes to the line-up.

As such, the first squad selection will be a fascinating one as Ireland look toward a warm-up tournament in Valencia against Spain, the Netherlands and England later this month before facing the Dutch again and Belgium in advance of the tournament.

The announcement on Tuesday will also coincide with the naming of a new sponsor for the team, backers who will hope to get a similar bumper return as Softco did when they came on board at a late stage for the Irish women.

Domestically, Cork C of I travel to Dublin to meet several former teammates when they take on Pembroke at Serpentine Avenue.

Richard Lynch, Richard Sweetnam, Stephen Sweetnam, and Greg Chambers are all in the Dubliners’ line-up while Patrick Shanahan and Scott Sullivan are other Munster men in the squad.

It means more of Pembroke’s players have come through C of I’s youth system than their own. They have produced something of a mixed bag this term, picking off two battling wins of real character to come back against Lisnagarvey and Monkstown before falling to Annadale and Glenanne. C of I are hoping John Jermyn can come back from injury to give them an extra threat from corners and dynamism in midfield.

Bandon are on the road north for the second week running, going to Kilkeel for the Irish Senior Cup second round.

In Munster, Waterford make their return to Division One after 12 years away when they take on UCC. The signs look good, though, following big wins in the Charity Cup and the Irish Hockey Trophy.

Experienced campaigners like David Quinn return to the club and Czech Republic man Tomas Holub is helping guide a quartet of youth internationals.

On the women’s side, Cork Harlequins host Pembroke, looking to build on their excellent 3-0 win at Belfast Harlequins. Cliodhna Sargent and Yvonne O’Byrne were exceptional in subduing the Belfast side’s all-star midfield.

They will have serious pace to cope with in the form of World Cup stars Emily Beatty and Gillian Pinder as well as Sinead Loughran and Aisling Naughton this time around.

Locally, Belvedere are the surprise leaders in Munster Division One following back-to-back 3-2 wins but they will face their toughest test to date when they welcome Bandon on Saturday.

Reigning champions UCC will hope they can get back on track after an opening day hammering. They face a big test, though, against a Cork C of I side looking to push for a top two place this term.

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