International hockey will come to Cork for the first time in eight years with a visit by European champions the Netherlands in early July, as preparations ramp up for Ireland’s first Olympic challenge in over a century.
It means a homecoming for goalkeeper David Harte, from Kinsale, who has not played in Munster in any competitive shape or form in six years, the last time resulting in a 2-1 win for Pembroke against Cork C of I in the old Irish Hockey League.
“It should be a fantastic experience,” Harte said of the event, which take place at the Mardyke on July 4 and 6.
“It’s not every day you get the number two side in the world in front of you, the silver medallists from the London Olympics, and the European champions. It should be a spectacle of hockey.”
It is part of an intense three months of matches in the build-up to the Rio Olympics, with 10 challenge matches in Ireland, along with a six-nations tournament in Valencia also in the mix.
The decision to hand games to Cork for the first time since the 2008 Celtic Cup is designed to galvanise and widen the support base of the team, giving as many people on the island the chance to see the Green Machine up close and personal.
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