It’s unlikely that David Harte and CJ Stander have ever met, but these two very different sportsmen share an unusual distinction.
The former is a man of Munster, the latter one of its adopted sons.
Stander’s consistency on the rugby field and the regularity with which he hoovers up individual honours has led to the tongue-in-cheek renaming of those as ‘The CJ Stander Man of the Match Awards’.
Harte finds himself in familiar territory with a mantlepiece littered with ‘Goalkeeper of the Tournament’ gongs and yesterday the Ireland hockey captain was named as the world’s best goalkeeper for the second year in succession.
The 28-year-old Kinsale native, a regular winner of ‘goalkeeper of the tournament’ awards, saw off competition from the likes of Juan Vivaldi and Vincent Vanasch - Olympic gold and silver medallists with Argentina and Belgium respectively last summer - to retain the title won in 2015.
Last year saw Ireland compete at the Olympics for the first time in 108 years, Vivaldi’s Argentina ultimately edging them for a quarter-final slot before going on to take gold, and rose to an all-time world ranking high of 10th.
Harte was immense throughout and also became a European champion at club level with his Dutch club Kampong, while his Dabang Mumbai side are currently bidding to win the Hockey India League.
Describing the ‘incredible honour’ of being named the FIH’s World Goalkeeper of the Year, Harte said: “Even to be nominated for a second time was more than I could have hoped for. Although it is an individual award, it partly belongs to my teams at both club and international level as I would not have made it here without them.”
Next on Harte’s agenda is World League 2 in Belfast next month - where Ireland begin their qualification campaign for the 2018 World Cup - and the European championships in Amsterdam this summer.
Domestically, it’s an exceptionally busy weekend with six Munster sides bidding to reach the final of national cup competitions.
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