Irish hockey fans have long claimed national captain David Harte as one of the world’s best goalkeepers, and extra validation came yesterday as he was named as hockey’s top netminder for 2015.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) named Harte as goalkeeper of the year in their Hockey Stars 2015 awards, the Cork man becoming the first Irish winner of the biggest individual prizes in the international game.
Harte helped Ireland qualify for the Olympic games for the first time since 1908 and won the Goalkeeper of the Tournament award in all three of the Green Machine’s major competitions last year, including the European championships where they claimed a bronze medal for the first time. He held off stiff competition for the award from Olympic champions Germany; world number one Australia; European kingpins the Netherlands; and Canada — who also made a major breakthrough with Olympic qualification.
The 27-year-old grew up outside Kinsale in a sports-mad family — sisters Ciara and Emer both played hockey to a high level with the latter earning international caps, while father Kieran, a cousin of Tyrone football manager Mickey Harte, founded Kinsale HC.
Twin brothers Conor and David hurled with Courcey Rovers in their formative years before being bitten by the hockey bug at Bandon Grammar School.
The duo made their senior Ireland international debuts together as 18-year-olds in the summer of 2006. David has since racked up 154 caps — one more than Conor, who is also 6’5” and lines out in the centre of the Irish defence.
Having played senior club hockey with Cork Harlequins and Pembroke Wanderers, Harte now plays professionally in the Netherlands with Kampong, and is in his third year playing for Dabang Mumbai in the Hockey India League, where he is the league’s most expensive goalkeeper.
On Monday, he was named as the “most entertaining player” for his franchise, with whom he is based for the next six weeks.
Ireland midfielder Shane O’Donoghue lost out on the rising star of the year award to Germany’s Christopher Ruhr.
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