IRELAND senior men’s hockey coach Paul Revington has shaken up his approach to player development as he looks to strengthen the depth of his squad ahead of November’s World Cup qualification campaign in Argentina.
Having overseen a hugely successful first eight months in charge, which included claiming three trophies from a possible four and regaining A Division status in Europe, the South African has named a 35-strong training panel.
Revington explained: “We need to continually find a balance between holding onto our experienced players, building experience below these older players, and then creating a competitive environment that demands high standards. It is therefore important to balance the short-term objective of trying to qualify for our first World Cup appearance since 1990 with a long-term objective of building a base of players for the future.”
To that end, he has also outlined a new approach to the Ireland A team, which is now exclusively comprised of players aged 16-21.
This does not necessarily represent a return to the previously scrapped Ireland U21 format. Rather, it will incorporate the best young talent in the country based on potential rather than age. Thirteen players have been named in the initial squad, with a further 19 identified as potential selections.
“It is by no means a closed squad,” said Revington. “This peripheral group communicates our intentions to reward consistent performers and keep searching for quality U21 players to develop for the Irish senior programme. It is my objective to increase the size of the Ireland A squad as we progress through the season.”
Meanwhile, Munster U18 coach David Egner has all but finalised his squad for this season’s inter-provincial tournament, filling 16 places while leaving four players competing for the final two spots.
Egner has taken the unusual step of naming two co-captains for the tournament, which takes place at Grange Road from October 3-4, with recent Cork Harlequins signing Edwina McGrath sharing the skippering duties with club-mate Yvonne O’Byrne.
Nicole Laarhoven is a surprise inclusion. The Dutch sweeper has an Irish mother and divides her time between her club Almeerse HC near Amsterdam and Ardmore, Co Waterford.
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