Fringe players in fight for final two Euro squad spots
Published 04/08/2011 | 05:00
IRELAND coach Paul Revington has left 10 players on tenterhooks by leaving two places vacant in his squad for the European hockey championships in Germany later this month.
The vacancies will certainly add an edge to the weekend warm-up matches at UCD against Argentina as the reserves compete for the chance to go to Monchengladbach (August 20-28).
In naming his squad for the Europeans, Revington has otherwise stuck with the side that won the INSEP tournament in Paris last weekend.
This leaves experienced operators such as Glenanne defender Joe Brennan and Belgium-based Phelie Maguire competing for places 17 and 18.
"It's a nice headache to have, but it is still a headache," commented the coach, who hails from South Africa.
"Only 18 men can get on the bus and head for Monchengladbach."
The tournament carries the prize of Olympic qualification, though confusion still surrounds whether three or four teams will make the cut for London.
The infinitely complicated formula, based on world rankings, depends in part on how defending champions England fare at the event.
The Irish will be looking to extend their recent good form in their opening fixture against the champions, who have recruited former Annadale centre-half Iain Lewers to their ranks.
His presence in the opposition side is sure to help motivate an Ireland team that has been improving steadily over the summer, winning the Celtic Cup and Champions Challenge, as well as coming up trumps in Paris.
Also in the same half of the draw in Germany are France and the Netherlands.
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