EY League 'missing piece in puzzle'
Hockey's new national leagues, the EY Hockey League, were officially launched yesterday with the backing of Ireland coaches Craig Fulton and Graham Shaw.
Men's boss Fulton will continue to have many of his leading players in England or on the continent, but he looks forward to scouting closer to home as he waits for confirmation that his team has qualified for the Olympics.
"There is young talent coming through and I am always on the lookout," said the South African. "The EY League is the piece of the puzzle that has been missing."
He will be watching the Pembroke Wanderers against Lisnagarvey in Ballsbridge this Saturday.
The home side welcome back Alan Sothern from his season-long stay with the Racing club in Brussels. The international striker turned down offers from teams abroad in order to take part in the new competition.
Meanwhile, women's coach Graham Shaw reckons that the league format will allow him work constructively with the Ireland team.
His players, all of them based in Ireland, will routinely be available to him for Sunday training sessions.
"I would not be against any of them playing abroad," said Shaw, "But it is great that training days will have a full squad. We can make a lot of gains and improvements."