Hockey: Canning bemoans Irish apathy towards indoor game
A national championship of purely local interest takes place at the weekend as the Irish Indoor Hockey Trophy is dominated by Dublin teams.
Holders Pembroke Wanderers will be joined at the Basketball Arena in Tallaght, Dublin, by fellow Leinster sides Glenanne, YMCA, Monkstown, Railway Union and Three Rock Rovers.
With a place in European competition at stake and plenty of goals in prospect, the event on Saturday and Sunday should be one of the highlights of the hockey calendar.
But the reality is that the Irish representatives will be contesting the lowly third division in Europe and the indoor game is regarded as no more than an entertaining sideline, even by the clubs that take part.
The attitude is a source of considerable frustration by former international Liam Canning, who rues the fact that Ireland no longer puts out a side on the boards, while the club scene is in the doldrums.
"Indoor hockey brushes up the skills," insisted Canning, who will be in Tallaght as coach of Three Rock.
"The last time that Ireland qualified for the World Cup out of doors, in 1990, most of the squad played indoors too," he added.
He called for the IHA to follow the example of their German counterparts and consider a mid-season break in outdoor competition to play inside.