Saturday 21 April 2018

Hockey: Revington looks to future in Ireland swansong

David Medcalf

The Ireland men's team will be offered a taste of what might have been as they tackle London-bound South Africa in Hillsborough this evening (8.0).

So close to gaining a place in the Olympics when they lost to a last-minute goal by Korea, they meet a team that has qualified twice over.

The visitors earned an invitation to the Games when they won the African championships but elected to submit to the rigours of a qualification tournament in Japan.

They have not played since coming through the eliminator in May; they play the Celtic Cup tournament as the first stop in an eight-match European tour.

As they prepare for the Olympics, their hosts look to the longer-term future with a line-up much changed from the squad that was rocked by the Koreans in March.

Soon-to-depart coach Paul Revington has named a panel for the event that includes just eight of the 18 men who contested the qualifier in Dublin. John Jackson is captain in place of absent fellow defender Ronan Gormley.

Revington is looking to sign off with a flourish against his compatriots. Wales and Scotland complete the line-up for the event.

With France withdrawing, the women's Celtic Cup is confined to three teams; Ireland start against Scotland tomorrow (6.30).

Elsewhere, former Irish international Iain Lewers has been named in the GB squad for the Olympics.

The 28-year-old Ulster-born defender left the Ireland set-up in 2008 with the Games in mind.

A former member of the Annadale club in Belfast, he now plays for East Grinstead.

However, there is no place in the GB line-up for striker Mark Gleghorne, who also defected in the hope of making the Olympics.

Gleghorne's brother Paul was in the Irish team that lost the play-off to South Korea.

Irish Independent

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