Hockey Club players pick up Irish caps

IT may be the closed season for club hockey but several members of Banbridge Hockey Club have been representing Ireland at various levels over the past few weeks.

At Senior Ireland level Bruce McCandless, Philip Brown and Stephen Dowds were selected to play in the Celtic Cup at Lisnagarvey against Scotland, Wales and South Africa.

All three made major contributions as Ireland won the trophy for the fifth time in succession.

Later the same week Dowds and Brown were joined by Drew Carlisle in a three nations tournament in Dublin against Olympic qualifiers South Africa and Belgium.

 Dowds and Brown have had a busy summer as they have also been involved with the Irish Under 21 team as they prepare for the European Championships in Bratislava this week.

They, along with Owen Magee played in the Junior Celtic Cup in Wrexham against Scotland and Wales securing two victories and winning the tournament.

Last week they were joined by Matthew Bell in three matches against Wales in Dublin which resulted in a further three victories with Dowds scoring four times in the three games.

As a result of these performances all four have been selected to travel to Bratislava for matches against Bulgaria, Slovakia and Lithuania meaning the local club have the highest representation in the squad.

 Meanwhile at Under 18 level Ben Cosgrove and Peter Brown were integral members of the Irish team that won the Celtic Cup in Edinburgh against Scotland, Wales and Switzerland. They followed this up with a three test series in Dublin against a very good English side.

Unfortunately Johnny McKee was the only local representative on the Irish Under 16 team that finished a very creditable fifth in  the European Championships.