String of Irish call-ups for Bann players

DREW Carlisle and Philip Brown featured for Ireland as the Green Machine fell to a 2-1 defeat to Spain in Santander.

It is the first of three games between the two sides with the two countries set to meet again on Thursday and Friday of this week.

Carlisle and Brown came off the bench for their appearances while former Bann star Eugene Magee started the game.

Ireland got off to a strong start dominating posession in the first ten minutes, but a break for the Spanish in the 13th minute saw the home side take the lead thanks to S. Frexia who capatilised to make it 1-0.

Ireland were also forced into clearing two Spanish penalty corners in the first half which they defended very well keeping the score at 1-0 at half time.

The second half got underway but with 23 minutes left on the clock there was a 10 minute break while officials sorted out the floodlights which momentarily blacked out.

Ireland came back looking stronger with some strong patches of play but they suddenly found themselves two goals down in the 53rd minute after a series of short corners and rebounds lead to a Spanish goal thanks to Tabau.

Ireland continued to attack though and their break through finally came thanks to a top class delivery from John Jackson across the circle to an oncoming Chris Cargo who slotted home Ireland’s only goal.

The Green Machine were left frustrated when they secured a free in with 17 seconds left and to their dismay the umpire called over two players to have a word without stopping the clock, which saw the final hooter sound while the umpire still continued talking to the players and Ireland without the chance to take their free in.

Meanwhile the men’s U16 squad for the Europeans in Austria in July has been selected. Young talent Johnny McKee has been included, after staring for the team last year in matches against Scotland, England and Belgium.

During the tournament Ireland will take on Belgium, Belarus and Spain in the group stages.

And the Ireland A squad, under the guidance of U21 coach Brendon Carolan, has been selected for a two match series against England A. Only 18 will be selected for each game. The 18 for each game will be selected and announced during the next week.

Young Bann player Matthew Bell is the biggest benefactor from the decision to include a large selection of the most talented young players in the country. His outstanding performances for Banbridge last season, coupled with his impressive showing at Irish U-21 sessions in the last few months have seen his elevation to the senior ranks for the first time. He will be joined by fellow Bann stars Phillip Brown and Bruce McCandless over the weekend.

Senior Coach Paul Revington added, “This series of games is well-timed in our summer transition phase. We are operating off a large Squad base again, and especially taking into consideration the reintroduction of the U21 program. This coming weekend squad training will provide another opportunity for these players to fight for a place in the match 16 and combine this with an important window for Team development.

“The team is strengthened by the inclusion of John Jermyn and Bruce McCandless who are both unavailable for the Spain tour due to work commitments but will add their experience and quality to this local series.”

The games will be played at the National Hockey Stadium at UCD on Saturday at 4pm and Sunday at 1pm.