Irish men’s panel named for coming months as Paris 2024 groundwork begins

Mark Tumilty has named a 25-strong central squad to work with for the coming months ahead of a busy summer as the squad lays the groundwork for the Road to Paris 2024.

The squad ramps up its regional training sessions next week in the wake of the Irish Senior Cup final and will have their first camp of the summer program from May 13th to 15th.

The key event during the summer will be August’s EuroHockey Championship qualifier while there is also the FIH Nations Cup scheduled for December.

It is an important phase as the Green Machine look to get into position for the Olympic qualifiers which will take place in a new, tournament-based format in early 2024.

The panel features four uncapped players with Banbridge Academy schoolboy Charlie Rowe the youngest of the group following an exceptional season for school, province and club. His twin brother Louis has also been included in the Ulster regional training group.

Three Rock Rovers player of the season Ben Johnson, Donegal man Luke Witherow – who plies his trade with Banbrdge – and Lisnagarvey’s Jonny Lynch are also fresh faces looking to make their senior debuts.

Nick Page is looking to pick up his first formal cap having played a role in a number of challenge matches last summer in green. He enjoyed a strong club season with Old Geogrians – alongside Kyle Marshall – as the club won the English Premier Division for the first time.

There are five Belgian-based players involved. Ben Walker will link up with the panel following the playoffs with Braxgata while KHC Leuven quartet Luke Madeley, Daragh Walsh, Sean Murray and Jaime Carr also had strong seasons with a club who finished fifth in the Ion League.

Conor Empey, meanwhile, has been firing in the goals in the Dutch Hoofdklasse – world hockey’s strongest club league – with eight for SCHC. It is the highest total for an Irish player in a season in the competition.

Domestic champions Lisnagarvey provide four of the central panel: James Milliken, Mark McNellis, Peter McKibbin and Lynch. Milliken will vye for the goalkeeping duties with Carr and Pembroke’s Mark Ingram.

Michael Robson is the most experienced player in the panel and the link to the 2016 Olympic squad with 123 caps. His younger brother Callum and Tim Cross make up a trio of Annadale players.

Monkstown’s Jeremy Duncan and Crefelder HTC’s Neal Glassey are two more with extensive know-how while Glenanne’s Sam O’Connor, UCD’s Kevin O’Dea and YMCA’s Sam Hyland will look to forge ever-more prominent roles with the side.

Currently, David and Conor Harte (family reasons), Lee Cole, Shane O’Donoghue and David Fitzgerald (work commitments) and Matthew Nelson (travelling) are taking a break from the program but will potentially rejoin the panel in 2022 or early 2023.

Ireland senior men’s national training panel:
Jaime Carr (KHC Leuven, 40)
James Milliken (Lisnagarvey, 6)
Mark Ingram (Pembroke, 28)
Tim Cross (Annadale, 25)
Mark McNellis (Lisnagarvey, 6)
Luke Madeley (KHC Leuven, 26)
Kyle Marshall (Old Georgians, 10)
Neil Glassey (Crefelder HTC, 70)
Peter McKibbin (Lisnagarvey, 11)
Sam O’Connor (Glenanne, 14)
Sean Murray (KHC Leuven, 88)
Daragh Walsh (KHC Leuven, 61)
Michael Robson (Annadale, 123)
Kevin O’Dea (UCD, 7)
Nick Page (Old Georgians, 0)
Luke Witherow (Banbridge, 0)
Ben Walker (Braxgata, 45)
Johnny McKee (Banbridge, 52)
Callum Robson (Annadale, 3)
Jeremy Duncan (Monkstown, 66)
Conor Empey (SCHC, 5)
Sam Hyland (YMCA, 5)
Ben Johnson (Three Rock Rovers, 0)
Charlie Rowe (Banbridge, 0)
Jonny Lynch (Lisnagarvey, 0)