Ireland hoping to reverse fortunes

editorial image

Ireland go into their final game of tri-test series against Malaysia on Wednesday on the back of two hefty defeats.

In the first game, the long arduous trip to Malaysia and the sweltering humidity took its toll on the Irish players as they ended up on the receiving end of a 4-2 defeat.

Twenty-four hours later they were back on the pitch, facing their hosts once again but Malaysia, who are now coached by Ireland’s former coach, Paul Revington, were too strong as Ireland went down 3-0, even with a much better all-round performance from the Irish.

New Irish coach Andrew Meredith will be hoping that the Irish players, who are in Malaysia as part of their preparations for next week’s opening game of the World Hockey League 2, will avoid a Malaysian whitewash.

Meredith is determined not to start the World League tourney in New Dehli on the back of three defeats, to a team who are ranked only two places above the Irish in 13th spot.

But this has all been about acclimatisation and thankfully the Irish guys will not have to experience the soaring Malaysian temperatures of 31C and humidity of 72 per cent.

At the minute, the temperatures are sitting at a pleasant 23C and only 46 per cent humidity in New Dehli.

But it not just playing in the heat that the players are trying to get used to, it is also the local cuisine. There have been some very unsettled stomachs amongst the squad but it is hoped that these will have eased well before their first game against Bangledesh.

In the two games it is obvious that Ireland are missing the pace up front of Ulster’s Timmy Cockram and Peter Caruth. Cockram is unavailable for the trip, due to his forthcoming wedding,

And Caruth, who scored Ireland’s golden goal winner in the recent Champions Challenge in Argentina, has been struggling to shake off a leg injury and pulled out of the Irish squad’s trip to New Dehli.

It was a bitter decision for the 65 times capped Irish International, who now plays for Belgian side Braxgata.

Caruth had left the decision to withdraw as late as possible but in the end, had to accept that the injury was not responding in time to make the trip.