New Irish international coach Paul Revington will run the rule over his top players when the senior inter-provincials are staged in Cork this weekend.
But Revington will probably be looking enviously at Ulster’s Mark Gleghorne, a player whom he would love to have in his ranks but who could be lost to Irish hockey at club and international level soon.
Gleghorne is expected to join former Annadale star Iain Lewers playing in the Dutch League next season ... and, like Lewers, it’s possible he could pull the plug on his Irish career, instead throwing his lot in with Great Britain.
It’s been a year since the Instonians star last played for Ireland, having missed a lengthy period through injury, and he’s not in Revington’s squad for the two games against France in Dublin later this month.
“I’ve been for trials with Dutch clubs Blomendaal and Orange Zwart, and also will have one with Rotterdam in the near future,” explains Gleghorne who had a short spell in Holland a few years back.
“I’ll make a decision on where I go soon, but it’s likely I’ll be playing in the Dutch League next season. Regarding the international issue, I haven’t played since February 2008 for various reasons, but I’ll make a decision on that soon too.”
Gleghorne, though, will be in Cork with the Ulster team as they bid to regain the trophy from a strong Leinster squad boasting 11 current internationals, soon to be 12 when Gareth Watkins makes his debut.
It won’t be easy, for hosts Munster - coached by Ulsterman Stephen Jackson - also have a strong squad despite missing ex-internationals Jason and Mark Black.
Ulster coach David Scott, though, has many attacking and set-piece options, so much will hinge on how the defence copes, particularly against prolific players like Alan Sothern and Mitch Darling from Leinster and John Jermyn and Jonathan Bruton from Munster.
For the record, seven Ulster players have been included in Revington’s Irish squad for those games against France at Pembroke on March 24-25, and all are in the Ulster inter-pro squad too.
They are Banbridge’s Eugene Magee, Geoff McCabe and Gareth Lennox, Annadale’s Peter Caruth, Cookstown’s Keith Black, Loughborough’s John Jackson, and Garvey’s Timmy Cockram.
Senior inter-provincials (Garryduff, Cork): Friday: Leinster v Munster (8.30pm); Saturday: Leinster v Ulster (2pm); Sunday: Ulster v Munster (12noon).
ULSTER: Ian Hughes (Cookstown), Gareth Lennox (Banbridge), David Ames (Cookstown), Keith Black (Cookstown), Euan Butler (Cookstown), Peter Caruth (Annadale), Timmy Cockram (Lisnagarvey), Colin Donaldson (Cookstown), Mark Gleghorne (Instonians), John Jackson (Loughborough), Jason Lynch (Li snagarvey), Eugene Magee (Banbridge), Bruce McCandless (Banbridge), Scott McCandless (Banbridge), Jonny Quigley (Annadale), Steven Redpath (Instonians), Simon Todd (Mossley).
Podium Senior One: Queen’s v Portadown, Queen’s, 2.30pm (Umpires, C McConkey, A Gibson); Civil Service v Harlequins, Stormont, 2.30pm (Umpires, W McCully, D Clarke); South Antrim v Newry, Laurelhill, 1pm (Umpires, C Beattie, J Wray); Cliftonville v Armagh, CIYMS, 2.30pm (Umpires, L Allen, T Lorimer); Antrim v North Down, Antrim, 2.30pm (Umpires, C Hutchinson, C Browne).