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Ireland men and women miss out on proposed new global league

 

By Graham Hamilton

Ireland men's and women's teams have missed out on the opportunity of taking part in the new global Pro League which begins in 2019.

Short-listed for the series, the Irish application fell short, notably the absence of a suitable venue, although lack of funding may also have contributed.

It's particularly galling for the men who are ranked ninth in the world, but yet Pakistan, who are ranked four below them and lost the recent three-game series at Lisnagarvey, are included... with Glasgow as their home venue.

The national stadium at UCD falls short because a new playing surface is needed. The university are reluctant to fund it as it remains suitable for club level, and Hockey Ireland are reluctant to fund it because they plan to move soon to a new stadium.

The cost of home and away games across five continents would have been prohibitive - fans previously raised funds to send the men to the World League in Argentina and the Rio Olympics. The top eight men's nations - Argentina, Australia, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, India, England and New Zealand - are all included, along with Pakistan (14).

And eight of the top nine women's teams - Netherlands, England, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Germany and China - are included along with India (12). The Irish teams will still take part in the World League series, which will be reduced to two rounds, and it won't affect qualification to the World Cup or Olympic finals as the top World League teams will join the Pro League teams in the final qualifier.

Belfast Telegraph

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