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Tests in Spain await Ireland Hockey side as Fulton prepares for World series

By Graham Hamilton

Ireland's men are heading off to Spain today for a 10-day training camp which will take in a Three Nations tournament involving playing the hosts and France twice each.

National coach Craig Fulton has taken an experimental squad, with just seven of the 18 who took part in the Rio Olympics, as he looks ahead to the World League 2 series in Belfast in March, the possibility of a World League 3 series in June or July, and also the Europeans in August.

Altogether there are 11 Ulstermen in the 21-strong squad, including Olympians Paul Gleghorne, Jonathan Bell, Chris Cargo and Eugene Magee but missing are regulars Michael Watt, Peter Caruth, John Jackson and Michael Robson, as well as Leinster's Mitch Darling, Alan Sothern, Kyle Good and David Fitzgerald and Munster's David Harte, John Jermyn and Kirk Shimmins.

Among those coming in are Ulstermen Matthew Bell, Peter Brown, Johnny McKee and Jamie Wright while Lisnagarvey's Neal Glassey, Matthew Nelson and Sean Murray are also included.

The Irish, ranked 10 in the world, take on France (19) at Benalmadena on Monday, Spain (9) in Malaga on Tuesday, France in Malaga next Thursday and Spain in Benalmadena next Friday.

"It is a new-look squad with a nice blend of youth and experience," said coach Fulton.

"We have some exciting younger players pushing for places which is healthy for our short and long-term goals to qualify for the World Cup."

IRELAND: Jonathan Bell, Matthew Bell, Paul Gleghorne, Chris Cargo, Jamie Wright, Neal Glassey, Peter Brown, Sean Murray, Eugene Magee, Johnny McKee, Matthew Nelson (all Ulster); Lee Cole, Ronan Gormley, Sam O'Connor, Shane O'Donoghue, Jeremy Duncan, Ben Walker, Jamie Carr, Mark Ingram (all Leinster); Conor Harte, Julian Dale (both Munster).

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