Ulster U21s get Tri-Nation invite to Glasgow in June
Ulster Under-21s have been invited to play in a Tri-Nation series against England and Scotland in Glasgow in June.
Although a provincial team, the Under-21s are suddenly being thrust into the spotlight against international opposition, with two games against Brazil already lined up this week.
Cookstown's Stephen Cuddy has already watched his squad feature against Scotland Under-21s at Shaw's Bridge last month and the success of that series has prompted the invite to Glasgow.
First of all, the Ulster lads take on Brazil this evening at the University of Ulster campus in Jordanstown (7.30pm) and again on Friday evening at the same venue and same time.
It's a strong squad assembled by Cuddy and it includes two Banbridge players - Kyle Marshall and Johnny McKee - who get an early chance to shake off the disappointment of their 2-1 Irish Hockey League final defeat against Monkstown last Sunday in Dublin.
The squad also includes Ben Cosgrove and Adam Fallis, who are currently at cross-channel university, but Lisnagarvey's Sean Murray, who played so well against the Scots last month, unfortunately has had to withdraw due to injury.
The Brazilian international team have already played Cookstown, Mossley and Portadown during their three-week training camp in Ulster as they prepare for the Pan-American Games from which they must finish high up to warrant their inclusion as hosts for the Rio Olympic hockey finals next year.
"These games against international opposition are a great opportunity for our young players," said Ulster's High Performance Manager Stephen Watt.
"We've included some of our Under-18s and this will help immensely in their development.
"It's an honour to have our squad invited to the Tri-Nation tournament in Glasgow to face the Scots and English."
Meanwhile, Lisnagarvey II and Annadale II face Dublin opposition on Saturday as they bid to reach the final of the Irish Junior Cup.
Lisnagarvey host Monkstown II while Annadale go to Three Rock Rovers in their respective semi-finals.
ULSTER U21s: Michael Anderson (Queen's), James Milliken (Lisnagarvey), Joel Cathcart (Mossley), Neal Glassey (Mossley), James Lorimer (Lisnagarvey), Peter McKibben (Annadale), Mark McNellis (Lisnagarvey), Andrew McWhirter (Cookstown), Connor Roberts (Annadale), Daniel Nelson (Lisnagarvey), Rowan Poots (North Down), Johnny McKee (Banbridge), Michael Robson (Annadale), Ben Cosgrove (Dundee), Kyle Marshall (Banbridge), Matthew Rollins (Cookstown), Adam Fallis (Dundee).
TODAY: John Waring Trophy for U14 boys, Lisnagarvey, 10am to 4.30pm.
TONIGHT: Ulster U21s v Brazil, University of Ulster, 7.30pm.
FRIDAY: Ulster U21s v Brazil, University of Ulster, 7.30pm.
SATURDAY: Senior One, North Down v Raphoe, Comber LC, 2.30pm.
Irish Junior Cup semi-finals: Lisnagarvey II v Monkstown II, Hillsborough, 2.30pm; Three Rock II v Annadale II, Dublin, 3pm.