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Barbour hanging up stick after 25 years

 

Stepping down: Andy Barbour
Stepping down: Andy Barbour

By Graham Hamilton

Cokstown legend Andy Barbour has decided to hang up his stick after 25 years playing at the highest level.

Barbour has been the beating heart for the Tyrone club and helped them to many honours, including the Ulster League, Kirk Cup, Anderson Cup and Irish Senior Cup.

He has also featured in the Irish Hockey League and represented Ireland at senior level.

"It has been quite a journey, but one I'm privileged to have had a chance to travel," he said.

"Hockey has given me the chance to go around the world, to play against the best, to win and lose, to experience unbelievable highs and devastating lows, to blast out my national anthem, to perform and under-perform.

"I've been lucky to have shared a pitch with some brilliant players and some even better people. It has been some craic! 

"Thanks to everyone at Cookstown for all the support over the years and for making me feel more special than I actually was."

Meanwhile, the latest world rankings for the men will be released tomorrow... and that means the Irish will have a slightly clearer view as to who they might meet in the Tokyo Olympics final eliminator.

The rankings will be upgraded after the conclusion of the ProLeague series, and if the Irish were to climb one place, then they could get a home two-legged affair against a lower ranked team with the winners getting their ticket to Tokyo. However, it's more likely that Alexander Cox's team will stay in 11th place which almost certainly guarantees an away game against a team ranked marginally higher.

The Irish under-age teams took on their Scottish counterparts yesterday, with the U16s winning 8-1 and the U18s 7-3.

Troy Chambers scored four for the 18s while Adam Galbraith got a hat-trick for the U16s.

The Ulster under-age teams were also in action, against Wales in Wrexham, with the U16s winning their series and the U18s missing out.

Mackenzie Connor put away two penalty corners and Charlie Rowe converted two penalty strokes as the U16s won 4-2 on Saturday and Rowe and Lloyd Andrews were on the mark as they drew 2-2 yesterday.

The U18s, though, didn't manage a win, with Saturday's 3-3 draw being their best result, the other two being defeats.

Yesterday: Irish U16s 8 (A Galbraith 3, C Matthews 2, R Treacy 2, K Irwin) Scottish U16s 1

Irish U18s 7 (T Chambers 4, E Jennings 2, M Duggan) Scottish U18s 3

Wales U16s 2 Ulster U16s 2 (C Rowe, L Andrews)

Wales U18s 6 Ulster U18s 0

Saturday: Wales U16s 2 Ulster U16s 4 (M Connor 2, C Rowe 2)

Wales U18s 3 Ulster U18s 3 (P McKane 2, C Irwin)

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