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Dutchman Cox's joy after taking Irish job


All change: Alexander Cox is Ireland men’s new head coach
All change: Alexander Cox is Ireland men’s new head coach

By Graham Hamilton

Dutchman Alexander Cox has been unveiled as the new head coach of the Ireland men's hockey team.

Cox won't be in charge for this week's Four Nations tournament in Dusseldorf but will take over at the start of August in good time to continue preparations for the Green Machine's World Cup finals campaign in India in November.

Cox was assistant coach to the Dutch women who won London Olympic gold and also had a successful spell as Dutch men's assistant coach.

He is currently head coach at leading Dutch club Kampong - where Irish goalkeeper David Harte is based - and he has had title success domestically and in the EuroHockey League, and will remain in that role.

The last time the Irish men had a Dutch coach was when Cees Koppelaar was in charge for a 10-year period during the 1980s and '90s.

"I'm honoured to be Ireland men's new head coach," said Cox, who takes over from the successful Craig Fulton, who has moved to Belgium after a particularly fruitful period at the helm.

He led them to European bronze for the first time, to the Rio Olympic finals and now the World Cup finals.

"The Irish culture, the work ethic and persistence of the team motivates me to start our preparation towards the World Cup in India," Cox added.

Meanwhile, assistant coaches Jonny Caren, John Bessels and Kai de Jager will look after matters in Dusseldorf and have named a strong 19-man squad, 10 of whom are from Ulster.

It's a tough schedule - they will take on Rio Olympic gold medallists Argentina on Thursday afternoon, bronze medallists Germany on Saturday evening and France on Sunday morning.

Regulars including Eugene Magee, Chris Cargo, Shane O'Donoghue, Conor Harte, Mitch Darling and Kirk Shimmins are unavailable, but it remains a strong squad with a good mix of youth and experience.

Back into the frame after missing the recent games in Cork are Ulster trio Matthew Bell, Peter Caruth and John Jackson.

Ireland: David Harte (Munster); Jamie Carr, Luke Madeley, Alan Sothern, Daragh Walsh, Lee Cole, Stuart Loughrey, Stephen Cole, Jeremy Duncan (all Leinster); John Jackson, Jonathan Bell, Matthew Bell, Matthew Nelson, Peter Caruth, Sean Murray, Johnny McKee, Owen Magee, Michael Robson, Paul Gleghorne (all Ulster).

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