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Eight Ulster players get the nod for World finals


Most capped: Eugene Magee can add to his tally in India

Most capped: Eugene Magee can add to his tally in India

Most capped: Eugene Magee can add to his tally in India

Ireland coach Alexander Cox has named eight Ulster players in the 20-strong squad which he will take to India next month for the World Cup finals.

Cox made the cut from his training squad after the recent weekend camp in the Netherlands and announced the lucky players yesterday.

Ireland's most capped player, Banbridge's Eugene Magee, got the nod again, along with former Bann colleague Matthew Bell - now playing for German club Crefeld - while Jonathan Bell leads the Lisnagarvey quintet, with the others being Matthew Nelson and the trio playing abroad, Paul Gleghorne, Sean Murray and Michael Robson.

Chris Cargo, currently with English club Hampstead and Westminster, completes the Ulster eight, but there is no place for Banbridge's Johnny McKee or former Garvey midfielder Neal Glassey, while John Jackson and Peter Caruth were unavailable.

The Green Machine gets the chance to complete preparations with a Four Nations series in Valencia from October 29 to November 4 when they will be joined by World No.4 Netherlands, England (7th) and Spain (8th) - all ranked above them.

They will also take in games against World No.3 Belgium and another game against Netherlands before they fly out to Bhubaneswar for the world series.

Cox accepts it will be difficult to emulate the women's silver medal success, especially as his side face Australia on November 30 and England on December 7.

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That means the December 4 game against China - ranked seven behind the Irish - will be important if they are to avoid being eliminated at the first stage.

"Those selected give me the most options in defence, midfield and attack, and we look forward to the series in Valencia as preparation," said coach Cox.

And there was more good news when the Irish were named top seed in the Olympic qualifier to be staged in Le Touquet in France in the middle of June, alongside Korea (14th), France (20th), Scotland (22nd), Chile (34th) and Singapore (40th) and two other qualifiers.

It was also confirmed that they have got sponsorship, with Turkish Airlines coming on board.

Meanwhile, there are no EY Irish Hockey League or Ulster Premier League programmes this week.

The Crowne Plaza Irish schoolboy championships start this morning, with pool games at three Ulster venues - Queen's, Shaw's Bridge and Deramore. The final is at Shaw's Bridge on Friday (2.30pm).

Holders St Andrew's go in as favourites, but expect Banbridge Academy, Wallace High, Sullivan and Friends to feature well.

IRELAND: Jonathan Bell, Matthew Bell, Paul Gleghorne, Eugene Magee, Sean Murray, Matthew Nelson, Chris Cargo, Michael Robson (Ulster); David Fitzgerald, Shane O'Donoghue, Daragh Walsh, Alan Sothern, Mitch Darling, Lee Cole, Luke Madeley, Jeremy Duncan, Kirk Shimmins, Stuart Loughrey (Leinster); David Harte, Conor Harte (Munster).

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