Ireland aiming to step up a level and put the French in their place
Ireland men's hockey coach Alexander Cox will be looking for an improved performance today when his team continue their build-up for the first stage of the Olympic qualifying process by taking on France at Lisnagarvey (12 noon).
The French, who at 15th in the world are ranked four places lower than Ireland, snatched a 1-1 draw with a last-second equaliser in the first of the scheduled two-match series at Comber Road on Tuesday night.
Although the incessant rain wasn't conducive to flowing hockey with tricky underfoot conditions, Cox felt that there were too many turnovers and was naturally disappointed at the outcome.
The Dutchman, who took over from South African Craig Fulton last August, said: "I saw some very positive things in the game. Our defensive structure looked strong. We are adding a zonal system which gave as good control.
"But on the ball we didn't play our best game and we made too many unforced errors, which we need to improve for the next game.
"In the end a draw wasn't a bad result, but conceding in the last seconds is never a nice feeling after all the hard work the guys put in."
Meanwhile, Ulster Hockey has a new Executive Manager following the resignation of Jill Poots, with Marc Scott due to take over the position next week.
His role will be to drive forward the promotion, development and management of hockey across the province.
Scott comes with an impressive CV, having qualifications in Sports and Business Law, Sport Studies and Governance together with Management and Leadership.
He joins Ulster Hockey following a successful career with the Scottish Institute of Sport and Scottish Hockey and, although born in Scotland, he was most recently employed by Sport Northern Ireland.
Ulster Hockey chair Billy Pollock said: "The Board and the staff warmly welcome Marc as leader of the staff team and wish him every success.
"He is looking forward to working with our staff and supporting the Management Board in our transition to an Incorporated company and a charitable status organisation."