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Ireland fit in additional World Series build-up clashes against the French

 

Eugene Magee has been selected for Ireland
Eugene Magee has been selected for Ireland

By Graham Hamilton

Ireland's men are to squeeze in two additional build-up games - against France in Dublin - ahead of the World Series Finals in Le Touquet.

Alexander Cox's lads are already down to play Asian champions Japan later this month in the Netherlands and also have two games lined up against the USA towards the end of May.

Now the Green Machine are to face France twice in early June before the tournament - which offers a place in the final Tokyo Olympic qualifiers - begins on June 15.

The game against Japan is scheduled for April 24 at Kampong and the two matches against the touring Americans have been pencilled in for Pembroke's Serpentine Avenue ground on Friday, May 24 and Sunday, May 26.

The additional games against France - who are favourites in the other pool for the World Series tournament - will take place on Tuesday, June 4 and Thursday, June 6 at a Dublin venue.

The Irish played France in two practice games last midweek, with Shane O'Donoghue scoring twice in a 2-1 win and Eugene Magee and Kirk Shimmins the marksmen in a 2-0 victory.

Meanwhile, there are just two EY Irish Hockey League games scheduled for Saturday with Banbridge aiming to bounce back and beat Pembroke at Havelock Park in the return match, which should guarantee them a place in the end-of-season play-offs which they will be hosting.

Cookstown face a tough clash at Three Rock, also hoping to overturn last week's 3-0 defeat to the same opposition to give them a chance of avoiding the relegation struggle.

Finally, three Ulster teams are down in Dublin this weekend to contest national finals.

First up are Ballynahinch who take on Limerick on Saturday at Pembroke's ground, and then Civil Service face Waterford in Sunday's Irish Hockey Challenge final. Instonians II then take on Three Rock II in the Irish Junior Cup final, both games at Three Rock.

TONIGHT: U21 international (Three Rock): Ireland v France (7pm).

Intermediate League: PSNI v Portrush (8pm).

TOMORROW: U21 international (Three Rock): Ireland v France (9am).

SATURDAY: EY IHL: Banbridge v Pembroke (2.45pm); Three Rock v Cookstown (3.30pm).

Ulster Premier: Kilkeel v Newry (2.30pm).

Sussex Regiment Cup: South Antrim v Queen's (2.45pm); North Down v Mossley (2.30pm).

Irish Hockey Challenge final (Pembroke): Ballynahinch v Limerick (2.45pm).

Intermediate Cup: Parkview v CI (2.30pm); Portrush v Armagh (2.30pm).

SUNDAY: Irish Hockey Trophy final (Three Rock): Civil Service v Waterford (3pm).

Irish Junior Cup final (Three Rock): Instonians II v Three Rock II (4pm).

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