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No old pals act when Irish face England in Eurohockey Nations Cup

Ireland will begin their Eurohockey Nations Cup campaign in Germany in August against old rivals England.

And there is a possibility that they could end up facing two of their former players — Ulstermen Iain Lewers and Mark Gleghorne.

The tournament, which takes place in Monchengladbach from August 20 to 28, sees the Irish and English meet head-on in the first of the Pool B games. And then Paul Revington's team will square up to France 24 hours later before completing their pool programme against favourites Holland.

It's a tough draw for the Irish in a competition in which they need to reach the semi-finals to have any chance of qualifying outright for the Olympic Games.

And the possibility of Lewers and Gleghorne — who had more than 150 Irish caps between them before declaring for Great Britain — lining out against them could make it even harder.

At the moment both are ineligible for England but there is a belief that through the residency rule — both are now living and playing in England — and with Ireland expected to give them official releases soon, they could be fast-tracked into the English set-up.

The Irish training squad is currently in Spain at a warm-weather training camp, as part of their preparations for the World Champions Challenge II and then the Europeans, both in the summer.

Meanwhile the weather took its toll again on the domestic programme, with just two of the five Premier League games surviving and three of the eight Irish Hockey Trophy ties.

Lisnagarvey are back on top of the league after they beat Bangor 3-0, while second placed Instonians lost a thriller 3-2 away to Kilkeel.

O'NE 1918 Ulster Premier: Annadale v Banbridge (postponed); Lisnagarvey 3 (G Thompson 2, M Daniel) Bangor 0; Kilkeel 3 (G Russell, A Niblock, W Annett) Instonians 2 (J Corry, A Pannu); North Down v Mossley (postponed).

Irish Hockey Trophy second round: Newry v Antrim (postponed); Clontarf 6 Avoca 1; Cliftonville v Portadown (postponed); Queen's v Belfast Harlequins (postponed); Dublin University v South Antrim (postponed); Raphoe v UCC (postponed); Navan 6 Armagh 5 (after penalty strokes); Rathgar Chiefs 3 Suttonians 2.

Irish Hockey Challenge: Ballymena 1 (M Corbett) Saintfield 0; Kilkenny 4 Limerick 1.

Belfast Telegraph