Peter Caruth: I thought my Ireland days were over but now I could make it to the Olympics again
Patience has been a virtue for Peter Caruth and now he's hoping it will be rewarded with a second consecutive Olympic Games with Ireland, who face Canada in a double-headed qualifier tomorrow and Sunday in Vancouver.
The 31-year-old ex-Annadale striker, now with Dublin side Corinthian, has been plagued with injuries since playing in Rio three years ago.
Having come through some dark times, he's determined to make the most of the opportunity to compete in Tokyo while not underestimating the size of the task ahead this weekend.
He said: "I couldn't be more excited to be back but, to be honest, I didn't think I would be back playing for Ireland again.
"It's always very frustrating to pick up injuries but, while most people would have stopped by now, it's not in me to give up.
"But while it's been a long wait for me, I think the squad is in a good place at the moment."
Caruth, who scored in one of his comeback games against France, believes he can play an important role as new coach Mark Tumilty has put the emphasis on an attacking strategy since taking over last month.
He added: "I believe that I'm a big game player, and I always have been from an early age, so these matches are an exciting prospect for me.
"I'm in a good space at the moment and really enjoying being back with the lads, having a mix of fun and serious training in Vancouver with a very strong group. Obviously we are going out to win both the Canada games and have set out our tactics to try and achieve that outcome.
"We rate ourselves highly within the men's hockey world, and when we bring our best, we are one of the hardest teams to beat, so hopefully we'll prove that over the weekend."
Meanwhile, there was disappointment for the seven Ulster teams competing at the All-Ireland schoolboy championship in Dublin as none made it into today's knockout stages.