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Revington on top of the world as Irish coach grabs prestigious gong

Irish coach Paul Revington has been named world hockey's men's Coach of the Year.

The South African masterminded a series of excellent results over the summer which saw his squad land the Celtic Cup, the World Champions Challenge Two and the Insep Five Nations tournament, as well as finishing second in a Four Nations tournament and a record fifth in the Eurohockey Nations Cup.

Revington landed the award ahead of Ric Charlesworth, who coaches world champions Australia; Colin Batch, the Australian tactician who guided Belgium to Olympic qualification and the Champions Challenge trophy; Markus Wiese who steered Germany to the European crown; and New Zealand's Shane McLeod who has helped his team to climb to seventh in the world rankings.

Revington has transformed the Irish team since his arrival - they are now a free-scoring attacking team who have moved up two places in the world rankings to 16th and are serious contenders to reach the Olympic Games for the first time.

The Celtic Cup win effectively came with a shadow squad and then his main squad won the Champions Challenge II to gain promotion.

The Insep Five Nations success was against all the odds, in a tournament in which they faced world champions Australia and also beat world fifth-ranked Korea 5-1 while they finished runners-up to eighth-ranked Pakistan in the Four Nations tournament.

The summer ended with a record fifth place finish in Europe during which they beat world fourth-ranked team Spain 2-1 - the same Spanish squad that trounced Great Britain 8-1 last month in the Champions Trophy.

"This represents the combined Ireland squad and management effort over the year," said Revington. "I am honoured to receive this award but it represents the effort put in by everyone."

Revington and his squad will get together early in January as they begin preparations for the Olympic Qualifier in Dublin - a six-nation tournament they must win to make it to London.

He has already named a core squad of 24, 11 of which come from Ulster, and a further 20 in a periphery squad.

The core squad will take in a two-week warm-weather training camp in Europe in January and a further nine-day camp in Spain in February before taking in several Four Nations tournaments.

The Olympic Qualifier runs from March 10 to March 18 with Korea, Malaysia, Russia, Chile and Ukraine joining the Irish to try win the one Olympic slot available.

* THE Linden Cup and Sussex Regiment Cup finals will take place at Stormont on Saturday.

Senior One leaders Antrim are favourites against Bangor in the Linden decider (3pm) while Senior Two leaders Ballynahinch are favourites against PSNI in the Sussex decider (1pm).

Antrim lost to Bangor in the pool phase of the competition before both qualified for the semi-finals, and then took revenge with a 3-1 league win.

With Johnny McMeekin, Stuart McIlroy, Neil McCullough, Lloyd Kane and Richard McClintock all possible matchwinners, Bangor will have to be at their best to keep them out.

Hinch have already beaten PSNI in the league and are being tipped for a league and cup double.

Belfast Telegraph


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