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Tumilty wants Irish job despite Olympics woe

Firm plans: Mark Tumilty is keen to get the post full-time
Firm plans: Mark Tumilty is keen to get the post full-time

By John Flack

Ireland men's interim head coach Mark Tumilty is eager to stay on in the role in the wake of the national team's agonising failure to book their tickets to next year's Olympic Games.

Like his players, Tumilty still feels an acute sense of pain after Ireland were denied an aggregate win over the two-legged qualifier against Canada in Vancouver by a controversial umpiring decision.

The video official awarded a penalty stroke in the last second of the game after a successful referral, which Canada scored to level the tie at 6-6. They went on to win the subsequent shoot-out.

Unless there is an unexpected U-turn from the sport's world governing body, the International Hockey Federation (FIH), Ireland will now face 18 months of relative inactivity.

The start of the qualification process for the next World Cup is next on the competitive agenda, with the second tier of the European Championship taking place in the summer of 2021.

Tumilty said: "I think any Irish coach would like the opportunity to coach this men's team and I am no different.

"There is an excellent group of players in the squad and also lots of great young talent coming through."

Hockey Ireland are continuing to discuss the Canada controversy with the FIH, although they realise they cannot appeal against the umpiring decision that led to the equalising goal over the two legs.

Rather, they are concentrating on the application of the video referral system in the lead up to the controversial call and querying the number of camera angles that were available to the third official.

Meanwhile, Tumilty will be among the spectators at Havelock Park on Saturday when Banbridge host Lisnagarvey in an eagerly-anticipated EY Irish Hockey League encounter.

Garvey had their toughest test of the season to date when they came from two goals down to beat Bann 3-2 in the Irish Senior Cup at the same venue.

However, in the league the free-scoring Hillsborough team have been in superb form with 27 goals in four straight wins while their local rivals only got off the mark on Saturday when they defeated Corinthian 3-1 in Dublin.

Annadale, who have yet to win a game in the top flight in the current campaign, are at home to Dublin YMCA.

Fixtures: Saturday: EY Irish Hockey League: Annadale v YMCA (4pm); Banbridge v Lisnagarvey (5pm); Glenanne v Corinthian (2pm); Monkstown v Three Rock Rovers (2.15pm); UCD v Pembroke (2.50pm). Irish Hockey Trophy: Bangor v Raphoe (2.30pm); Belfast Harlequins v Portadown (1pm); Kilkeel v South Antrim (2pm); Civil Service v Weston; Waterford v Newry. Intermediate League: Antrim v Parkview (1pm); CI v Ballymena (2.30pm); PSNI v Down (1pm).

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