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Ulster 10 answer Ireland's call for world qualifying build-up tournament


By Graham Hamilton

Ten Ulstermen have been named in Ireland's 20-strong panel which heads for Germany today to play in the Hamburg Masters series in what is their final build-up games before the World Cup qualifier in Johannesburg next month.

Coach Craig Fulton continues to juggle with his training panel, as not everybody is available for what could be three major tournaments this summer as well as build-up games, but it remains a strong squad for games against Spain tomorrow, Austria on Friday and hosts Germany on Sunday.

Lisnagarvey supply five in Jonathan Bell, Paul Gleghorne, Neal Glassey, Sean Murray and Matthew Nelson, while Banbridge complete the home-based players with Matthew Bell, Eugene Magee and Johnny McKee.

The remaining two Ulstermen are England-based John Jackson (Bath Buccaneers) and Chris Cargo (Hampstead and Westminster).

Notable absentees, for a variety of reasons, are Peter Caruth, Michael Robson, Ronan Gormley, Conor Harte, Kyle Good, John Jermyn and Kirk Shimmins.

The opening game tomorrow is against Spain (3.45pm), who are ranked one below them on the world ladder, and then it's Austria on Friday (3.45pm), a team the Green Machine needed a penalty shoot-out to overcome on their way to the World League 2 title at Stormont back in March.

Spain and Austria are in the other pool in the World League 3 series in Johannesburg, but Olympic bronze medallists Germany - who Ireland face on Sunday (11.30am) - are in the same pool, so neither team will want to give too much away.

Meanwhile, Ulsterman David Ames scored for England as they beat Korea 7-2 last night to set up a quarter-final clash against Canada tomorrow in the other World Cup qualifier in London.

England, who have two other Ulstermen in their ranks - Mark Gleghorne who has scored four in four games and their co-captain Ian Sloan - finished level with Olympic gold medallists Argentina in their pool but second on goal difference.

Sam Ward banged in four of the goals last night, and now a win over Canada - ranked four behind England on the world ladder - would effectively guarantee them a place in the 2018 World Cup finals.

Ireland: David Harte, Jamie Carr, John Jackson, Jonathan Bell, Paul Gleghorne, Matthew Bell, Lee Cole, Stuart Loughrey, Stephen Cole, Chris Cargo, Neal Glassey, Shane O'Donoghue, Sean Murray, Darragh Walsh, Matthew Nelson, Alan Sothern, Eugene Magee, Johnny McKee, Jeremy Duncan

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