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Ulster trio tie up their moves to German club Crefelder


By Graham Hamilton

The three Ulster players who intimated they would be playing abroad next season have finally sorted out arrangements - they'll be plying their trade in Germany's top flight with Crefelder.

Banbridge's Matthew Bell, who confirmed six weeks ago that negotiations were going on with European clubs, and Lisnagarvey duo Neal Glassey and Michael Robson, will join fellow Irish international Ronan Gormley at the German club as the number of international stars leaving these shores increases again.

Bell and Glassey, of course, are currently out in Johannesburg with the Irish squad bidding to secure World Cup qualification while Robson is recovering from injury.

And with Jeremy Duncan and Lee Cole already having confirmed moves to Belgian clubs Herakles and Royal Oree respectively, it means that five of last year's home-based players are now going to be playing abroad, taking the overall total up significantly.

The Irish men, who have already qualified for the tournament's quarter-finals with one pool game to go, did a spot of sightseeing around Joburg yesterday.

They are sitting out the action today and tomorrow before concluding their pool programme against Olympic bronze medallists Germany on Monday (3pm).

Today's entertaining men's programme sees the top two in the pool, Belgium and Germany, face each other while the bottom two, South Africa and Egypt, also square up.

At this stage Ireland's opposition in the quarter-finals could well be New Zealand, Spain or France.

Meanwhile, following yesterday's results, Ireland's women have slipped to third place in their pool with their final game in the first phase to come against England tomorrow (1pm).

However Ireland, who had already qualified for the quarter-finals, could still finish at least third if results go their way.

If they beat England, 1-0 winners over Germany yesterday, and hope Japan beat the Germans earlier in the day, then they could actually finish top.

But an Irish loss and a German win would leave Graham Shaw's team in fourth place and facing a more difficult last-eight tie most likely against Argentina, who were 4-0 winners over USA in the other pool yesterday.

A draw with England could leave them at least third.

There was also a surprise result in Pool B as Chile defeated South Africa 1-0, leaving the hosts facing an early exit unless they can defeat the USA tomorrow.

Ireland can qualify automatically for the World Cup if they win their quarter-final but even sixth place or lower could still be enough depending on the outcomes of the various upcoming continental championships when more slots should be freed up

Finally, the draw for the EuroHockey League club competition will be made on Wednesday.

Banbridge will be one of the teams going into the draw but Three Rock Rovers will go straight through to the KO16 round.

The EHL first round games are set to be played in early October.

Belfast Telegraph


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