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Wimbledon debut for ex-Ireland ace Ian Sloan

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New surroundings: Ian Sloan has joined Wimbledon

New surroundings: Ian Sloan has joined Wimbledon

New surroundings: Ian Sloan has joined Wimbledon

Ian Sloan, the ex-Irish international midfielder who declared for England and GB two years ago, will be playing at Wimbledon this year.

The former Cookstown star won't be appearing on the Centre Court at SW19 but on Wimbledon hockey's new synthetic pitch in England's Premier National League.

Sloan has switched clubs from relegated Loughborough to Wimbledon in a move that guarantees he continues to play in England's top tier and also moves him closer to England Hockey's Centralised Training Programme.

Both he and former Cookstown colleague David Ames declared for GB in January 2012, and are expected to make an impact in the England set-up when their international clearance comes through next April with time to establish themselves before Rio 2016.

The resignation of national coach Paul Revington sparked both Sloan and Ames to consider their futures, and so they made the decision to switch to England and GB despite having to sit out international games for three years.

Ames has remained at Beeston and was one of their stars as they were crowned national champions last season. And, indeed, he was on the mark in last Saturday's opening match of the new season as the Nottingham club beat Canterbury 6-2.

Sloan's two years at Loughborough proved beneficial, and as well as featuring on the pitch, he coached the university's 2nd XI to a Midlands League success. But relegation was a setback, and so he joined Wimbledon where England trio Henry Weir, Alistair Brogdon and Michael Hoare, as well as Chris Gregg, all feature.

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Unfortunately, Wimbledon's opening game saw them lose 2-1 to Hampstead and Westminster.


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