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Mark Tumilty's stint as Ireland coach set to be extended after Olympic postponement



Longer reign: Mark Tumilty has had his contract extended

Longer reign: Mark Tumilty has had his contract extended

�INPHO/Bryan Keane

Longer reign: Mark Tumilty has had his contract extended

Ireland head coach Mark Tumilty will have plenty of opportunities to make up for lost time next year after 2020 looks like becoming a write-off as far as competitive internationals are concerned.

The former Banbridge boss will have his contract extended following the postponement of the Olympics with his post now expected to be advertised in late 2021 after the Tokyo Games.

Next year, Tumilty will be at the helm when Ireland take part in the European Championship second tier in Poland in August.

Ireland will be striving for promotion after a decade in the top flight before being relegated under Tumilty's predecessor Alex Cox in Antwerp last August when the Dutchman quit the job.

Ireland will be up against some of hockey's lesser lights in Poland where they will be joined by Austria, Croatia, Italy, Scotland, Switzerland and Ukraine along with the host team.

Also in 2021, Ireland are among the teams who will be taking part in the new Continental Cup which is an eight-team event staged at the one venue with dates still to be confirmed.

Originally, Tumilty's post was to have been advertised at the end of this year but the impact of the coronavirus has left him without a chance to prove himself.

The latest casualty of the global pandemic was a proposed trip to Valencia in July when the Dromore man would have been in charge at his first major tournament.​

Hosts Spain and Germany - both of whom have qualified for Japan - were to have been joined by France, Malaysia and Ireland at a prestigious Five Nations event.​

Before that, Ireland were to have hosted France and the United States in Dublin in June but the cancellation of that series, although still to be confirmed, seems inevitable.​

Tumilty has been keeping himself busy while his players have been idle on the competitive front with their only hockey activity restricted to individual training.

He said: "Coaching these days has taken on a new meaning and it involves watching video, being on webinars and reading to develop myself.

"I have been making use of modern technology for virtual meetings and doing planning so that when we are given the opportunity to be back on a pitch we are really well prepared.

"When we do get back as a squad you can rest assured that we will be working incredibly hard to make up for all the lost time."

Belfast Telegraph