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Mark Tumilty

Mark Tumilty

©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Mark Tumilty

Ireland men's hockey coach Mark Tumilty has been hit with a double whammy with the cancellation of two more important tournaments due to the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tumilty was to have taken charge of the national team at a home Three Nations tournament in mid-June but it has become the latest casualty of the virus.

France and the United States were to have travelled to Dublin for the series which would have been Tumilty's first event since the abortive Olympic qualifying double header against Canada in Vancouver last November.

Ireland had also pencilled in a series of home games against Scotland in June but these, too, won't take place, almost certainly leaving the team without a fixture this year.

Ireland had also been due to take part in a prestigious tournament in Valencia in July, also involving Tokyo-bound Germany and Spain, along with Malaysia and France but it was cancelled earlier this month.

In another blow, an Under 23 event in Madrid over the summer has bitten the dust, denying Tumilty the opportunity to run his eye over some aspiring senior internationals.

However, the former Banbridge boss and his players have been keeping themselves ticking over, despite the lack of competitive hockey in these unprecedented times.

Tumilty said: "The players are still training on their own but that is under constant review and I am speaking to the guys on a regular basis and we are doing some small group meetings via Zoom or FaceTime.

"Yes, the lack of hockey action is frustrating for all concerned but, at this moment, everyone's health and welfare is more important than sport."

Belfast Telegraph