Ireland finalised their match preparation in two uncapped matches against England, resulting in a 2-4 loss and 4-4 draw, despite impressive performances against the European Champions Ireland have had to deal with the news that Munster’s David Hobbs is unavailable for the tournament due to an ongoing injury. Commenting on the news Coach Paul Revington said “We were dealt a body blow this week as David Hobbs and Joe Brennan have been ruled out of the World Cup Qualifier as a result of an inability to recover from injury and regain fitness before departure to Argentina today. David has been a great strength to the Irish Team over several years and carries a great deal of experience through attending a World Cup Qualifier in China in 2006 and an Olympic Qualifier in New Zealand in 2008.”
“The Team will miss David’s power in midfield and the experience he brings to the Team, and will also miss the presence and quality that Joe Brennan has added to our Team throughout 2009. The Squad has however developed a good degree of depth in strength over the past few months and weare very fortunate to announce David Ames as the replacement for David Hobbs and Peter Caruth as the replacement for Joe Brennan. David Ames returned to the squad over the Summer (Celtic Cup) after a tough start to 2009 filled with injury and he has progressively built up the form that makes him such an exciting prospect for Irish Hockey. Ames brings a terrific skill set, a strong physical engine, a penalty corner injection and a youthful energy that will benefit the Ireland Team immensely inArgentina. Peter Caruth has improved consistently throughout 2009 and will be a player going to Argentina with form and confidence on his side.”
When asked about the final stages of the squad’s preparation Revington commented “The games against England mid week were of great benefit to the players attending the WCQ in Argentina as well as for our efforts to improve the depth of the Irish Squad in general. England offered an extremely high tempo game opportunity to all players and this will have massive benefit for our Team traveling to Argentina. It was also great to have the full team together in Banbridge on Saturday evening and I know the guys are all excited to be together again and continue the friendship and locker room spirit that has been the foundation for their performances in 2009.”
Ireland (18) kick off their campaign against the world number 19’s when they play USA on day one, Saturday 14th November. With less than 24 hours rest Ireland will face Chile ranked 27th after which they will have earned their day’s rest before clashing with the top ranked seed in this tournament Belgium (9th) on Tuesday 17th in what will no doubt be a tough encounter. Ireland then take on the Czech Republic (25th) before closing out the pool stages against hosts Argentina (10th) on Saturday 21st November.
Only the champion of this tournament will secure the coveted World Cup place. The Team’s participation in the World Qualifier is supported by the Olympic Council of Ireland’s Team sport grant of $100k.