Courtesy of the Cork News, Ireland
Cork is to bring in inline hockey players from other counties for European tournaments in a bid to swell numbers on the team. Inline Hockey Cork (IHC) - the regional association responsible for the development and promotion of inline hockey locally - is expected to draw on players from across the island, including Kilkenny and Belfast, to expand on numbers available for competitions from nine to 15.
It comes after The Cork Rebels - a collaborative team of players from the IHC club and UCC Coconutters - won the eight annual Valley Vase Tournament last weekend, competing against teams from Northern Ireland, England and Ireland. It was the first time the Cork team won this event.
The local side met the Northern Cyclones in the final, beating the Down team comfortably by 12-2. IHC chairman and The Cork Rebels captain, Derek Mullin highlighted that there were "invaluable" players on the team, such as Canadian UCC students, Thomas Burgess and Patrick McDonough.
ďThey both almost played professional hockey, going up to college level back in their home country,Ē said Mullin. Burgess was awarded the highest goal scorer of the tournament, netting 16 goals while McDonough was voted the most valuable player.
However, Mullin stated that more players now need to be recruited in order to bring the club further in the international stakes. Currently there are only two inline hockey teams in Cork - the IHC and UCC - as three years ago, players from across the county merged into the IHC due to falling numbers in the sport.
ďFor the European games, itís normally five players a side. So we need to continually make changes to keep the players fresh. Thatís why we will be looking to secure players from other clubs and bring more players up through the ranks here in Cork,Ē he said.
Mullin added there are currently 35 adult players with the club, who are split into gold and silver categories for the league.
ďWe have a senior team but also a developing team coming up behind them. For the national competitions, we need only eight or nine players but for the European tournaments, it will be more like 12 or 15,Ē he stated. A tournament in Wales is planned for later this year.
The gold and silver tiers of the IHC will also travel to Galway at the end of the month, Sunday, March 24 to compete in the Inline Hockey Ireland league.
For those interested in the sport, junior/ beginner training takes place on Sundays from 4.30 p.m. to 6 p.m. while senior teams train Sunday and Tuesday evenings at Little Island Sports Complex. For more details see inlinehockeycork.com.