Debutants Ireland eye dream start to Men's FIH Pro League campaign in India
(Courtesy : Hockey India)
The World No.11 side will face Netherlands, Australia, Spain and hosts India in the first leg.
Ireland men’s hockey team arrived at the Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar, Odisha on Sunday ahead of their debut in the Men’s FIH Pro League 2023/24.
The World No. 11 side will face the defending Champions the Netherlands, Australia, Spain and the hosts India in the FIH Pro League 2023/24 India leg, scheduled to take place in Bhubaneswar (10th to 16th February) and Rourkela (19th-25th February).
Led by Sean Murray, Ireland will begin their campaign against the Netherlands on 10th February followed by matches against Australia, Spain and home side India on 13th, 15th and 16th February respectively at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium, Bhubaneswar. They will then play the return fixtures at the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium, Rourkela from the 19th to 25th February.
“It’s been a long journey, but it’s great to be in India. We are just coming off the FIH Olympic Qualifiers in Valencia, so looking forward to getting our debut FIH Pro League campaign started,” Murray said upon the team’s arrival in Bhubaneswar.
Ireland have made remarkable strides in recent years. They secured their berth at the FIH Pro League 2023/24 season on the back of their silver medal win at the inaugural FIH Hockey Nations Cup held in 2022. They then went on to clinch gold at the EuroHockey Championship II in 2023 and finished third at the recently held FIH Paris Olympic Qualifier in Spain, sealing their spot at the upcoming quadrennial Games scheduled to be held later this year.
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“We will go out every game with an aim to win. Of course, it is going to be tough against some of the top teams in the world, but this is exactly where we want to be,” the Ireland Captain stated.
On being asked about the toughest opponents on the tour, he added: “We are looking forward to all the games, but especially playing against India at their home is going to be a special occasion.”
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