Three Rock Rovers will carry the Irish flag in European club action this weekend when they compete in the men’s EHL Ranking Cup competition.
The competition, held at at the Dragons’ den in Brasschaat, just north of Antwerp, is part of the finalisation of the 2020/21 European season which was put on hold in the spring due to the Covid-19 spread across the continent.
Three Rock will take on Belarus’s HC Minsk on Saturday and then, depending how they do, face the winner of Hampstead & Westminster or Mannheimer HC on Sunday morning.
For Rovers, it will be their fifth season in the EHL, the elite level club tournament in which they have reached the KO16 each time they have competed.
In 2019, they became the first Irish side to win a knock-out fixture before putting it up to German champions Rot-Weiss Köln in a 4-2 battle in Barcelona.
They have their place in the EHL by virtue of being the last side to win the EY Champions Trophy back in 2019 following the abandoned 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons.
He said: “We have not had as much time together as we would have liked but There is huge amounts of talent in this group, and I think their natural ability will make ‘gelling’ somewhat easier, but there is a lot of work to do.
“This is evidenced by our inconsistent performances in the league thus far. EHL is always a great test of the group, and this time round, it will certainly play a major role in team building and helping the squad come together.”
Rovers will be the only Irish team in action this weekend. Lisnagarvey were pencilled in to play in the men’s EuroHockey Trophy I in the Czech Republic but withdrew due to Covid-19-related issues.
Similarly, Pegasus were due to play in the women’s EHL Ranking Cup in Hamburg and Loreto scheduled to contest the EuroHockey Club Trophy in Lille.