Sunday, May 19, 2024

After retiring, David Fitzgerald answers Ireland hockey’s call to arms U-turn

In September, after 13 years in the international fold, David Fitzgerald called time on his Ireland career.

He officially announced his retirement on Sep 23. The memories came thick and fast on social media.

Yet, two months later, he was flying out to South Africa with the Green Machine to take part in the FIH Nations Cup, with a place in the top tier Pro League on the line. 

On Saturday, Ireland play Malaysia in the semi-finals in Potchefstroom, while hosts South Africa take on South Korea.

How Fitzgerald began his journey back to green – he has started two of the three games in South Africa – was realised when Jamie Carr got injured, before Mark Ingram was unable to grant release from his work to play the Nations Cup. 

With Hockey Paper columnist David Harte still taking time away from the Green Machine following the birth of his second child, the call came to Fitzgerald to reverse his decision.

After an opening 2-1 victory over  France, Fitzgerald and James Milliken have shared keeper duties, Ireland rallying further with two victories against Pakistan and hosts South Africa to line up in the last four.

Defender Lee Cole said ahead of the semi-final: “We’ve had a couple of good battles against Malaysia over the years. They look pretty hot, especially in their last 15 minutes against Japan today – they seemed to really turn it on – so they’ll be another tough test.”

Korea also have three from three after a 6-2 win over Canada sealed top spot in Pool B. 

Pakistan, France, Japan and Canada will play for minor places at the weekend.

Total Hockey


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