Men’s FIH Pro League: Debutants Ireland aim for dream start as they reach India

Aiming to do well in their debut in the event, 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 Hockey Pro League 2023/24.

Aiming to do well in their debut in the event, 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 Hockey 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 Hockey Pro League 2023/24 India leg, scheduled to take place in Bhubaneswar (February 10-16) and Rourkela (February 19-25).

Led by Sean Murray, Ireland will begin their campaign against the Netherlands on Feb 10 followed by matches against Australia, Spain and home side India on Feb 13, 15 and 16 respectively at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium, Bhubaneswar. They will then play the return fixtures at the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium, Rourkela from February 19 to 25.

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“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 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.

“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.”

(IANS)

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