Barbour announces retirement from International Hockey
07 Apr 2008 06:07
Irish forward, Andrew Barbour has decided to draw a line under his international career after amassing 84 caps and 12 goals for his country.
Barbour commented earlier on his reasons for bowing out of international hockey “After five full years playing at the highest level with all the training and representing Ireland it is time to step down. I have gone further in my hockey career than I thought possible and I have been to a lot of amazing places with the team.”
“The dream was to go to the Beijing Olympics this year and the next time we have a shot at the Olympics is four more years down the road, which is beyond me at this point. I am thirty now and there are some good young players coming through they system, including from my own club, so at this time it makes sense to finish up now rather than wait for the next major tournament which will be the 2009 Europeans (B division). There are great structures in the IHA now and the right people are in charge and things are bright for the future”
“I would like to thank my coach Dave Passmore, who has been able to individually consider each player’s professional career and stage in life and manage them which has enabled me to continue playing up to this stage. I would also like to express my gratitude to my family, friends and my own hockey club Cookstown who have given me a huge amount of support over the last number of years.”
Coach Passmore will no doubt miss Barbour’s presence on the pitch “Andy has been a fantastic player to have had in the squad over the past number of years. A consistent performer Andy’s pace and tight skills have tormented even the world's best teams. As a popular and loyal member of the group he will be missed by all involved”
Whilst taking time to progress from the under 21 ranks into the Senior squad, despite his undoubted talent and mercurial club performances for his hometown club Cookstown, Andrew eventually got the breakthrough into the Senior international team in 2003 when he played his debut match against Belgium.
He went onto compete at the European A division in Barcelona and has been ever present in the squad since then winning gold with Ireland in the B division in Rome and was an integral part of the squad that took part in the World Cup Qualifier in China.
Barbour’s last major tournament for Ireland was in New Zealand last February when the squad narrowly missed out on the Olympic qualifier final match by a single goal on goal difference. Reminiscing over his contribution to the international team was Irish Manager Steven Hiles “It was quite fitting that in the Bronze match (at the recent Olympic Qualifiers) which was Barbour's final international game he scored arguably his best ever international goal as he beat several French defenders in a tight space before a majestic reverse stick lob over the keeper - a goal which epitomised the undoubted talent which he possessed.”
“Andy will be sorely missed in the international squad as a senior player and one who lead by example with his commitment and professionalism in all aspects both on and off the pitch. I know I speak on behalf of all the players in wishing him well particularly with his upcoming wedding”. Continued Steven Hiles.
Source: Irish Hockey Association