Henderson covers Ireland emergency
23 Feb 2006 14:50
Irish Hockey Association: Nigel Henderson has returned to the Irish senior men’s team to help solve Dave Passmore’s goalkeeper crisis.
Passmore was struggling to manage a terrible run of bad luck that has left him without his three senior goalkeepers.
Both Mark Ruddle and Gareth Lennox were unavailable for the four-nation tournament in Egypt due to essential academic commitments, forcing Passmore to select one goalkeeper for the tournament.
The problem was further compounded yesterday when remaining goalkeeper Charlie Henderson injured himself at work, forcing him to withdraw from the trip with concussion.
“The most important thing is that Charlie wasn’t seriously hurt,” said a philosophical Passmore.
“He seems to be recovering well but still has to take at least three weeks away from contact sport.”
Charlie’s older brother Nigel has, however, stepped out of international retirement to cover. Henderson retired from international hockey last year after Ireland’s victorious campaign at the European Nations Trophy in Rome, but had agreed to remain on standby if an urgent requirement for his services arose.
That scenario has arisen, giving the 37-year-old Pembroke Wanderers star the opportunity to add to his impressive tally of 63 international caps.
“Given our circumstances, we couldn’t have any better replacement than Nigel.”
“He has been working with the goalkeepers in a coaching capacity so knows our set plays and defensive strategies. Things never go according to plan at tournaments, so we just have to get on with the task in hand.”
Ireland leaves for Egypt tomorrow for a tournament that will play an important role in the preparation of the team ahead of the BDO World Cup Qualifier in China in mid-April.
Of particular importance will be the match against Egypt, who have been drawn in the same pool as Ireland in the Qualifier in China.
Ireland commences their tournament against Egypt on 25 February at 16:00, and take on Italy the following day, also at 16:00. Ireland’s final pool game against Poland takes place on Tuesday 28 February at 18:00, with classification matches closing the tournament on Thursday 2 March.