Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Gleghorne Jr's Australian adventure

While many Irish hockey players have signed up to Australian clubs during their years out, an increasing trend of high profile have made the trip down under with international prospects, rather than a year out, high on the agenda.

Peter Blakeney is the most notable export, helping the West Australia Thundersticks to the Australian title. Now in his third stint in Oz where his is finishing his master's thesis, Blakeney has been joined by four recent Irish debutants: Johnny Bruton, Michael Maguire, David Robinson - after a brief spell in Argentina - and Paul Gleghorne.

The last of that quintet may have a famous name in Irish hockey by is probably the least well known in Leinster circles.

Gleghorne, the former Instonians' centre-back, left Ireland's shores to study at Loughborough a couple of years ago, reaching the EHL quarter-final along the way, and is now very much looking at carving out a place in the Irish side.

The centre-back opened his international career with a first-half goal against Wales in the 2009 Celtic Cup. Five days later, with a winner’s medal in his pocket, he boarded the plane to Perth for an eight-game stint with the North Coast Raiders, home club of international superstar Jamie Dwyer among other top-class players.

He flew back to Europe earlier this week, returning for another year with the English university, buoyed by his recent sojourn down under.

Speaking to The Hook, he said of the experience: “I have really enjoyed the hockey and have got to play with and against many current and ex-Australian internationals. The most high profile player on my team is Dwyer, and it has been brilliant to play with him.

"The standard of the competition is very good, and the game is played at a very high pace. The main difference between the style of play here compared to in Europe is that the play here is much more direct."

Gleghorne was initially alerted to the opportunity of alternative summer hockey by Loughborough club mates and settled at the Raiders who "were able to offer the best deal".

He adds, that having just finished his degree, the moment was not to take the plunge: "I have been interested in coming out to play there for sometime and decided that now would be the best time to do it.

“I wanted to experience hockey abroad and work hard to improve my game whilst here. I had heard good reports about the standard here and wanted to experience it for myself. I have played against some top players and have really enjoyed the challenge. It has been a very positive experience for my hockey."

As for lining out alongside Dwyer - the three-time world player of the year - it offered a unique opportunity to learn from the best.

“In games, what sets him apart from the others I have played with is the way he leads for the ball and creates space for himself; it makes my job of passing to him much easier. His pace is obviously a great attribute when he has the ball but the way he uses his pace off the ball is what I noticed the most."

Gleghorne returns to play his hockey in England this year but could envisage further moves in the future. “I have no long term plans as yet and I am not ruling anything at this stage!”


Anonymous said...

nice article steve

Anonymous said...

I agree nice article but please stick to things people are actually interested in, aka irish players or developments that effect leinster hockey circles. Much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the first comment, great article, nice to see these kind of things being discussed!

Anonymous said...

Its so pleasing to have you to speak for everyone 3.39. What would we do without you. Excellent Article Steve.

Anonymous said...

Great article very interesting, ignore small minded ignorant comments like the one above.

Anonymous said...

3.39pm: this is a great article and takes effort. we appreciate reading about IRISH hockey players doing well abroad

Anonymous said...

What a narrow minded comment from annonymous at 3:39!Lots of people are interested in players and their travels even if you are not.Open your mind and look beyond Leinster for a change.Amazing what you might learn.

Anonymous said...

3.39 Dear oh Dear. And its "affect"

Anonymous said...

yea great 1 steve!

Anonymous said...

Jaysus. It his blog. He can write about peruvian fighting guinea pigs if he wants to (and I know you do Findo). You don't have to read the article if you don't have to.

Anonymous said...

And "aka" is an abbreviation for "also known as". Perhaps you meant "i.e."???? Thankfully it's Stephen writing the articles on this blog ;)