For Jamie Carr, this week’s World Cup qualifier in Cardiff has already proven a significant improvement over the European Championships in August as the Irish goalkeeper looks to make a big impact this week ( all matches will be broadcast live on www.eurohockeytv.org).
The Green Machine will face Russia in their first game on Thursday (4:00 PM Irish time) with only one victory keeping their chances of reaching the World Cup alive in January 2023. Advance and they will meet either Wales or Italy Saturday for a winner. showdown for one of the two places offered this week in the tournament.
“We’re definitely going in the right direction,” Carr said ahead of the tournament this week. “We checked all the boxes before the tournament, made sure everything was covered and the guys were eager to go.
“We have learned a lot over the last year from the last Euro qualifiers this summer. We are ready to fill our gaps of the past and achieve a great performance. “
Indeed, the team all declared themselves present and correct in the Welsh capital, a relief for the panel which was beset by cases of close contacts for these euros in Poland.
In the end, despite not testing positive, two of the initially named squad had to stay home after close pings while Carr and Luke Madeley found themselves stranded in a hotel room in Gniezno for 10 days. , only venturing outside on the day of their arrival. and departure to Poland.
“Someone entered the flight without a PCR test or vaccine; when they arrived in Poland, they tested positive, ”explains the goalkeeper of the nightmarish scenario.
“In the beginning, our whole team was seen as a close contact [and had to stay indoors] until we confirmed who were fully vaccinated. Luke and I were the only ones who didn’t get our second shots, so we had to self-isolate for the full 10 days. “
It meant a frustrating briefing for the duo who currently play with KHC Leuven in Belgium after a hugely successful run with Three Rock Rovers, winning three successive EY Champions trophies.
“Watching the guys play was a nightmare! Match days were stressful and uncomfortable! Of course, we fully supported the guys, but it was hard to see them there knowing you should be too, testing negative thousands of times, putting that hard work to the test. It’s just life sometimes.
“I tried to contribute to the team meetings by watching the video clips and helping the defenders, giving them advice as if I was on the pitch.”
Nonetheless, it provided a rare opportunity to see the tactical game in a different light: [stuck in a hotel room], you can take the emotion out of it and see the big picture.
“I [usually] only see things in the goal from one point of view and cannot see the whole picture. I was able to get an idea that guys wouldn’t have when we talked about it when they could feel something too [on the pitch] which I hadn’t noticed in the heat of the moment. You can acquire this perspective.
It’s not a prospect he’s willing to try too often, however, and since that tournament he has started racing with Leuven.
His club coach Xavi Trenchs is a former Spanish international goalkeeper and recently praised him publicly, declaring in the Belgian press: “he has everything to become one of the best goalkeepers in the world”.
Carr – along with his Irish teammates Daragh Walsh, Madeley and Sean Murray – helped the club to place third in the honor division. This form comes at the right time for Ireland between the posts, with David Harte returning from an injury suffered in the spring.
And Carr says getting such high-quality games in the World and Olympic Champions League has been a huge boost.
“There isn’t a lot of training you can do; you have to be under the cosh every weekend, playing high level matches and that has personally helped me to transition more easily to the Irish squad. The trip is busy but it’s worth it in the end! ”
This trip has seen him play every Sunday, then take red-eye flights on Monday morning to return to Dublin for the past four weeks for Irish sessions.
Now is the time to put everything into practice without any margin for error in Cardiff. Thursday’s and Saturday’s wins earn a spot for the World Cup; something else and it’s off the table.
“It’s refreshing not to have a knockout group stage to focus on. You have to win at all costs and there is no time to build the tournament so we have to get down to business. We cannot afford to start slowly. This one has been in our heads for months now and so we are so excited to go! “
Irish men’s team for the World Cup qualifiers (club / caps):
Jamie Carr (GK, KHC Leuven, 34)
Mark Ingram (GK, Pembroke, 27)
Tom Cross (Annadale, 22)
Luke Madeley (KHC Louvain, 23)
Lee Cole (Monkstown, 90)
Conor Harte (KHC Dragons, 254)
Peter McKibbin (Lisnagarvey, 8)
Kyle Marshall (old Georgians, 7 years old)
Shane O’Donoghue (Glenanne, 197)
Sean Murray (captain, KHC Louvain, 85)
Neal Glassey (Crefelder HTC, 67)
Daragh Walsh (KHC Louvain, 58)
Michael Robson (Annadale, 120)
Johnny McKee (Banbridge, 49)
Conor Empey (SCHC, 2)
Sam Hyland (YMCA, 2)
Ben Walker (Braxgata, 42)
Jeremy Duncan (Monkstown, 63)
Matthew Nelson (Lisnagarvey, 69)
Kevin O’Dea (UCD, 7)
The Head Coach: Marc tumilty
Assistant to the coach: Jason klinkradt
Director: Neil Irwin
Fitness trainer : Eoin Cunniffe
Physio: Cameron Steele
Video technician: Ross willis
FIH Men’s World Cup 2023 – European Qualifiers (Cardiff, 21-24 October 2021)
Thursday October 21: Ireland v Russia, 4 p.m.
Saturday 23 October: semi-final
Sunday October 24: finals / classification matches
** Complete tournament information here: https://tms.fih.ch/competitions/1361