Seven Ulster players named in Ireland men's hockey squad for Rio Games

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Johnny Bell says Ireland will target a medal at Rio 2016

Seven Ulster players have been named in the 16-strong Ireland men's hockey squad for the Rio Olympic Games.

Lisnagarvey captain Jonathan Bell is joined by team-mates Michael Watt and Paul Gleghorne, whose brother Mark is part of the Great Britain squad.

Banbridge captain Eugene Magee is included, as is Peter Caruth, who will be Annadale player-coach next season.

Chris Cargo and John Jackson are also named, while Timmy Cockram and Michael Robson will be travelling reserves.

An initial group of 24 was gradually whittled down to 16, with Monkstown goalkeeper David Fitzgerald joining Lisnagarvey's Cockram and Annadale's Robson on the reserve list.

Matthew Bell of Banbridge and Gareth Watkins of Monkstown were the last two players to be eliminated from the final squad announced on Monday.

Ireland, ranked 12th in the world, will be in Pool B alongside world number two ranked Netherlands, defending Olympic champions Germany (3); India (5); Argentina (7); and Canada (15).

Michael Watt is one of a seven-strong Ulster contingent in the Ireland squad
Michael Watt is one of a seven-strong Ulster contingent in the Ireland squad

Ireland start bid against Canada

Ireland open their tournament against India at 15:00 BST on 6 August, before facing the Netherlands at 22:00 on the following day.

The Irish team have a rest day on 8 August but return to action against the Germans at 16:30.

Their pool games draw to a close against Canada at 15:00 on 11 August and then Argentina at 23:30 on 12 August.

From there, depending on pool standings, they could be in quarter final action on Sunday 14 August.

It will be the first time in more than 100 years that an Irish hockey team has participated in an Olympic Games.

The Irish men, who made history by winning a bronze medal at the Eurohockey Championships in August last year, will become the first to represent Ireland in a team sport at an Olympic Games since 1948.

Ireland picked up silver medals in the inaugural Olympic hockey event, which took place in London in 1908.

Ireland squad: Jonny Bell (Lisnagarvey), Chris Cargo (Racing), Peter Caruth (Annadale), Mitch Darling (Rotterdam), Paul Gleghorne (Lisnagarvey), Kyle Good (Monkstown), Ronan Gormley (Krefeld), David Harte (capt, Kampong), Conor Harte (Racing), John Jackson (Reading), John Jermyn (Cork C of I), Eugene Magee (Banbridge), Shane O'Donoghue (Dragons), Alan Sothern (Pembroke), Kirk Shimmins (Pembroke), Michael Watt (Lisnagarvey).

Travelling reserves: Tim Cockram (Lisnagarvey), Michael Robson (Annadale), David Fitzgerald (Monsktown).