Ireland hockey: Men's head coach Craig Fulton steps down

Fulton (centre) celebrates with Ronan Gormley after their 4-2 win over Canada at the Rio Olympics
Fulton (centre) celebrates with Ronan Gormley after their 4-2 win over Canada at the Rio Olympics

Craig Fulton will leave his position as Ireland men's head coach this summer to take up a new role as assistant coach to the Belgian national team.

Fulton, who led the team to Rio 2016, will end his tenure after a three-match series against France in June.

Assistant coaches Jonny Caren, Kai de Jager and John Bessell will take charge until a replacement is found.

"It has been an absolute honour and a pleasure to have been head coach of the Irish team since 2014," said Fulton.

"Great teams are made up of great individuals and I am very proud to say that this has been the case with the players that I have been fortunate enough to coach."

The former South African international, who succeeded Australian Andrew Meredith as Ireland coach, also helped the team to a European bronze medal finish in 2015 and secured their qualification to the World Cup in India later this year.

"I am proud that the Irish men's team, together with the support of the Irish hockey community, made history," added Fulton.

"To David Harte and the Irish men's squad all the best for the World Cup and beyond, may this team continue to inspire the next generation of hockey players".

Fulton, 43, will take up his new role with Belgium, who are third in the world rankings, seven places ahead of Ireland, before the start of the World Cup on 28 November.