DAVID Harte is the World Hockey Goalkeeper of the Year for a very good reason – and he was at his shot-stopping best as the Irish men’s team won the Hockey World League 2 final against France (2-1) at Stormont.
This tournament success handed Ireland their all-important ticket to World League Round 3 in South Africa in July where the 2018 World Cup places will be decided before they contest the European Championships in August in Amsterdam.
Goalkeeper David and his twin brother Conor (defender), from Ballinspittle, are mainstays in this Irish team and it’s no surprise that they played huge roles in Ireland’s success at the World League 2 event in Belfast.
Such was David’s heroics in the five games that the West Cork native was named Goalkeeper of the Tournament, showing the form that has seen him selected as the world’s best hockey goalkeeper for the past two years.
The final against France finished level at 1-1 before Ireland – ranked tenth in the world – registered a 4-2 shoot-out win, with Conor among the goal scorers while David saved two penalties.
Coach Craig Fulton praised his new-look Ireland team: ‘They are the future of Irish hockey. We want to blood them and there’s no better place than a tournament like this with the quarters, semis and final. They now have that experience.’