Irish take aim at top four


Eighth, seventh and sixth place – those are the finishes for Team Ireland, working backwards, from the previous three FIL World Indoor Lacrosse Championship. Based on those three results, the natural conclusion would be that the team finishes fifth this September when the quadrennial championship is held at Langley Events Centre.

Head coach Jeff Dowling has the bar slightly higher, however, with a goal to make the medal round and finish top four.

“We were pretty close last time and the guys are ready to take the next step and that is what we really want to accomplish, we want to try and get into the medal round,” Dowling said.

The coach, who lives in Ancaster, Ontario and has Irish roots through his great-grandfather, is back behind the bench for a fourth time, coaching the team at all three of their WILC appearances (2007, 2011 and 2015) as well as the European Box Lacrosse Championship (2017) when the team placed third.

Between the 2015 and 2017 squads, Dowling figures three quarters of the 2019 team are back for another go with the Green and White.

“This certainly looks like our best team on paper. It is just making sure we identify the roles and make sure everyone does what they need to do,” he explained. “We have a good group of guys who I think will play well as a team (and) I think this is the most athletic team we have ever had.”

“We are confident that we can improve on our sixth-place finish from 2015 and we are striving to come home with a medal,” Dowling said.
The offence will be led by the team’s two leading scorers at the 2015 Championship, Stephen Keogh and Brian Gillis, as well as Luke Coppinger, the top scorer from the 2017 event. The defence and transition core will be anchored by the lacrosse IQ of Andrew McBride and the athleticism of Mike Shea.

McBride had a long and stellar National Lacrosse League career and currently works as an assistant coach in the league. Shea was named top defender at the 2017 European Box Lacrosse Championship.

The team will rely on a scoring by committee approach, as well as capitalizing on their transition game.

Ireland roster:
Sonny Campbell
Luke Coppinger
Arthur Cullinan
Conor Dockery
Gearoid Dunbar
Brendan Farrell
Sean Gibson
Brian Gillis
Conor Kelly
Stephen Keogh
Pat Leen
Andrew McBride
Jonathan McMillan
Andy Meyers
Sean Murphy
Conor O’Brien
Seamus Shanahan
Devlin Shanahan
Mike Shea
Daniel Smyth
Ben Snider
Patrick Szabo
Brendan Szabo

Staff:
Jeff Dowling (head coach), Tom Howe and Clancy Almas (assistant coaches)
Caitlin Armstrong (ATC)
Gus Armstrong (equipment manager)


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