Although eight boys from Dundalk will help Team Ireland U18’s compete for glory at this year’s Ice Hockey World Championships in Izmit, Turkey, it will be a special moment for The Donnelly family.
Not only do the Dundalk boys make up almost half the squad, but it also contains three members of the same family, brothers Ryan and Shane Donnelly and 1st cousin Jordan Donnelly.
The rest of the Dundalk contingent is Jack McGailey, Sean Coleman, PadraigTuite, Christian McEvoy and Eoghan Lafferty.
Speaking to The Dundalk Democrat before their departure, The Donnelly’s agreed that it will be the proudest moment of their lives putting on the Irish jersey.
“There is a lot of pride wearing my country’s jersey,” said Ryan, “I never thought I would represent my country when I first started playing hockey when the Dundalk Ice Dome was opened.
“I didn’t think I would be selected, but my hard work and tough diet and exercise plan has been worth it. I’m really looking forward to our first match against Israel.”
Although he is the youngest on the team, Shane says that having his brother and cousin on the ice has given him a boost of confidence.
“With Ryan and Jordan on the team, it is a great support,” said Shane, “I feel more confident on the ice. Although I am the youngest, I hope to gain experience and that it will benefit me in tournaments over the next few years.
“My family is very proud and I will represent Ireland with pride.”
“This is what dreams are made of,” said Jordan, “It’s a great feeling putting on the Irish jersey during training games, but it will be an even greater feeling wearing it at the international event.”
“We hope to bring back a medal, we have been training intensively for the last number of months. We are all looking forward to it.
“I have a good relationship with my two cousins on the, but we have our differences sometimes,” added Jordan, who attends Bush Post Primary school.
Team mate Eoghan Lafferty also attends Bush Post Primary school.
The players held a charity shoot-out at the school recently, which helped to offset the cost of the trip.
“Ice hockey is not the sort of sport you would associated with this part of the county,” said Bush principal Kevin Joyce, “Both Jordan and Eoghan are dedicated and are true sportsmen. We wish them all the best in Turkey.”