Garth Hanlon rolls back the years as a hockey master for Ireland
Cambridge Nomad earned an international call-up this summer
Garth Hanlon will head into the new East Men’s Hockey League with renewed vigour after an international call-up this summer.
The 54-year-old planning director at Savills was eligible to fulfil an ambition when earning selection for Ireland Over-55s at the Exin Masters World Cup 2018 in Spain.
Hanlon had played hockey in his native Ireland until he was 18, and having represented Scotland Universities during his studies, moved to Cambridge in 1987 and has appeared for the Nomads ever since.
“Probably about three or four years ago, one of the Irish guys who I was playing with here in Cambridge knew I had played at a decent level back home and thought Masters would be something to get into,” said Hanlon.
“I thought it would be a good thing to do and really put my back into it, probably about 18 months or so ago.
“I made a lot of contacts back in Ireland, and was flying back quite a bit, probably once a month for training and games.
“I ended up getting selected for Ireland. Cambridge Nomads and my work were very supportive, and so it was a good achievement for me and coincided with my 20 years here at work so that meant I could take a couple of weeks off.
“It’s a great event and when you’re playing for your country it’s an added bonus that anybody would be proud of.”
The team had six international games in eight days in a searing hot 40 degrees, and while it may not have been a hugely successful tournament for Ireland, Hanlon was on the mark twice – in defeats to South Africa and Italy.
It showed the ability to find the goal that Hanlon still possesses for the Nomads, now with their third team but previously in the firsts, and one which he hopes will continue this East Hockey League season.
“I like to think I’m pretty fit for my age,” he said.
“I’ve always had an eye for goal and in the past, I’ve been centre forward for Nomads for many a year alongside some very good players.
“It’s the classic being in the right place at the right time, and I’ve always had that eye for goal.
“I play for the thirds who are a great bunch of people and it’s a mix of youth and experience.
“I’m probably the second oldest on the team, but we have a lot of young kids who I’m probably four times older than. It’s great because I like playing with a whole range of people, and it suits me.”
Having had an enjoyable 12 months, the target is maintaining his place in the Ireland squad for the Masters European Championships next summer.
“I will be working hard to get back into the over-55s, and be older and wiser,” he added.
“It’s a proud thing for me and hopefully the club to say we have an international player, albeit at a certain age.”