Matthew aiming for Olympic selection

Matthew Bell.
Matthew Bell.

Waringstown’s Matthew Bell is aiming to win his place on the Ireland hockey team for the Rio Olympics.

Matthew, who plays hockey for Banbridge, has made it safely through to the latest cut of the Ireland squad.

Coach Craig Fulton named a 21 man squad which includes Matthew and Banbridge colleague Eugene Magee to travel to Valencia for the Six Nations tournament, which begins on Monday.

The 21 man squad will be further cut to 16 for the Rio Olympics on Sunday, July 10, with two travelling reserves.

So how confident is Matthew of making it onto the plane to the Olympics?

“I don’t really know,” said Bell, Banbridge HC’s Supporters Player of the Year.

“All I can do is play as well as I can and put everything into it, which I have and will be doing.

“It (the final selection) is in the back of everyone’s mind but when we’re together, everyone is focused on what we’re doing.

“It’s all about trying to stay injury free too. We have something like 13 or 14 matches before Rio so a lot can happen.”

Before the big summer tournament itself, Magee and Bell will have plenty of opportunities to impress the boss.

Those begin this week when they travel to Valencia for a Six Nations tournament, beginning on Monday, against Spain, Germany, India, New Zealand and Argentina.