An international hockey call-up is a dream come true for Waringstown teenager Matthew Bell.
The 19-year-old jetted off to Germany on Wednesday with the Irish squad for the prestigious Hamberg Masters which features games against three of the top hockey nations.
Irish men’s coach Andrew Meredith broke the news to a delighted Matthew late last week.
“I could not believe it when I got the email,” said Matthew, a former pupil of Waringstown Primary School. “It’s what you dream about. Getting a cap at this level is fantastic. It’s been a hectic few days getting ready, but I’m really looking forward to it.
“The event itself features a big challenge as we face three top teams and as a player you can only learn from that type of experience.”
Matthew, who plays in defence, has been a member of Banbridge Hockey Club and has played for the firsts for the past three years. He has also been to Holland with the Irish Under-18s and Slovakia with the Under-21’s.
Coming from a hockey background it is no surprise that Matthew should reach these heights.
“My dad played hockey and had a stick in my hand from I was five so it has paid off,” added Matthew. “Hopefully I can give a good account of myself and keep on the radar of the coach.”
Ireland are due to open their account on Thursday against Germany then Holland on Saturday followed by England on Sunday.
Irish Coach Andrew Meredith said, “This event provides a great vehicle to build experience in a high quality, competitive environment for some of the younger members involved in the program.”