Krohn Grace: “I want to show what I can contribute”

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Ireland men embark yet again on an international campaign as the squad travels to Valletta, Malta on 5/6 November to face Malta and U23 Israel national team in a two-day test tournament.

Ahead of the trip to Malta, we sat down with national team newcomer Joshua Krohn Grace (20). Dublin-born Grace — who moved to Denmark at the age of 5 — has been involved in the national team set up since July of this year, and will for the first time be wearing the green of Ireland on the international stage. He is, however, not making this venture alone with his brother Thomas (18) also featuring in his first international test matches.

What has the initial experience been like playing with the team?

Joshua Krohn Grace: “It’s been a great experience and also great fun. At the training camp in Wittenberge in Germany, I enjoyed how motivated everyone was to play. We played some good intense matches. Also, the training camp in Ireland in September gave us some more time to play together. The more training camps together, the better.”

What is it like to not only share the court with your brother but to do it on the international stage?

“This is probably one of the best things about it that Thomas and I can do this together. We’ve had great fun on the court together at the last training camps and I can’t wait to do it again in Malta. Standing together on the court representing the Irish national handball team it really something special.”

Do you have any personal goals for the upcoming trip?

“I want to show what I can contribute to the team by giving it my all. I also want to do everything I can to make us work better as a team.”

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What sort of tournament do you expect in Malta?

“I’m not sure what to expect from Malta and Israel, which makes it very interesting. I’m very excited to play both sides. I expect us to grow as a team over the weekend. Such tournaments are very important for us and it’s a good opportunity for us to see how far we have come.”

Could you talk to us about your breakthrough to top-level handball?

“I started playing handball in my hometown in Denmark called Tornby. From there I moved to Hjørring and after one season I was back playing again in Tornby for a while before I started playing for Aalborg Håndbold’s youth team. This eventually led to me being a part of the senior team — an amazing experience! Now I play in Frederikshavn FI. It’s the perfect club for me right now. We have a great team, and we are doing very well at the moment.”

“Two achievements that mean a lot to me were my debut for Aalborg Håndbold. It was a home game, which made it even better; I came on in front of four thousand people and scored my first league goal. I’ll never forget that. Also, last season playing for Frederikshavn in the 2nd division our goal was to join the 1st division. I can’t describe the feeling when we managed to pull it off.”

For your current club Frederikshavn FI what sort of role do you play?

“I think it’s difficult to define my role right now. I haven’t played for Frederikshavn a long time yet but I feel good about being a part of the club. I always play for the team and I want us to keep getting better every day. It can be hard moving to a higher level. We have done well so far and are getting used to a faster, physical game.”

Would you say you are more excited or nervous ahead of your first international test matches?

“I would say a bit of both. I’m always excited to play and I’m looking forward to playing for Ireland again. Of course, I’m nervous because it’s a big thing for me to represent my country. It means a lot for my brother and I and, of course, our family thinks it’s amazing.”

The official Facebook page for the ‘Malta International Handball Tournament 2016’

The squad selected by coach, Roman Abramenko, can be found here.

There will be a live stream of all the matches over the weekend for fans, this can be found by clicking here.