Irish Men’s squad ready for Emerging Nations Championships

The Irish Men’s squad are in place and ready for the International Handball Federation’s Emerging Nations Championships which take place in Bulgaria from June 12th to 18th.

Over 12 months preparation has gone into getting the squad ready to compete at this tournament with several training camps at home and abroad, countless training sessions in halls in Ireland and gym and strength and conditioning sessions.

Still the scale of the task facing the team cannot be overlooked, this tournament besides being an IHF event will also double up as a qualifier for the 2020 European Championships with the top 3 teams qualifying for phase 2 on the qualification path.

The championship is played in the cities of Gabrovo and Veliko Tarnovo, both of which already hosted IHF Trophy tournaments over the past years.

Besides hosts Bulgaria and China, who were awarded a Wild Card, all European teams who did not compete in Phase 1 of the European Qualification take part in the tournament (ALB, AND, ARM, AZE, GBR, IRL, MDA, MLT) as well as the six national teams unable to progress past Phase 1 of the European Qualification (CYP, FAR, GEO, KOS, LUX, TUR). The teams must consist of players aged 16-24. It is allowed, however, to use a maximum of three players older than 24.

The teams are divided into four groups of four, who will play each other in a Preliminary Round with the best two teams in each group advancing to the quarter-finals.

The groups of the 2nd Men’s Emerging Nations Championship were drawn in Gabrovo on 7 March with the following result:

Group A:
Turkey, Kosovo, Albania, Ireland

Group B:
Luxembourg, Georgia, Malta, Great Britain

Group C:
Cyprus, Bulgaria, Andorra, Azerbaijan

Group D:
China, Faroe Islands, Armenia, Moldova

Ireland’s matches in group A are as follows

Monday June 12th, 2 p.m. versus Albania

Tuesday June 13th 12 p.m. versus Kosovo

Wednesday June 14th 12 p.m. versus Turkey

All times are Irish.

Thursday June 15th is a rest day and  remaining days will see the play offs for the placings take place.

Also present at the tournament are 3 representatives of the Irish league who are participating in the IHF Match Delegate training programme.

The link to the official IHF micro-site is available here