Irish twin boost for Dabang Mumbai in Hockey India League

Mumbai, Dec 27 (IANS) Irish twins – goalkeeper David Harte and defender Conor Harte – will represent the Mumbai franchise of the Hockey India League (HIL) in the coming season.

Dabang Mumbai is a newly assembled team, owned by DoIT Sports Management. The franchise was earlier called `Mumbai Magicians’ owned by the Dabur Group which pulled out of the third edition of HIL, which will begin Jan 22.
While David is all set to play in his second year in the league, it will be Conor who will feature for the first time.
It was in the HIL Players’ Closed Bid 2014 that David was bought for a whopping $51,000 which makes him the second most expensive goalkeeper in this season after P.R. Sreejesh. The Indian vice-captain was picked by Uttar Pradesh Wizards for $69,000.
David made his international debut in 2006 and is considered one of the top goalies in the world with 135 international caps. David was also adjudged the ‘Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament’ in the FIH Champions Challenge 2014, held in Kuantan, Malaysia, where Ireland finished at a respectable fourth position.
Conor too has featured in 177 games for his country, said a HIL release.
While Conor plays in Belgium with Racing Brussels, David turns out for SV Kampong in the Netherlands.
Speaking about his brother Conor, David said they were “happy and excited” to play alongside each other.
“On top of that, I have experienced the electric atmosphere at the games which is something I can’t wait for, the chance to be able to play in front of 10,000 screaming fans who love the game. This will surely be a good experience for Conor also.”
David said he had shared many stories of the HIL with Conor and apprised him of the magnitude of the competition.
“Conor is new to the league but he has good international experience and has been playing for Royal Racing Club de Bruxelles. With the new team and new management, we are expecting a new change in the team and we will start our campaign with new zeal.”
Highlighting the presence of experienced international players in the team, David hoped they could “finish the league with good points.”
“We have some very experienced international players in our team with names like Tom Boon, Floris Evers, Matthew Swann, Glen Turner with whom hockey fans across the world reckon with. I am waiting to join the team and start practicing with them,” David said.
Speaking on David, Conor asserted it would be a new adventure for both of them.
“David is among the best players in the world and he is training hard for the upcoming league. We have both played for many teams and understand each other very well. This understanding is one of the strengths of any team,” said Conor.
Conor also said he was looking forward to taking the field for the high profile tourney.
“I am excited to reach India and rub shoulders with top foreign internationals and former Indian players like Vinaya Swamy, Arjun Halappa and having former Indian captain Viren Rasquinha as the mentor,” he added.
The third edition of the Hero HIL opens with a match between Kalinga Lancers and Ranchi Rays in Bhubaneswar.