Eugene Magee is ‘one of the best.’
That’s the tribute paid to the Banbridge skipper by his coach Mark Tumilty after the midfielder was awarded his 200th Irish cap.
He becomes only the second Irishman to reach that milestone, having been pipped at the post by Ronan Gormley, who reached his double century earlier this month.
“Eugene has proved over the last year that he is one of the best players that Ireland has produced,” said Tumilty. “His class shows in that the bigger the game, the better Eugene seems to play. He’s one of the best.
“He is very committed to his sport and puts his all into every match and every training session. He works to the maximum and it’s always about being as good as he can be.
“This landmark is thoroughly deserved but I don’t think he is finished at that level yet.”
The 29 year-old reached the milestone thanks to the two games in France at the weekend in preparation for World League Three next month.
That tournament, held in Belgium, is one of the most important in Magee’s career so far as it doubles up as an Olympic qualifier.
“It’s a great honour to reach such a milestone and although I never really thought about it, the fact that I’ll be the first from Ulster makes it even more pleasing,” said Eugene.
“Having said that, I would trade them all just to be able to qualify for Rio and then get playing in the Olympic arena. My biggest goal is to reach the Olympics.”
Banbridge Hockey Club President Sheree Totton added her ‘wholehearted congratulations’ on a ‘fantastic achievement.’
Eugene’s Bann team-mates Drew Carlisle and Stevie Dowds were also in the Ireland squad that lost the first game against France 1-0 and drew the second 3-3.