– Waiting to rub shoulders with Vinaya Swamy and Arjun Halappa: Conor Harte
New Delhi, 27 December 2014: Apart from the participation of the top players from major hockey nations, Ireland’s twin brothers – David Harte and Conor Harte – will represent the Gaelic country in the upcoming Hero Hockey India League 2015, where the Irish Brothers will represent newly assembled Mumbai franchisee – Dabang Mumbai and will contest to see their team take a play for a good position in the points-table. With David all set to play his second year in the Hero Hockey India League, it will be Conor who will feature for the first time this season.
In the recently concluded Hero HIL Players’ Closed Bid 2014, David was bought for $51,000, making him the second most expensive goalkeeper in the league this season after PR Sreejesh. Conor’s signing ($10,000) for the same team makes him only the second Irish person to ever play in the league and mark a high point for the twin brothers.
Goalkeeper David Harte, who made his international debut in 2006, has 135 international caps to his name and is regarded as one of the world’s top hockey goalkeepers and brother Conor Harte with 137 international caps, making them strong members of Dabang Mumbai. David was also adjudged the ‘Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament’ in the FIH Champions Challenge 2014, held in Kuantan, Malaysia, where Ireland finished at respected fourth position.
Hailing from Kinsale, the 26-year-old twins will play a crucial part for Dabang Mumbai, with goalkeeper David leading the defence-line that includes his pass-master brother Conor in front of him and will aim to start the Hero Hockey India League 2015 season with positive results. Since their school days, David and Conor Harte have been playing together at club, inter-provincial and international level hockey, where they have build-up a rapport among themselves, which will prove crucial for the fortunes of Dabang Mumbai. While Conor plays in Belgium with Racing Brussels, David plays for SV Kampong in the Netherlands.
Speaking on his brother Conor, David Harte said, “Since the news of joining a new team together, we both are very happy and excited to play alongside for Dabang Mumbai. 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. I have shared many stories of the Hero HIL with him and 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. We want to 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.”
Speaking on David, Conor Harte stated, “I am very excited to participate in the Hero HIL 2015 and above that, this League will be another adventure for us. David is among the best players in the world and he is training hard for the upcoming league. We both have played for many teams and understand each other very well. This understanding is one of the strengths of any team. However, Hero HIL will be different for us as the World’s best players get to compete against each other. We both are practicing hard for the league and hoping that we start with a positive note. We are looking forward to the League. 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.”
The 3rd edition of the Hero Hockey India League will start from the 22nd January 2015. The opening day of the League will witness Kalinga Lancers taking on Ranchi Rays in Bhubaneswar. Hero Hockey India League will be telecasted LIVE on Star Sports.