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Rivals perhaps, but these brothers stick together (12/8/2018)
--Errol D’Cruz
Hockey, a celebrated family sport, can produce some poignant moments. One such occurred on the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar after England beat Ireland 4-2 to make the cross-overs of the World Cup at the expense of their beaten opponents.


On either side of the pitch, a pair of siblings experienced contrasting emotions. Mark Gleghorne, 33, celebrated while brother Paul, 31, trudged back dejectedly to the dressing room. Mark, who has 233 international caps, moved to England from Antrim in Northern Ireland seven years ago and qualified to play for the more illustrious home country. undefined

Paul, with 218 caps, stayed on and has been an integral part of Ireland’s surge up the ladder.

“It was a bloody good match,” Mark said. “It wasn’t pretty at times but it was an excellent match for both sides.”

He was inevitably drawn to the subject of his brother in the Ireland side.

“Yes, I feel disappointed for him. I don’t know how they’re going home but it happens in the World Cup,” Mark said while reflecting on the biggest duel between the siblings on a hockey pitch.

Ireland captain David Harte and his brother Connor are a pair of brothers in the squad and Hugo and Tom Genestet are siblings doing much for French fortunes in the current competition. Kevin-Prince and Jerome Boateng are half-brothers who grabbed headlines at the 2010 World Cup football tournament in South Africa when they found themselves on opposite sides -- the former representing Ghana, the latter Germany.

The Gleghornes, though, grew up together and inspired each other through thick and thin. “We are just two years apart and we’re close but I’ve got a responsibility to myself and the team,” Mark added.

A draw would have suited both teams and there’d be a collective celebration for the Gleghorne household. In case of a stalemate, the two nations along with China would have been locked on two points each which would ensure their survival in the tournament after Australia swamped the Asian side 11-0 earlier in the evening.

But there was no question of playing for a draw for Mark. “You have to play for a win. It’s dangerous playing for a draw,” he said.

Mark wasn’t sure he would have the opportunity to commiserate with his brother that night but he had already done so briefly at the end of the game.

For Mark, it was a cocktail of emotions. He scored a last-gasp goal to put England 4-2 up in the most bizarre fashion – a penalty corner with David Harte the captain and iconic goalkeeper off and a kicking-back in his place.

The drag-flick sailed into the net sealed and endorsed England’s passage to a cross-over meeting with New Zealand. Brother Paul, in a cruel twist, was sitting out a yellow-card suspension and watched his dreams go crashing into the blue turf from beyond the sidelines.

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