Tumelty to stand in for Irish captain

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Lee Tumelty's impressive form at the World Cup men's preliminary round competition in Italy is set to earn him a place in Ireland's starting line-up for their semi-final against New Zealand tomorrow.

The Banbridge youngster has made a huge impact in his first international tournament and is likely to be brought into the midfield as the Irish captain, Alan Dowd, is struggling with a recurrence of a back injury in Wednesday's 3-1 defeat.

With the Irish having already secured a place in the next phase of the World Cup qualifying process, their Dutch coach, Cess Kopellaar, is unlikely to risk his captain.

Kopellaar, who has been singing the praises of Tumelty throughout this tournament, sees Tumelty as a successor to Jimmy Kirkwood, the Seoul goal medallist who retired last season.

Regardless of who plays, Ireland will be confident of beating New Zealand having topped their group with maximum points while averaging four goals a game. The Kiwis, in contrast, had to settle for second place in their section behind Canada on goal difference, averaging less than two goals a match.

In the other semi-final Canada play the inconsistent Poland.