“Although we are very close, there’s no room for sentiment at this level,” Mark Gleghorne had said of his brother Paul before they departed for Rio Olympics in 2016. After playing 80 matches forIreland, ambitious Mark left to play for Great Britain (England) in 2008. He felt Great Britain gave him better opportunities to succeed at Olympics and world level.
After spending three years of cooling off period he represented England (GB) for the first time in 2011. He was in scheme of things for 2012 London Olympics when he was left out due to injury. That was destiny waiting to play its role. Paul stuck with Ireland and they qualified for Rio – first time in Olympics’ 108-year-old history. If destiny brought created the face-off the draws kept them apart.
Being placed in different groups, they did face one another on the field. Finally, the Gleghorne brothers came face-to-face in a do-or-die Pool B match yesterday. With China holding Ireland and England to a draw — fate left the Mark and Paul to fight for survival. Only a draw would have ensured both brothers continued their stay inBhubaneswar.There were bets, assumptions and theories that the two brothers – England and Ireland in this case – would shake hands with a draw and send China packing after they had been hammered 0-11by Pool B leaders Australia in the first game of the day. Elder brother Mark kept his word, showed no signs of sentiment as England put Paul’s Ireland on the flight back home after a nail-biting 4-2 victory at the Kalinga Stadium.
Every time they face one another, it is their father who take the loyalty test. “He doesn’t mind who wins, he just wants us both to play well. Sometimes he wears replica shirts, an England shirt and an Ireland shirt, one on top of the other,” Mark told The Times, London on Friday. As luck would have, both Ireland and England are staying in the same hotel in Bhubaneswar.
Mark says they bump into each other quite often but don’t speak much. Perhaps, were waiting for Friday’s decider to get over. It will be a different Saturday morning. While Mark would be busy attending team meetings and training session, Paul would be packing his bag to fly back home.