Positive Trip To Lilleshal for JAG Squads

It was a positive trip for the U16 and U18 girls and boys squads to Lilleshall National Sports Centre to face their English counterparts. Both the U18 girls and boys squads picked up wins over the course of the series while it proved a highly valuable trip for the U16’s squads ahead of a busy 2019.

Match Details

Boys U16

Ireland 2vs5 England Wednesday 20th February– 4:30pm

Ireland 2vs3 England Thursday 21st February – 3:30pm

Ireland 2vs3 England Friday 22nd February – 1:00pm

Boys U18

Ireland 2vs5 England Wednesday 20th February– 4:30pm

Ireland 4vs1 England Thursday 21st February – 3:30pm

Ireland 3vs5 England Friday 22nd February – 1:00pm

Girls U16

Ireland 1vs4 England Wednesday 20th February – 6:45pm

Ireland 0vs3 England Thursday 21st February – 5:45pm

Ireland 0vs1 England Friday 22nd February – 3:15pm

Girls U18

Ireland 1vs2 England Thursday 21st February – 5:45pm

Ireland 2vs1 England Friday 22nd February – 3:15pm

Ards Retain European Indoor Status

Ards ended their weekend on a high as they finished fifth at the EuroHockey Indoor Club Challenge I tournament in France, retaining Ireland’s place in the tier for next year’s representatives Railway Union. 2 draws and a narrow loss set them up for an important clash with Whitsaints that saw them stage a comeback to win the tie 3-2. They rounded out their tournament in style with a 5-2 win over HK Moravske Toplice and solidifying their fifth place finish.

Three Rock through to EuroHockey Indoor Challenge I promo pool

Three Rock Rovers advanced to the EuroHockey Indoor Challenge I promotion pool as group winners in Oslo following an ever-improving set of performances.

Indeed, it could have been a very different complexion to their tournament had they lost their opening tie when they trailed Ukraine’s OKS SHVSM Vinnitsa 5-2 with four minutes to go.

But a quickfire run of three goals changed their whole momentum with Ross Canning scoring on the final hooter for what proved an important draw on Friday morning.

They backed that up with a 3-2 win over Cardiff & Met, pulling clear with two more late goals from Jody Hosking and Canning in the last five minutes.

It left them in second place overnight, facing the other leading side Bologna – both on seven points out of 10 – with a win confirming they would go through.

The first half was tight with the Italians on top but Conor Quinn kept Rovers’ noses in front 2-1 with a brilliant corner save. And then Rovers went on a second half rampage, scoring three times in quick succession after half-time to seal the win before running up another three goals late on for an 8-1 success.

Cardiff’s 2-2 draw with Vinnitsa, meanwhile, meant Rovers go through to the promotion pool along with Bologna, carrying with them the points and goal difference from that thumping win.

Reflecting on the group stages, coach Liam Canning said: “That comeback [against Vinnitsa] was massive. It comes from playing regularly in these tournaments indoors and in the EHL, the experience and belief the lads have to fight back is huge.

“They are developing that calmness and composure in tough situations. Against Bologna, it was tight in the first half with the Italians on top. We changed a few things at half time and played some outstanding stuff.

“Overall, we have a really good squad now and when we make subs, the standard doesn’t drop a level at all really. That makes a big difference. Quinner has made some big saves and Jamie [Carr] came in to keep things calm.”

Three Rock will now represent Ireland at the Euro club Trophy in February 2020. This is the first time since 1996 that Ireland have have had a men’s team at this level.

EuroHockey Indoor Club Challenge I (Oslo, Norway)
Friday: HC OKS SHVSM Vinnitsa 5 Three Rock Rovers 5 (R Canning 2, J Hosking, H Morris, B Walker); Cardiff & Met 2 Three Rock Rovers 3 (E Geyer, J Hosking, R Canning)
Saturday: Hockey Club Bologna 1 Three Rock Rovers 8 (R Canning 2, H Morris 2, J Hosking, J McAllister, D Walsh, H Morris)

Standings: 1. Three Rock Rovers 12pts (+8) 2. Bologna 7pts (-5) 3. OKS SHVSM Vinnitsa 6pts (0) 4. Cardiff & Met 4pts (-3)

By Stephen Findlater, original article appeared here.

Three Rock through to EuroHockey Indoor Challenge I promo pool

Three Rock Rovers advanced to the EuroHockey Indoor Challenge I promotion pool as group winners in Oslo following an ever-improving set of performances.

Indeed, it could have been a very different complexion to their tournament had they lost their opening tie when they trailed Ukraine’s OKS SHVSM Vinnitsa 5-2 with four minutes to go.

But a quickfire run of three goals changed their whole momentum with Ross Canning scoring on the final hooter for what proved an important draw on Friday morning.

They backed that up with a 3-2 win over Cardiff & Met, pulling clear with two more late goals from Jody Hosking and Canning in the last five minutes.

It left them in second place overnight, facing the other leading side Bologna – both on seven points out of 10 – with a win confirming they would go through.

The first half was tight with the Italians on top but Conor Quinn kept Rovers’ noses in front 2-1 with a brilliant corner save. And then Rovers went on a second half rampage, scoring three times in quick succession after half-time to seal the win before running up another three goals late on for an 8-1 success.

Cardiff’s 2-2 draw with Vinnitsa, meanwhile, meant Rovers go through to the promotion pool along with Bologna, carrying with them the points and goal difference from that thumping win.

Reflecting on the group stages, coach Liam Canning said: “That comeback [against Vinnitsa] was massive. It comes from playing regularly in these tournaments indoors and in the EHL, the experience and belief the lads have to fight back is huge.

“They are developing that calmness and composure in tough situations. Against Bologna, it was tight in the first half with the Italians on top. We changed a few things at half time and played some outstanding stuff.

“Overall, we have a really good squad now and when we make subs, the standard doesn’t drop a level at all really. That makes a big difference. Quinner has made some big saves and Jamie [Carr] came in to keep things calm.”

Three Rock will now represent Ireland at the Euro club Trophy in February 2020. This is the first time since 1996 that Ireland have have had a men’s team at this level.

EuroHockey Indoor Club Challenge I (Oslo, Norway)
Friday: HC OKS SHVSM Vinnitsa 5 Three Rock Rovers 5 (R Canning 2, J Hosking, H Morris, B Walker); Cardiff & Met 2 Three Rock Rovers 3 (E Geyer, J Hosking, R Canning)
Saturday: Hockey Club Bologna 1 Three Rock Rovers 8 (R Canning 2, H Morris 2, J Hosking, J McAllister, D Walsh, H Morris)

Standings: 1. Three Rock Rovers 12pts (+8) 2. Bologna 7pts (-5) 3. OKS SHVSM Vinnitsa 6pts (0) 4. Cardiff & Met 4pts (-3)

By Stephen Findlater, original article appeared here.

Pitch Re-surfacing Opportunity

As you may be aware, Sport Ireland are re-surfacing the pitch at the National Sports Campus in March / April of this year.

The carpet from the current sand dressed pitch is suitable for re-use at another venue, and will be available to Hockey Ireland to give to an appropriate recipient.

If your club, school or organisation would be interested in availing of this opportunity, please send your expression of interest via email to info@hockey.ie before 15th Feb 2019. After this point, Hockey Ireland will seek further information regarding plans.

Sport Ireland Announce Funding Of Nearly €32m

Sport Ireland today announced an investment of nearly €32 million in National Governing Bodies for Sport, direct athlete support and the Local Sports Partnership Network for 2019.

The funding announced, which represents a significant increase on 2018, includes an investment of €12.845 million in the core activity of National Governing Bodies for Sport (NGBs), €8.46m in NGB High Performance Programmes, €820,000 in high performance funding for the Olympic Federation of Ireland and Paralympics Ireland, and €7.29 million in the work of the Local Sports Partnerships (LSPs).

Sport Ireland also announced €500,000 in targeted funding for projects, to assist with the preparation for key events in 2019, along with a further €1.93 million for the International Carding Scheme.

The funding announcement is a welcome boost for Hockey Ireland following an historic 2018 for Irish hockey and 2019 could well follow in a similar vain with Olympic qualification on the horizon. To support both senior teams campaigns to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Sport Ireland will lay a state of the art hockey pitch at the National Sport Campus in April. The new pitch is a welcome addition to the thriving campus and will prove invaluable for all Hockey Ireland national teams.

The first major tournament on the road to Tokyo comes in the form of the FIH Series Finals, Ireland’s men are bound for Le Touqet in France while the women will play host in Dublin. The tournament will mark the first major competition hosted at home for the Green Army since World League 2 in March 2015. It offers the perfect opportunity to see the World Cup silver medallists in action over the course of the 9-day tournament, with plenty of chances for fans to meet members of the Green Army at the dedicated Fan Village.

Both senior teams will enjoy an increased budget this year, attributed to a rise in sponsorship revenue and a notable increase in high performance funding from Sport Ireland. The additional funding has presented both teams with the much-needed opportunity to train more frequently as a team and increase their international fixtures against top opposition in preparation for major tournaments.

In August, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD announced that Hockey Ireland would receive €500,000 of €1.5 million that was being invested to assist NGB’s with Olympic and major competition preparation. Hockey Ireland continue to be extremely grateful for this investment and commitment to the sport, and the funding greatly assisted in covering the deficit that arose from two World Cup campaigns in 2018. The funding has also played a role in facilitating the establishment of a carding scheme for the senior international athletes, whereby the senior international athletes receive financial support.

Another positive step in the right direction is a targeted investment in our Junior Age Group programmes as they continue to progress on their journey to senior internationals.

2019 is off to an extremely bright start and is shaping up to be another momentous year for hockey, as echoed by Hockey Ireland CEO Jerome Pels “We are very grateful to Sport Ireland for their increased investment in hockey and their continued support. The new pitch in Abbotstown is a big step for our sport and the establishment of a purpose-built training facility for our international squads will only aid our ambitions to continually compete with the best teams in the world.”.

Head coach Alexander Cox, who has recently signed a contract with Hockey Ireland that will see him lead the Green Machine up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, said “We are of course grateful for the funding and support we receive from Sport Ireland. The new pitch at the National Sports Campus along with this increase in funding will prove a vital boost to our training and the amount of camps we can have at home, working towards Olympic Qualification”.

For full details of the Sport Ireland funding announcement, click here

Volunteers Required For Talent Development Review Group

HookedforLife (Talent Development) Review Group

Lead Consultant and Volunteers required

Hockey Ireland is reviewing its highly acclaimed HookedforLife Talent Development program. While the current version of the program has played a role in increasing playing numbers and improving all areas of development and performance within our young and emerging players the program needs updating and reflecting modern trends in our ever changing sport. As such we are looking for talent development and discipline experts in the following areas to help undertake the review and develop the program and associated resources:

Overall Program Review Lead consultant
Talent development experts (hockey experience not essential)
Mental and lifestyle skills experts
Strength and conditioning experts
Coach development experts
We are also looking for representatives from Hockey Ireland’s provincial branches and clubs and schools to join HI staff in providing an insight into what will best serve our young players moving forwards as hockey builds on the success of the senior women’s world silver medal and senior men’s first Olympic appearance.

A small budget has been made available for travel expenses and some specialist consultant fees although priority will be given to experts giving their time freely. Domain specific experts should apply in writing along with a CV outlining what they can offer the Hooked For Life Review Group (outlining any reasonable fees) to robert.kelly@hockey.ie before Monday 18th February. Club, school and provincial representatives should email robert.kelly@hockey.ie directly to advise of their interest outlining their background and why they are interested in being involved.

The first meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 13 March.

Should you have any queries please contact Performance Director adam.grainger@hockey.ie

Mitch Darling Retires From International Hockey

Mitch Darling has today announced his retirement from international hockey following more than a decade at the top of the game. Darling earned 183 international caps, the first of which came shortly after his 18th birthday against England in Poland and scored 51 goals for the Green Machine. He has been a Three Rock Rovers man from the start and has been heavily involved in much of the clubs most successful periods. Over the years, Darling has plied his trade amongst the best in the Dutch league with successful stints with clubs such as Rotterdam, Den Bosch and SCHC.

Darling was cognisant to recognise the coaches at all levels who played a role in his successful career “I want to thank the coaches who contributed significantly to my development during the early years from Wesley College and Three Rock Rovers. I’m eternally grateful to the Irish support staff and management, both past and present, who went above and beyond to help us perform on the pitch. As a player I think I really flourished under the tutelage of Paul Revington and Craig Fulton; incredible men and detailed coaches that revolutionised both the game and the players in Ireland”

Mitch Darling has been a constant figure for many of the Green Machine’s most memorable moments over the last several years including a European bronze medal in 2015 and historic Olympics Games and World Cup appearances. “When I got my first cap in 2006 I could never have dreamed reaching the heights we did. I am definitely privileged to have played with some of the best players to ever wear a green shirt. Being involved in such a special era holds some amazing memories and undoubtedly the biggest career defining moment was the Rio Olympics, an experience to be cherished forever”.

Head coach Alexander Cox paid tribute to Darlings’ contribution to the Green Machine “I want to congratulate Mitch on an amazing international career with The Green Machine. He has had an important influence on the successes that the team has enjoyed over the last 10 years. Not only because of his outstanding qualities as a player, but also as a great person in the group, we will miss him. As a new chapter in his life starts, I wish him all the best with his family and professional career”.

Darling concluded by thanking all those who played a role off the pitch “Thanks to everyone who has supported the team over the years, the supporters undoubtedly helped propel the team to where they are today. Thank you to Hockey Ireland and all the sporting bodies who supported us during the years. A huge thank you to my wife Erika, Mum, Dad, my brothers and sister for their unconditional support all along the way.

Finally, I just want to wish both the men’s and women’s teams all the very best for the upcoming qualification for Tokyo 2020”.

Hockey Ireland wants to thank Mitch for all he has done for the Green Machine and wish him every success for the future.

EYHL Resumes As Banbridge Confirmed As EY Champions Trophy Hosts

Glenanne moved a point clear at the top of the men’s EY Hockey League as they held on for a 2-2 draw with Lisnagarvey in one of the two games in the competition to survive the frost on Saturday.

The St Andrew’s hosts took the lead in the early stages when Cedric Jakobi’s drag-flick hit the Garvey post-man’s foot on the line. Player-coach Joe Brennan stepped off the bench to score the ensuing penalty stroke before returning to the bench with 1-0 safely on the board.

Jakobi fired another down the same line for 2-0, his flick going in off the post this time for a big early advantage.

The Comber Road side, however, started to work their way back into the game with Brennan making a brilliant save off the line and Richard Couse having to scramble in defence.

The goal was coming, though, and James Lorimer’s penalty corner shot found its way in off a defensive block following a lovely switch at the top of the circle.

Matthew Nelson then levelled the game with a brilliant touch from a low drag-flick to make it 2-2, a big momentum swing before half-time as the Glens had a golden chance to make it 3-1 seconds before the leveller.

The Ulster side continued to press forward in the second half, putting the hosts under pressure, particularly when Gary Shaw and Shannon Boucher spent time in the sin-bin. Jakobi also saw yellow late on while Mark McNellis had to put in an unreal pick to deny the Glens a huge chance in the closing stages, keeping the game level to the final whistle.

The draw sees Glenanne up to 16 points, one clear of Banbridge and Pembroke but with extra games played compared to both.

At Strathearn, Annadale recorded a 3-1 win over bottom side YMCA to move up to fourth place in the league. David Tremlett put Dale in front in the opening quarter before Ryan Burgess got the first of his two goals before half-time, a lead they held into the final quarter.

Burgess and Thom Ritchie exchanged goals in the final quarter as Dale recorded their fourth win out of eight, jumping up a couple of places in the table.

YM are back in action on Tuesday evening against Three Rock Rovers at Grange Road. Rovers game at Cookstown was cancelled due to the frosty conditions over the weekend as was Banbridge’s game Pembroke and Monkstown’s tie against Cork C of I.

All four of the scheduled women’s EY Hockey League Division 2 games were called off due to the frosty conditions around the island with new dates to be sought.

Despite somewhat of a slow start to the second half of the season caused by country-side frost, certainty is assured as to where the EY Champions Trophy will take place this year. Following the laying of their new pitch, Banbridge Hockey Club will take up hosting duties for the end of season showcase event on May 4th and 5th. Banbridge have proved themselves highly capable and enthusiastic hosts, having previously hosted the EY Champions Trophy and Eurohockey League Round 1.

Men
EY Hockey League – Round 9: Annadale 3 (R Burgess 2, C Tremlett) YMCA 1 (T Ritchie); Glenanne 2 (J Brennan, C Jakobi) Lisnagarvey 2 (J Lorimer, M Nelson)

Postponed: Cookstown v Three Rock Rovers; Banbridge v Pembroke; Monkstown v Cork C of I

Women

EYHL 2
Pool 1, postponed: Greenfields v Queens University, Corinthian v Trinity
Pool 2, postponed: Dungannon vs NUIG, Monkstown v Lurgan

Green Army 0-3 India

Ireland 0

India 3 (N Kaur, R Khokhar, G Kaur)

2 goals in the opening half and a third in the final minute were the undoing of Ireland as India took their chances in another even contest.

Both teams opted for the direct route in the early phases with Anna O’Flanagan sending the ball towards goal but couldn’t find a team mate to get the vital deflection inside the opening minutes. India, proving clinical throughout, got the scoreboard ticking before the end of the opening quarter from a well worked move down the left. Navjot Kaur did well to control the pass across the circle to her before sending a bobbly ball into the goal on the reverse. Nicci Daly and Sinead Loughran were both showcasing their speed and skill to evade the Indian defence but the eventual shot spun just wide of the goal. Katie Mullan was next to cause the India defence some trouble as she evaded her marker to send a crash ball into the circle but again the final touch was missing. Bethany Barr continued to impress following her recent debut in Chile and won the Green Army’s first penalty corner but a mis-trap at the top saw the chance go a begging. India got their second on the edge of half time as Liz Murphy saved the initial penalty corner shot but Reena Khokhar pounced on the loose ball and dispatched the rebound.

The Green Army continued to create chances early in the second half as Nikki Evans linked up smartly with Lizzie Colvin to win a penalty corner but a questionable foul on Lena Tice gave India the chance to clear their lines. Shirley McCay and Mullan were next to test the India resolve with a crash ball across the circle followed by another penalty corner but a good save and clearance kept India’s two goal cushion intact despite the chances building for Ireland. In a move that perhaps unfortunately epitomised Ireland’s day, Evans picked up a pass following great play from Mullan and Daly but saw her shot hit the inside of the post before ricocheting out. The final minute of the tie saw India put the game firmly to bed as Gurjit Kaur sent a powerful drag flick low into the right corner.

Starting: E Murphy, S McCay, L Tice, R Upton, Y O’Byrne, B Barr, K Mullan (captain), L Colvin, A O’Flanagan, S Torrans, N Evans

Subs: E Buckley, H Matthews, H McLoughlin, S Barr, E Beatty, N Daly, S Loughran

Schedule (all times listed are local):

1/2/19 4:30pm Ireland 1vs1 India in Hockey Santomera pitch, Murcia

3/2/19 11am Ireland 0vs3 India in Hockey Santomera pitch, Murcia

4/2/19 6:30pm Ireland vs Spain in Armilla Hockey, Granada

6/2/19 12:30pm Ireland vs Spain in Armilla Hockey, Granada

7/2/19 11am Ireland vs Spain in Armilla Hockey, Granada