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Green Machine cranks out the goals in Scotland

Ireland’s men enjoyed a free-flowing weekend of action with two wins and a draw from their three-game uncapped series against Scotland, netting 12 goals along the way.

In game one, Luke Madeley scored on his return to the Irish senior men’s side as they drew 1-1 at Titwood.

The defender scored a first half penalty stroke – following a series of corners – to give the Green Machine the lead but they were pegged back in the fourth quarter when Rob Harwood finished off after a neat build-up.

Madeley was among a number of players returning to the line-up this weekend having come back to Ireland this month from Belgium with quarantine and study reasons delaying him linking up with the panel.

In Saturday’s game two, all-time top scorer Shane O’Donoghue – another returnee – netted twice in his first appearance of the summer in a 4-1 success. He opened the scoring in first quarter from a low penalty corner strike.

Daragh Walsh forced the next over the line in quarter two and the lead was three at half-time with another O’Donoghue corner shot, flicking this one into the top right corner.

Scotland had slightly more of the game in the second half but Ireland extended the lead via Jeremy Duncan – another of the returnees – from a smart counter-attack. The hosts did get one back in the closing stages via Cameron Golden.

And Sunday brought another goalfest with Ireland winning out 7-4 in a frenzied contest. Shane O’Donoghue ended the tie with a hat trick, making it five goals in two appearances in the competition, starting the rush with a top-right corner flick.

Sean Murray’s low shot made it 2-0 before Gavin Byers got one back. Ireland soon restored their two-goal advantage with a penalty corner finish by O’Donoghue to make it 3-1.

Ireland’s corner defence. Pic: Mark Pugh

The second quarter saw Ben Walker find the net for Ireland at a penalty corner, and then Luke Madeley scored from close range after finding space in the circle, 5-1.

Dan Coultas replied in kind to reduce the gap with a corner goal for 5-2 at half-time and their potential comeback gathered pace via Ed Greaves.

O’Donoghue’s stroke, though, kept Ireland 6-3 clear. Cameron Golden again pegged the Green Machine back but Madeley duly completed the scoring from another set piece to end a rousing tie.

Reflecting on the weekend, Irish coach Mark Tumilty said: “We played some very good attacking hockey in phases over the three games. Very pleased to score 11 goals across the weekend; the squad has made progress and will work hard over the next few weeks in our preparation for the Euros [in August in Poland]. We look forward to the GB EDP series in Lisburn.”

That series will be on at Lisnagarvey Hockey Club with games on August 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th. A week later, Ireland will play their EuroHockey Championship II tournament in Gniezno, Poland.

Men’s senior international series
Thursday:
Scotland 1 (R Harwood) Ireland 1 (L Madeley)
Saturday: Scotland 1 Ireland 4 (S O’Donoghue 2, D Walsh, J Duncan)
Sunday: Scotland 4 (G Byers, D Coultas, E Greaves, C Golden Ireland 7 (S O’Donoghue 3, L Madeley 2, S Murray B Walker)

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Dream start for Green Army in Tokyo with 2-0 win over South Africa

Olympic Games – Women’s Pool A
Ireland 2 (R Upton, S Torrans) South Africa 0

Ireland made a dream start to life as a women’s Olympic hockey team as they got the best of South Africa in their debut on this stage at the Oi Stadium.

Róisín Upton’s powerful low drag-flick in the ninth minute meant they held the lead from the outset, an advantage they eventually strengthened before the end of the third quarter via Sarah Torrans.

“You could see the smiles when we walked out,” Torrans said after the win, scoring in what was her first senior ranking tournament game.

“It was just fun; it was a long day waiting to get out on the pitch and it still feels so surreal. To do it with this group of girls is incredible It is just a pity we can’t do it with family and friends but hopefully we are doing them proud. It is nice to get on the score sheet in the first game; it is what an attacker dreams of and hopefully we can bring that into the next few games.

“Netherlands next, the best in the world. It’s always a fun game but we will come out fighting.”

Ireland got off to a fast start with Torrans and Nicci Daly storming down the right flank. Deirdre Duke’s trickery duly earned the first penalty corner of the match which Upton duly whipped into the left corner past the stick of Phumelela Mbande.

After that, it was a case of when rather than if Ireland would score again as they held the vast majority of the play against South Africa, the lowest ranked side in the tournament at number 16.

Three more corner chances came and went in the first half while Naomi Carroll pinged the post with a rasping shot from close range.

The African champions showed their threat in fits and starts with Nomnikelo Veto the danger player.

But it was the Green Army who always looked the more likely to push on. Torrans missed out from a great chance created by Katie Mullan’s driving run and diagonal ball into the danger zone. Anna O’Flanagan also stung the pads of the goalkeeper and Sarah Hawkshaw chipped one over.

The insurance goal eventually arrived in the 44th minute when Loreto team mates Hannah Matthews and Torrans connected. The former provided the pace on the ball into the circle which saw the ball deflected high in the air and Torrans instinctively batted down and into the net.

After that, there were further corner chances which went incomplete but goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran never looked unduly troubled in a composed defensive outing. Matthews was denied a third by Mbande’s brilliant diving stop but Ireland content to win 2-0.

Ireland next meet the Netherlands on Monday morning (2am Irish time). The Dutch eased to a 5-1 win over India with four second half goals.

** Full tournament details here: https://olympics.com/tokyo-2020/olympic-games/en/results/hockey/olympic-schedule-and-results.htm

Ireland: A McFerran, C Watkins, S Torrans, R Upton, H McLoughlin, D Duke, K Mullan, S Hawkshaw, L Tice, S McAuley, A O’Flanagan
Subs: H Matthews, N Daly, S McCay, N Carroll, L Holden

South Africa: P Mbande, C Seerane, N Walraven, K Paton, R Johnson, O Zulu, L-M Deetlefs, E Hunter, L du Plessis, Q Bobbs, T Glasby
Subs: E Molikoe, T Mallett, N Veto, C Maddocks, L Mahole

Umpires: E Yamada (JPN), K Hudson (NZL)

Fixture list (times Irish):

July 24: Ireland 2 (R Upton, S Torrans) South Africa 0

July 26: Netherlands v Ireland, 2am

July 28: Germany v Ireland, 4.15am

July 30: Ireland v India, 3.45am

July 31: Ireland v Great Britain, 12.45pm

August 1-6: Knock-out matches

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Junior Green Army finish series on a high

The Junior Green Army signed off on a hugely productive summer with two wins and a draw against their Welsh Under-23 counterparts at Jordanstown.

The series began with a thrilling 3-3 draw in which Ireland led 1-0 thanks to a Hannah Kelly goal but were pegged back by Jess Hill. But the real fireworks were reserved for the last 10 minutes in which four more goals followed.

Siofra O’Brien put Ireland in front but responses from Liv Strickland and Beth Collier had Wales in front with time running out. Laura Foley, though, nabbed an equaliser in the last three minutes.

Game two was a marked difference as Ireland ran up an 8-1 win with doubles from Kelly, O’Brien and Jess McMaster with Sophia Cole and Yasmin Pratt getting the others.

A couple of neat backhand strikes had Ireland 2-0 up inside five minutes and they scarcely looked back with a couple of corner goals moving them into a 5-1 half-time lead.

And the series closed with a 3-0 success, this time Erin Getty, McMaster and Pratt getting the goals.

It concludes a productive week with four wins out of six games against a variety of Welsh line-ups and finishes off their summer schedule in style.

Women’s Under-23 series
Wednesday: Ireland 3 (H Kelly, S O’Brien, L Foley) Wales 3 (J Hill, L Strickland, B Collier)
Thursday: Ireland 8 (H Kelly 2, S O’Brien 2, J McMaster 2, S Cole, Y Pratt) Wales 1
Friday: Ireland 3 (E Getty, J McMaster, Y Pratt) Wales 0

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Where to watch The Green Army at Tokyo 2020

To get behind the Green Army and enjoy all the fanfare of the Olympic hockey tournament, there are a number of ways to watch their journey in Tokyo.

RTE2 will broadcast the Irish women’s hockey team’s Olympic debut as part of their overall coverage of the Games.

RTE – as Ireland’s primary rights holder – will show each of the Irish games LIVE on RTE2, starting with the game against South Africa on Saturday with play getting underway at 1.15pm.

Darragh Maloney and Peter Collins will be the presenters for the coverage with analysis from Gillian Pinder and Kate Dillon. Commentary duties will be from Ger Canning and Des Curran with Sarah Scott providing co-commentary analysis from all five group games.

BBC will have coverage of the competition with Nigel Ringland and Gavin Andrews bringing post-match reaction to each game while BBC Newsline will also carry hockey coverage. Keep an eye on BBC1 and the iPlayer for further coverage information throughout the Games.

For hockey fans keen to catch all the other games in the competition, Eurosport is the official streaming partner for the Olympic Games and will be the hub for all other hockey fixtures.

This service is available online via Discovery Plus at the following link: https://www.discoveryplus.co.uk/olympics/home. This service costs €6.99 for one month’s access. You can cancel this subscription at any stage.

For live scores, the most comprehensive outlet for play-by-play updates is via the Olympic website on the following page: https://olympics.com/tokyo-2020/olympic-games/en/results/hockey/olympic-schedule-and-results.htm

Whilst a match is in play, a number of live statistics will be available throughout the match. By clicking on a live match, you will find four tabs: Starting Line-up, Player Statistics, Team Statistics and Play by Play. More information about what these tabs will provide can be found below.

For even more content, the International Hockey Federaion launched their Daily Tokyo Hokkē Show today. Every day, from 22 July to 6 August, a stellar line-up of internationally renowned guests – including David Harte – from the world of hockey will join host Sarah Juggins, FIH Media Coordinator, for the Daily Tokyo Hokkē Show.

Insights, discussions and debates centred around the hockey competitions playing out at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will delight and engage fans from across the globe, bringing them closer to the story as it unfolds on the pitch.

 

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“Anything can happen” as Green Army settle into Olympic groove

Safely installed in the Olympic Village, Hannah Matthews knows “anything can happen” over the next two weeks as the Irish women’s hockey team close in on their Olympic debut in Japan.

Matthews was the last to arrive to the party on Saturday, linking up with the side in Tokyo direct from Dublin while the rest of the panel enjoyed a memorable holding camp in Iwate, the country’s “cabbage capital” 500 kilometres to the north.

There, the panel were “treated like celebrities” according to Michelle Carey as their bus ride into town at 6.30am drew large crowds along the road; silage bails were wrapped in Irish livery and traditional dance troupes greeted the tuning-up training sessions.

It helped capture the spirit of 2018’s World Cup run, a journey into the unknown but a journey the Green Army was keen to embrace every moment of as if it were Christmas Eve.

That same good vibes have carried through to the first few days in the Olympic Village and the initial sessions at the Oi Stadium and Loreto’s Matthews says it is at the right pitch for the challenges ahead.

“We are going in there with very little pressure, not knowing what to expect and absolutely anything can happen. On our day, we can take it to the top teams,” she said.

“There are 12 teams in the tournament. We’re ranked ninth in the world. It’s not like we are up in the top five. I’d say we are relatively under the radar but obviously not as much as in the World Cup when we turned a few heads. Teams would definitely be more aware of us but there is more pressure on other teams.”

Ireland start their campaign on Saturday (1.15pm Irish time, RTE2) against South Africa, the tournament’s lowest ranked side at 16 before meeting world  number one side the Netherlands on Monday.

Germany (ranked 3rd) are up in game three next Wednesday before back-to-back fixtures against India (10th) on Friday, July 29 and Great Britain (5th) a day later – five games in eight days.

 

 

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The first target is a top four finish to earn a quarter-final spot, making the South African tie an important one in that context, particularly with the three medalists from 2016 waiting in the wings.

The Green Army have a good record on that front, winning all three of their series against South Africa in Stellenbosch in February 2020. Ireland were due to return for more matches last March before the pandemic struck.

South Africa have not played any formal fixtures since then as a result while only nine of the players that featured back then are in the Olympic panel – 13 of Ireland’s are in situ – so form lines are hard to read.

Like Ireland, there has been evolution. Where Sean Dancer has introduced Carey, Zara Malseed and Sarah McAuley, SA have uncapped trio Edith Molikoe, Charné Maddocks and Lerato Mahole.

On the flip side, there is a mountain of experience in Lisa-Marie Deetlefs – a double Olympian from Beijing and London – Lilian du Plessis, Quanita Bobbs and Celia Seerane (née Evans).

Ireland do have the distinct benefit of their European Championship campaign in June; ultimately, ambitious targets of a maiden semi-final spot and an assured World Cup ticket came up just short.

In hindsight, it was a par performance, beating the two side ranked below them – Scotland and Italy – with clean sheets – drawing with Spain directly above them and losing to two sides in the world’s top five (Netherlands and England).

“I think we definitely feel disappointed,” she says about the Euros. “We felt like we didn’t represent how well we have been playing and how well we have been training.

“That was definitely a major frustration. But put it in context and the Europeans are a brutal tournament. You just can’t afford to make mistakes and you are playing against quality sides so I think we can take a lot of positives. We have played against brilliant teams.”

Having that bank of game time is likely to be invaluable, particularly with so many other new experiences floating around them.

“We’ve had just the best preparation for the Olympics you could ask for and we’ve seen the mistakes we’ve made and we can work on them. So we have a lot to improve on and we know that now.

“This is all very new to us. We have never been to an Olympics before. We are one of the few teams in the tournament that haven’t been to an Olympics before and we are also going into a climate that we are not very used to where a lot of other teams have done.

“We have nothing to compare it to but everyone is so excited to be at our first Olympics and, the year that’s in it, every time you get to play at a high level, whether it is high stakes or not, everyone is so appreciative of it.

 

“Team spirit will be massive. It’s an intense tournament and with Covid restrictions as well, there might be a little more cabin fever. So it’s really important the team sticks to our culture. That’s something that comes very naturally to us so we won’t over think that.

“South Africa and India are probably our closest in terms of ranking. But in tournament hockey anything can happen. So it’s managing our emotions as we go.

“We’ve all plenty of experience of playing in front of absolutely no one,” says the Irish defender in self-deprecation. “It’s something we are used to. I don’t think it will affect us. We’ll be fine.”

** The International Olympic Committee made a number of hockey-specific amendments to the tournament regulations. Teams can now select 16 players from a wider panel of 18 players.

 Additional updates mean if a side cannot field – primarily due to Covid – for a particular game, a 5-0 loss will be recorded but they will not be defaulted from the competition as a whole. Where two teams cannot field, a 0-0 result will be recorded but no points will be allocated. 

 Full document here:  https://fih.ch//media/13453096/2021-07-09-tokyo-2020-ssr-hockey.pdf

Ireland women’s squad for Olympic Games – July 24-August 6, 2021, Oi Stadium, Tokyo, Japan (club/caps):
Ayeisha McFerran (SV Kampong, 105) – goalkeeper
Naomi Carroll (Catholic Institute, 115)
Lizzie Colvin (Belfast Harlequins, 201)
Nicci Daly (Loreto, 194)
Sarah Hawkshaw (Railway Union, 38)
Hannah Matthews (Loreto, 152)
Shirley McCay (Pegasus, 311)
Hannah McLoughlin (UCD, 19)
Katie Mullan (Ballymoney, 198) – captain
Anna O’Flanagan (Muckross, 212) – vice-captain
Lena Tice (Old Alex, 1114)
Sarah Torrans (Loreto, 26)
Róisín Upton (Catholic Institute, 81)
Chloe Watkins (Monkstown, 229)
Deirdre Duke (Old Alex, 146)
Sarah McAuley (Muckross, 1)

Michelle Carey (UCD, 5)
Zara Malseed (Ards, 2)

Travelling reserve:
Lizzie Murphy (Loreto, 13) – goalkeeper

Fixture list (times Irish):

July 24: Ireland v South Africa, 1.15pm

July 26: Netherlands v Ireland, 2am

July 28: Germany v Ireland, 4.15am

July 30: Ireland v India, 3.45am

July 31: Ireland v Great Britain, 12.45pm

August 1-6: Knock-out matches

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Junior Green Army pick up two wins from three over Wales

** Picture courtesy of Front Row Union

The Junior Green Army defied the odds to produce another strong series of performances over the weekend against Wales in three closely-fought contests at Jordanstown.

In the lead-up to the series, nine players and three members of staff were deemed close contacts following their return flight from their Five Nations tournament in Spain to a positive case from outside the group.

This meant a large turnover to the initially announced panel and support staff but a cohort of 18 players was available for the series and they showed up well.

Game one on Friday was a cagey affair between two well matched sides with defences largely on top. Ireland came on strong in the closing quarter and duly got the winning goal with seven minutes remaining when Orla Macken struck home the only goal with a powerful penalty corner hit.

Day two went the way of the Welsh visitors on a 1-0 scoreline with the key goal arriving via a smart breakaway move, flicked home from a tight angle. It was a tight and physical contest with precious little between the sides.

The pendulum swung back the Irish way in game three with Ireland getting the 1-0 result on Sunday. Nadia Benallal capped her return from injury with a beautiful reverse-stick touch from a penalty corner for the only goal.

Wales had started this one the stronger but Ireland worked their way back into the contest and dominated the closing phases to see out the win.

The squad will meet the Wales Under-23 side in three fixtures this week to continue their busy summer of action.

Under-23 series (all at Jordanstown)
Wednesday, July 21: Ireland v Wales, 7pm
Thursday, July 22: Ireland v Wales, 4pm
Friday, July 23: Ireland v Wales, 12.30pm

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Four returnees to Green Machine side for Scotland series

Shane O’Donoghue, Lee Cole, Jeremy Duncan and Luke Madeley will make their first appearances of the summer for the Irish senior men as they travel to Scotland this weekend for a three-game uncapped series.

They are joined for the first time by Rory Patterson in the line-up with the Wimbledon forward having recently trained with the Irish setup for the past few weeks for the first time.

It is part of busy preparations for August’s EuroHockey Championships II and, potentially, October’s World Cup qualifiers which were announced this week to be taking place in Wales.

Otherwise, it continues a theme of giving new faces a chance to shine with uncapped players Kyle Marshall, James Milliken, Troy Chambers, Matt Walker, Ollie Kidd, Kevin O’Dea, Nick Page, Jonny Lynch, Fergus Gibson and Mark McNeillis in the mix this time.

“This camp is to give players who had not been involved in the GB camp an opportunity to experience international hockey,” coach Mark Tumilty said. “That is a key focus of mine with the group.

“Other players who have not featured in any series yet will get exposure to games against the GB elite development panel in early August. There are also some regular internationals returning who had been missing for various reasons.”

Indeed, O’Donoghue is a significant addition as Ireland’s all-time top goalscorer with over a century of goals to his name. Cole is back after injury curtailed his involvement earlier this summer thus far.

Madeley returns to the panel following two seasons in the Belgian top tier with KHC Leuven while Duncan is back in for his first international fixtures since November 2019’s Olympic qualifiers in Vancouver. All four of the returnees were part of the travelling party for the 2018 World Cup. 

Ireland men’s panel for Scotland series – Clydesdale, Glasgow; Thursday, July 22nd to Sunday, July 25th

Jamie Carr (KHC Leuven), James Miliken (Lisnagarvey), Tim Cross (Annadale), Kyle Marshall (Old Georgians), Peter McKibbin (Lisnagarvey), Matt Walker (YMCA), Luke Madeley (KHC Leuven), Daragh Walsh (Three Rock Rovers), Sean Murray (KHC Leuven), Johnny McKee (Banbridge), Troy Chambers (Lisnagarvey), Ben Walker (Three Rock Rovers), Matty Nelson (Crefelder HTC), Jeremy Duncan (Monkstown), Ollie Kidd (Lisnagarvey), Kevin O’Dea (Cork C of I), Nick Page (Old Georgians), Jonny Lynch (Lisnagarvey), Rory Patterson (Wimbledon), Fergus Gibson (Loughborough Students), Shane O’Donoghue (Glenanne), Lee Cole (Monkstown), Michael Robson (Annadale), Mark McNellis (Lisnagarvey)

Fixture schedule

Thursday, July 22nd: Ireland v Scotland, 7.30pm, Clydesdale

Saturday, July 24th: Ireland v Scotland, 4pm, Clydesdale

Sunday, Sunday 25th: Ireland v Scotland, 11.30am, Clydesdale

 

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Ireland U-19 boys and girls shine in England in Four Nations Series

Both the Irish boys and girls Under-19 teams made it with three wins from four in their respective Four Nations series competitions over the weekend with impressive performances against England in Lilleshall.

For the boys, their Saturday 5-1 success against the English was one of the biggest scorelines for Ireland at any grade as Simon Lowry’s outfit produced an outstanding display.

In a fast-pressing performance from the outset, they raced into a 1-0 lead via Waterford man Ian Balding’s powerful drag-flick. Ben Ryder swooped to chip the second into the roof of the goal when he nipped in behind the last defender.

Evan Jennings came to the fore in the second half, setting up Josh Filgas with a square pass following a powerful run. Jennings’ deft deflection extended the advantage to 4-0 and while England got one back in the final quarter, Jennings provided another first time finish for his double and 5-1.

The result follows two wins over Wales last week with their one setback a frustrating 3-2 defeat to England on Friday. After a cagey opening, the deadlock was finally broken by England midway through the second quarter.

It wasn’t long before Ireland got a deserved equaliser following some sustained possession high in the England half. Balding’s drag flick was saved but the rebound was batted into the net by James Maginnis.


Ireland continued to pressure England, but a quick counter-attack found them lacking cover at the back and the resulting penalty stroke, on the half time whistle, by Luis Cuttle left Ireland trailing 2-1 at half time.

After the break it was all Ireland, but the equaliser proved elusive, with a number of balls flashing past the back post and an England goalkeeper who was on fire against the Irish penalty corner attack.

Late in the third quarter a slick move down the left, left England with a back post tip-in to extend their lead further. Ireland reacted well by scoring immediately in Q4 with Rex Dunlop deflecting at the penalty sport from a well-polished short corner routine.

As such, after that disappointment, coach Lowry was delighted with how his side bounced back.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better reaction in game two this weekend,” said Lowry. “The guys acquitted themselves brilliantly and played with real desire and intensity and the way we moved the ball was top class.

“We were disappointed not to come out of game one with a result because we played well for much of the game and created a lot of chances, particularly in the second half.

“After Friday it was nice to see our attacking quality shine through. It was a real team effort from both players and staff to pick ourselves up and go again.”

The side has been working with a panel of 34 players for this development series and so it was a nice way for some to sign off this phase of their underage careers.

“For some of these guys it is their last involvement in the Under-19 program, and it is great to have been able to finish with a win like that, particularly after the 18 months that we’ve had. It’s all to play for now and we can’t wait to face Scotland in UUJ next weekend.”

That is a reference to a title showdown with Scotland with two games next weekend at Jordanstown.

On the girls side, Ireland back up their two big wins over Wales last week with four points out of six from their trip to England. Emma Paul’s first half goal gave the Little Green Army a 1-0 success on Friday with the strike coming following consistent pressure which led to a penalty corner that the captain slotted away.

And they carried that momentum into the second half to make it three wins from three in the competition with three clean sheets at that stage.

In so doing, it means Ireland’s senior, Under-23 and Under-19 female sides have all beaten either Great Britain or England in the past four months.

Saturday did see their perfect defensive record breached when Tamsin Cookman scored from a penalty corner in game two on Saturday morning for England.

And it remained that way until early in the final quarter before a flurry of penalty corners ended with Nicola Torrans – younger sister of Sarah who is currently in Tokyo with the Olympic squad – pouncing on a penalty corner chance at the back post.

It meant a 1-1 draw with a point each to their name but the English hosts went on to edge a shoot-out after the game which earned them an extra bonus point.

That leaves Ireland on 10 points from 12 available to date with England in second on eight points. It meansGavin Groves’ side are in pole position with two games against Scotland to come at Jordanstown.

Boys Under-19 Four Nations
Friday: England 3 (T Graves, L Cuttle, R Wilson) Ireland 2 (J Maginnis, R Dunlop)
Saturday: England 1 (W Petter) Ireland 5 (E Jennings 2, I Balding, B Ryder, J Filgas)

Girls Under-19 Four Nations
Friday: England 0 Ireland 1 (E Paul)
Saturday: England 1 (T Cookman) Ireland 1 (N Torrans), England win bonus point shoot-out 3-2

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President’s Newsletter July 2021

Excitement is mounting with the departure of the Women’s team for the Tokyo Olympics on Friday 9th July. We wish the players all the best of luck for their matches. This is a marvellous achievement and we thank them for their commitment, drive, determination and for the time they have given to prepare for this amazing experience. Our sympathy goes to the players who have played a large part in the build-up over the last few years and missed out. We know how disappointed they must be. By following the team’s 37-hour journey on social media, they have received a great welcome in Iwate and have started training there. Our thanks go to all their sponsors and especially to Park Development, Softco and Saba.

Their match schedule is, with times for Ireland/UK viewing: –

Saturday 24th July v. South Africa at 1.15pm (21.15 JST)

Monday 26th July v Netherlands at 2am (10.00 JST)

Wednesday 28th July v Germany at 4.15am (12.15 JST)

Friday 30th July v India at 3.45am (11.45 JST)

Saturday 31 July v Great Britain 12.45pm (20.45 JST)

The EuroHockey Championships in Amsterdam at the beginning of June were challenging and the draw was tough. However, the girls held their heads up high, producing commendable performances against the Netherlands, Scotland and Spain in the group section and against Great Britain and Italy in the play-off games, finishing 6th overall with two wins, one draw and two losses.  One of the highlights was Deidre Duke being awarded the goal of the tournament.

Mark Tumilty and his Men’s team continue with their preparations for their European Division B matches in Gniezno, Poland from 15th – 21st August. They are drawn in Pool A against Italy, Poland and Croatia. With several new players in the squad, they have played warm-up games against Great Britain and Scotland. We look forward to supporting them in further pre-tournament games against England at Lisnagarvey on 4th, 5th, 6th & 7th August.

With restrictions on spectators easing, I was able to enjoy watching my first official games as President, when the Ireland Under 19s played Wales at The University of Ulster, Jordanstown on 9th & 10th July. Four exciting games resulted in four wins for Ireland: The Girls winning 6-0 and 5-0 and the Boys 1-0 and 5-3. I look forward to supporting the Ireland Under 23 Girls when they play Wales Senior Women from 16th to 18th July and Wales U23 Girls from 21st to 23rd July. Further matches for the Under 19 Boys and Girls will be held at UUJ on 24th and 25th July. This is a busy programme for the players and coaches and it is great experience for all in their build-up to Senior matches.

I was invited by Lisnagarvey Hockey Club on 26th June to watch Under 15 Cup Finals for a tournament that the club had organised. The Girls’ tournament was won by Armagh who defeated Lisnagarvey and, in the Boys’ Final, Lisnagarvey defeated Portadown. It was great to see young players and their families enjoying exciting hockey on a sunny afternoon. I would like to congratulate and thank Lisnagarvey Hockey Club for their excellent organisation for this event and their compliance with Covid 19 regulations.

Our third Pilot Communication Session took place on Wednesday 16th June with Clubs from Armagh, Belvedere, Blackrock, Bray, Club KV, Cork Wanderers, Malahide Fingal, Newry and Parkview taking part. Topics discussed included how clubs were planning to get players back into hockey after this long Covid break; had they approached schools nearby to attract more members and what was the relationship between their Club and local schools; where they see their club in terms of Hockey Ireland’s priorities; had they applied for a grant and if so, how successful was their application. A follow up session on all three meetings is planned for early in the new season. My thanks go again to John Dennis and Linda Monaghan for their help and support in these meetings.

On Sunday 27th June I chaired an online meeting of the Four Provinces Advisory Committee and welcomed H.I. Vice President, John Dennis and representatives from the Four Provinces – Kevin Keane, Connacht, David Curran, Leinster, Colette Coomey, Munster and Christine Reid, Ulster.  This was an introductory session to get this committee meeting again, look at the Terms of Reference and arrange a further meeting on Monday 19th July.

In my last newsletter, I mentioned that we were pleased to support Inez Cooper’s candidature for election to the Executive Board of the Federation Internationale de hockey (FIH). The FIH Congress was held online on 24th & 25th May, with a strict voting procedure which required practice sessions. Inez narrowly missed out in the election to the 2 sitting members. She is a candidate for Female Vice President of EHF, with the Congress due to take place in Prague on 19th August.  I was delighted, on behalf of Hockey Ireland, to write her supporting letter.

Finally, again I end on a sad note with the passing of Nora Smith on 24th May. In recognition of her international career, Nora was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007 and was an Honorary Life Member of Hockey Ireland. After her playing career as an outstanding centre-half, she became the Irish Women’s first ever coach from 1973 to 1976. Our thoughts are with her family at this sad time.

Ann Rosa

12th July 2021

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Junior Green Army enjoy competitive series at Egara

Ireland’s Under-23 selection played out a series of competitive games at Club Egara, Spain last week in a Five Nations tournament that featured the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and the host nation.

Against the Dutch, the tie was scoreless at half-time before the decorated opponents ended up winning 2-0 while Erin Getty had to depart early with a nasty head injury.

Game two was more open against Spain who took a 2-0 lead before Ellen Curran’s neat finish on the backhand got Ireland back in range. Spain did move further clear but some sharp reactions from Katie Fearon to her own rebound saw the game close out 4-2 in the host’s favour.

Against Belgium, it proved a frustrating 1-0 final score as Ireland held sway for much of the tie but could not find the killer touch.

Ireland did finish with a draw against Germany in a hugely impressive performance though they were left to rue two late goals which denied them victory. Abbie Russell’s super corner deflection made it 1-0 early in the game and that lead was doubled in the second half when Siofra O’Brien got an outstanding touch to Laura Foley’s cross.

But Germany fought back when they swapped out their goalkeeper in the closing minutes and took advantage of a couple of Irish sin-binnings to deny the Junior Green Army victory, settling for a 2-2 draw.

Nonetheless, coach Dave Passmore was upbeat about the performances from the campaign.

“Overall it was a great week against some of the world’s top teams at this level,” he said. “While we played some really good hockey and had periods of dominance in all games except the first. That said it was obvious most of the other players had not had the season-long Covid break we had and we were punished for lapses in concentration and defensive decision making.

“It was pleasing not to concede any open play goals against Holland, Germany and Belgium but it was evident we are behind in developing a depth of drag flickers.

“Our performance against Germany was probably the best I have ever seen for an Irish underage team but we will learn a lot from the last nine minutes when two goals up and they took their keeper off; getting two cards during that period being a costly.

“The players have been fabulous and committed to what this program is about while building a strong bond and team ethos. We look forward now to taking on the Wales senior team this weekend, a team that has grown in strength in recent years and is preparing for their Europeans in August.

“Hopefully Erin Getty will be fit to return after her serious facial cut. She has returned to our squad fitter and stronger than I’ve ever seen.”

Next on the agenda for Ireland is a trio of games next weekend at Jordanstown against the Welsh senior team with the squad shuffled once again to maximise development benefits.

This week’s fixture schedule (all at Jordanstown):
Friday, July 16: Ireland Development squad v Wales, 7pm
Saturday, July 17: Ireland Development squad v Wales, 4pm
Sunday, July 18: Ireland Development squad v Wales, 9.30am

Ireland development squad for Wales series: Roisin Begley (Catholic Institute/Munster), Nadia Benallal (Beeston/Leinster), Niamh Carey (UCD/Leinster), Ellen Curran (UCD/Leinster), Sophia Cole (UCD/Leinster), Amy Elliott (UCD/Leinster), Katie Fearon (Railway Union/Leinster), Laura Foley (Co-captain, Catholic Institute/Munster), Erin Getty (Queens/Ulster), Christina Hamill (Loreto/Leinster), Hannah Humphries (GK, Catholic Institute/Munster), Anna Horan (Catholic Institute/Munster), Jane Kilpatrick (Loughborough Students/Ulster), Orla Macken (Co-captain, Pembroke/Leinster), KJ Marshall (UCD/Leinster), Ellie McLoughlin (GK, Muckross/Leinster), Lisa Mulcahy (Loreto/Leinster), Siofra O’Brien (Loreto/Leinster), Sara Patton (Railway Union/Leinster), Caoimhe Perdue (UCC/Munster), Yasmin Pratt (Loreto/Leinster), Ellen Reid (Banbridge/Ulster), Jess McMaster (Queens/Ulster), Siofra Murdoch (Monkstown/Leinster)