Junior Age Group managers sought

EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST ARE INVITED FOR:

  • U16 Boys Team Manager Position

  • U18 Girls Team Manager Position

  • U21 Mens Team manager Position

    (All voluntary positions)

 Hockey Ireland are looking for individuals with:
• Ambition and commitment to the development of young Irish Hockey internationals
• Experience working as part of a team
• An innovative mindset, who can maximise a limited budget
• A high performance ethos
• An ability to work on selected weekends and travel overseas when required

All applicants are required to provide the following:
• Evidence of completion of a Code of Ethics qualification (or willingness to complete one)
• 2 reference forms (to be sent on receipt of application by Hockey Ireland)
A self-declaration form (to be sent on receipt of application by Hockey Ireland)
• Garda or AccessNI Vetting (for successful candidates only)

What will you get in return?
• Involvement in high performance sport
Travel to international tournaments (inclusive of role)
• Satisfaction of creating future stars for Irish Hockey

To Apply
Application is by CV along with a covering letter outlining why you are applying for the role and what you feel you can add to the relevant programme. This should be emailed to Adam Grainger, Hockey Ireland Performance Director at adam.grainger@hockey.ie.

Applications close on Friday 17th September at 5pm with interviews expected to be the following week.

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Five Irish Masters teams return after long wait

Five Irish men’s Masters teams got back into the groove this month after almost two years as they travelled to Nottingham for EH Invitational tournaments.

Last weekend, the Over-40s picked off wins against Wales and Scotland in their opening two games to set up a title showdown with England.

In the former, they won 4-3 with Graham Harris scoring a 68th minute penalty corner to grab the result after an earlier double from Chris Barnes and an opener from Dave Smith.

Barnes also netted twice in the 5-2 success against Scotland, a important efforts in the 67th and 69th minutes to make the win safe.

England, however, were too strong in game three, completing their third win of the weekend with a. 7-1 success, Harris getting the sole Irish reply.

At Over-45 level, Ireland began with a 1-1 draw against Scotland with Peter Bland’s eighth minute goal cancelled out by one from John D’Alton.

The followed up with a comprehensive 6-0 victory over Wales – Eise Lodewijk was on the mark twice with Paul Fitzpatrick, Ash Harrison, Steven Jones and Peter Bland getting the others.

That left another title showdown with England and Ireland got off to a flyer with Fitzpatrick breaking the deadlock from a 15th minute corner.

But England swapped the lead by half-time to go in 3-1 up at the big break and that is how the game finished.

For the Over-50s, they lost 3-1 to Scotland on day one of the competition – Stephen Magee getting the goal – and then drew with Wales 2-2 with Ian Stuart earning the share of the spoils. Earlier, Darren Scott had picked up the first equaliser in the 29th minute.

A week earlier, also in Nottingham, the Irish men’s Over-65s and 60s were also in action.

For the 65s, they recorded a 0-0 against Scotland before falling a couple of times to England. The Over-60s had a couple of close-run fixtures with 2-1 defeats to Scotland and Wales before England proved too strong in a 5-0 outcome.

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SoftCo expands support for Irish Women’s Hockey

Hockey Ireland is delighted to announce that SoftCo is extending its partnership with the Irish Senior Women’s Hockey Team and, in addition, SoftCo will also become the main sponsor for the Under-21 and Under-23 Development Squads.

Following the team’s success over the past number of years with the World Cup silver medal and the Tokyo Olympics, the additional support provides continuity for the next phase of the Green Army story including the upcoming World Cup qualification tournament in Rome.

The Under-21 and Under-23 Development Squads are essential for the expansion of the senior squad, particularly as they embark on a new Olympic cycle toward Paris 2024.

“The Ireland Women’s Hockey Team have raised the bar over the past number of years with their magnificent achievements. We are delighted to increase our support and in particular the sponsorship of Developments Squads as we look forward to an exciting future for hockey in Ireland.” commented Susan Spence, Co-Founder, SoftCo.

Speaking about the agreement, Hockey Ireland CEO Jerome Pels said: “We are delighted SoftCo have agreed to continue their primary sponsorship of Hockey Ireland’s senior women and expanding their support to incorporate our women’s development panel.

“This exciting move will bring continuity to our women’s program and build on the strong foundations established over the past three years.”

** Pictured from left to right, following SoftCo’s expanded support for Irish women’s hockey are Caoimhe Perdue (U-21 captain), Katie Mullan (senior captain) and Katie Fearon (U-23 captain). Picture: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

About SoftCo

SoftCo deliver powerful, innovative financial process automation solutions that increase productivity, reduce costs, and ensure organizations meet compliance obligations. SoftCo’s technology automates Procure-to-Pay, Accounts Payable, Vendor Management, eBilling and Contract Management processes. Our solutions are built on a common platform, SoftCo10, ensuring that as our customers expand they can seamlessly grow on the SoftCo ecosystem. SoftCo are a global organization with 2 million business users worldwide across all industry sectors. Our DNA is Procure-to-Pay. We build our smart technology with this domain knowledge delivering fast, straight through and touchless processing. Our ethos is to understand our customers’ businesses, the challenges they face, and deliver solutions to meet and go beyond their expectations. We are ISO 27001 and SÄHKE2 certified, a Microsoft Gold Partner and an AWS Advanced Technology Partner.

For more information please visit www.softco.com

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O’Dea on the double as Green Machine finish on a high

Men’s EuroHockey Championship II, third place playoff
Ireland 4 (K O’Dea 2, J McKee, S O’Donoghue) Poland 2 (W Rutkowski, J Kurowski)

Teenager Kevin O’Dea’s sharp double earned Ireland a third place finish from the men’s EuroHockey Championship II in Gniezno, beating hosts Poland 4-2.

Ireland produced a super first half, controlling possession and netting two strong goals via Kevin O’Dea and Johnny McKee. But Poland stormed back into contention in the third quarter amid a penalty corner exchanger, Wojciech Rutkowksi and Jacek Kurowski netting either side of a Shane O’Donoghue effort, making it 3-2 with 15 minutes left.

In a wide open final quarter, it was O’Dea who settled matters when he swatted in with three minutes to go.

Hockey’s old adage to “always win your last game” was achieved to cap an encouraging week in which Mark Tumilty handed out seven new caps and landed the primary goal of a World Cup qualifier ticket.

All the while, the side rolled with the punches with two players ruled out a week before travelling and a further two spending the entire week in quarantine under Polish regulations following a close contact ping arising from the flight over.

In the circumstances, it gave coach Tumilty plenty of encouraging food for thought despite the disappointment of Friday’s semi-final defeat to Scotland.

“I thought some of our hockey was excellent; guys definitely delivered. When I reviewed the Scotland semi-final, we did deliver at times but not for long enough so this was nice and positive,” Tumilty said.

“Things were definitely challenging with Covid at times; it is a great learning for the squad. Twenty bad minutes against Scotland cost us greatly; if we had played in that phase like we did today, it would be a completely different outcome.

“We can’t afford to have that at any level and we need to take that and make sure we change that happening, that we don’t have those spells which cost us.

“On the plus side, Kevin [O’Dea] scoring three goals from midfield in his first tournament; a great achievement and shows his potential. Very pleased with that and how all the youngsters did. Kyle Marshall just received man of the match and he has been superb all week. James Milliken in goal came in at late notice and I’m happy with how he did, too.

“The older guys also deserve credit for how they helped the performances and how they dealt with the chaos with our preparation. Disappointed not to be in the final but pleased to finish on a high.”

For O’Dea, meanwhile, it was a memorable finish to his first international tournament just two months on from his Leaving Certificate.

“We didn’t come into the tournament hoping to win bronze but considering we were in this position, we are pleased to win this one.

“It has been difficult with the Leaving Cert but Eoin [Cunniffe], Mark [Tumilty], Neil [Irwin], Jason [Klinkradt] all prepared me really well. Even when I couldn’t come up to training with studies, I was doing all their running [plans]. It was great coming into the tournament and made the step up not half as bad!”

From the off, Ireland showed intent, attacking with drive and purpose. An early corner chance went abegging, a signal of what was to come.

And they were in front in the ninth minute when Peter McKibbin’s powerful ball into the circle found its way to O’Dea at the back post. It came at the Cork man at an awkward height but he expertly volleyed home for 1-0, this second in two games.

It was 2-0 before the end of the first quarter, the second goal a smart move found Johnny McKee peeling away to the left. He produced a box of tricks to work the shooting chance which he popped home at the second bit of the cherry.

Like the semi-final against Scotland, there were chances to extend the lead but were frustrated as O’Donoghue’s rasping reverse went inches wide while a McKee deflection from another McKibbin pump came back off the crossbar.

Ian Stewart elected to pass when a shot might have been the option from a two-on-one chance as the half closed out with Ireland still on the up.

Poland came more into the contest after the big break and began to run up a healthy penalty corner count. From their second set piece, Rutkowski unleashed a perfect shot into the top right corner to give the Poles a lifeline.

That threat seemed to be quickly quelled when O’Donoghue nailed his fourth goal of the week with a pin-point drag-flick, making it 3-1 in the 38th minute.

But the hosts once again were back in contention when Kurowski found a way through the defences of James Milliken.

The game was settled, though, with three minutes to go. It followed a brilliant move with Sean Murray and McKee laying on the chance for Stewart. His shot was saved at full stretch but only fell to a waiting O’Dea who gleefully batted in his second of the day.

Ireland: J Milliken, T Cross, J McKee, N Glassey, K Marshall, S O’Donoghue, S Murray, P McKibbin, M Robson, B Walker, I Stewart
Subs: D Walsh, K O’Dea, M McNellis, B Nelson, F Gibson, J Duncan

Poland: M Pacanowski, D Kotulski, G Jarzynski, J Kurowski, M Koperski, R Pawlak, J Janicki, W Rutkowski, M Kasprzyk, M Lange
Subs: M Glowacki, T Bembenek, M Gumny, K Sudol, M Nowakowski, B Zaworski

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Ireland succumb to Scottish comeback at men’s Euros

Men’s EuroHockey Championship II, semi-final
Ireland 2 (K O’Dea, B Walker) Scotland 3 (A Forsyth 3)
Ireland succumbed to a big Scottish fightback as Alan Forsyth’s hat trick transformed a 2-0 lead into a 3-2 defeat, leaving Ireland to play for third place on Saturday on the final day of the EuroHockey Championship II in Gniezno, Poland.

Hopes were flying high in the early stages with Kevin O’Dea slotting home in the seventh minute and Ben Walker made it 2-0 nine minutes later.

But they could not make use of a selection of penalty corners as Scotland hung tough and got a lifeline just before half-time from an Alan Forsyth penalty stroke. The striker equalised late in the third quarter at 2-2 and then put the Scots ahead for the first time with nine minutes to go from a second stroke.

Reflecting on the tie, coach Mark Tumilty was frustrated the side could not take more of their chances when in the ascendancy and it came back to bite them in the end.

“We played some reasonable hockey at times, created plenty of opportunities,” he said afterwards. “But at this level and the level above, if you don’t take your chances and execute your corners, you leave yourself open to what happened out on the pitch today.

“We definitely had opportunities. While they came more into it in the second half, we still had chances and balls into their circle to put the game out of reach. But to be fair, with Forsyth up front, they are always dangerous.

“It’s another tough lesson for the Irish senior men’s team. It has to stop happening and we have to get across the line in this type of game.”

The Green Machine stormed into the first half, playing a direct game of pace and precision which yielded a number of healthy chance. The pick of them came when McKee crossed from the right and the ball fell to the unmarked O’Dea and he coolly slotted home his first international goal through Tommy Alexander’s legs.

Ben Nelson went close to getting a second from another McKee cross but the second goal did arrive soon after the second quarter started. Mark McNellis was the creator, lifting the ball past his marker and then picking out Walker who swept home first time.

But five first half corners – with the injection slowed by a heavy downpour of rain – could not get the best of goalkeeper Tommy Alexander and it was Scotland who nicked a vital reply just before half-time.

It came from their second corner from which Cammy Golden’s drag hit Fergus Gibson’s body on the goal line. Forsyth stepped up to convert the ensuing penalty stroke.

Into the second half, Ian Stewart was next to go close when his rasping shot shaved the outside of the post.

But the blue sticks were gaining a greater foothold in the contest and finding important incisions. Golden fired another warning shot before the equaliser arrived in the 45th minute.

James Milliken saved a first up shot but the ball was worked to Forsyth and he spun at close range and fired into the bottom corner.

And the winner arrived with nine minutes remaining, another penalty stroke, this time awarded for what was deemed a deliberate back-stick foul by Jeremy Duncan in the process of clearing the ball. Again, Forsyth converted well.

It left Ireland with nine minutes to grab something from the game but Alexander twice repelled chances from Sean Murray as Scotland held on for the 3-2 victory and a place in the final.

Ireland, meanwhile, must regroup quickly for Saturday’s third place playoff (12.45pm, Irish time).

“It is important to finish any tournament or camp on a win. We need to win tomorrow and kickstart our [October] World Cup qualifier preparations.

“It is disappointing to lose today but we have to regroup and see tomorrow as another opportunity for this young group to get international hockey under their belt.

“We need to do better and fix some of the things from the second half today, be more clinical and execute our penalty corners.”

Ireland: J Milliken, T Cross, J McKee, N Glassey, K Marshall, S O’Donoghue, S Murray, P McKibbin, J Duncan, M Robson, I Stewart
Subs: D Walsh, K O’Dea, M McNellis, B Walker, B Nelson, F Gibson

Scotland: T Alexander, M Bremner, A Bull, A Forsyth, L Morton, A McConnell, C Golden, H Imrie, M Collins, R Shepherdson, C McKenzie
Subs: S Walker, H Galt, E Greaves, R Harwood, R Field, R Croll

Umpires: A Ilgrande (ITA), B Messerli (SUI)

Hockey Ireland Cup Competitions Season 2021/22 – Last chance for entries

Hockey Ireland Cup Competitions Season 2021/22.

Attached please find links for entering your Club to the Hockey Ireland Cup Competitions for season 2021-22.

Womens Competitions

Mens Competitions

Please find Cup Competition Qualification criteria HERE

You will also find below a list of Hockey Ireland clubs broken down by cup competitions that they qualify for. Please note this club list is subject to change when branches have finalised their league structures for 21/22.

Cup Eligibility 2021 Club List.xlsx

Hockey Ireland Cup Entry fees are unchanged from last season. Invoices will be sent out once the cut off date for entries is passed. Entry fees must be made prior to the competition starting, any clubs with outstanding payments by the competition start date will not be permitted to enter. Clubs that paid entry fees for Hockey Ireland Cup Competitions in 2020/21 season will have their entry fees transferred to 2021/22 season unless a refund is requested. If you have any queries on this please contact finance@hockey.ie

Closing Date for receipt of entries is Monday, 23rd August 2021.

Hockey Ireland Calendar for season 21/22 has been released and is available HERE

Regional Development Officer (Connacht, in partnership with NUIG)

Regional Development Officer (Connacht, in partnership with NUIG)

Hockey Ireland (in partnership with NUIG and Connacht Hockey) are seeking to employ a Regional Development Officer for Connacht. Starting in October 2021, this person will help to grow hockey, support and develop existing/new resources in the Connacht region, an area that Hockey Ireland see as having huge potential for growth.

Led by Hockey Ireland and NUIG, in conjunction with Connacht Hockey, the successful applicant will be responsible for the delivery of and will have input into the planning for Hockey Ireland’s National Development Plan. Working to achieve these targets, the Regional Development Officer (Connacht) is responsible for administering and delivering programmes to promote sustainable participation opportunities within clubs, schools and NUIG in Connacht.

For more information see Job Description below:

To apply please send your CV to linda.monaghan@hockey.ie. Closing date for application is 1st September 2021.

JOB TITLE:  Regional Development Officer, Connacht, in partnership with NUIG.

RESPONSIBLE TO: Hockey Ireland, National Development Manager

LOCATION: NUIG Sports Offices

SALARY: 15000 per annum

HOURS:  22.5 hours per week

CONTRACT: An initial 9-month contract with the view to extend

Responsibilities include:

Growing hockey in Connacht

  • Promoting Connacht hockey through community and school engagement
  • Management and administration of development programmes
  • Working in new areas to run cluster Primary School / Secondary School programmes with the aim of setting up new clubs around Connacht
  • Promoting and developing the indoor format of the game
  • Working in partnership with LSP/ local councils
  • Promoting Hockey Skills Challenge and branch competition structures
  • Partnering and growing participation in NUIG
  • Promoting NUIG through community and school engagement
  • Growing indoor hockey in NUIG, specifically around growing men’s hockey and encouraging social participation in hockey

Supporting existing clubs

  • Delivering workshops and holding meetings to support, educate and empower clubs to implement change and become more sustainable

Coach umpire and volunteer development

  • Deliver Young Hockey Leaders Award and Young Umpire Program
  • Creating coach and volunteer development opportunities
  • Working in conjunction with the Connacht Branch to promote and develop umpiring
  • While it is unlikely the DO will be able to deliver accredited coaching/umpiring courses, their role will be to identify needs for courses within clubs and liaising with HI on behalf of Connacht Hockey

General:

  • Working to specific targets in relation to delivery of Hockey Ireland participation and development programmes as agreed with NDM.
  • Work closely with Connacht Hockey and NUIG and develop strong relationships with schools and clubs in the region
  • Assist with the development of a five-year plan for Connacht hockey
  • Support the work of NDM in development of Branch structures and planning
  • Work closely with other Hockey Ireland, Connacht Hockey and NUIG staff and volunteers
  • Attend appropriate meetings as directed by National Development Manager, Connacht Hockey Branch and NUIG Director of Sport
  • Assist in applying for funding and delivering on funding requirements
  • Work in partnership with other sporting bodies
  • Any other duties as may be allocated from time to time in accordance with the general nature of the post
  • Access to private transport is required as successful candidate will need to travel throughout the Connacht region. This role requires flexibility with regards to working hours.

It should be noted that the role of the development officer is not to work at the performance level of the sport (with interprovincials teams for example, or with current NUI teams) and the main focus is to build participation and systems to support sustainable growth, including strengthening existing structures.

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Green Machine land primary objective with 6-0 win over Croatia

Men’s EuroHockey Championship II
Ireland 6 (J McKee 2, S O’Donoghue 2, S Murray, J Duncan) Croatia 0

Ireland eased into the semi-finals of the men’s EuroHockey Championship II in Gniezno and a World Cup qualifier spot into the bargain after they saw off Croatia with plenty to spare.

Needing a draw to advance, Sean Murray’s early goal set them on their way and while it took a while for the insurance goals to arrive, the Green Machine never looked in much danger after that.

Shane O’Donoghue put Ireland two clear at half-time; a second half double from Johnny McKee and more goals from O’Donoghue and Jeremy Duncan completed the rout.

For coach Mark Tumilty, it was very much a case of job done, responding well from Tuesday’s disappointing draw with Italy.

“Delighted; that was our main goal coming into the tournament to give ourselves a chance at that World Cup qualifier,” Tumilty said.

“I am pleased with the performance, bouncing back well after yesterday [against Italy]. That was a tough one to take but thought the guys worked hard today and it was a good game all round.

Captain Murray concurred, adding: “Very chuffed. It was a great bounce back from the lads, especially after Italy which wasn’t our finest performance. The main job was to get that World Cup qualifier spot and we have that and can now look forward to the weekend.

“We hadn’t started fast in the other games and knew we needed to be on the money from the beginning.

“They had a couple of tight games where they were run off their feet and, with back-to-back games, we wanted to get ahead early and then try and pull away. We maintained that throughout and the result took care of itself.”

The opening goal came from a lovely interchange on the left baseline with Jonny McKee hopping the ball out of a tackle and nicking the ball into the middle where Murray cracked home.

After that, it was a matter of time before the lead was extended as Croatia – in their first tournament at this level and the lowest ranked side at 47th – were forced to absorb a huge amount of pressure.

Goalkeeper Hrvoje Fijucek brilliantly denied Ben Walker on a couple of occasions while a trio of corners were also kept out, the third of which saw O’Donoghue slam a shot off the base of the post.

O’Donoghue, though, was not to be held at bay for too long as he doubled the lead as half-time closed in, a trademark corner goal bringing him his 113th international strike.

Two to the good at half-time, the shackles came off in the second half. A flurry of action saw Ireland force a string of blocks in the first 43 seconds which culminated in Jeremy Duncan tipping in Neal Glassey’s cross for 3-0.

McKee added the next at the end of a stunning counter-attack, created by Michael Robson’s 40-metre drive through the middle. The Banbridge man also guided in a Mark McNellis cross early in the fourth quarter for the fifth goal and O’Donoghue got his second with a ripper of a reverse-stick strike.

It means a semi-final on Friday and there are also important ranking points on the table if Ireland can grab two more wins. The chance to move above 13th ranked France – who have completed their Euro series this summer – and become the top seed for the World Cup qualifier, however, looks just out of reach.

“I think it will be difficult to go above France because of the draw against Italy by my calculations,” Tumilty

“But with the draw for the Euro qualifiers next summer also to think of, [the points] could be important but it is not something that overly concerns me.

“We have to deal with whatever comes along and we have seen in this tournament all the teams are competitive. Each game in those qualifiers will be a big challenge but, for now, the focus is on Friday to do what we can to get to the final and a better chance of hosting the European qualifiers next summer.”

Ireland: J Milliken, T Cross, J McKee, N Glassey, K Marshall, S O’Donoghue, S Murray, P McKibbin, J Duncan, M Robson, B Nelson
Subs: D Walsh, K O’Dea, M McNellis, B Walker, F Gibson, I Stewart

Croatia: H Fijucek, C Zec, M Mucic, Z Vuk, B Bachmann, F Zlimen, J Krleza, L M Bachmann, T Premilovac, G Fujs, A Fujs
Subs: P Markovic, I Bagur, F Zlatar, J Damjanic, F Zlatar, L Wehr

Umpires: G Cunningham (SCO), F Weiland (AUT)

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Ireland’s men held by combative Italians in Gniezno

Men’s EuroHockey Championships II

Ireland 1 (S O’Donoghue) Italy 1 (F Sior)

Ireland were held at bay to a 1-1 draw by a well-organised Italy, leaving the Green Machine on four points from six after day two of the EuroHockey Championships II in Gniezno, Poland.

Shane O’Donoghue’s 112th international goal had Ireland buzzing in the seventh minute but a quick reply from Francois Sior in the 13th minute meant all the scoring took place in the first quarter. Thereafter, it was a maze of patience as the Italians – ranked eight places below Ireland in 22nd – defended deep and resolutely to offer up limited chances.

The result leaves both sides on four points after two games with Ireland knowing a win of any description against world number 40 side Croatia will see them through to the semi-finals and a confirmed place in the World Cup qualifiers.

“Credit to the Italians, they defended well, stuck to their guns and then went for the long high ball while we didn’t hit fourth or fifth gear,” was O’Donoghue’s assessment.

“We didn’t play with the same level of aggression to the game against Poland. There were some sticky patches which we had to weather and we played good stuff at times but the bounce of the ball didn’t go our way.”

After a slightly slow Irish start, conceding a second minute penalty corner, Ireland soon found a fruitful avenue of attack, O’Donoghue’s accurate crossfield overheads causing plenty of danger.

From the left wing, he often picked out Tim Cross overlapping down the right and it produced Ireland’s first corner from which O’Donoghue cracked home his 112th international goal with a low drag-flick in the seventh minute.

But the lead was short-lived as a flurry of Italian attacks ended with a loose clearance falling straight to Fancois Sior who unleashed a rocket into the roof of the goal.

The second quarter was incredibly tight with few sights on goal as Italy sat deep, looking to counter while the Green Machine enjoyed more possession but found the defence hard to unpick. Again, the O’Donoghue-Cross link-up yielded a corner but the chance was repelled while a

The second half was more open with Ian Stewart’s silky skills almost unlocking the door while a fast counter between Ben Nelson and Cross ended with a shot charged down.

Jeremy Duncan cracked one into the backboard but an earlier free-out was called, adding to the frustration. A third Irish corner deflected high from O’Donoghue’s powerful flick into Michael Robson but was deemed dangerous and it proved the last major opening.

While the game stretched, both defences were well controlled, picking off neat tackles in their respective circle. The post-match body language suggested Italy were much the happier with the outcome – their first result from their last six meetings with Ireland, dating back to 2005 – with O’Donoghue said there was plenty to take from the tie for the young line-up.

“We had a few corners which we needed to capitalise on but this is tournament hockey and we have to learn from it. It is never smooth sailing and you never know what to expect.

“They play their style which is frustrating to play against. I don’t think they caused us too much damage but, from our end, we didn’t have create enough chances.”

Ireland have a quick turnaround with Croatia – playing at this level for the first time – are next on Wednesday afternoon at 4.45pm (Irish time).

“Tomorrow, it is important we don’t go hell for leather from the start. It is important we stick to the gameplan; we know it works from the Poland game,” O’Donoghue continued.

“All the teams are here for the same thing and want to win it, get that gold medal and move up the world rankings. We will get back to basics, not make those mistakes, get our forwards more into the game, take some chances and we will be fine. We will research the Croatians and go into it with good belief we can get the job done.”

Ireland: J Milliken, T Cross, J McKee, K Marshall, S O’Donoghue, S Murray, M McNellis, P McKibbin, M Robson, B Walker, B Nelson

Subs: D Walsh, K O’Dea, N Glassey, J Duncan, F Gibson, I Stewart

Italy: F Padovani, M Garbaccio, N Mondo, A Nunez, Julian Montone, T Keenan, J Munafo, F Sior, M Mondo, F Harte, M Amorosini

Subs: J Ortega, Juan Montone, D Arosio, C Brocco, F Blom, L Stramazzo

Umpires: T Meissner (GER), F Weiland (AUT)

 

 

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Last-gasp McKee winner crowns dramatic week for Green Machine

Men’s EuroHockey Championship II
Poland 1 (K Sudol) Ireland 2 (B Walker, J McKee)

Johnny McKee scrambled in a dramatic winner late on Sunday night to earn Ireland a huge win over EuroHockey Championship II hosts Poland in Gniezno, touching in Shane O’Donoghue’s cross with just 18 seconds to go.

It crowned a dramatic week for Mark Tumilty’s Green Machine in which the squad lost both Jonny Lynch and Lee Cole from the originally named panel prior to departure and then were forced to quarantine after a close contact ping following their flight into Poland.

It meant Neal Glassey and Fergus Gibson – bringing the list of debutants up to seven – came into the fold.

As such, there was massive relief when McKee got that last ditch winner with coach Tumilty admitting he hurt his leg in the celebrations.

And he had nothing but praise for his revamped side for whom James Milliken, Ben Nelson, Mark McNellis, Kyle Marshall, Kevin O’Dea and Ian Stewart all debuted.

“When the majority of the team got out of quarantine, it’s one of the things we said. The maturity the guys have shown this week has been incredible,” Tumilty said.

“It goes back to last Saturday when we lost Johnny Lynch. There have been distractions; some of them hadn’t been on the pitch yet before today. It wasn’t perfect but the senior players and [assistant coach] Jason Klinkradt looked after them really well. Guys have handled it really well.

A young group, they showed a lot of character to hang in there in the end. We defended well and James Milliken was excellent in goals. Shane O’Donoghue produced that great bit of skill on the left-hand side and Jonny McKee got the winner.”

Poland came on strong in the opening minutes with Milliken forced into an early save from Mikolaj Gumny while Sean Murray almost turned into his own net but reacted brilliantly to dive full-length and flip the ball off the line.

From there, Ireland grew into it, forcing Maciej Pacanowski into action before taking the lead in the 15th minute. It came from the second phase of the first corner, an upright revese-stick cross falling to Ben Walker to guide home.

Jeremy Duncan, O’Donoghue and Walker all forced good saves from the goalkeeper as Ireland improved through the second quarter.

But there were rocked when a lengthy crash ball from Michal Kasprzyk was redirected by Krystian Sudol into the bottom corner.

It set up a grandstand finish with Ireland twice going within inches of the lead with Stewart inches away from a dream debut while Poland’s Wojciech Rutkowski had a goal chalked off with two minutes left.

Ireland reacted brilliantly to that reprieve and grabbed their winner as O’Donghue got in down the left and flicked across goal, McKee putting out a stick which knocked it home.

It puts the Green Machine in great shape and a win on Tuesday against Italy (4.45pm, Irish time) – who beat Croatia 4-1 with three goals in the last ten minutes – could put them on the verge of this week’s first target, a ticket to the World Cup qualifiers.

“It’s nice to have that kind of reward out there and if we can get it early, it could give us some freedom for the rest of the tournament,” Tumilty added.

“But Italy will be very tough and, actually, Croatia looked very good today as well. We have to be better than today but we will grow.

Ireland: J Milliken, T Cross, J McKee, K Marshall, S O’Donoghue, S Murray, M McNellis, P McKibbin, J Duncan, M Robson, B Nelson
Subs: D Walsh, N Glassey, K O’Dea, B Walker, F Gibson, I Stewart

Poland: M Pacanowski, D Kotulski, G Jarzynski, J Kurowski, R Pawlak, J Janicki, P Pawlak, J Chumenczuk, W Rutkowski, M Kasprzyk, M Lange
Subs:
M Glowacki, T Bembenek, M Gumny, M Koperski, K Sudol, M Nowakowski