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Irish men to face Malaysia in first capped match in Ireland since 2019

Capped international hockey will make its long-awaited return to Ireland for the first time since 2019 with the senior men facing Malaysia next Tuesday, October 5 and Wednesday, October 6 in two matches at Lisnagarvey’s Comber Road venue.

The fixtures will form a key part of Mark Tumilty’s preparation plans for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers in Cardiff from October 21 to 24. Malaysia are the current world number 11 ranked side and offer 14th-ranked Ireland a suitably strong opponent in the lead-up to this crucial event.

The fixtures will be ticketed events with entry €12/£10 per game for over-12s while each adult can take up to four Under-12s in free of charge; a maximum of 500 tickets are currently available.

** TICKETS AVAILABLE HERE

To this end, coach Tumilty has named a 22-player panel since the EuroHockey Championships II in Poland in August with a number of experienced players returning to the line-up.

“I am delighted to have the fixtures against Malaysia as the final part of our preparation for the upcoming World Cup Qualifier,” said coach Tumilty. “We need to produce two high quality performances to give us confidence before we face Russia on October 21st in that vital World Cup qualifier game”.

Conor Harte’s return could potentially add to his 252 caps for the first time in almost two years having made a strong start to the Belgian season with his new club KHC Dragons.

David Fitzgerald also returns, adding to the goalkeeping options. It is a competitive area of the field with Mark Ingram and Jamie Carr will also be in the mix on that front.

Carr, along with Luke Madeley, he missed out on pitch-time in Poland due a Covid-19 close contact protocols which meant both had to spend their week at the tournament in quarantine. As such, they will be itching to make their mark.

Lee Cole and Matthew Nelson will also be vying for place in the World Cup qualifiers spot along with 14 of the panel that played in Poland last month.

There are also potential formal debuts for Sam Hyland – who was a travelling reserve for the Euros – and Conor Empey who has scored twice in the opening weeks of the Dutch Hoofdklasse since linking up with SCHC.

Not included for this series from the European panel are Ian Stewart, Ben Nelson and James Milliken who remain part of the wider training panel.

Malaysia – known as the Speedy Tigers – are coached by former Ireland assistant coach Arul Antoni, also well-known for his roles with Glenanne, Three Rock Rovers and Dublin University.

They are currently on a four-week tour encompassing challenge matches against four English club sides before playing Ireland and then rounding off the trip with games against Wales and France.

Ireland men’s squad to face Malaysia (October 5 and 6; Lisnagarvey Hockey Club):
Jamie Carr (KHC Leuven, Belgium), David Fitzgerald (Monkstown), Lee Cole (Monkstown), Luke Madeley (KHC Leuven), Mark McNellis (Lisnagarvey), Conor Harte (KHC Dragons, Belgium), Peter McKibbin (Lisnagarvey), Kyle Marshall (Old Georgians, England), Shane O’Donoghue (Glenanne), Sean Murray (KHC Leuven), Michael Robson (Annadale), Kevin O’Dea (UCD), Daragh Walsh (KHC Leuven), Johnny McKee (Banbridge), Ben Walker (Braxgata, Belgium), Jeremey Duncan (Monkstown), Conor Empey (SCHC, Netherlands), Sam Hyland (YMCA), Mark Ingram (Pembroke), Tim Cross (Annadale), Neal Glassey (Crefelder HTC, Germany), Matthew Nelson (Lisnagarvey)

Three Rock to fly Irish flag in Europe this week

** Three Rock Rovers celebrate a goal against Banbridge this season. Picture: Max Fulham

Three Rock Rovers will carry the Irish flag in European club action when they take on the men’s EHL Ranking Cup competition at the Dragons’ den in Brasschaat, just north of Antwerp.

The competition is part of the finalisation of the 2020/21 European season which was put on hold in the spring due to the Covid-19 spread across the continent.

Three Rock will take on Belarus’s HC Minsk on Saturday morning and then, depending how they do, face the winner England’s Hampstead & Westminster or Germany’s Mannheimer HC on Sunday morning.

For Rovers, it will be their fifth season in the EHL, the elite level club tournament in which they have reached the KO16 each time they have competed.

Most recently in 2019, they became the first Irish side to win a knock-out fixture before putting it up to German champions Rot-Weiss Köln in a 4-2 battle in Barcelona.

They have their place in the EHL by virtue of being the last side to win the EY Champions Trophy back in 2019 following the abandoned 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons.

As such, only seven of that vintage are likely to be in a position to reprise that relative EHL success after seven players emigrated in the summer while Mitch Darling retired.

A late summer influx of players, though, from UCD has seen them bolstered and the bedding in process has seen them accrue seven points out of nine in the EY Hockey League to date.

And coach Elun Hack says this tournament will help hasten their ability to gel together.

“Naturally, I think we were all delighted to welcome our TRR boys back to the club from UCD, and a couple other really nice additions in Matteo Romoli and Ryan Spencer,” he said.

“We have not had as much time together as we would have liked but There is huge amounts of talent in this group, and I think their natural ability will make ‘gelling’ somewhat easier, but there is a lot of work to do.

“This is evidenced by our inconsistent performances in the league thus far. EHL is always a great test of the group, and this time round, it will certainly play a major role in team building and helping the squad come together.”

It will be a first Ireland-Belarus meeting in the EHL with Minsk winning their national title during the summer. Video of them in action at club level is sparse but, with eight full internationals who won the European C division in the summer, they have plenty of hockey under their belt.

“They will have a strong indoor influence, so we are expecting a tough 1 v 1 battle, good solid defensive abilities, and high quality basics from them.

“EHL is unique in that it brings together teams that would otherwise never play against each other, and therefore provides the opportunity to test your skills and abilities against different demands.

“However they line up, it will be a great test for us, and one we are really excited about. In 2019, we had a fantastic match against Grange, and then Rot Weiss, we will be hoping for more of the same this time around and prove that Irish teams are well capable of competing against the big teams across Europe.”

Rovers will be the only Irish team in action this weekend. Lisnagarvey were pencilled in to play in the men’s EuroHockey Trophy I in the Czech Republic but withdrew due to Covid-19-related issues.

Similarly, Pegasus were due to play in the women’s EHL Ranking Cup in Hamburg and Loreto scheduled to contest the EuroHockey Club Trophy in Lille.

Exactly how this will impact the allocation of European places for 2022 will be determined in October following the allocation of points gained from Three Rock’s performances and the decision of the European Hockey Federation.

Men’s EHL Ranking Cup (Brasschaat, Belgium – October 2-3 2021)
Saturday:
Three Rock Rovers v HC Minsk, 8.30am (Irish time)
Sunday: Classification matches

** All matches from the EHL Ranking Cup will be live streamed on www.eurohockeytv.org
** Fixtures correct at time of posting but subject to change

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Pilot Fundamentals of Umpiring Module 2 Practical session

We are planning for our first Fundamentals of Umpiring Module 2 session which is going to take place in Mullingar Hockey Club on Tuesday 5th October from 6.30pm – 9.00pm. This session has been planned as the largest number of participants we had who have completed the Fundamentals Q&A session are based in Westmeath and we wanted to provide them with the opportunity to take part in a course in a local area without potentially having to travel to Dublin/Ulster.

 

However we have a number of participants who are not able to attend this session and we would like to open it up to more umpires who might be interested.

 

We are keeping this course small to give the participants the best opportunity to learn as well as giving the mentors the opportunity to work out the most ideal format for the course so we would be grateful for your feedback as well.

 

The cost of the course is €25 and is bookable through our events page at this link https://hockey.ie/events/fundamentals-of-umpiring-module-2-practical-pilot-5th-october-2021/ . Please note spaces will be assigned first come first served as we are limited to a maximum of 4 spaces left on this course.

 

The aim of Fundamentals Module 2 is to ensure that the basic skills outlined in Module 1 can be put into practice, i.e. that participants know where to stand, know their areas of control, demonstrate appropriate signalling, and use their whistle correctly. Following completion of this Module participants should be comfortable with these basic umpiring tools and will be able to practice in un-appointed, league games. Specifically, it is envisaged that lower league games or u16 matches would be the target level of matches that people undertaking this Module should aim for.

 

There is no assessment associated with this module, instead participants will be provided with informal feedback on areas to improve on. Participants will chat with mentors on site who will suggest areas to work on around the topics of positioning, signalling, body language, whistle use, etc. Examples of necessary skills for this level:

  • Effective use of whistle including change in tone
  • Basic positioning
  • Makes decisions with appropriate signals
  • Starts to differentiate between basic stick clashes and fouls

 

Collectively, the Fundamental Modules replaced the previous National Umpire Award. Following completion of (i) the rules test, (ii) Module 1, and (iii) Module 2, participants will be able to register as ‘club umpires’ on the Hockey Ireland membership site. These three components represent the basics of the rules of hockey, the theory of umpiring and the practical components of umpiring respectively. To complete Fundamentals Module 2 participants must first have completed the Online Rules test and the online learning theoretical content of Module 1.

 

Once this pilot course is completed we intend on running more courses throughout the provinces across the season.

 

Upcoming Fundamentals of Umpiring Module 1 Q&A sessions

We are pleased to announce two upcoming Fundamentals of Umpiring Q&A sessions in the next few months.

  • Tuesday 2nd November (evening)
  • Thursday 2nd December (evening)

To take part in this online Q&A session you must have fully completed your Fundamentals of Umpiring Module 1 through our eLearning Hub https://hockeyirelandhub.ie/

To book onto either of these online Q&A session please email linda.monaghan@hockey.ie

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Pembroke and Pegasus on the march in women’s EYHL

Women’s EY Hockey Legaue – day three round-up
UCD 1 (M Carey) Pembroke 2 (A Naughton, O Macken)

Pembroke came back from a goal down in the final quarter to beat UCD and continue their excellent start to the season, leaving them in a share for the lead with Pegasus after three rounds.

It was a tie featuring numerous players who had lined out for the opposing side at different times in their recent past with Pembroke fielding five ex-UCD players while Emma Paul and Katie-Jane Marshall faced their youth club.

It was one of those alumni, Emily Beatty, whose steal almost unlocked the door with the first real chance before UCD had their big first half opportunity with Katherine Egan was impeded while shooting. From the following stroke, though, Egan did not catch her shot fully and Emma Buckley was able to save.

And so it remained scoreless into the third quarter after a couple of corners for each side as Ellen Curran controlled Pembroke’s midfield while Niamh Carey was on song for UCD.

The students went in front when Paul’s swept corner shot was deflected in artfully by Michelle Carey but Pembroke were back on terms in the final quarter. Aisling Naughton profited from a mistake in the UCD defence, reacting in a flash to make it 1-1.

Sally Campbell was denied by Ellie McLoughlin soon after and the winner arrived with seven minutes to go. Sinead Loughran won a corner which Orla Macken thumped home for a 2-1 lead and they held on despite plenty of late pressure.

Railway Union 1 (K Lloyd) Pegasus 2 (A Speers, E Quinn)
Emma Quinn’s 67th minute goal saw Pegasus make it two wins in four days and keep them in a share of the lead with seven points out of nine to date.

The Ulster side started the match at a high tempo in the first quarter and won a number of penalty corners that looked promising, one in particular denied well by Holly Jenkinson.

They went in front when a lifted reception in the circle from Alex Speers – against her old club – led to a goalmouth scramble, Speers eventually batting into the goal

Railway lifted their energy and tempo in the second quarter and a well-worked run and persistence from Niamh Shaw led to a ball across the goal with a textbook finish from Kate Lloyd on the backpost to make it 1-1.

The hosts looked the more threatening for much of the second half. With forward pressure, Railway turned over several Pegasus outlets leading to a number of corner opportunities and circle entries but to no ultimate avail.

Pegasus held their defence, absorbing Railway’s pressure for much of the second half and they eventually got the sucker punch when they took a quick free which led to a counter-attack and a corner. Shirley McCay pushed it at goal which offered up the chance for Quinn to get the decisive touch.

Old Alex 1 (M Power) Loreto 4 (R Fitzpatrick, S Torrans, S O’Brien, G Donald)
Loreto picked up their first win of the season with an outstanding performance as their young guns took inspiration from the return of Hannah Matthews. The Olympian was back in the side after an almost three-week Covid-enforced break but she played a strong role in midfield and they looked good value for the points.

The Beaufort side’s press worked well in the first half and it was from a loose ball around the back from Alex – for whom Lena Tice sat out due to a tight hamstring – with Rebecca Fitzpatrick nipping in to slide home on her backhand. It was her first EYHL goal having made her debut on Wednesday.

Their general play might well have deserved a second goal before half-time but Holly Micklem was outstanding between the posts. They had to wait until the second period for it to arrive, a true piece of beauty when it landed, Sarah Torrans’ driving run ending with a thumping strike from the head of the D.

Mikayla Power scored a wonder goal for Old Alex. Picture: Adrian Boehm

Alex responded well, moving the ball better and working more openings. They got one back with another pearl of a goal, 16-year-old Mikayla Power’s run ending with a delicious backhand flick over Lizzie Murphy.

That made it game on going into the final quarter but Loreto finished strong the direct running Siofra O’Brien smashing home from mid-circle after a beautiful Aoife Murray through ball for 3-1. Grace Donald then dove onto a corner move for a fourth to round out a good result.

Belfast Harlequins 3 (L Geddes, S Hunter, N Lyttle) Cork Harlequins 0
Belfast Harlequins got the better of their Cork namesakes at a sunny Deramore Park, a 3-0 win giving the hosts their first points of the season.

It was a well-deserved victory for the more experienced home team – albeit still without their internationals – while the Munster side paraded a youthful outfit and travelled north with only one substitute.

Nevertheless, Cork made life tough enough for their opponents in the latter stages of the first half after they got the long journey out of their system.

They conceded the opening goal in the first quarter when Lucy Geddes netted at the far post after good work by Jane Kilpatrick down the right.

After that setback, Cork came in to the game and had a couple of chances of their own, Ruby Walsh clearing the crossbar with a backhand effort and Aine Power being denied by Suzanne Taylor in the home goal.

Belfast went on to dominate proceedings after those scares though and, five minutes into the second half, great work by Jenna Watt set up a simple chance for Sophie Hunter who tapped home at the far post.

In the 50th minute, Natalie Lyttle converted from the penalty spot after Cork keeper Joy O’Kelly was left with little option but to take out the unmarked Hunter in the circle with a goal looking likely.

The hosts continued to dominate and Watt and Kilpatrick – who had another fine match at both ends of the pitch – went close to adding to their team’s tally.

Catholic Institute 2 (L Clery, N Carroll) Muckross 0
Catholic Institute picked up their first win of the season with an impressive 2-0 home success against Muckross, adding to their two earlier draws.

Leah Clery broke the deadlock two minutes before half-time before Naomi Carroll put them two clear four minutes into the second half.

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Glenanne move clear at top of men’s EY Hockey League

Men’s EY Hockey League – day three reports
Lisnagarvey 3 (B Nelson, A Edgar, C Chambers) Corinthian 1 (P Caruth)

Lisnagarvey recorded their second successive win to move up into the top four as they got the better of Corinthian 3-1 at Comber Road. After some early reds’ pressure, Garvey took control and took the lead despite a mistrapped corner with Ben Nelson making amends, beating Simon Thornton at the near post.

The lively Nelson was causing plenty of problems, winning corners and making a nuisance of himself, and they were soon ahead after a robust Andrew Sutton challenge led to a corner and a green card. In his absences, the corner was duly despatched into the bottom left by Andy Edgar.

Chad Futcher soon followed to the bin but, despite his absence, Corinthian went level with an excellent counter from a Garvey set-piece. The resulting chargedown was worked all the way up the pitch to Peter Caruth to finish expertly past James Milliken.

Play ebbed and flowed in the third quarter with no real chances until Troy Chambers combined with Harry Morris down the Garvey right. Morris cut through the defence, finding a great ball to Cole Chambers who just managed to force the ball over the line.

It proved the last of the scoring as Corinthian pushed Caruth further up the pitch in search of an equaliser. Troy Chambers’ fearsome run released Ben Nelson whose rising shot was still rising when it hit the fence behind the goal.

Despite Ryan Getty being shown a yellow, the youngest Nelson went agonisingly close to killing off the game but that cause was aided when Caruth took a yellow for the last four minutes and Garvey saw out the results comfortably.

Three Rock Rovers 2 (B Johnson, R Canning) Annadale 2 (T Cross, A McAllister)
Annadale ended Three Rock Rovers’ perfect start to the season but could have done even better had it not been for the heroics of Conor Quinn who produced a save of the season contender from Owen McElhinney to ensure a draw at Grange Road.

The first half led to an exchange of penalty corners with Tim Cross’s straight hit finding its way in before Ben Johnson equalised for Rovers with a more conventional drag-flick.

At the start of the second half, Three Rock were causing all manner of problems – despite the absence of Ali Haughton and Jody Hosking – with the always active Sam Hamill making numerous interventions, racing off his line to good effect.

Ross Canning did slap in for 2-1 after another couple of waves of attack but Dale were level before the end of the third quarter via Adam McAllister’s rasping strike.

From there, it was anyone’s game with chances aplenty with both times able to pick up overloads. Tom Robson saved a Johnson drag on the line while Hamill brilliantly palmed away from the same player.

Quinn then produced his magic, a crazy double-save before scrambling across goal to keep out McElhinney. A Rovers’ corner on the final whistle went incomplete and the spoils were shared.

Pembroke’s Alan Sothern takes on Shane O’Donoghue and Neil Byrne. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Pembroke Wanderers 2 (S Sullivan, J Dale) Glenanne 4 (S O’Donoghue 2, S Boucher, B Venter)
Glenanne continued their winning start to the season, going two points clear of the top following a 4-2 win at Pembroke. The greens were in clear control in the first half as Pembroke struggled to get up and running and they went in front in the 12th minute from a Shane O’Donoghue penalty corner, deflected off the first runner.

Mark Ingram denied him another soon after with a stunning stick save but it was 2-0 in the 23rd minute when Richard Couse’s cross was miscontrolled at the back post and Brad Venter reacting incredibly quickly to dive in and score.

Julian Dale was the spearhead for Pembroke and his hard running leading to their two main chances of the half. Into the second half, after Jason Rogan’s shot was repelled, Dale got Pembroke back into the game.

Alan Sothern won the ball on his own 23-metre line and played through the Cork man who was fully 45-metres out but raced through and placed the ball past the impressive David Lawless.

Dale’s touch to Scott Sullivan’s pass was brilliantly denied by Lawless soon after before Sullivan equalised in the 50th minute from a corner rebound, Dale taking the initial shot.

But parity last only a couple of minutes with O’Donoghue dragging in his second of the game and fifth of the season on the three quarter hooter. Gary Shaw was next to test Ingram and the game was put to bed when Neil Byrne’s cross from the left picked out Shannon Boucher and reversed home for 4-2.

Monkstown 3 (R Nichols 2, M Gibbons) UCD 0
Monkstown continued their productive start to the season with a strong 3-0 win over UCD at Rathdown. It took just a couple of minutes to break the deadlock, Jazze Henry’s smart reverse-stick cross guided in by Mark Gibbons after Jeremy Duncan turned over possession.

Duncan slipped another effort inches wide after a nice peel down the left channel and it was 2-0 before the end of the first quarter when Rory Nichols ripped in the first corner of the game.

UCD had the best of the second quarter, earning four penalty corners while Tim Cope also had a strong chance but Dave Fitzgerald stood up calmly to save whatever came his way.

But Town pulled further clear early in the second half with Nichols firing in another corner shot with a powerful flick. From there, UCD had their moments with Harry Lynch excelling once again at the back while stinging the palm of Fitzgerald. Town, meanwhile, had chances to extend the lead but found no further goals.

Banbridge 4 (J McKee 3, J Moffett) YMCA 2 (G Glutz, H McCarthy)
Banbridge eased to a first win of the season as Jonny McKee’s hat-trick underpinned their 4-2 success against YMCA at Havelock Park. The Irish striker started the scoring in the first quarter and got the next, too, before Josh Moffett stretched the lead to 3-0 at half-time. He completed his treble just before the end of the third quarter.

YM got two back in the last 10 minutes via Grant Glutz and Harry McCarthy bit it proved immaterial to the desination of the points.

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Town to stream UCD clash on day three of men’s EYHL

Monkstown’s upwardly mobile side will hope to show off their skills to a wider audience this afternoon as they live stream their men’s EY Hockey League contest with UCD on Saturday (2.15pm).

The Rathdown club have made a positive start to the campaign with Guy Sarratt in fiery form hat trick propelling them a 4-2 win over Pembroke a week after salvaging a draw late in the game against Banbridge.

Sarratt was a key figure for UCD in the past couple of seasons and will now meet a student side who are growing after a summer overhaul and have former Town players Josh Filgas, Sam Byrne and Matthew O’Brien Holohan looking to make an impact.

** You can view the Monkstown v UCD game live from 2.15pm here

At Havelock Park, Bann are up against YMCA in what promises to be a high quality affair between two sides intent on fast-paced hockey.

The Co Down side’s hopes of a result were stymied last week when key overlapping presence Philip Brown went off with a head injury against Rovers, also limiting their corner options.

YM, meanwhile, found the Glenanne corner machine too hot to handle, but their ability to stretch the game means this tie could have serious entertainment value. They also have the confidence of having raided this same venue a year ago to land three points.

Pembroke will hope the return of Alan Sothern to the line-up can see them get off the mark for the season. His razor-sharp shooting was a loss in their loss to Town a week ago but he is set to return to the fray while Mark Duggan is also back to add to their midfield options.

They will host Glenanne who are on a high with maximum points with Shane O’Donoghue netting three times in two appearances. Their corners were a feature against YMCA a week ago with Shannon Boucher providing a twin threat from the top of the D.

Corinthian head north for the second time this term to take on Lisnagarvey at Comber Road with Ian Stewart and Chad Futcher leading the line. Andrew Sutton brings a wealth of experience which they will need against a Garvey side packed with talent.

All told, Garvey’s Saturday squad features 12 players who are either capped at international level or currently in Mark Tumilty’s wider senior Irish panel. Following a frustrating 2-1 defeat to Glenanne, they raced away from Annadale in game two to run up a 5-1 success and get back on track.

** To view the men’s EYHL table, click here

At Grange Road, Annadale will look to show off how much they have improved since this time a year ago when they endured a harrowing 10-0 defeat at the hands of Three Rock Rovers.

It was a rough outing in which Dale were left without a recognised goalkeeper in the second half due to injury and the Rathfarnham club duly prospered. Since then, both sides have undergone an overhaul with Rovers perhaps even surprising themselves with two wins from two having seen seven players emigrate and then assimilating a high volume of newcomers.

Annadale, meanwhile, are also building on their cohesion after the arrivals of internationals Tim Cross, Michael and Callum Robson.

Men’s EYHL Division 1 (Saturday): Banbridge v YMCA, Havelock Park, 2.45pm; Lisnagarvey v Corinthian, Comber Road, 2.30pm; Monkstown v UCD, Rathdown, 2.15pm; Pembroke Wanderers v Glenanne, Serpentine Avenue, 4pm; Three Rock Rovers v Annadale, Grange Road, 3.45pm

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Five sides on four points after highly competitive women’s EYHL opening rounds

A measure of the competitiveness in the women’s EY Hockey League is, after just two rounds, there are no perfect records left intact following a couple of high quality midweek fixtures.

Railway Union’s was the last to fall despite an outstanding comeback against Loreto at Beaufort on Wednesday, netting twice in the last quarter to draw 2-2.

Spurred by a healthy crowd, Loreto’s young guns showed plenty of composure and accuracy to build that two-goal lead with Aoife Taaffe on the mark both times.

The first was a cool finish following a long ball up through the middle, controlling and finishing, while the second owed much more to power than subtlety, a blast from the left side of the D.

** to view the women’s EYHL table, click here

And that looked set to bring a big boon for Paul Fitzpatrick’s side who were without Olympians Nicci Daly and Hannah Matthews, Ali Meeke, Mia Jennings and Hayley Mulcahy.

But Railway were always well in the contest and eventually made their penalty corner count tell. Orla Fox’s direct strike got one back and, with just a few minutes left, Kate Lloyd levelled from a corner rebound.

“I thought it was a really good game,” was Loreto coach Paul Fitzpatrick’s reflections afterwards. “Disappointed to have given it away in the end but, given the number of players missing and the experience of the team, absolutely delighted.

“We were down seven players for tonight but showed real character and it is a great opportunity for players to step up to do well in games like this.”

Her Railway counterpart Una McCarthy, meanwhile, added: “Full team effort, full resilience. We are disappointed not to have the win but relieved to have the point with that comeback.”

She said the experience around the squad of Kate Dillon and Emma Smyth – missing this one with a broken toe – has been a key factor in giving their young guns an extra belief to fightback. Both have been in and out of the panel for the past few years.

“Having both of them back after starting young families, to have them on the pitch and guiding our youngsters is great. It’s a great family club and team, going from 17-year-olds up to 35-year-olds. It’s a pleasure to work with them.

“They come off and suggest things to me and my assistant Gareth [Myburgh]. It all makes sense and that’s what they can bring to the game. They have both calmed down from the mad young ones that they were; they used to be much more volatile but they have become rocks of sense… most of the time!

“With Sarah Hawkshaw in there, between them, we have that brainpower on the pitch which keeps things under control. I am not sure whether the young ones would have had that resilience before but there was that know-how to do it.”

Up next for Railway is a home date against Pegasus who were 2-1 winners against Belfast Harlequins in midweek. Quins had taken the lead via Kathryn Smiley’s well-placed shot but rising star Ella Armstrong levelled before the end of the first quarter.

And the winner came in the 42nd minute with Taite Doherty finishing off some strong work down the left by Niamh McIvor to nab the lead.

It means both sides are on four points for the Saturday meeting at Park Avenue with the hosts set to miss Lisa McCarthy with an Achilles injury.

Elsewhere on Saturday, there are plenty of other mouth-watering ties. Old Alex – another on four points – host Loreto who are set to have a couple of players back in their line-up.

Catholic Institute and Muckross will be aiming to land a first point of the season at Rosbrien as will Belfast Harlequins against their Cork counterparts at Deramore Park.

Another couple of unbeaten records will also be put to the test at Belfield with UCD hosting Pembroke at 2.50pm.

Women’s EYHL Division 1 (all Saturday): Belfast Harlequins v Cork Harlequins, Deramore Park, 2.30pm; Catholic Institute v Muckross, Rosbrien, 1pm; Old Alexandra v Loreto, Alexandra College, 1.30pm; Railway Union v Pegasus, Park Avenue, 3pm; UCD v Pembroke Wanderers, Belfield, 2.50pm

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Junior Green Army accept invitation to FIH World Cup in December

Hockey Ireland is delighted to accept an invitation to the Women’s FIH Junior World Cup which takes places in Potchefstroom, South Africa from December 5th to 16th 2021.

It means the Junior Green Army will feature in the women’s competition for the first time and Irish Under-21 head coach Dave Passmore says it offers a huge opportunity for this current crop of players.

“We are delighted to take up this place at December’s Junior World Cup,” Passmore said. “Taking part in a global competition of this stature is massive for Ireland and will offer an amazing environment for our young athletes to grow and develop.

“Over the past few years, we have seen the importance of nurturing this age group for the senior team with several players already advancing from the Junior Green Army to play in the Olympic Games.”

Ireland initially finished just outside the qualification places at the 2019 EuroHockey Junior Championships in Valencia, ending seventh when six European spots were on offer.

However, the withdrawal of Australia and New Zealand opened up two spaces at the competition with Hockey Ireland successfully able to make its case for inclusion in their stead.

“When the opportunity arose for us to take part, we contacted the FIH to make sure we were in line for consideration,” said Hockey Ireland High Performance Director Adam Grainger.

“We see the Junior World Cup as a vital tournament and getting six games in such a setting, against high quality opposition, is exactly what we need as we pursue becoming a fixture among the world’s elite nations.”

While the tournament is under three months away, Ireland do have an extensive training base to work from.

In preparation for the tournament, coach Passmore has named a 25-player panel with the final squad anticipated to be named in late October.

Most of this Under-21 squad are currently working with Sean Dancer’s senior international team on Mondays and Tuesdays who are in preparation mode for their own World Cup qualifiers in October.

During the summer, the Junior Green Army followed an extensive high performance programme, featuring series wins over the Wales senior squad and a GB elite development programme outfit.

They were also highly competitive at a Six Nations tournament in Spain and it gives Passmore confidence they can impress in South Africa in December.

“This summer, the Junior Green Army has worked exceptionally hard in an extensive schedule of fixtures. We feel this puts us in a good position to make an impact at the World Cup and we cannot wait to see what we can do on this stage.”

Group and fixture details will be confirmed in due course.

Ireland Under-21 panel for Junior World Cup; Potchefstroom, South Africa, December 5-16 (Club / College)

Gemma Ferguson (GK, Ulster Elks / UUJ)

Ellie McLoughlin (GK, UCD / UCD)

Holly Micklem (GK, Old Alex / UCD)

Charlotte Beggs (Ulster Elks / UUJ)

Nadia Benallal (Beeston, England / Nottingham Trent)

Caoimhe Byrne (UCD / UCD)

Sophia Cole (UCD / UCD)

Amy Elliott (UCD / UCD)

Christina Hamill (Loreto / TU Dublin)

Anna Horan (Catholic Institute / Mary Immaculate College)

Hannah Kelly (Trinity)

Katie Jane Marshall (UCD / UCD)

Sarah McAuley (UCD / UCD)

Niamh McIvor (Pegasus / Queens)

Lisa Mulcahy (Loreto / UCD)

Siofra Murdoch (Harvard University, USA)

Aisling Murray (Loreto / Trinity College)

Laura Noble (Trinity / Trinity College)

Siofra O’Brien (Loreto / TU Dublin)

Emma Paul (UCD / UCD)

Caoimhe Perdue (Capt, UCC / UCC)

Yasmin Pratt (Loreto / IT Carlow)

Ellen Reid (Loughborough Students / Loughborough University)

Muireann Scanlon (Catholic Institute / UCC)

Caitlin Sherin (Capt, Loreto  / DCU)

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Covid-19 update – September 20, 2021

Hockey Ireland – Covid-19 Guidelines Update

20th September 2021 

The Irish government have issued updates to the Covid-19 guidelines for Returning to Sport.

Sport Ireland have issued further guidelines as of the 16th of September 2021. This includes guidance around the use of changing rooms and travelling to and from matches. These are summarised below.

Please note that these guidelines apply to clubs based in the Republic of Ireland (ROI) only. Teams travelling across the ROI/Northern Ireland (NI) border in both directions (for EY Hockey League or National Cup Competitions), should familiarise themselves with the Covid-19 protocols and guidance for the area.

Guidelines for Ulster clubs can be found here: COVID Guidance Sept 2021 – Ulster Hockey

Spectator Capacities:

From 06th September 2021:

  • Outdoor venues will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity. Social distancing should be maintained at all times. This assumes that host venues will not seek proof of vaccination from patrons.
  • Spectators will not be allowed for indoor venues.

Please note: Clubs may increase spectator capacity to 75% with appropriate protective measures if checks of proof of immunity are conducted prior to entry. Hockey Ireland recognises the logistical challenges around processing Covid passports on match days for clubs and would therefore recommend proceeding on the basis of a 50% attendance.

Training and Playing Restrictions: 

From 20th September 2021:

Outdoors:

  • For outdoor training, the current system of training in pods of 15 will be removed and training will be allowed to proceed as normal.
  • Outdoor matches may proceed as normal with Covid-19 restrictions in place. A record of players, team management and match officials involved should be kept (both for pre-season and competitive inter-club matches).

Indoors:

  • For indoor training, pods of up to 6 will be permitted (not including a coach). Multiple pods will be allowed to train in a single indoor venue subject to substantial social distancing between each pod.

General (current guidelines):

  • Covid Compliance Officers (CCO) must be present for all match activity.
  • For underage (U18 down) training, a CCO must be present at all training sessions.
  • For senior training only, a CCO is no longer required to oversee training sessions. Training attendance must still be logged and recorded for tracking purposes in the event of a positive Covid-19 case.
  • Indoor changing rooms may be used subject to guidance below.
  • Substitutes and team management officials should remain socially distant when not on the playing field.
  • Ball patrol may be used provided appropriate hand sanitising procedures are in place for ball patrol personnel.

Use of Changing Facilities and Showers:

 Showers & Changing Rooms can begin to reopen with protective measures in place. Recommended measures include:

  • Ensure only necessary participants have access to changing rooms.
  • Limit the overall number and duration of individuals in a changing room depending on the space available. Continue to implement adequate social distancing measures in changing areas. For example, a maximum of 6 in a dressing room at a time for a maximum duration of 15 minutes.
  • Masks should be worn in shared areas (showers an exception).
  • Provide clear signage highlighting any relevant space capacities and time durations.
  • Close off any unnecessary spaces or those not in use/not permitted.
  • Monitor toilets with agreed capacity numbers and limit to participants only.
  • Implement flow management systems where necessary.
  • To improve ventilation, consider an open window/open door policy (subject to privacy).
  • Provide sanitisation stations as appropriate on entrances and in shared areas.
  • Continue to promote hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette through signage, posters etc.
  • Ensure deep cleaning of shared areas on a regular basis.

Travelling to/from Matches: 

Hockey clubs organising transport to/from events should implement private Coach Tour capacities (currently at 75%). Protective measures such as physical distancing, mask wearing etc. should also be implemented.

For carpooling, hockey clubs should be aware of the higher risks involved with transport carrying those not yet vaccinated or of mixed immunity. The use of appropriate face coverings is recommended. If carpooling, Hockey Ireland recommend the use of a pod system in which the same participants pool together for all activities.

Indoor Training Guidance 

The Sport Ireland Return to Sport Expert Group have issued detailed guidelines for the return of indoor training. These guidelines remain in place.

Please note: The following guidelines apply to Republic of Ireland only. For Northern Ireland, please find further details here: Return To Sport | Sport NI

 The following applies for indoor activity:

  • From September 20th, organised indoor sport can take place with capacity limits of 100 people (with appropriate protective measures) where all patrons are immune (fully vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 within previous 6 months).
  • Where individuals have mixed immunity status, pods of up to 6 participants will be permitted (excluding adult coaches/instructors).
  • Multiple pods will be permissible subject to protective measures such as appropriate distancing between pods. HI recommend a minimum of a 5-metre exclusion zone between pods.
  • Number of pods will have regard to the size of venue and substantial social distance between individual pods.

Administration:

  • Staggered start and finish times combined with appropriate entry, exit and traffic management protocols to limit the interaction of participants at any one time.
  • Prebooking of activity is essential. This includes the health screening of all participants (including coaches & support personnel). All personnel on-site should be recorded.
  • Reduction in the overall duration of the activity.
  • Participants arrive ready to train and leave immediately (no changing room or shower use).
  • Additional signage, hand sanitisation stations and deep cleaning implemented.
  • No equipment sharing in any circumstances.
  • Activity should take place in a predefined area which is visually marked out and directionally signed.
  • The space required in this area should reflect the nature and intensity of the activity.
  • There should be in excess of 5m social distancing between each of the predefined areas.
  • The Cleaning & Ventilation of facilities should be conducted in accordance with the Government’s most recent Work Safely Protocol.
  • The training must be supervised by a branch-registered Club Covid-19 Compliance Officer.

Coaching Guidelines:

  • Any demonstration of equipment or technique should ensure that a minimum of 2m social distancing is maintained.
  • Individual equipment should not be shared.
  • In the case of fixed equipment, cleaning of such equipment must be completed immediately after demonstration and before the individual participant uses it.
  • There should be no hands-on adjustments or physical contact during training sessions.
  • Coaches and trainers are asked to refer to the HSE guidance on wearing of face coverings, which is available here: When to wear a face covering – HSE.ie

Clubs undertaking indoor activity must:

  • Implement thorough and regular cleaning of frequently touched surfaces. If disinfection of an area is required, it must be performed in addition to cleaning, never as a substitute for cleaning.
  • Ensure contact/touch surfaces such as table tops, door handles, and handrails are visibly clean at all times. Additionally, sports equipment should be cleaned before and after use.
  • Provide coaches/ participants with essential cleaning materials to keep their own areas clean (for example wipes/disinfection products, paper towels and waste bins/bags).
  • Records should be maintained for all cleaning.

Additional Guidance for Hockey Clubs:

Hockey clubs should seek to maintain overarching structures and basic protective measures throughout the winter season. This includes the use of COVID Compliance Officers (CCOs) for matches and the ongoing promotion of good respiratory & hand hygiene along with the wearing of face coverings in relevant settings and considering indoor space densities and duration of indoor activities.