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Annadale end long wait for victory in men’s EYHL

Men’s EY Hockey League – day six round-up
UCD 0 Annadale 4 (D Tremlett 2, O McElhinney, M Robson)

Annadale landed their first men’s EY Hockey League victory in over three years as David Tremlett’s double put them on course for a big 4-0 victory over UCD.

Dale had been tough to beat thus far this season with four draws from five outings but an elusive victory had proven just out of reach in the Covid-effected 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons.

But this success puts them in the highest they have been since the introduction of the season-long all-Ireland competition, six points clear of the relegation places in seventh place.

Tremlett’s double in the 16th and 20th minutes laid the perfect base for the victory; the first came when Adam McAllister’s impudent flick from the baseline looped high off goalkeeper Matthew Hoolohan O’Brien and Tremlett was there to bat it in. He then finished off from James Clark’s run around the right baseline after a corner move was only partially cleared.

They had the ball in the net a third time when Chris Morrow’s crash ball in from just outside the circle was deflected in by a defensive stick; after a check to clarify if the ball was inside or outside the D, it did not stand.

UCD’s best chances saw Peter Lynch shut down by Sam Hamill who also dealt with a Harry Lynch drag in the third quarter. But the game was put out of sight when Michael Robson exchanged a lovely one-two and then shot into the backboard on his reverse for 3-0.

And Owen McElhinney closed out the scoring with a low corner push with 15 minutes to go.

UCD’s Sam Walker lays off a pass. Pic: Adrian Boehm

YMCA 0 Lisnagarvey 3 (M Nelson, O Kidd, B Nelson)
Lisnagarvey made it four wins in succession as Matthew Nelson and Ollie Kidd had Garvey 2-0 up before the end of the first quarter and the game was settled in the closing quarter by Ben Nelson. James Milliken ensured a clean sheet with a late penalty stroke save from Ben Campbell.

After an initial exchange of corners, Garvey went in front from their second set piece when Jakim Bernsden saved a corner but Ben Nelson retrieved the ball and squared for his brother Matthew to tap in.

And it was 2-0 in the 15th minute, an interception from a YM free-out being returned with interest with Daniel Nelson slipping the ball to Kidd to crack home on his backhand.

Garvey had a number of big chances to extend their lead the Y did almost finish the half on a high when Adam Walker saw his corner flick saved off the line. The Ulster side moved further out of reach when Matthew Nelson’s upright reverse-stick shot went high to the back post where Ben Nelson finished off for 3-0.

YM fought hard to get something out of the tie and Fionn Marriott earned the stroke but Milliken proved equal to Campbell’s low effort, getting down low to keep it out.

Corinthian 3 (C Futcher 2, M Neill) Banbridge 4 (C Rowe 2, P Brown, A Tinney)
Banbridge just about held on for their second win of the season in a remarkable contest in which Bann led 4-0 at half-time only to come under serious threat in the second half.

Philip Brown opened the scoring which was followed up quickly by a brace from Charlie Rowe – three goals in a seven-minute spell – and Alexander Tinney then added what proved to be a vital fourth goal before the big break.

Annadale’s Owen McElhinney celebrates his goal. Pic: Adrian Boehm

The second half was all the reds as Max Neill got them on the scoreboard before Chad Futcher fired home his fifth and sixth goals in the league this season from corners. But Bann held on for the win which lifts them up to fifth place in the table.

Monkstown 1 (G Sarratt) Glenanne 0
Guy Sarratt’s penalty corner piledriver 11 minutes from time saw Monkstown end Glenanne’s perfect start to the men’s EY Hockey League season. It was the only goal of a tightly-fought contest that has seen the Glens come back into range of the likes of Three Rock Rovers and Lisnagarvey while Town strengthened their place in the top four.

Three Rock Rovers 6 (M Samuel 2, E Jennings 2, B Johnson, A Keane) Pembroke 2 (A Sothern, G Chambers)
Three Rock Rovers eased to a comfortable 6-2 win over an understrength Pembroke who were without half a dozen players for the contest at Grange Road.

Rovers were 2-0 up in the first quarter as Ben Johnson’s third minute drag-flick was followed up by Mark Samuel popping home at the right post after a wave of attacks. Pembroke got one back when Julian Dale’s glorious long pass found Greg Chambers on the left wing and he put it on a plate for Alan Sothern to slide onto.

But Three Rock went out of sight when Mark Duggan saw yellow and in his absence, Samuel again overlapping on the right to intercept and thump home from the top of the circle before Evan Jennings scrambled in the next. Jennings then got a wonderful deflection from a pc move to make it 5-1 at half-time

The pace slowed in the second half but Johnson was denied another by the crossbar with another drag before Andy Keane got the Rovers’ sixth, a corner deflection from Jody Hosking’s slap.

Johnson was also required at the far end to deny a Sothern effort off the line. Chambers got one back in the fourth quarter from the second phase of a corner. Rovers were awarded a stroke soon after when Ali Empey’s shot hit a body on the line but it was subsequently ruled out for an earlier infringement.

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Railway land big win over UCD as Pegasus continue to fly high

** Zara Delany celebrates her second goal for Railway Union against UCD. Picture: Adrian Boehm

Women’s EY Hockey League – day six round-up
Belfast Harlequins 0 Pembroke 1 (C Foley)

Claire Foley’s first-half goal sealed Pembroke a narrow win over Belfast Harlequins at sun splashed Deramore Park.

It was a game of precious few chances and only one penalty corner which the hosts failed to convert late on. Pembroke got what turned out to be the crucial goal from the first opportunity of the game on 33 minutes.

Sinead Loughran picked up a loose ball 25 yards out and found Aisling Naughton who had two shots saved by Susie Taylor in the Quins goal. The second rebound fell to Foley who volleyed high in to the net from close range. Pembroke had the better of the chances after the long break with Taylor denying Naughton and Sally Campbell.

Quins will have been disappointed at their failure to create any genuine chances from open play in the entire 70 minutes.

Jenna Watt sees a shot saved by Emma Buckley. Picture: Billy Pollock

They were awarded the game’s only penalty corner in the 63rd minute and Jenna Watt had two efforts saved by Emma Buckley at the far post for their only shots on target.

The result means Harlequins slumped to a third successive defeat while Pembroke stay in title contention with the win they just about deserved on the balance of play.

Old Alex 5 (N Evans 3, L Tice, M O’Donnell) Cork Harlequins 2 (R Walsh, L O’Shea)
Old Alex remain with a point of leaders Pegasus as five first half goals saw them get the better of Cork Harlequins in Milltown. Lena Tice gave them an early lead from a corner to the left corner before Nikki Evans got the first of her hat trick when she dived onto the end of Sarah Robinson’s run and cross from the right corner.

The third goal was the pick of the bunch as Abbie Russell broke out of defence, picked out Deirdre Duke overlapping on the right. Her cross again found Evans sliding to get the touch in.

Ruby Walsh got one back for Quins from their first corner when she reacted quickest after Michelle Barry’s shot hit the first runner’s foot, picking out a nice angle to find the bottom corner.

But another Duke cross found Evans and Orna Bools in the middle with both going for the touch in, the former getting the credit for the final touch. Millie O’Donnell swept in another corner for 5-1 at half-time after Tice had hit the post.

The second half was a more even affair with Harlequins getting the only goal when they turned over the ball deep in the Alex circle and Leah O’Shea thumped home her shot.

Pegasus 3 (L McKee, N McIvor, A Speers) Muckross 1 (L Hanlon)
Pegasus maintained their place at the top of the women’s EYHL with a 3-1 win over Muckross at Queen’s. It was built on a super first 10 minutes with Lucy McKee breaking the deadlock with her fourth goal of the season and Niamh McIvor got the next soon after.

Muckross, though, reduced the deficit to 2-1 from a well-worked penalty corner move, switched left and then back to the injector Laura Hanlon.

Muckross on the attack against Pegasus. Picture: Billy Pollock

But Alex Speers made the game safe in the 44th minute when Taite Doherty produced a piece of magic, weaving in from the left sideline through a couple of tackles before delivering a backhand cross which the former Irish captain guided home.

The hosts held sway for much of the second half and Aoife Glennon did save a Pegasus penalty stroke while Muckross also had their chances on the counter but they remain on one point.

UCD 1 (S Thomas) Railway Union 2 (Z Delany)
Zara Delany’s double gave Railway Union their third win of the campaign and kept them connected with the leading sides in the women’s EYHL. UCD were the first side to go close when both of the Carey twins went close with Railway scrambling away the chance.

Railway, meanwhile, almost turned a UCD corner into the opening goal via an outstanding counter, created by Orla Patton’s 60-metre pass. The opening goal came when Emma Smyth’s driving run was followed by a slip pass to Kate Dillon who squared for Delany to finish off.

Her second came in the second half from a corner move, guided back to the injector’s area where Delany had time to control and flick high in off the underside of the crossbar.

UCD got one back with plenty of time remaining in the fourth quarter when Sophie Thomas controlled a looping high ball and cracked home. And the students threw everything into the closing phases with Michelle Carey’s high shot blocked by Riona Norton, Katherine Egan’s ball flashing across the face of goal and Sophia Cole’s last minute shot went over the bar.

Catholic Institute 1 (N Carroll) Loreto 0
Naomi Carroll’s single goal in the 48th minute gave Catholic Institute an important win to lift the Limerick side back into the top four in the table while Loreto drop a place to seventh.

The sole goal was a work of art, the ball being worked from right back around the back to left midfield and then back inside where Carroll spun into space and unleashed a fierce shot.

In the first quarter, Loreto had the best chance, drawing a cracking save from Pam Smithwick in the closing action. Carroll drew a high glove save from Lizzie Murphy in the second period while the Limerick side had a wealth of corner chances which they could not convert in the third quarter.

Smithwick got down low to tip away a Hannah Matthews corner shot just before the only goal.

Loreto had big chances to get level with a cross just going out of reach of Yasmin Pratt from the left wing while there was a big debate when Matthews smashed in a shot. The effort, though, was disallowed with the shot deemed to have been outside the circle.

The Dublin side had a couple of corner chances denied while Insta had two big chances to make the result more comfortable but Murphy was outstanding both times.

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EY Hockey League returns to action after two week break

** UCD’s Niamh Carey and Railway Union’s Holly Jenkinson. Pic: Adrian Boehm

** Please note this article was amended/corrected at Saturday, 9.55am since originally posted on Friday evening

After the highs and lows of last weekend’s World Cup qualifiers, many of Ireland’s internationals have to quickly refocus on EY Hockey League domestic matters with team mates becoming rivals with just a few days turnaround.

In Sandymount, it is particularly pointed as UCD’s Carey twins Michelle and Niamh come up against their former club, Railway Union, who just happened to be coached by their mother, Una McCarthy.

Along with Sarah McAuley, they will face flying midfielder Sarah Hawkshaw though the students may be without league top scorer Hannah McLoughlin who missed the qualifier final due to injury.

Similarly at Rosbrien, Catholic Institute welcome back Róisín Upton and Naomi Carroll back into the fold for their contest against Loreto for whom Sarah Torrans leads the line.

For Loreto, their panel has strengthened with Sarah Evans coming back into the fold.

At Deramore Park, Irish newcomer Jane Kilpatrick -in Belfast Harlequins’ colours – will look to stem the forward runs of Ellen Curran for Pembroke.

All told, the league is at a fascinating stage with just three points covering first to seventh place and many permutations possible for another shake-up.

Insta and Loreto are both three points off top and keen not to lose touch with leaders Pegasus who face currently winless Muckross.

Old Alex are a point off first and will be clear favourites against visiting Cork Harlequins but the nature of the competition to date is it is anyone’s guess how things will pan out.

In the men’s competition, UCD and Annadale are both eyeing their first win of the league campaign in round six. Kevin O’Dea was on target twice for the students when they beat Trinity in the Mills Cup in midweek – setting up a tie with Three Rock Rovers – 4-3 to build the confidence.

For eighth placed Dale, they have proved very hard to beat in the league with four draws but they will be targeting some three-pointers to move them away from the bottom end of the table.

YMCA’s contest against Lisnagarvey offers plenty of intrigue with the Y boosted by a 7-1 win over Rathgar and the return to action of Grant Glutz with captain Sam Hyland also in the mix.

Garvey were without James Corry and Jonny Bell for their visit to Pembroke two weeks ago with Mark McNellis taking over the captaincy. They are on a three game winning streak with their refixed game against Three Rock Rover set to take place next week.

Corinthian’s Peter Caruth in action against Banbridge’s Sam Farson in 2019. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Glenanne have stolen a march on the rest of the table with five successive wins but face a tricky away date against Monkstown with player-coach Shane O’Donoghue the league’s outstanding marksman with nine goals already this season as the St Andrew’s side have stormed to five wins in succession.

For Town, they have missed the experience of goalkeeper Dave Fitzgerald of late through injury; they welcome back Jeremy Duncan and Lee Cole from international duty.

Fifth place Corinthian are up against Banbridge. The reds have enjoyed a productive season to date, picking up seven points to sit in fifth place while a 4-0 success against Monkstown in their regional cup gave them another boost.

Nicholas White is their latest arrival from South Africa to join Chad Futcher – scorer of four goals – and Ross Willis in the line-up.

They sit a couple of points and places above Bann who will look to the experience of Eugene and Owen Magee, Bruce McCandless and Philip Brown but Peter Brown is not named on the squad list for this one.

Three Rock got the best of Pembroke 5-2 in the Leinster Cup during the EYHL break and they face a rematch with the Dublin 4 side having goalkeeper Mark Ingram back available for the tie. For Rovers, Ali Haughton remains on the sidelines while work has seen Fred Morris return to the Netherlands.

There are also 14 Irish Junior Cup games on the agenda with six men’s and eight women’s games to be decided on Saturday.

Saturday 30th October 2021
Men
EYHL Division 1:
Corinthian v Banbridge, Whitechurch Park, 4.30pm; Monkstown v Glenanne, Rathdown, 2.15pm; Three Rock Rovers v Pembroke, Grange Road, 1pm; UCD v Annadale, Belfield, 3pm; YMCA v Lisnagarvey, Wesley College, 3.50pm

Irish Junior Cup – Round 1: Corinthian 2 v Cork C of I B, St. Columba’s, 2.30pm; Cork Harlequins B v Instonians 2, Farmers’ Cross; North Down 2 v Avoca 2, Comber LC, 4pm; Railway Union 2 v South Antrim 2, Park Avenue, 3.30pm; Three Rock Rovers 2 v YMCA 2, Grange Road, 3pm; UCD 2 v Bangor 2, Belfield, 4.20pm
Called off: Cookstown 2 walkover Rathgar 2 scratch; Kilkeel 2 walkover Bandon B scratch

Women
EYHL Division 1:
Belfast Harlequins v Pembroke Wanderers, Deramore Park, 2.30pm; Catholic Institute v Loreto, Rosbrien, 1pm; Old Alex v Cork Harlequins, Alexandra College, 1.30pm; Pegasus v Muckross, Queens University. 2.30pm; UCD v Railway Union, Belfield, 1pm

Irish Junior Cup – Round 1: Avoca 2 v Cork C of I 2, Newpark, 2.30pm; Corinthians 2 v Lisnagarvey 2, St. Columba’s, 12.30pm; Monkstown 2 v Genesis 2, Rathdown, 12pm; Ulster Elks 2 v Catholic Institute 2, Uni. Of Ulster Jordanstown, 2.30pm; UCC 2 v Ashton 2, The Mardyke; UCD 2 v Old Alexandra 2, Belfield, 11.15am

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Hockey Ireland – Covid-19 Guidelines Update 28th October 2021 

The Irish government and Sport Ireland have issued a further update to the Covid-19 guidelines for sport in the Republic of Ireland from 22nd October 2021.

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

According to Sport Ireland, it is likely that the current set of guidelines will remain in place until at least February 2022.

The main points of the update are below:

Spectator Capacities:

  • For outdoor venues, capacity limits in relation to Covid-19 have been removed and there is no longer a requirement to check for Covid-19 vaccination certifications.
  • For indoor venues, spectators must have Covid-19 vaccination certifications, and these should be checked by the hosting body prior to entry. Indoor spectators should be seated.

Indoor Training Guidance:

  • Where indoor training groups are of mixed immunity, pods of 6 are allowed (excluding a coach/trainer). Individual pods should be well spaced apart from others.
  • Where indoor training groups are fully vaccinated for Covid-19, no fixed capacity limits apply.

Apart from the above, all guidance from our previous Covid-19 update from 22nd September 2021 is applicable
 

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Deadline for Hockey Ireland membership payment extended to November 30

The deadline for payment to the new Hockey Ireland membership system has been extended to November 30th, 2021.

The decision has been taken to give more leeway for members, clubs and Hockey Ireland to accurately complete the administration of the new system. We would like to thank everyone who has completed their registration to date.

Those currently registered on the Go Membership system but have not yet completed payment for their membership will continue to be insured until November 30th.

The new Hockey Ireland membership system was first proposed in 2018 and came into effect in May 2021 as a method to provide a better service to the hockey public.

The new system guarantees members a known level of personal injury insurance at all times via a cost-effective, collective policy.

It will also give Hockey Ireland more information to provide a better service to its members to manage the sport via more accurate reporting of membership numbers.

You can read more about it on the Hockey Ireland website here: https://hockey.ie/contact-us/membership/

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Record scorer O’Donoghue becomes eighth Irish man to reach 200 cap mark

** Picture by Irfon Bennett/EHF

Ireland’s record goalscorer Shane O’Donoghue became the eighth Irish men’s international to reach the 200 cap mark last Sunday when he led the side out against Austria in the third place playoff at the World Cup qualifier tournament in Cardiff.

Since making his debut in 2011, the Glenanne man has racked up an incredible 115 international goals, become a European bronze medalist in 2015, a 2016 Olympian in Rio and played in the 2018 World Cup in India, scoring on each stage. Not to mention a number of individual accolades on along the way as well as playing professional overseas.

While the tie against Austria was not quite how he would have hoped to celebrate the occasion, missing out on a 2023 World Cup spot a day earlier in a shoot-out against Wales, O’Donoghue said he was immensely proud of this milestone and to wear the captain’s armband for the occasion was special but the greater prize of a world cup ticket was the sole focus.

“To lead the team out was a huge honour and a privilege,” he said. “From a milestone point of view, I was very proud to have the parents over there and would have loved to have the girlfriend and close friends over as well. Not the stage I was hoping for but when is life straightforward!”

Such milestones offer a time for reflection and the midfielder says the many highlights are as much a product of the behind-the-scenes work, dedication and support as the marquee moments in themselves.

“There is a lot of pride in the work that’s been put in and the great thing is you you’re doing it with a highly dedicated squad of 30 or 40 guys, staff members, coaches, managers, S&C, nutritionists, physios, the list goes on.

“We’re all sharing that same dream of putting the Irish men’s hockey team on the map of international hockey and to put it into the eyes of people here in Ireland to see how exciting the sport is and the potential that exists.

“When you look back in moments like this, you reflect on the different milestones and memories, it does make you think about all the hard graft that went into the training sessions, those sessions when you weren’t really in the mood but you grafted and ground out those tough sessions, those fitness tests, those 6am gym sessions, where it’s very easy to not turn up and put the work in.

“It’s really those moments where maybe you questioned why you do what you do but in reality, there was always something pushing you on!

“So when those big wins did come around, they are extra special; the 2015 bronze medal win in London was really spectacular. And then going to the Olympic Games, which is the pinnacle of our sport, something that we came agonisingly close to four years prior to that.

“The World Cup, although it didn’t pan out the way we hoped, was a first for this team; It is really those major tournaments when you’re mixing it with the best of the best, that you realise how far we’ve come. In 2017, we were winning a lot of games, we were playing some good hockey and competing against some of world hockey’s beat outfits. We discovered our style that suited us and we were riding that wave really high during those few years.

“You think of those glory days, it’s those memories you create with those groups players and staff that are all buying into the same common cause and everybody is sacrificing different things in different ways and investing a lot of time, energy and passion.

“Ultimately, we’re all there for the same reason. And we’re motivated to achieve the same goal. It’s really the journey that you look back on and say, wow, there was a lot of grafting, sacrifices made to achieve those and not to forget the setbacks that built character”

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UU and TU Dublin win third level titles

** Ulster University celebrate their Mauritius Cup title. Picture: Max Fulham (click here for more pics)

Ulster University’s women and TU Dublin’s men won the Chilean and Mauritius Cups last weekend at Santry Avenue.

For UU on Saturday, it was their fifth win in the competition and they are the only side to punctuate UCD’s run of 10 titles dating back to 2008.

The Belfielders were not involved this time around and, in their absence, UU produced a perfect sequence of results, beating TU Dublin 1-0, DCU 3-0 and Trinity 5-0 in the group stages.

TU Dublin joined them in the final but the Ulster side repeated the group stage feat with Ellen McCarlie scoring the only goal in another 1-0 success.

In the men’s Mauritius Cup, TU Dublin became the seventh name to appear on the trophy since its inception in 1951.

They swept through the group stages with a 4-0 success against DCU, 4-1 against Trinity and 8-0 against DCU to top the table. In the final, they proved too hot to handle for Trinity in their rematch with Ryan Spencer and Evan Jennings both scoring twice in a 7-1 win with Harry McCarthy, Adam Walker and Sam Staunton scoring the others.

Chilean Cup final: Ulster University 1 (Ellen McCarlie) TU Dublin 0

Group matches: TCD 2 DCU 0; UU 1 TUD 0; TUD 2 TCD 1; UU 3 DCU 0; DCU 0 TUD 3; UU 5 TCD 0
Final group: 1. Ulster University 9pts (+9) 2. TU Dublin 6pts (+3) 3. Trinity 3pts (-4) 4. DCU 0pts (-8)

Mauritius Cup final: TU Dublin 7 (Ryan Spencer 2, Evan Jennings 2, Harry McCarthy, Adam Walker, Sam Staunton) Trinity 1 (Elliot Lyons)

Group matches: TCD 4 DCU 1; UU 0 TUD 4; TUD 4 TCD 1; UU 4 DCU 1; DCU 0 TUD 8; UU 2 TCD 6
Final group standings: 1. TU Dublin 9pts (+15) 2. Trinity 6pts (+4) 3. Ulster University 3pts (-5) 4. DCU 0pts (-14)

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O’Flanagan double sees Ireland secure return to World Cup stage

Women’s FIH World Cup qualifiers
Ireland 2 (A O’Flanagan 2) Wales 1 (I Howell)

Anna O’Flanagan’s poacher’s double propelled the Irish women to a second successive World Cup appearance, crucially firing home the winner with 11 minutes to go against Wales in Pisa.

It saw Ireland grind out the win – and the place at the 2022 showpiece – against a physically robust Welsh outfit who were this tournament’s surprise package and made life exceptionally difficult throughout.

The Green Army had hit the front early on courtesy of O’Flanagan through a lovely team move featuring Lena Tice and Sarah Torrans. Wales levelled, though, before the end of the first quarter through Isabelle Howell from a well-worked penalty corner.

That set up an incredibly tense middle phase with both side enjoying spells in control. But the game opening up in the closing quarter when Wales were reduced to nine players with Phoebe Richards and Emily Rowlands going to the sin-bin.

In their absence, Zara Malseed intercepted wide on the left and utilised the extra space to bounce an inviting pass to O’Flanagan who smashed home on the volley.

Ireland duly held Wales at arm’s length for the remaining minutes to finish off a huge week’s work, backing up wins over France and Belarus to take the one ticket on offer to the main event which will be played in Amsterdam and Valencia next summer.

“What just happened here is a huge moment for the legacy of this team, continuing to build on the success we have already had,” captain Katie Mullan said in the aftermath.

“We knew it would be a defining moment. It wasn’t pretty but it shows the character within our group to come away from the game with a win from such a tough battle. Credit to Wales, they put on a big performance and took us right to the end.”

The tournament followed a gruelling schedule in 2021 with June’s European Championships followed by the Olympics and then less than 12 weeks to regroup with a new look panel for this competition.

“We’ve played three tough tournaments in one year at international level with the Euros, the Olympics and this qualifier. It is pretty unheard of so it was always going to be a tough ask after the Olympics to bring the group back together to come here and do the job.

“I am so proud of us for doing that. Now, we have another amazing tournament to look forward to and prepare for.

“This group needs to be going to major tournament after major tournament. This was the first roadblock after 2018 and this is a massive achievement. It may not seem like it is bigger than some of what we have done in the past but, for our sport, to continue to grow the way it has and to continue to inspire the next generation, it was so important for us.

“I have no doubt the players who have stepped away and retired in recent weeks will be the most happy watching it today, seeing us get over the line because they will be the ones in the stands next summer supporting us.”

Ireland were dealt a blow before the start with Hannah McLoughlin forced out through injury. It meant Kilpatrick came into the line-up for her first cap, a huge stage on which the Belfast Harlequins defender acquitted herself well.

Like the semi-final, the Green Army were on the board inside the first 10 minutes following another flying start. After an early corner chance went incomplete, Ireland settled into a good routine of pressure and worked the opening goal when Tice fired a ball toward the circle, Torrans touched it behind her back into the mixer where O’Flanagan sniped to tip the ball under Roseanne Thomas.

A couple more corner chances were earned but Wales nicked a set piece of their own in the closing seconds of the quarter and produced a perfect move to the right post where Isabelle Howell slid in to make it 1-1.

The free-flowing format of Saturday’s win over Belarus was hard to come and while Naomi Carroll went close and Chloe Watkins’ searching passes into the circle caused danger, the clear-cut openings were hard to come by.

Indeed, the Dragons had the upper hand in the third quarter with Tice required to do some important clean-up work in the goalmouth to maintain parity.

That was until Richards cleaned out Michelle Carey to ship a yellow card. Seconds later, Rowlands and Torrans followed to the naughty step for an altercation in the Welsh circle, leaving lots more room to move.

Ireland celebrate. Picture: Frank Uijlenbroek/World Sport Pics

And that was when Malseed read a loose pass out of defence and quickly sped toward goal, chipping the ball up as she went. Her bouncing pass evaded to encroaching defenders and picked out O’Flanagan who crashed home.

Wales attempted to throw everything forward in the closing 10 minutes but Ireland closed out the tie with composure and steel, putting them on course for the World Cup.

Captain Mullan paid tribute to O’Flanagan’s goalscoring heroics while also saying the new faces played a vital role with Niamh Carey popping up with Saturday’s winner against Belarus and the likes of Ellen Curran, Erin Getty and Kilpatrick also making their tournament debuts.

“Anna showed today why she is a world class forward, the best forward to come through Irish women’s hockey. She fronted up today when the pressure was on.

“She deserves this moment of elation but I have to give such a special mention to the new girls who have come in, the energy and excitement they have brought. They fronted up in key moments and we couldn’t have done it without them and the future is very bright for this team.”

Ireland: A McFerran, E Getty, R Upton, K Mullan, L Tice, N Carroll, C Watkins, S Hawkshaw, A O’Flanagan, N Carey, S McAuley
Subs: Z Malseed, M Carey, S Torrans, D Duke, E Curran, J Kilpatrick, L Murphy

Wales: R Thomas, S French, S Jones, P Richards, E Bingham, L Wilkinson, M Lewis-Williams, X Hughes, J Westwood, S-J Thorburn, M Holme
Subs: O Hoskins, S Robinson, E Drysdale, I Howell, E Rowlands, I Webb, E Jackson

Umpires: C Martin-Schmets (BEL), H Harrison (ENG)

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Green Machine undone in third place playoff by Austria

Men’s FIH World Cup qualifiers
Ireland 3 (J McKee 2, J Duncan) Austria 3 (N Wellan, F Unterkircher, O Binder), Austria win shoot-out 4-3

Ireland’s men fell to another frustrating shoot-out defeat to end their World Cup qualifying tournament in fourth place, falling to Austria 4-3 in a shoot-out after normal time ended 3-3.

Ireland’s hopes of a World Cup ticket had been dashed a day earlier via the same method at the hands of Wales, leaving this tie solely to settle ranking points.

And despite the Green Machine starting well, Austria scored from their first attack of note with Nikolas Wellan deflecting home from a crash ball.

Fabian Unterkircher snagged a second before half-time, again against the run of play as Ireland looked set to bow out on a low-key note.

But a concerted second half effort saw Ireland roar back into contention. Jonny McKee flicked in from mid-circle after Tim Cross’s ball in from the right flank and he levelled the game up when Ben Walker’s shot at goal looped up off Mateusz Szymczyk and spun invitingly for the Banbridge man to tip in.

It looked like the comeback was complete when Jeremy Duncan cashed in from a penalty corner rebound – Ireland’s eighth of the game – but, in a fractious closing phase, Austria summoned up one last attack with Oliver Binder ghosting in at the back post to make it 3-3.

In the shoot-out, Ireland switched up their line-up from Saturday with Shane O’Donoghue – playing in his 200th cap – scoring his own effort as well as two penalty strokes, won by Daragh Walsh and Sean Murray.

The outcome, though, hinged on a bizarre moment when Fülöp Lusonci stood on the ball in his shoot-out but it was missed by the three umpires and he did not delay in popping home the ball.

That edged them 3-2 in front and they held on to win 4-3 with Michael Körper scoring in the final round of the shoot-out.

Ireland: J Carr, L Madeley, J McKee, D Walsh, S O’Donoghue, P McKibbin, M Robson, B Walker, C Harte, L Cole, S Hyland
Subs: T Cross, N Glassey, K Marshall, S Murray, J Duncan, C Empey, M Ingram

Austria: M Szymczyk, O Binder, D Uher, M Körper, D Fröhlich, F Steyrer, M Frey, F Unterkircher, F Lindengrun, F Losonci, X Hasun
Subs: T Mayer, S Eitenberger, H Podpera, B Kölbl, P Stanzl, N Wellan, L Rizzi

Umpires: I Diamond (SCO), B Goentgen (GER)

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Ireland’s men denied World Cup spot as Wales prevail in shoot-out

Men’s World Cup qualifier
Ireland 1 (M Robson) Wales 1 (J Naughalty), Wales win shoot-out 2-1

Ireland’s men suffered shoot-our heartache once again as they came unstuck against Wales in Cardiff in their World Cup qualifier, meaning they miss out on the 2023 showpiece event in India.

The Green Machine had missed out on the Olympics via the same method to Canada and this was similarly devastating as a huge second half performance could not yield the vital goal in normal time.

Michael Robson had given Ireland a first minute lead, countered by Joey Naughalty’s equaliser on 19 minutes. Wales had the edge in the first half but it was Mark Tumilty’s side who looked more and more likely to win it in the second.

But 1-1 at full-time left it down to the shoot-out and Welsh goalkeeper Toby Reynolds-Cotterill kept out four efforts with Rupert Shipperley and Jack Pritchard doing the damage in a 2-1 outcome.

“We started well, got ahead before having a disappointing second quarter,” coach Mark Tumilty reflected on the fixture.

“We played well in the second half, created plenty of chances but unfortunately we weren’t able to take one of them and then we didn’t deliver in the shoot-out. It’s as straight-forward as that.

“The momentum was going in our favour [late on]. We did all the right things, started to find space but just couldn’t find that killer ball or that killer touch to get the goal we needed to get across the line. It’s another hard lesson for these players and a disappointing day for Irish men’s hockey.”

Like the women earlier in the day, Ireland were flying in the first minute as – with 45 seconds on the clock – a three-man turnover on halfway led to Jonny McKee racing forward. Toby Reynolds-Cotterill blocked his shot but it fell kindly for Michael Robson to flick by the prone goalkeeper.

Wales, though, have been enjoying a relative golden period of late, rising up seven places in the world rankings to their highest ever position. Luke Hawker shot wide from a big chance while an early umpire’s whistle saved Ireland when Naughalty flicked over Jamie Carr with a penalty corner given before the ball crossed the goal line.

Carr was superb in repelling a couple of Gareth Furlong penalty corners but he could not keep out Naughalty’s upright backhand shot after he wriggled this way and that to find a shooting chance; 1-1 in the 19th minute.

Ireland settled before half-time with some neat right-wing attacks almost unlocking the door with Tim Cross’s overlapping a feature. And they started to build more and more momentum as time went on.

A series of three penalty corners just before the end of the third quarter provided a major talking point as, this time, Ireland were denied by a premature whistle. Shane O’Donoghue’s drag-flick fell to McKee who scored at the second attempt only for a penalty corner to be given instead. The reset chance was denied by Reynolds-Cotterill.

O’Donoghue saw yellow in Q4 but Ireland still created more in that phase as Sam Hyland and McKee and Ben Walker all tested the goalkeeper. O’Donoghue returned to sting the palm of Reynolds-Cotterill once more with two minutes to go as Wales clung on.

And the Welsh keeper produced the heroics in that shoot-out phase to send them to the World Cup, denying Ireland a ticket to the elite stage.

Ireland will close out the tournament with a third place playoff against Austria but the ultimate prize from this competition has proven out of reach.

“Tomorrow’s a game where we will have a green shirt on and we want to win but it doesn’t mean a whole lot other than a few world ranking points,” Tumilty added. “We need to regroup and go again to finish the tournament on a high but it’s a difficult day.”

Ireland: J Carr, T Cross, J McKee, K Marshall, S O’Donoghue, S Murray, J Duncan, M Robson, B Walker, C Harte, L Cole
Subs: L Madeley, D Walsh, N Glassey, P McKibbin, C Empey, S Hyland, M Ingram

Wales: T Reynolds-Cotterill D Kyriakides, I Wall, A Dinnie, J Draper, L Prosser, R Shipperley, R Bradshaw, G Furlong, J Morgan, L Hawker
Subs: J Naughalty, R Furlong, J Carson, D Hutchinson, O Dolan-Gray, J Pritchard, I Tranter

Umpires: N Bennett (ENG), J Mejzlik (CZE)