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Irish Under-21 men named for Euro indoor debut

Ireland’s Under-21 men’s indoor side will make their international debut next week when they take on the EuroHockey Championship II in Paredes, Portugal from December 10th to 12th.

They will compete in a seven-team round-robin tournament with Croatia, Ukraine, Belarus, Denmark, Wales and hosts Portugal with two potential promotion places on offer.

It is part of Ireland’s continued return to international indoor action following the senior men and women coming back in late 2019 with the men and women coming on stream this winter.

For coach Kenny Carroll and his support team of Ross Willis, Neil Mackay and Huw Rees, it has been a tricky preparation period with indoor sports only getting the government green light to return in the autumn after the guts of 18 months.

Nonetheless, Carroll – who has lots of European club experience with Railway Union – is thrilled at the prospect of entering this new realm.

“The European Under-21 men’s indoor championships have been held since 1982 and this is the first time Ireland has entered it,” the head coach said.

“It goes without saying that preparation has been challenging but that is what International sport is all about, and the teams and players who adapt and learn the quickest do well.

“We have a good mix of players with different skills and experiences up to now in the squad which is important for Indoor hockey. There are a lot of talented and exciting young hockey players across Ireland and the players selected have an opportunity to see how high a level of performance we can reach together at a competitive European Championship.

“I would like to commend all players involved since the start of the programme on their commitment so far. The six other competing nations will all provide a very stern test, something which we are all really looking forward to.”

The side is captained by Ben O’Grady who brings big physical strength, a powerful ball carry and good communication to the defensive line.

He will be supported on the leadership front by Cookstown’s Jack Haycock who has helped his club reach the final four of the Irish Senior Cup. He has trained with the Ulster-based Irish regional training squad and will likely be the deepest player and distributor.

Outfield, Ben Ryder and Craig Mackay were all part of the Irish Under-19 boys outdoor side that impressed during their summer four nations tournament.

Ollie Kidd – a nephew of ex-international Peter Richardson – is another who has been training with the senior Irish setup and his excellent stickwork allows his to be a key player in the middle of the dice.

Jamie Orr will become North Down’s first current player to line out for Ireland since Peter McKibbin for the Irish Under-16s; an intelligent performer, he is likely to be primarily deployed up front.

Harry McCarthy is another exciting prospect, quick on the ball and excellent in one-on-one elimination spaces. He was an All-Ireland schools and Irish Hockey Trophy winner during his Newtown/Waterford days before moving up to Dublin with YMCA.

Pembroke’s Traolach Butler brings an explosivity to the side and was recently part of the TU Dublin team that won the Mauritius Cup for the first time.

Attack-minded Jake Pillow will make his first appearance in green having played for Leinster underage outdoor teams. He is one of three Railway Union players along with ex-St Kilian’s Deutsche Schule students Louis Murphy and Eoin Brennan.

Murphy is a specialist in the turnover while Brennan is very mobile in goal. He has a very different style to the other netminder, ex-Kilkenny man Ian O’Keeffe who is now plying his trade with HC Oranje-Rood in the Netherlands. He brings a big presence to the circle.

They get their campaign underway on Friday, December 10 with games against Croatia and Ukraine before meeting Belarus and Portugal a day later. Games five and six are on December 12th against Denmark and Wales.

EuroHockey U21 Men Indoor Championship II, Parades, Portugal , December 10-12 2021

  1. Ben O’Grady (Captain, YMCA)
  2. Jack Haycock (vice-captain, Cookstown)
  3. Traoloch Butler (Pembroke Wanderers)
  4. Ollie Kidd (Lisnagarvey)
  5. Craig Mackay (Corinthian)
  6. Harry McCarthy (YMCA)
  7. Louis Murphy (Railway Union)
  8. Jamie Orr (North Down)
  9. Jake Pillow (Railway Union)
  10. Ben Ryder (Three Rock Rovers)
  11. Eoin Brennan  (Goalkeeper, Railway Union)
  12. Ian O’Keeffe (GK, HC Oranje Rood (NED))

Manager: Neil Mackay
Head Coach: Kenny Carroll
Coach / Analyst: Ross Willis
Physio: Huw Rees

Fixture schedule (all times local)
Friday 10th December: Ireland v Croatia: 12.15pm; Ireland v Ukraine: 5pm
Saturday 11th December: Ireland v Belarus : 12.30pm; Ireland v Portugal : 6.30pm
Sunday 12th December: Ireland v Denmark : 8.45am; Ireland v Wales : 2pm

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Cookstown stun Pembroke as Monkstown and Glenanne advance in ISC

Cookstown continued their hex over Pembroke as they knocked out the Dubliners in the Irish Senior Cup for the second successive campaign, emulating their success in the 2019/20 campaign.

Seventeen-year-old Max Anderson was the hero for the Ulster Premier side, scoring the clinching shoot-out in sudden death after a rollercoaster normal time ended 2-2.

The Co Tyrone side got off to a dream start with two goals in the first seven minutes with captain Paul Thompson driving down the right, finding Ryan Millar on the 90-angle and he calmly found the back of the net.

An electric run from Stuart Smyth set up the second, the midfielder getting into the circle before firing a shot at goal which Scott McCabe got the final touch to.

EYHL side Pembroke bounced back from the rough start and started to find some rhythm with key man Julian Dale causing all manner of problems, winning several penalty corners.

Millar’s running lines, however, kept the two-goal lead in place until half-time before Pembroke’s comeback started in earnest in the second half.

Harry Spain did eventually get on the board from a corner drag-flick and it was 2-2 when Greg Chambers cleaned up a fourth quarter rebound from another set piece.

That set up a shoot-out where Pembroke scored their first three efforts to lead 3-1 but Cookstown held their nerve to level at 3-3 at the end of the regulation series of five. In the first round of sudden death, Anderson slotted home before Dale could not make it by Josh McCabe and sent Cookstown through to the final four.

Reds captain Thompson said of the win: “The result keeps up our unbeaten record this season and naturally we are delighted to have got through, especially against an EYHL side.

“We got off to a flying start and then defended well before they got back into it with those two goals in the second-half.

Pembroke’s Andy Colton tackled by Mark Crooks. Picture: Adrian Boehm

“The quality of goals in the shootout was high although our keeper Josh McCabe pulled off a couple of good saves.

“Max then kept a cool head to score the winner and that was remarkable as he’s just 17 but he’s just one of several promising youngsters in the squad.

“Our biggest goal this season is to get promoted back into the EYHL but to have a good cup run is great as well.”

Munster Division One side Cork C of I pushed EYHL-high flyers Glenanne all the way but ultimately fell 1-0 in the Irish Senior Cup quarter-finals at St Andrew’s.
In the end, just Shane O’Donoghue’s first half penalty corner stood between the sides as the Garryduff side pushed hard in the second half but could not nab the equaliser.

Monkstown eased into the final four as four first half goals put them on their way to a 4-1 win over YMCA at Rathdown. David Nolan broke the deadlock in the first quarter before a couple of Rory Nichols strikes and one from Guy Sarratt put them well clear. Grant Glutz got the consolation goal for YM.

The much-anticipated clash between Three Rock Rovers and Lisnagarvey fell foul of a frozen pitch at Grange Road.

Men’s Irish Senior Cup, quarter-finals: Glenanne 1 (S O’Donoghue) Cork C of I 0; Monkstown 4 (R Nichols 2, D Nolan, G Sarratt) YMCA 1 (G Glutz); Pembroke 2 (H Spain, G Chambers) Cookstown 2 (R Millar, S McCabe), Cookstown win shoot-out 4-3
Postponed: Three Rock Rovers v Lisnagarvey

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UCD and Pembroke through after thrilling cup quarter-finals

Irish Senior Cup specialists UCD are in the final four yet again as they produced a stunning late show to beat Railway Union 4-3 in a spectacular advert for the club game.

The Belfield students move a step closer to a potential fourth title in five editions of the competition following a rollercoaster contest.

Grace Keane and Niamh Carey had the hosts flying at 2-0 with just 22 minutes gone but Railway turned the game on its head either side of half-time. Sarah Hawkshaw got them on the board just before the break and, in the 38th minute, it was level courtesy of the in-form Kate Lloyd.

Zara Delany then put Railway ahead for the first time in the third quarter. But UCD had plenty left in the tank and twins Michelle and Niamh Carey – playing against the side their mother Una McCarthy coaches – swapped the lead once more in the last 11 minutes with a goal each.

Pembroke marched on with a 4-0 win over Queen’s after a battling display from the Ulster side at the Dub.

Twenty places separate the two sides in the Irish pecking order but the EYHL national league leaders were made to work hard for their victory.

Simon Bell’s side did have their chances and, despite the result, Pembroke’s Emma Buckley was marginally the busier of the keepers. The Cork woman pulled off a string of fine saves, denying the hosts particularly at the start of the second half when she was forced into three excellent stops.

But by that stage, Queen’s were already two goals down and chasing the game but their performance belied their domestic form which has seen them slip to 10th in the Ulster Premier League.

Alyssa Jebb was foiled by Buckley at a set-piece early on before former Ireland player Sinead Loughran drove home the opener in the 24th minute, her corner taking a deflection off a home stick.

Two minutes later, Queen’s conceded again in similar fashion, this time Issy Delamer converting with a direct shot.

After Buckley’s early second-half heroics, it took the Leinster side until the 64th minute to add to their tally, Delamer adding her second with a carbon copy of her first.

With two minutes left, Pembroke wrapped things up with the best of the bunch. Good work by 2018 World Cup silver medallist Gillian Pinder and Rachel O’Brien set up Martha McCready who scored from a rebound off the keeper’s pads.

Those were the only games to survive the frost. Catholic Institute’s away trip to Banbridge was cut short while Muckross and Pegasus’s game at Grange Road was also postponed.

In EY Hockey League Division 2, it was a frustrating day for the Munster contingent.

At an emotional Mardyke, the game between UCC and Ards was preceded by a minute’s silence in honour of Margot Hartnett, wife of club mentor and stalwart Paidi Hartnett.

The Ulster side, though, took the initiative in Pool A as their blistering first half performance saw them win 3-1.

Jess Ryan got the ball rolling before Zara Malseed thumped in two more before half-time for a 3-0 advantage.

Irish Under-21 co-captain Caoimhe Perdue pulled one back for the students who had another goal disallowed in a rousing second half but Ards held and now top the group at this early stage after Corinthian and Galway’s tie was frozen out.

Just down the road in Pool B, Lurgan nabbed a 1-1 draw at Cork C of I with Sarah McClure striking in the closing stages, cancelling out Julie Coyne’s effort.

Monkstown have taken a big step forward with their second win of the group. They were made to wait until the second half before eventually seeing off NUIG 2-0 at Dangan.

Anna O’Flanagan made it two goals in two games this season with the opening effort in the 38th minute before Amber Barnwell scored a penalty corner shot to make the game safe.

In the Irish Hockey Trophy, Ashton, YMCA and Raphoe are all through to the semi-finals from the three games that went ahead.

Ashton came from a goal down to beat Clontarf 2-1 with Emma Nagle and Kate Harvey overturning Ali Bailey’s opening goal from a corner. Isobel Jansen Cahill’s penalty stroke save late in the game assured the victory.

Zara Tinney got the only goal for Raphoe as they won 1-0 against Armagh while YMCA were 3-1 victors over Genesis, a side from a division above in the Leinster leagues.

Mya Adams got the only goal of the first half for YM before Aoife Orton equalised for Genesis. Abi Kennedy and Charley Flavin strikes swung the tie the way of the Y.

Women’s results
Irish Senior Cup, quarter-finals:
Queens 0 Pembroke 4 (I Delamer 2, S Loughran, M McCready); UCD 4 (N Carey 2, G Keane, M Carey) Railway Union 3 (S Hawkshaw, K Lloyd, Z Delany)
Postponed: Banbridge v Catholic Institute; Muckross v Pegasus

EYHL Division 2
Pool A:
UCC 1 (C Perdue) Ards 3 (Z Malseed 2, J Ryan)
Postponed: Corinthian V Galway
Pool B: Cork C of I 1 (J Coyne) Lurgan 1 (S McClure); NUIG 0 Monkstown 2 (A Barnwell, A O’Flanagan)

Irish Hockey Trophy, quarter-finals: Ashton 2 (K Harvey, A Nagle) Clontarf 1 (A Bailey); Genesis 1 (A Orton) YMCA 3 (M Adams, A Kennedy, C Flavin); Raphoe 1 (Z Tinney) Armagh 0

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Irish Senior Cup quarter-finals take centre-stage

Saturday brings the quarter-finals of the men’s and women’s Irish Senior Cup with a number of potential classics on the list while there are women’s EYHL Division 2 and Irish Hockey Trophy games.

In the men’s line-up, there is a potential classic as two of the competition’s most successful clubs meet at Grange Road with Three Rock Rovers hosting Lisnagarvey at 3pm, accounting for 36 of the titles since the trophy was introduced in 1893.

Garvey are the reigning champions with Rovers winning the two editions before that. The former won their most recent tie two weeks ago 3-2 but Rovers subsequently got the upper hand in the league with victories over Glenanne and YMCA.

A key factor could be the availability of Ross Canning who has been a key figure for Rovers thus far but he was rested for the second half of that win over YM with a hamstring strain.

Cookstown are one of two second tier sides looking to cause an upset against top division opposition in a repeat of the 2009 final. The unbeaten Ulster Premier side face an out of sorts Pembroke who have just two wins in national competitions this term in nine attempts and were without player-coach Alan Sothern last weekend.

Three Rock Rovers’ James Walker and YMCA’s Grant Glutz in action last week. Pic: Adrian Boehm

The Co Tyrone side are seeing plenty of young guns rising through the ranks with Mark Cuddy and Luke Haycock shining last week along with Max Anderson and the McCabes: Scott and Josh.

Cork C of I will get a big test of their credentials when they take on Glenanne in the quarter-finals of the men’s Irish Senior Cup on Saturday in Dublin.

The Garryduff side are unbeaten on all fronts this term, topping Munster Division One and starting their EYHL Division 2 campaign in rude health with a 5-0 win over Rathgar.

But the Glens will be a different level to anything they have faced this term with the Tallaght club sitting equal second in the top division.

It is the kind of challenge Jonny Bruton’s side have expressly stated they want to face more frequently, targeting a return to the top tier of the EYHL where they believe the likes of Rob Sweetnam, Mark Collins, Ian Balding and Rory Treacy will thrive.

The Glens were understrength last week with Shannon Boucher, Richie Shaw, Richard Couse and Rowland Rixon-Fuller all out but, in Shane O’Donoghue, they have the country’s outstanding goalscorer at the heart of things.

Monkstown meet YMCA who they drew with 1-1 recently in the league with Sam Hyland scoring a late penalty stroke. The Y have missed the fiery presence of Ross Henderson up front while Town’s form has been hit and miss, beating two of the top three in the league either side of that draw with YM who occupy eighth in the table.

In the women’s Irish Senior Cup, Banbridge and. Queen’s will aim to defy the odds against in-form and higher ranked opposition to reach the semi-finals.

Bann are at this stage for the second successive campaign but face a Catholic Institute side who have catapulted into the national shake-up in recent years with Olympians Naomi Carroll and Roisin Upton back in the fold.

The Co Down side will hope the likes of Katie McDonald and Lucy Mackey to fire as they have in the Ulster Premier, leading the scoring in the division.

NUIG and Queen’s both face another big tie this weekend. Picture: Billy Pollock

For Queen’s, they face another side shining in the EYHL, Pembroke, who have been the outstanding side thus far, building a healthy four-point lead.

Queen’s have had a middling Ulster Premier campaign, sitting in tenth place, but they have saved their best form for the big games this term and with internationals Jessica McMaster and Erin Getty in the mix and Alyssa Jebb firing up front, they can cause problems.

Pegasus go into their quarter-final with plenty of confidence against Muckross at Grange Road following a solid first half of the season which included a 3-1 success against their opponents.

UCD and Railway Union can provide some potential early fireworks at Belfield at 11.15am in a repeat of the 2013 final. The students have won three of the last four editions of the competition and, with the Junior World Cup postponed, their sizeable Irish Under-21 contingent will not have any mixed focus.

Railway did a fine job of blocking their open goal last week after goalkeeper Riona Norton went off injured and if they can display that same defensive organisation, they could be well set to repeat their 2-1 league win.

It’s a busy day on the national stage with round two of EYHL Division 2’s group stages. Galway enter the stage with a trip to Corinthian, their young side guided by US Olympian Alyssa Manley who is the player-coach. UCC and Ards are both looking to land their first win of the campaign following opening day draws.

In Pool B, Cork C of I host Lurgan who are playing their first tie of the competition while Monkstown will look to make it two wins from two when they head to NUIG.

It means the Galway side’s Irish Hockey Trophy game with Avoca has been postponed, leaving three ties in that competition on the agenda. Ashton host Clontarf, Genesis face YMCA and Raphoe take on Armagh.

Saturday 27th November 2021 fixtures
Men
Irish Senior Cup, quarter-finals: Glenanne v Cork C of I, St Andrews, 1.15pm; Monkstown v YMCA, Rathdown, 2.30pm; Pembroke v Cookstown, Serpentine Avenue, 2.30pm; Three Rock Rovers v Lisnagarvey, Grange Road, 3pm

Women
Irish Senior Cup, quarter-finals: Banbridge v Catholic Institute, Havelock Park, 1pm; Muckross v Pegasus, Grange Road, 2.30pm; Queens University v Pembroke Wanderers, Malone Playing Fields, 2.30pm; UCD v Railway Union, Belfield, 11.15am

EYHL Division 2
Pool A: Corinthian v Galway, Whitechurch Park, 1.15pm; UCC v Ards, Mardyke, 12pm
Pool B: Cork C of I v Lurgan, Garryduff 12pm; NUIG v Monkstown, Dangan, 1.20pm

Irish Hockey Trophy, quarter-finals: Ashton v Clontarf, Ashton School, 12pm; Genesis v YMCA, St Raphaela’s, 12pm; Raphoe v Armagh, Royal & Prior, 1pm

Monkstown celebrating a goal in midweek against Trinity. PIc: Deryck Vincent

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Women’s Junior World Cup in South Africa put on hold

Following the outbreak of a new coronavirus variant in South Africa, the International Hockey Federation (FIH), the South African Hockey Association and the North-West University of Potchefstroom have jointly decided that the FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup South Africa 2021 has been put on hold.

The Irish Under-21 women were due to take part in the event which was due to be played in Potchefstroom from December 5th to 16th.

“We are disappointed for our young players and the staff who were given this special opportunity and put in an incredible amount of work to be ready to participate in this event and play on the world’s stage,” said Hockey Ireland chief executive Jerome Pels following the announcement.

“However, we are looking forward for the 2021 FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup to be played at a later date. I would like to thank the sponsors and donors who had made travel and participation at the event possible and for their continued support of our rising stars.

“We respect the FIH’s decision to postpone the World Cup. We are proud of our players group who very much understand that the health situation is very serious and that this decision unfortunately had to be taken.”

Explaining the decision to put the event on hold, FIH CEO Thierry Weil added: “The safety of everyone involved in the FIH events is an absolute priority.

“Additionally, many countries, including from some of the participating teams, have now strongly increased their travel restrictions with South Africa, including halting flights.

“Therefore, it simply isn’t possible to maintain this event as planned. This is hugely disappointing. An FIH Junior World Cup is so important for the development of young players.

“Also, it was the first time that an FIH World Cup was due to take place on African soil. On behalf of FIH, I’d like to thank all teams for their understanding as well as the local organisers for their great work and collaboration.”

The FIH will keep monitoring the situation and take a decision about the potential staging of the 2021 FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup as soon as it will be possible to do so.

Hockey Ireland EGM – November 25th, 2022

On Thursday, November 25, an Extraordinary General Meeting of Hockey Ireland was held to discuss and vote on four special resolutions.

The special resolutions related to the individual membership system which came into effect at the AGM on May 20th, 2021. In each instance, and in accordance with the company constitution, a 75% majority was required to pass each special resolution. 

The Special Resolutions were:

1) That, IRISH HOCKEY COMPANY LIMITED BY GUARANTEE do not implement or impose the individual affiliation fees notified to members at the AGM of the 20th May 2021.
2) That, IRISH HOCKEY COMPANY LIMITED BY GUARANTEE Member Club Affiliation rates for 2021/22 season be set at the same rates of the 2019/2020 season.
3) That, IRISH HOCKEY COMPANY LIMITED BY GUARANTEE refund any individual affiliation fee already paid for the 2021/22 season.
4) That, any further changes to affiliation fees or methods of collection for subsequent hockey seasons shall be proposed by the board of IRISH HOCKEY COMPANY LIMITED BY GUARANTEE at an Annual General Meeting and agreed by a majority of voting members.

Special Resolution 1 received a 46% vote in favour, 52% against with 2% abstentions.
Special Resolution 2 received 55% in favour, 38% against with 7% abstentions.
Special Resolution 3 received 43% in favour, 53% against with 4% abstentions.
Special Resolution 4 received 97% in favour, 2% against with 1% abstentions.

With the resolutions not reaching the threshold required, this means the individual membership system will remain in place on the same basis as outlined at the AGM on May 20th, 2021.

Hockey Ireland members now have until January 1st, 2022 to complete their registration and payment of fees.

Speaking about the outcome of the EGM, Hockey Ireland Chairman of the Board Trevor Watkins thanked the participants in the meeting for their input and contributions to the debate.

“On behalf of the board of Hockey Ireland, I wish to thank every club for taking part and actively engaging with the EGM tonight,” Watkins said.

“It was an important debate and encouraging to see the passion for our sport. The EGM was the largest general meeting we have held with 97 club delegates registering and over 130 interested parties joining the call and contributing to the discussion.

“As a board and as Hockey Ireland, we will take on board issues raised at the meeting to help guide our future plans and offer the best possible governance for our members.”

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Sport Ireland issue guidelines for underage indoor hockey

Sport Ireland has issued further guidelines for underage indoor matches and competition. Please note that these guidelines apply to the Republic of Ireland only.

Indoor Underage Hockey: Games and Competitions for Children under 18 Years Old

  • The current “pod of six” system can be adjusted to allow for indoor games and competition activities for players of mixed immunity status according to the ordinary rules and limits of the sport concerned.
  • The ‘pod of six’ system should be retained for all other settings such as training activities.
  • The continuation of the pod system for more frequent activity will assist in minimising the overall risk and facilitate contact tracing.

Additional Hockey Ireland Guidelines:

  • Clubs should limit squad sizes as much as possible.
  • Parents of players should be informed of the restrictions and guidelines for competitive hockey.
  • All other guidelines should be strictly adhered to as per the previous Hockey Ireland Covid-19 update on 28th October 2021 (see below).

Mitigation Measures for Inclusion in Indoor Youth Sport Protocols:

  • Staggered start and finish times combined with appropriate entry, exit and traffic management protocols to minimise the unnecessary interaction of participants at any one time.
  • The pre-booking of activity including the health screening of participants along with coaches & support personnel.
  • Symptomatic individuals not to participate in or attend sporting activities.
  • Consideration of indoor space densities when determining overall numbers.
  • Reduction in the overall duration of activities.
  • Ensuring that indoor spaces are well ventilated.
  • Participants to arrive prepared to play; limited use of changing room or showers.
  • The ongoing promotion of good respiratory & hand hygiene.
  • The wearing of face coverings by coaches and support personnel.
  • Additional signage, hand sanitization stations and deep cleaning implemented.
  • The use of physical distancing during warm-ups, rest times and off the field of play.
  • No handshakes, high fives, fist pumps, chest bumps, huddles, group celebrations, etc.
  • The use of dedicated Covid-19 Officers to ensure implementation and compliance of measures
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First Irish Under-21 women’s indoor panel named for December Euros

The squad for Ireland’s first ever entry in the women’s junior European Championships has been named as they prepare for the competition in December in Sveti Ivan Zelina in Croatia.

The side features 16-year-old Emma Nolan who becomes the first Boyne Hockey Club player to be called up to an international panel. Despite her age, she has amassed a relatively high amount of competitive indoor experience through the PSI series with the North Dublin Knights.

Old Alex’s Mikayla Power is another 16-year-old who has been enjoying a break-out season on the outdoor circuit, scoring four times already in the EY Hockey League with some serious style.

At the other end of the scale, goalkeeper Millie Regan has 12 senior indoor caps, taking in the December 2019 tour to South Africa in addition to the European indoors a month later. She is one of two goalkeepers, named alongside Muckross shot-stopper Aoife Glennon.

Kilkenny native Hannah Kelly has been busy of late. She was named on the reserve list for the Junior World Cup and gets her chance at this tournament alongside her Catholic Institute club mate Fiona Kelly, who originally hails from Galway.

Laura Graham is another with strong youth indoor experience in the English Super 6s competitions, winning Under-16 national silver with her club Isca and Under-18 schools silver with Cranleigh. She is now based in Essen in Germany with Limburger HC.

Rebecca McMullen impressed domestically in the Leinster indoor league with Muckross before Covid hit while Katie Kimber is another strong product of Ards, a club who have set a standard for Irish indoor in the past decade.

Emily Kealy (Monkstown), Laura Noble (Trinity) and Leah O’Shea (Cork Harlequins) shone during the trial process, making the transition over from the outdoor game in impressive fashion.

Kealy scored the winner in the 2020 Leinster Schools Senior Cup for Loreto Beaufort and was a member of the Leinster Under-21 interpro panel. Noble, meanwhile, has been part of the Irish Under-21 outdoor panel with Leaving Cert student O’Shea featuring this summer for both the Irish Under-19 and 21 sides.

For co-coach Gareth Myburgh, it has been a tricky task to get this new squad together due to the limitations on indoor sport but he is delighted with the side that has come together.

“We were constantly checking the updated government Covid advice and taking guidance from Hockey Ireland on when we could start the trials and eventually started on October 17th.

“After four weeks and eight trial sessions, we had the very difficult task of picking the squad to travel to Croatia. We were fortunate to have Kenny Carroll and Ross Willis assist us with the selection process and the team selected demonstrates a good balance of players with international outdoor experience, through the development squads, and players with strong indoor experience.

“It’s always a privilege to be able to work with talented players and this group certainly has some serious talent. We look forward to travelling to Croatia and have no doubt that this group will do Ireland proud at the tournament.”

At the tournament, Ireland will compete in a four-team group with Italy, Sweden and Croatia with the action fast and furious. Ireland play two games on December 18, meeting the Italians first before taking on hosts Croatia. They conclude their tournament against Sweden at 8.45am local time the following day.

Women’s EuroHockey Junior Indoor Championship II (Sveti Ivan Zelina, Croatia; December 17-19, 2021)
Rebecca McMullen (Muckross)
Emily Kealy (Monkstown)
Mikayla Power (Old Alex)
Fiona Kelly (Catholic Institute)
Emma Nolan (Boyne)
Laura Graham (Limburger HC, Germany)
Aoife Glennon (Muckross)
Leah O’Shea (Cork Harlequins)
Millie Regan (University of Surrey/Old Georgians)
Hannah Kelly (Catholic Institute)
Laura Noble (Trinity)
Katie Kimber (Ards)

Fixtures (times local)
December 18:
Ireland v Italy, 11am; Ireland v Croatia, 5.30pm
December 19: Ireland v Sweden, 8.45am

Coaches: Gareth Myburgh, Rob Abbott
Physio: Thomas Murray
Manager: Niamh Small
Video & technical analyst: Ross Willis

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Monkstown and Queen’s on the march in women’s EYHL2

Monkstown and Queen’s put their best foot forward in women’s EY Hockey League Division 2’s Pool B with strong wins but there is nothing to choose between the teams in Pool A.

For Monkstown, they were 3-0 winners over Cork C of I at Rathdown. Suzie Kelly opened the scoring with a thunderbolt hit from a penalty corner, awarded after Becky Maye produced an outstanding save from Chloe Watkins only for the ball to loop onto the body of one of her own defenders.

At the far end, Martha Duignam was called upon to make a fantastic block to Julie Coyne’s powerful drive to keep the lead in tact going into half-time.

The damage was done, though, in the third quarter as Anna O’Flanagan – in her first game since rejoining the club – turned in a penalty corner in the 53rd minute. And Olivia Brady finished off the scoring in the closing quarter with a delicate backhand shot after Kelly’s disguised first-up shot.

Their result was matched by Queen’s who were too strong for NUIG at the Dub. It was built around an excellent first 10 minutes in which Alyssa Jebb’s rising drag-flick put them 1-0 up in the sixth minute and Sophie McDowell added a second in the ninth minute when Erin Getty slid a pass into the middle of the circle which took a neat touch.

Queen’s had extra insurance with 18 minutes left when Madison Bowyer’s corner push deceived everyone for 3-0.

Next weekend sees Corinthian up against Galway while UCC face Ards.

In Pool A, Ards and Corinthian played out a high quality 1-1 draw at Londonderry Park with play flowing from end to end. Leigh Pelow had the reds in front as Ards suffered a couple of early cards – there were six players sin-binned through the afternoon – and it remained that way until 10 minutes from time.

Olympian Zara Malseed got the leveller following a series of corners with the ball slipped to her and she struck home. They had a final second corner to nick the win but it went wide.

At Santry Avenue, Trinity and UCC tied 0-0 as Iseult Cambay put in a super performance for the hosts while Julie Ringrose had a great chance cleared off the line at the far end.

Next weekend’s fixtures see Cork C of I up against Lurgan and NUIG meet Monkstown.

Women’s EYHL Division 2
Pool A:
Ards 1 (Z Malseed) Corinthian 1 (L Pelow); Trinity 0 UCC 0
Pool B: Monkstown 3 (S Kelly, A O’Flanagan, O Brady) Cork C of I 0; Queens University 3 (A Jebb, S McDowell, M Bowyer) NUIG 0

Saturday, November 27th
Pool A:
Corinthian v Galway, Whitechurch Park, 1.15pm; UCC v Ards, The Mardyke, 12pm
Pool B: Cork C of I v Lurgan, Garryduff, 12pm; NUIG v Monkstown, Dangan, 1.20pm

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Cork sides hand debutants tough baptisms in men’s EYHL2

Cork sides Bandon and Cork C of I gave Dublin debutants Portrane and Rathgar a tough baptism in the men’s EY Hockey League Division 2 as they ran up strong wins on the opening day of the competition.

For Bandon, they were 3-1 victors over Portrane in a fast-paced Pool C contest, Fionn O’Leary and Ethan Hamilton-Foott setting the result in the closing quarter.

Ali Smith had put Bandon in front with a sharp finish, nipping in front of his marker to get on the end of right-wing cross. just before the end of the first quarter.

Davy Graham, though, latched onto a through-ball from Imran Khan – an ex-Pakistan and Azerbaijan international – who finished well on the break with a delicate finish by Harry Forsey that went in off the inside of the post.

It remained that way into the final quarter when O’Leary’s shot from out on the left of the D took a heavy deflection and bounced in for 2-1. And the third came when O’Leary picked up an overhead in the corner, worked the ball to Dave Smith who fed Hamilton-Foott for a handy finish.

Elsewhere in the group, Cookstown defeated Mossley 5-1. Neal Glassey – on his return from Germany for the winter – put Mossley in front in the first quarter and they carried that through to half-time.

But Cookstown’s young guns turned things around after the break with a corner goal from Luke Haycock levelling matters in the 37th minute. Two minutes later, Scott McCabe was on the mark and Ulster underage representative Mark Cuddy swept them into a 3-1 lead before the end of the third quarter.

Further goals from Max Anderson and Michael Kerr completed the win in the closing eight minutes.

In Pool A, Instonians won a cracker of a contest against Railway Union 4-3. They prevailed 4-3 with Finley Marney making a key first half penalty stroke save while Mark Gleghorne, Ben Rose, Ben Palmer and Tommy Orr got the goals.

Railway led twice in the first half with Mark English and Karl Chapple on the mark but Rose levelled before half-time and Palmer put his side in front in the third quarter.

Orr made it 4-2 before English got one back in the closing 10 minutes but it only proved enough for a losing bonus point.

For C of I, theirs was a handy 5-0 win at Rathgar with three of those goals coming in the first half. Phil Sweetnam set them on their way in the fourth minute; Rob Sweetnam got the next from a flowing team move and Eoin Finnegan finished with a brilliant low shot into the bottom corner.

Gar, though, held up reasonably well in the second half with stand-in goalkeeper David Meade pulling off a number of stops.

He was swapped out for an extra outfielder in the closing minutes and the move back-fired with Rob Sweetnam and Mark Gallagher completing the victory.

At Farmers Cross, Munster sides were denied a clean sweep of results with a 2-2 draw for Harlequins against Tarf. John McNally put the Dubliners one up in the second quarter before Jack O’Meara equalised from a corner.

Brian Hayes-Curtin’s amazing end-line run put Quins in front for the first time before Davyn Keuter got the Bulls back on terms in the third quarter of an end-to-end tie.

Kilkeel wait in the wings for these two sides in a three-team group from which two sides will advance to the playoffs.

Men’s EYHL Division 2
Pool A:
Instonians 4 (M Gleghorne, B Rose, B Palmer, T Orr) Railway Union 3 (M English 2, K Chapple); Rathgar 0 Cork C of I 5 (R Sweetnam 2, P Sweetnam, E Finnegan, M Gallagher)
Pool B: Cork Harlequins 2 (J O’Meara, B Hayes-Curtin) Clontarf 2 (McNally, D Keuter)
Pool C: Cookstown 5 (L Haycock, M Cuddy, S McCabe, M Anderson, M Kerr) Mossley 1 (N Glassey); Portrane 1 (D Graham) Bandon 3 (A Smith, F O’Leary, E Hamilton-Foott)

Cork Harlequins v Clontarf EYHL2 20-11-21