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Pembroke go clear at top of women’s EY Hockey League

Women’s EY Hockey League
Pembroke 4 (C Foley 2, T Wensley, O Macken) Catholic Institute 1 (R Upton)

Pembroke produced a blistering first half performance to move clear on their own at the top of the women’s EY Hockey League for the first time with their fourth successive win.

Again, it was built around their incredible speed throughout the team and their ability to attack at full throttle. The first goal came nine minutes in when Emily Beatty raced out of defence, laid off to Sally Campbell and her cross was turned in by Tori Wensley, to finish off a 70-metre move.

Pam Smithwick did brilliantly to deny Campbell and then Wensley from another attack while Aisling Naughton’s powerful shot was blocked by Anna Horan.

Goal number two came via Orla Macken’s corner hit which deflected off the first runner and into the top corner. Claire Foley then forced home from close range after Amy-Kate Trevor’s left wing cross.

Insta finished the first half strong with Róisín Upton denied by Emma Buckley as was Horan while their fourth corner was hit by Naomi Carroll and deflected over the bar.

They very much had the lion’s share of the second half ball and got their reward when Upton’s drag hit a foot on the line and she stepped up to convert the stroke. But they could not break through again and, in the last minute, Foley cleaned up her second after Eanna Horan’s shot came back off the post.

Old Alex coach Eimear Cregan. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Old Alex 1 (A Russell) UCD 1 (N Carey)
Old Alex and UCD shared a point each from a high class game in Milltown as Abbie Russell’s first half goal was cancelled out by a riposte from Niamh Carey.

Early on, Carey’s twin Michelle was one of the initial driving forces with her speedy runs twice leading to shots that needed to be dealt with by the Alex defence. In return, Alex’s best chance fell to Allie Hetherington from a brilliant ball in from Jessica McGirr but stand-in goalkeeper Laura Gunning made her presence felt to snuff out the chance.

Alex went in front when Mikayla Power cut in from the sideline and her slide-rule pass fell to Zoe Dunne whose touch invited Russell to chip the ball into the net; 1-0 at half-time.

UCD applied a huge amount of pressure in the second half with Leah Paul’s cracking shot saved at the right post while Amy Elliott twice had chances repelled. The students also hit the post before the equaliser came with nine minutes to go with a diving deflection from Niamh Carey from a pin-point cross.

A Lena Tice corner shot was repelled before UCD had a big chance to win it at the end but Carolyn Crampton did well and the tie ended 1-1.

Railway Union 4 (Z Delany, E Smyth, K Dillon, F Maughan) Belfast Harlequins 0
Railway Union moved into the top four with a strong 4-0 win over Belfast Harlequins, built around three first half goals at Park Avenue.

Indeed, they scored in both the first 45 and last 45 seconds of the game, the former coming from an excellent left-wing move with Sarah Hawkshaw and Kate Lloyd combining before gifting Zara Delany with a simple chance for 1-0.

It was a fruitful avenue of attack and almost yielded a second via Orla Patton but she could not get enough on her shot. They switched the point of attack to the right double their lead, Delany popping the ball across a crowded circle where Emma Smyth was waiting to finish off.

Kate Lloyd almost nipped in for another when she pick-pocketed the last defender and the third arrived when Kate Dillon tipped in next from Delany’s under-the-arm pass.

They continued to create the better chances into the second half though Belfast Quins came more into the contest as time wore on. They had a couple of corners but could not get the trap right to tee up Jane Kilpatrick.

From one of their main attacks, Railway almost snagged a fourth but Dillon fired wide with the goal beckoning. As it was, they waited until the final second when Florence Maughan turned in Hawkshaw’s ball across to cap a comfortable win.

Old Alex’s Jessica McGirr takes on UCD’s Sarah MacAuley. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Loreto 4 (S O’Brien 2, S Torrans, H Matthews) Muckross 0
Loreto got their third win of the season to rise to 12 points and up one place as they had too much in the tank for their Dublin rivals.

It took them a while to breakthrough, though, as Muckross goalkeeper Aofie Glennon impressed between the posts and, in general, they made life hard for Loreto with a compact defence.

Corners looked the most likely route to get the breakthrough as the set piece count rose and Sarah Torrans eventually profited on the half hour, hitting home after the ball squirmed her way following the first shot.

Hannah Matthews hit the post with a direct strike from another corner in the third quarter and Nicola Torrans just missed out from a great chance created by high pressure. The second came when Matthews stormed through the middle onto a Grace Donald pass and slotted in on her backhand.

Siofra O’Brien then got the third, another backhand shot after Yasmin Pratt had worked the ball into her path. O’Brien hit the post with another chance before getting her second following excellent control, a driving run and reverse-stick shot.

Liz Murphy retained her clean sheet with an excellent sliding interception to block Rebecca McMullen’s attempted cross.

Cork Harlequins 0 Pegasus 6 (A Speers, E Armstrong, R Maguire, S McCay, L McKee, E Quinn)
Pegasus bounced back from their first defeat of the season with a strong 6-0 away win over Cork Harlequins. Alex Speers, Ella Armstrong and Ruth Maguire’s penalty stroke got them halfway there inside the first quarter of the contest.

A corner goal from Shirley McCay and final quarter efforts from Lucy McKee and Emma Quinn completed the result.

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Pembroke-Insta and Glens-TRR tussles highlight EYHL weekend

For a second weekend running, there is plenty of scope for a shake-up at the top of the men’s and women’s EYHL with encounters between sides in the top three of both competitions.

On the women’s side, there has been something of a changing of the guard with three sides in the top four having never previously reached the EYHL playoffs.

Two of them meet at Serpentine Avenue with Pembroke – fresh from their 2-1 win over Pegasus – face Catholic Institute after their stunning 3-2 success against UCD.

Playing back-to-back games on water-based could work well for the Limerick side who have won four of their last five outings, three games of which were on the road.

Leah McGuire was a real beating heart in the Pembroke side a week ago while Isy Delamer was similarly composed at the back in their super performance that has them at the top alongside Old Alex.

Alex, themselves, have a tester against UCD but are in red-hot form, winning four in a row and scoring goals for fun – 10 in their last two outings with Nikki Evans grabbing four of them.

UCD are the EYHL’s top scorers thus far with Hannah McLoughlin leading the individual charts but she has been missed in the last two weeks following an injury sustained on international duty.

With many of their panel in the Irish Under-21 squad, it has made for a slightly disjointed spell and back-to-back defeats has them in sixth place.

Pegasus will hope to get back on the winning trail when they make the long trip to bottom side Cork Harlequins. The Ulster side missed the services of Shirley McCay, Leah Paul and Kate Gourley a week ago which left them tight for options.

Quins draw heavily on Munster Under-20 and 18 rising stars like Lauren Cripps, Amy O’Shea, Ruby Walsh and Isobel Kingston as they look to adapt to life in the top league with a very young squad.

Loreto will be looking to find a bit of form when they host Muckross at Beaufort; the hosts are in an unaccustomed lower mid-table position but the nature of the league means a good win here could see them right back among the chasers.

Railway Union have played out some intense battles this season with only their 6-0 success against Cork Harlequins being settled by more than a single goal. This weekend, they host the Belfast variety of Harlequin who sit on three points after seven rounds, putting them precariously above the bottom two.

Glenanne’s Jonny McCormack on the attack against UCD. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Despite both sitting near the top of the men’s table, both joint-top Glenanne and Three Rock Rovers come into round seven off the back of their first losses of the season in recent weeks.

Rovers are the top scorers in the division to date with 22 from their six games but Glenanne have the most lethal individual shooting threat with Shane O’Donoghue on nine goals.

They are a tight-knit panel, working with one of the smaller squads this season with experienced heads like Brad Venter, Sam O’Connor, Gary and Richie Shaw bringing a wealth of know-how. David Lawless has impressed between the posts since arriving from Clontarf.

For Rovers, Ali Haughton could come back into the fold having missed over a month with a hamstring issue but Harry MacMahon missed last week’s tie at Lisnagarvey.

It is one of four derbies on the agenda. The Ulster match-up between Annadale and Banbridge sees just one point separate the sides with a potential cracker on the cards.

Dale’s first win of the campaign was emphatic a fortnight ago and in a realistic position to challenge Bann for the first time in a number of years.

While a lot has been made of their international trio, Adam McAllister has been a vital cog while up and coming stars like Kent Irwin and Paddy Rose along with Ulster Under-21 panelists Allen Lyons and James Clark mean they have a wider depth of talent.

Bann were almost stunned by Corinthian last time around after a breathtaking first half in Dublin. More of that and less of the second period and they will be in good shape.

Pembroke were heavily under-staffed for their last visit to Dublin 16 a fortnight ago and they will hope to have some of Harry Spain, Rob McCollum, Alex Burns and Andrew Colton back in the line-up against Corinthian.

Julian Dale has been inspirational this term despite their tough run and he will be key if they can land a first win of the league season.

For the reds, they know a third win of the campaign would put significant distance between themselves and Pembroke and allow them to continue looking upwards in the table.

Monkstown take their slightly erratic form to YMCA, beating Glenanne after missing out against Annadale and Corinthian. Guy Sarratt showed once again he is a top gun in this league from corners and will put Jakim Bernsden to the test.

YM have not won since the opening day of the season; their ability to stretch the game at pace has made for plenty of attacking openings but has the downside of seeing them concede at least twice in each game this term, something they will aim to address.

Top faces bottom as Lisnagarvey, fresh from joining the Glens at the top, meet UCD at Comber Road with the students outsiders to land their first win of the campaign.

Round two of the men’s and women’s Irish Junior Cups also takes place with 16 teams remaining in each competition on Saturday.

Sunday sees the latest rounds of girls interprovincial fixtures with the Under-21, 18 and 16 sides from Munster and Leinster facing off at Newtown in Waterford while Ulster and Connacht’s Under-18 and 16 teams play each other at Grange Road.

Saturday 13th November 2021
EYHL Division 1:
Annadale v Banbridge, Lagan College, 2.30pm; Corinthian v Pembroke Wanderers, Whitechurch Park, 3.15pm; Glenanne v Three Rock Rovers, St. Andrews College, 2.30pm; Lisnagarvey v UCD, Comber Road, 2.30pm; YMCA v Monkstown, Wesley College, 3.50pm

Men – Irish Junior Cup – Round 2: Banbridge v Instonians, Havelock Park, 1pm; Clontarf v Pembroke, Mount Temple, 3pm; Corinthian v YMCA, St Columba’s, 4.45pm; Glenanne v Cookstown, St Andrews, 4pm; Kilkeel v Bangor, Kilkeel HS, 2.30pm; Monkstown v Annadale, Rathdown, 2pm; North Down v Lisnagarvey, Comber LC, 4pm; Railway Union v Mossley, Park Avenue, 3.40pm

EYHL Division 1:
Cork Harlequins v Pegasus, Farmers’ Cross, 12.45pm; Loreto v Muckross, Beaufort, 1.15pm; Old Alexandra v UCD, Alexandra College, 1.30pm; Pembroke Wanderers v Catholic Institute, Serpentine Avenue, 2.30pm; Railway Union v Belfast Harlequins, Park Avenue, 1.45pm

Irish Junior Cup – Round 2: Cork Harlequins v Avoca, Farmers Cross; Trinity v Corinthian, Santry, 2pm; Loreto v Belfast Harlequins, Beaufort, 2.45pm; Muckross v Monkstown, Muckross Park, 3.30pm; Old Alex v Ashton, Milltown, 3pm; Pembroke Wanderers v Pegasus, Serpentine Avenue, 12.30pm; Ulster Elks v Railway Union, Jordanstown, 2.40pm

Sunday 14th November 2021
Inteprovincial Championships

Under-21: Munster v Leinster, Newtown, 2pm
Under-18: Ulster v Connacht, Grange Road, 2pm; Munster v Leinster, Newtown, 2pm
Under-16: Ulster v Connacht, Grange Road, 5pm; Munster v Leinster, Newtown, 12pm

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Dublin to host women’s Euro qualifiers while men head to Calais

Ireland will host the women’s 2022 EuroHockey Championship qualifier event while the Irish men are bound for Calais, France for their competition next summer.

These tournaments are new on the international calendar with the winners of each event qualifying for the top tier of European action in 2023 in Monchengladbach. That tournament, in turn, will potentially offer a high quota of Olympic qualifying berths.

The European Hockey Federation confirmed the breakdown of events on Thursday morning with both events running between August 21st and 27th, 2022.

The 12th ranked Irish women will be the top seed for a Dublin-based event which also features Poland (27th), the Czech Republic (24th), Turkey (33rd) and Finland (unranked).

The venue will be finalised in due course and will provide a first major home event since 2019 when Banbridge hosted the World Series Finals and Donnybrook brought a record crowd for the Olympic Qualifiers.

Ireland’s men in Cardiff last month. Pic: Irfon Bennett

The 14th ranked men have a tough competition, placed in Qualifier B alongside host side France – 13th in the world – as well as Ukraine (28th), Turkey (44th), Lithuania (62nd) and Slovenia (71st).

Previously, the level of European championship competition countries took part in was on a promotion and relegation basis.

This new format sees four men’s and four women’s qualifier tournaments with one ticket to the top tier championships in 2023 on offer from each event.

The second and third placed finishers in each tournament will play in the 2023 EuroHockey Trophy; fourth and fifth placed sides go to the third tier while the remaining teams will go into the fourth tier.

2022 EuroHockey Championship qualifiers (all August 2022)

Qualifier A (Ourense, Spain): Spain, Poland, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia
Qualifier B (Calais, France): France, IRELAND, Ukraine, Turkey, Slovenia
Qualifier C (Vienna, Austria): Austria, Russia, Belarus, Croatia, Denmark, Hungary
Qualifier D (TBC, Scotland): Scotland, Wales, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Gibraltar, Finland

Qualifier A (Durham, England): England, Wales, Russia, Croatia, Slovakia
Qualifier B (Dublin, Ireland): IRELAND, Poland, Czech Republic, Turkey, Finland
Qualifier C (TBC): Belarus, Italy, Ukraine, Lithuania, Gibraltar
Qualifier D (Dunkirk, France): France, Scotland, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Slovenie

Applications for Junior Age Group assistant coaches sought

Hockey Ireland is currently inviting expressions of interest  for the following roles:

U16 Boys Assistant Coach Position
– U18 Girls Assistant Coach Position
– U18 Boys Assistant Coach Position
(All voluntary positions)

We are looking for individuals with:
• Ambition and commitment to the development of young Irish Hockey internationals
• Experience working as part of a team
• A high performance ethos
• An ability to work on selected weekends and travel overseas when required

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

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

To Apply
Application is by CV along with a covering letter outlining why you are applying for the role and what you feel you can add to the relevant programme. This should be emailed to Mark Leonard-Doyle at mark.leonard-doyle@hockey.ie or posted to High Performance Manager, Irish Hockey Association, Newstead, University College, Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4.

Applications close on Friday 26th November at 5pm with interviews expected to be the following week.

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Pembroke and Alex move top while Insta land big victory

Women’s EY Hockey Legaue – day seven round-up
Railway Union 1 (O Patton) Loreto 1 (C Hamill)

Railway Union and Loreto were inseparable in normal time for a third time this season as first quarter goals from Christina Hamill and Orla Patton meant honours even at Park Avenue.

The visitors went in front when Yasmin Pratt went on a lengthy run down the left and and shoveled across for Hamill to sweep home. Railway replied quickly with Kate Dillon deflecting over just before Patton equalised in the 10th minute when Holly Jenkinson lined up a nice angle for the former UCD player to deflect in.

After that, it was very tight. Riona Norton made a strong block from the lively Pratt while Kate Lloyd’s reverse was well blocked by Liz Murphy. She also palmed away a Sarah Patton drag-flick to keep it at 1-1 at half-time.

Loreto had a couple of good chances in the third quarter with Sarah Evans’ shot touched over by Norton while a smart corner move from Aoife Taaffe was guided just wide by a sliding deflector.

From Railway’s third corner, another Jenkinson angled shot was read well by Hannah Matthews on the left post to avert the danger and that was the last big chance.

Pembroke Wanderers 2 (E Curran, A Naughton) Pegasus 1 (K Magee)
Pembroke produced a brilliant home performance to leap-frog Pegasus and into a share of first place thanks to cracking goals from Ellen Curran and Aisling Naughton.

Pegasus – who were without Shirley McCay – had the first major chance when Katie McKee’s corner slap from the left of the circle was saved off the line by Hayley O’Donnell.

After that, the Ulster side’s goal led a charmed life as Tori Wensley almost cashed in from chaos in the circle from a miscontrolled ball around the back. A corner followed up from which Leah McGuire – who was exceptional between defence and midfield – flicked onto the inside of the post and eventually to safety.

The first goal came on the half hour and was an outstanding pitch-length more. McGuire flipped the ball out to Rachel O’Brien on the 23-metre line. She got the ball on to Amy-Kate Trevor who worked it on to Gillian Pinder with space to attack; she did just that and clipped into the middle where Curran led a queue of three players lining up to get the tip in.

Into Q3, Naughton’s brilliant backhand shot hit the inside of the post again and somehow stayed out. But one did become two when McGuire’s long pump was not dealt with; Emily Beatty helped it on to Naughton who cracked home on her backhand first time.

The game remained live, though, as Kerri Magee swept in a penalty corner, cutting the gap to 2-1. And they had their moments in the fourth quarter with Taite Doherty not quite getting the full connection in a circle melee while Magee’s corner shot was blocked by O’Donnell on the left post yet again.

Old Alex 5 (S Robinson, N Evans, M Power, A Russell, D Duke) Belfast Harlequins 1 (J Kilpatrick)
Old Alex overcame a first minute concession to beat Belfast Harlequins for the second time this season and move into a share of top spot of the women’s EY Hockey League.

Quins started the better with recent Irish debutante Jane Kilpatrick scoring from a corner in the early phases. Alex had the majority share of possession from then on and got the equaliser in the sixth minute from a PC rebound scored by Sarah Robinson.

Six minutes into the second quarter, the Milltown side got just reward for their play with a reverse strike by Nikki Evans from a very tight angle to go in at half time 2-1 up.

Mikayla Power added a third goal in the 3rd quarter, roofing her shot home from a reverse. Abbie Russell weighed in with the next after great forward pressure with the forward reacting quickest to a loose ball, spinning towards goal and crashed the ball off the backboard.

Harlequins fought hard and had chances to close the gap only to be denied by some fine work from Caroline Nugent, particularly when she came off her line to make a sliding save.

The final goal was scored by Deirdre Duke who picked up the ball with her back to goal from a Lena Tice pass and squeezed the ball home on her reverse.

Catholic Institute’s Roisin Upton takes on UCD’S Sarah McAuley. Picture Adrian Boehm

UCD 2 (R Kelly, M Carey) Catholic Institute 3 (R Upton 3)
Róisín Upton’s hat trick saw Catholic Institute produce an outstanding comeback from 2-0 down to beat UCD and move into a share of third place – three points off top spot – after seven rounds of action.

Rachel Kelly – playing against her twin sister Hannah’s new club – scored from a very fast counter-attack in the 10th minute for UCD in a lively opening with chances at both ends. They drew the best of Pam Smithwick, too, early in the second quarter before the Limerick side grew more comfortable on the water turf, though the hosts did finish the half strong.

Michelle Carey doubled the students’ lead three minutes into the second half with a back post deflection for what looked an imposing lead.

It remained that way until 23 minutes from the end when sustained pressure led to a corner which Upton put away to gain a lifeline. Within five minutes, it was level with Christine O’Shea earning a corner which Upton used to level matters at 2-2.

And Upton had her third of the day when a great team move ended with yet another set piece which Upton put away. UCD replied with Niamh Carey going close with five minutes to go from a one-on-one chance but Insta prevailed for a famous win.

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Lisnagarvey move top with narrow win over Three Rock

Men’s EYHL Division 1
Lisnagarvey 3 (B Nelson, P McKibbin, J Lorimer) Three Rock Rovers 2 (R Spencer 2)

Lisnagarvey came from behind to defeat Three Rock Rovers 3-2 at Comber Road in the sole game to be played this weekend in the men’s EY Hockey League with the hosts moving into a share of top of the EYHL standings with Glenanne.

It was a closely fought encounter with two goals for the hosts on either side of the third quarter break proving decisive. Rovers pulled a goal back with just over six minutes left but were unable to find an equaliser.

The Rathfarnham side went ahead from their first circle entry on nine minutes, some lovely one-touch hockey from Evan Jennings and Ross Canning providing the chance for Ryan Spencer to net at the far post.

Garvey levelled matters seven minutes later when Ryan Getty’s cross from the left was met by Ben Nelson who finished high into the net from close range.

After a relatively featureless second quarter, James Corry shot wide from a penalty corner and then Rovers keeper Ben Whelan saved at full-strength from Ben Nelson’s powerful effort from the edge of the D.

On 51 minutes, it was 2-1 to the Hillsborough side, Peter McKibbin scoring from the penalty spot after Corry’s set-piece shot had struck a defender’s foot.

Eight minutes into the final quarter, James Lorimer rifled home a penalty corner to make it 3-1.

Rovers reduced the deficit when Spencer got his second from close range from a rebound off James Milliken’s pads but it was too little, too late.

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Two huge top-table clashes in EY Hockey League

The top of the table in both the men’s and women’s EY Hockey Leagues could be in for a big shake-up on Saturday with Pembroke meeting Pegasus in the latter while Lisnagarvey host Three Rock Rovers in the former.

With a third of the season almost complete, the main contenders have started to emerge in recent weeks with Pembroke’s women looking to force their way into the reckoning this term.

In the women’s competition, four matches have been brought forward from December due to the Junior World Cup, meaning rematches from the opening days of the campaign when Pembroke drew with Pegasus.

The Ballsbridge club have steadily added strong players to their line-up over the past few seasons with midfielder Ellen Curran (from UCD) and defender Issy Delamer (Trinity) adding real quality this term.

With Orla Macken also pushing for inclusion in the senior Irish setup, Emma Buckley between the posts and the likes of Sinead Loughran, Aisling Naughton and Leah McGuire in the line-up, there is quality in each area of the field.

For coach Gavin Groves, he feels the side are in a good spot, one point behind Pegasus with four wins from six outings to date. A win on Saturday at Serpentine Avenue could potentially see them leap-frog their rivals and go top.

Pembroke’s Ellen Curran. Picture: Adrian Boehm

“We are happy enough with the form we have shown. We had a really tough start to the league so to be sitting in the top 3 at this stage is ok. Every week is difficult and brings a tough opponent but it’s good to be involved in such a competitive league.

“We know how organised and disciplined Pegasus can be so we know we will have to perform well to get the result we want.”

For Pegasus, their tricky forwards Taite Doherty and Lucy McKee have put in serious star turns to date this season to lift the Belfast side to the top of the table at this stage.

There is a wealth of experience at hand with Shirley McCay, Alex Speers and Ruth Maguire offering guidance to new stars like Niamh McIvor and Ella Armstrong.

Craig McGrugan took on the coaching reins this summer and is comfortable with how his side has progressed, saying: “It’s been a very competitive first third of the season with some very tight, exciting games. So far we’ve been making progress game by game but this weekend will be another step up. We will have to perform at our best to come back to Belfast with any sort of positive result

“Pembroke have an excellent side playing a very good brand of hockey. They are a good passing side so the contest in the middle third of the pitch will be key.”

There will be plenty checking their Twitter feeds for score updates just down the road in Milltown where Old Alex – equal second on 13 points – host Belfast Harlequins.

UCD have been the league’s entertainers to date, their matches yielding almost five goals a game. They host Catholic Institute at Belfield in a lunchtime tip-off, an important for the sides in fourth and fifth to keep contact with the leading trio.

Likewise, sixth placed Railway Union meet Loreto for the third time already this term; the first EYHL meeting was a draw while Railway prevailed in a shoot-out in the Irish Senior Cup so expect this one to be extremely tight. Cork Harlequins’ date with Muckross has remained in its original December date.

On the men’s side, there is just one game on the EYHL agenda from which any winner between Lisnagarvey and Three Rock Rovers will catapult themselves into pole position after Glenanne fell to their first defeat of the season last weekend.

It is a back match from early October when Three Rock were involved in the Euro Hockey League in Antwerp.

Lisnagarvey coach Erroll Lutton. Picture: Adrian Boehm

Garvey won their last meeting just over 12 months ago in a cracker at Comber Road 4-2 but Rovers have a much changed line-up since then with five players emigrating for professional hockey or work reasons.

In their stead, Ryan Spencer and Matteo Romoli have made big impacts since joining the club along with the return of Ali Empey, Mark Samuel and Andrew Keane from UCD.

For Garvey, they are more settled in terms of line-up with the three Nelson brothers causing havoc in the forward lines, going on a run of four successive wins in the EYHL.

Coach Erroll Lutton says his side have been “playing well for the last few weeks and we want to build on that in this next period with a run of games with no interruptions up until the winter break.

“Three Rock have certainly been playing some good hockey and scoring quite a few goals. With some new faces in their team they certainly seem to have gelled quickly and found some momentum and consistency early in the season.”

Rovers coach Elun Hack is similarly complementary of Saturday’s opponents, saying: “Garvey are a quality team, and their performance and results over the past couple of disrupted seasons, and before are testimony to that.

“They are a very well organised team, hard to score against, and very dangerous on attack, with some seriously good talent in their forward line.

“Limiting their chances and creating our own is going to be the biggest challenge for us… getting that balance right.

“Our team is coming together nicely; huge amounts of process have been made and some of the goals and performances we have put together recently support that. However, there is still lots of work to do for this group to reach their full potential.”

Three Rock Rovers Matteo Romoli. Picture: Adrian Boehm

Fingal Hockey Development Officer – closing date for applications extended


Hockey Ireland (in partnership with Fingal CoCo and Leinster Hockey) are seeking to employ a Development Officer within the Fingal County Council catchment area . Starting in November 2021, the aim of the Fingal Hockey Development Officer (FHDO) is to grow participation of hockey in the Fingal administrative area by facilitating the promotion of sustainable participation opportunities within clubs and schools.  

The objectives of the role are: 

  • To support clubs in the region to become stronger and more sustainable   
  • To facilitate training of volunteers, coaches and umpires   
  • To grow participation through recruitment and retention initiatives 
  • Growing Hockey through community and school engagement 

For more information see Job Description here: 

To apply please send your CV to linda.monaghan@hockey.ieClosing date is 18th November 2021


“Inspiring” WISE Festival a first for HockeyID in Ireland

The National Sports Campus in Abbotstown played host to the inaugural WISE Hockey ID Fest last weekend with over 50 young players with intellectual disabilities enjoying international hockey competition.

For two days over the weekend, seven teams, 18 coaching delegates and a team of FIH Academy Coach Educators worked together to put on a splendid show of inclusive hockey, while also providing some great learning and training opportunities for the coaching delegates.

So impressive was the ambition of this inaugural project that it attracted government interest and the Irish Minister of State for Sport Jack Chambers was on hand to lend his support

“The event was so affirming and inspiring and shows what sport is truly about. It’s when your child walks off a pitch declaring himself to be a ‘superstar’ you know it’s been a massive success,” said a parent of a youngster playing for the Botanic Blitzers.

The weekend highlights included Zumba warm-ups; an inclusive atmosphere that was enjoyed by participants; their parents and the coaching staff and umpires; and a taste of competitive hockey action with teams and staff that came from both Ireland and further afield.

“[It was] Brilliant to see Irish Hockey organise an inclusive #hockey4all international tournament for teams across Ireland and the UK in the Sport Campus in Blanchardstown today. Great to meet the teams, families and volunteers,’ Minister Chambers tweeted.

Five of the teams came from clubs in Ireland, with a further two joining the action from England. The delegates on the FIH Academy Coach Education course were from Ireland, England and the Netherlands.

The Coach Educators were Hugo Santos of Portugal, Hans Pieter van Beek of the Netherlands, goalkeeping specialist Grahame Mansell-Grace and FIH Hockey ID Project lead and former GB international Norman Hughes.

The participating teams were: Wakefield, Railway, Monkstown, Botanic, Wicklow, Harbourne and Three Rock Rovers, with every team playing each other over the course of the competition.

At the close of the inaugural HockeyID Festival, the feedback was hugely positive.

Elina Doyle, a member of the Three Rock Rockets squad, said: “I really enjoyed the tournament. I had so much fun with meeting up with everyone and spending time together with different clubs. I really loved it a lot.”

Ann Murray, manager of the Botanic Blitzers, gathered the following feedback from the team’s parents and players: “The tournament this weekend has further consolidated the Botanic HC commitment of an inclusive way forward for the club and the Blitzers team.

“This is a win-win for players and club members and represents a remarkable partnership with the local community.

“The enthusiasm of the coaches, players and supporters was simply infectious. This is an event we will all remember as a very significant moment for all of us. Long may it be repeated. The smiles on the players faces and their sense of achievement can’t be measured. Thank you to everyone involved and well done.”

Daniel Monahan, who represented Wicklow Vikings, said: “I had great fun at the two days of the festival. It was great to meet other teams from Ireland and the UK. Our team are quite new and it was our first time at a festival.

“It was my first time playing in a match and I got to play in six over the weekend and I scored in every match. I enjoyed our training session learning about block tackles.”

Matthew from the Rockets gave a big thumbs up to the music that played out over the loud speakers, adding to the festival atmosphere and said he enjoyed making friends from different clubs.

The music and Zumba was also popular with the parents gathered on the sideline. One mother, Adele Meenan, said: “It was great to be back at a sporting event. The atmosphere was great between all the teams from Ireland and the UK. The extra events like the Zumba dancing and hockey training sessions were lots of fun.”

Another parents added: “What a happy, happy day. Thank you all, it’s definitely one for the memory book. Thank you to all the coaches and volunteers who give up their time to coach all our special ones, this was a brilliant day today.”

Norman Hughes praised the hard work of Hockey Ireland development officer Dwyne Hill, and added: “We have got to thank Hockey Ireland for their generosity and enthusiasm to host this event.

“It is part of their inclusion programme and I think, looking at the outcome of this event, they are to be congratulated on the way they are promoting and enabling inclusivity in our sport.”