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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)

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Niamh Carey nabs vital winner as Green Army move one step closer to World Cup

** Ireland celebrate Niamh Carey’s winning goal. Picture: Frank Uijlenbroek/World Sport Pics

Women’s World Cup qualifier
Ireland 3 (L Tice, A O’Flanagan, N Carey) Belarus 2 (S Bahushevich, R Batura)
Niamh Carey’s incredible start to her international career continued as her 48th minute goal earned Ireland a 3-2 win over Belarus in Pisa, putting them within one win of the 2022 World Cup.

It was a remarkable piece of work as she was knocked over by Belarus goalkeeper Maryna Navitskaya but still managed to roll over on the ground and scoop the ball into the backboard.

Earlier, Ireland had made a brilliant start with Lena Tice and Anna O’Flanagan putting them 2-0 up inside four minutes only for Belarus to fight back with Sviatlana Bahushevich and Ryta Batura levelling things.

But Ireland kept their nerve with skipper Katie Mullan picking out Carey with a beautiful line into the circle from which Carey settled the contest.

“It certainly wasn’t the way we wanted the game to go, especially when we went 2-0 up so early,” was coach Sean Dancer’s assessment.

“Credit to Belarus who got back into it and had some nice plays. Their coach [Herman Kruis] has certainly been doing some good stuff with them and it turned into a hard fought match but, to our credit, the girls kept fighting and won it which is the main aim.”

Ireland pre-match. Picture: Frank Uijlenbroek/World Sport Pics

“It’s still do or die! Final tomorrow but we always knew it was going to be the case. We are up for the challenge and are under no illusion whether we play Scotland or Wales [at 3pm Irish time]. We need to bring it and probably bring a little bit more than we did today!”

The Green Army could scarcely have started better with Michelle Carey burning up the middle to win a first minute penalty corner. Lena Tice powered home from the top with an accurate slap for 1-0.

The speed shown by Carey was a sign of things to come as the direct running of her, twin sister Niamh and Sarah Hawkshaw wreaked havoc throughout the tie.

In the fourth minute, Anna O’Flanagan was then credited with the final touch from a real melée, created by Niamh Carey’s charge and shot which spun up and behind the goalkeeper Maryna Navitskaya. Naomi Carroll had the first bite and O’Flanagan followed up to make extra sure.

But any notion Belarus would be a beaten docket was quickly dispelled as Sviatlana Bahushevich deftly flicked in from close range in just the fifth minute.

At that stage, it looked set to be a goalfest with the game wide open with Ireland looking to exploit their speed at every opportunity to stretch the game. For Dancer, the pace of Sarah Hawkshaw, Sarah Torrans and the Carey twins was a key factor but, allied to the way Belarus approached the tie, it made for a helter-skelter fixture.
“One of our strengths is our speed and skill and we certainly want to bring that as much as possible. The way Belarus set up their press and structure allowed the game to become quite open. In the end, it probably became too open.

Indeed, it was a surprise the tie made it through the second and third quarters without further action on the scoreboard. Niamh Carey’s goalbound effort was hooked off the line by a back-pedaling defender while a Mullan crack at goal pinged the post.

The Green Army could not make further use of their half-dozen penalty corners and Sarah Torrans agonisingly missing out from a Hawkshaw cross.

While they were creating the better chances, Belarus always looked like they were in the hunt, forcing some big interventions from Hannah McLoughlin and Róisín Upton.

Niamh Carey on the attack. Picture: Frank Uijlenbroek/World Sport Pics

And so it proved in the closing quarter from the Belarussians first set of corners, Ryta Batura eventually scrambling home after a couple of deflections.

But no sooner were they level than Ireland replied with Mullan’s rangy pass and Carey’s brilliant finish. It made it two goals in two capped international matches for the current UCD student, raised at Railway Union, with a memorable finish.

And Coach Dancer has been thrilled by her all-round game this week: “It’s a great conversion rate off the bat, two from two! The impressive thing she brings is her engine, her speed and endurance make it really tough for people to keep up with her. She got some really nice touches in at times when we needed them.”

It puts Ireland through to the final of this tournament where the World Cup ticket will ultimately be decided with Scotland or Wales the opposition.

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

Belarus: M Navitskaya, I Siamionava, H Zhylevich, U Kasabutskaya, D Belavusava, R Batura, Y Yubko, S Bahushevich, K Papkova, M Nikitsina, V Lapitskaya
Subs: N Shtsin, K Mihunova, K Kutai, D Hanets, A Sys, K Zhuk, T Liavonava

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

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Irish World Cup hopes to be determined over the weekend

** Ireland’s men in Cardiff. Picture: Irfon Bennett

The Irish men and women’s teams will hope to end this weekend with World Cup qualification tickets confirmed following their respective Thursday wins over Russia and France.

Both face knock-out fixtures on Saturday with the men facing Wales in Cardiff in a straight showdown for a ticket to India 2023. The women, meanwhile, have to win twice over the weekend, starting on Saturday against Belarus with victory setting up a Sunday date with either Wales or Scotland.

It means no margin for error but it is something men’s coach Mark Tumilty is keen to play down and focus on the performance at this stage.

“Qualifying not something we have talked too much about. The focus has always been putting in two performances this week for 60 minutes – we have done one of them and now it’s just 60 minutes again but to get to a World Cup would be fantastic!”

It will be a huge tussle against the home nation. Historically, Ireland have had the edge over Wales but the hosts are currently enjoying a golden period, rising seven places in the world rankings to an all-time high of 18th.

Indeed, they relegated Ireland from the top tier of European hockey in 2019 with a 4-0 result in Belgium and, in Rupert Shipperley and Jacob Draper, have Olympic experience to show the level of quality they now bring to the table.

Much has changed in the past two years with Tumilty bringing in several high quality new faces to the line-up and his new look side will aim to build on the composed win over Russia.

The Green Army in Pisa. Picture: Frank Uijlenbroek/World Sport Pics

With tickets sold out, Ireland will be looking to spoil the party and secure a place at the World Cup for a third time.

For the women, they meet a Belarus side in their qualifier semi-final who are ranked nine places below Ireland but produced a stand-out 7-1 win over Russia in the first round.

The Green Army have won the last four meetings between the sides but that performance means there is little room for complacency. Indeed, Belarus won the second tier of the European Championships in August and are coming in hot from a busy summer leading up to this tournament.

With the two countries moving in different circles on the world stage this summer, Chloe Watkins says it will be a new challenge.

“It is difficult to predict how things will pan out and we haven’t seen a huge amount about how they play so far so it is difficult to plan. But if we play to our potential, we should have enough in us to get over the line. We reset after the France game and now we focus on Saturday and nothing else.”

That tie takes place at 11am (Irish time) with www.eurohockeytv.org the outlet streaming the fixture. The men’s tie follows on the same website from 2.30pm.

Saturday, October 23rd
World Cup qualifier fixtures
Men:
Ireland v Wales, Cardiff, 2.30pm

Women: Ireland v Belarus, Pisa, 11am (Irish time)

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Trinity to host reformatted Intervarsities

This year’s Intervarsities will take place in a new format with the women’s Chilean Cup and Plate taking place on October 23rd with the Mauritius Cup and Plate for men being played a day later on October 24th.

To account for Covid-19 restrictions, the premier third level competitions is back on the calendar having been ruled out in 2020 and it will be played over one day each rather than the usual three-day event.

In the Chilean Cup, four teams will take part with Trinity College, Ulster University, DCU and TU Dublin. It leaves a strong potential for a new winner with DCU and TU Dublin having not won the title before in its 85-year history.

Trinity’s last success was in 2002 while UU are the only side to break the UCD monopoly on the title since 2010, winning in 2015. The Belfield outfit is not taking part in this year’s competition.

The four entrants will face off in an initial round-robin series with the top two advancing to the final at 5pm on Saturday evening with all the games being played at Trinity’s Santry Avenue grounds.

The Chilean Plate takes place on the same day and will feature Maynooth University, RCSI and TU Shannon who are making their debut in the competition.

A day later at the same venue, the Mauritius Cup will take place in the same format with Trinity College, Ulster University, DCU and TU Dublin taking part once again with the same match sequence.

TU Dublin are the only side yet to take home the Mauritius Cup before with Trinity having won the title 22 times, UU 14 times and DCU bringing it back St Clare’s in 2001 and 2010.

The Mauritius Plate will feature University of Limerick, Maynooth University and RCSI.

Entry list

Mauritius Cup: Trinity College, Ulster University, Dublin City University, Technological University Of Dublin
Chilean Cup: Trinity College, Ulster University, Dublin City University, Technological University Of Dublin
Mauritius Plate: University Of Limerick, Maynooth University, Royal College Of Surgeons
Chilean Plate: Maynooth University, Royal College Of Surgeons, Technological University Of Shannon

Chilean Cup schedule (all at Santry Avenue; Saturday, October 23):
9.30am: TCD vs DCU
10.45am: UU vs TUD
12pm: TUD vs TCD
1.15pm: UU vs DCU
2.30pm: DCU vs TUD
3.45pm: UU vs TCD
5pm: Cup Final

Mauritius Cup schedule (all at Santry Avenue; Sunday, October 24)
9.30am: TCD vs DCU
10.45am: UU vs TUD
12pm: TUD vs TCD
1.15pm: UU vs DCU
2.30pm: DCU vs TUD
3.45pm: UU vs TCD
5pm: Cup Final