,

President’s Newsletter – October 2021

It is great that hockey is going again and restrictions have eased. Schools and Clubs are back in action, the EYHL matches are underway and leagues in the provinces have commenced.

After watching exciting games, during the Olympics in July, we are proud of what the girls achieved as great sporting ambassadors for hockey in Ireland. They had tough matches against South Africa, the Netherlands, Germany and Great Britain and were unlucky against the surprise team, India. However, they can draw on their experience and prepare for their world qualifying tournament in Pisa from 21st to 24th October. Our best wishes go to Sean Dancer and his squad of players.

I enjoyed watching the build-up games for the Men’s Senior team when they played a Great Britain Development team in 4 games at Lisnagarvey from 4th to 8th August. Mark Tumilty played a young squad as part of the preparation for the European Division B tournament in Gniezno, Poland and finished the series with four very sound wins. The tournament in Poland was live-streamed and we were able to see the men reach the semi-finals and qualify for the World Qualifying Tournament in Cardiff, where they will fae Russia in their first game on 21st October.

In super sunny weather, the Celtic Cup Masters Tournament was played at Civil Service Sports Association pitches at Stormont from 27th to 29th August. Unfortunately, the French teams were unable to travel, but teams from NICS, Instonians and Ulster Over 55s played instead of them in friendly games. I must congratulate all the players for their incredible levels of fitness – playing three 75-minute matches in three days in hot temperatures; very well played everyone!  The winners of the Over 60s age-group were Scotland, with Wales as runners-up. Ireland won the Over 65s, with Scotland runners-up and Wales came out winners of the Over 70s, with Scotland as runners-up.

On 1st September I chaired the IHUA Annual General Meeting online. My thanks go to the Committee and IHUA Chair, Rob Argent for all the background work and reports that had been circulated prior to the meeting. This made chairing the AGM a much easier task for me.

The Four Provinces Advisory Committee has been meeting since 27th June. After an introductory meeting, Kevin Keane gave a presentation to the Provincial representatives and past President, Martin Canniffe, on understanding the function of the Provincial entity versus the function of the National entity.   Kevin then gave the same talk to Board Directors on Sunday 26th September.

Our first face to face Board Meeting, for many months, was held in the Clayton Hotel, Liffey Valley on Sunday 5th September. It was good to meet new and standing Board Members in person as many of us felt that we were ‘zoomed out’ with online meetings. Board Chairman, Trevor Watkins, is aiming for every other meeting to be held in person.

The European Hockey Federation Congress was planned to take place in Prague on 20th August; I had been asked to represent Ireland and give a talk on how the Irish Women’s World Cup silver medal and Olympic qualification had inspired the nation, but it had to be postponed due to the latest Czech Government’s travel regulations. However, I was the voting delegate for Ireland when the Congress was held online on Saturday 18th September and we were delighted when Inez Cooper was elected Female Vice-President of the Executive Board of the EHF.

President George Millar presenting Bangor’s Centenary Plaque.

A weekend of celebrations took place on 17th & 18th September for Bangor Hockey Club’s centenary. I was invited to the book launch in the North Down Museum and to the dinner in the Clandeboye Lodge Hotel the following evening. Bangor Hockey Club’s President George Millar presented a plaque and the centenary book to Hockey Ireland. There is a close link between Monkstown Hockey Club and Bangor with several Monkstown members attending the dinner. Gordon Watkins made a presentation to the Bangor from Monkstown.

On Saturday 25th September I watched the EYHL game with Lisnagarvey playing Corinthian. The result was a 3-1 win for the home team.

On Friday 1st October the traditional lunch for Hockey Ireland’s Honorary Life Members took place. This special occasion was started by Ivy Dennis and continued by Martin Canniffe when they were H.I. Presidents. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, it didn’t take place last year. A very good meal was enjoyed in the Talbot Hotel, Stillorgan and I was delighted to present new Honorary Life Members, Arlene Boyles and Martin Canniffe with their pins.

Ann Rosa is pictured presenting Arlene Boyles and Martin Canniffe with their pins. Featured in group shot are, Back row: Ray O’Connor, Ivy Dennis, John Smyth, Douglas Grey, Dixon Rose, Arlene Boyles, John Dennis, Martin Canniffe, Ann Murray & Gladys Ruddock Front row: Sally Ann Fanagan, Brian George, Doreen Howe, Daphne Hall, Joan Priestman, Ann Rosa (H.I. President), Irene Johnston & Grace Redmond

It was great to talk to Joan Priestman (née Horne) at the event. The photograph below shows Joan wearing a blazer that she had for the 1965 Great Britain and Ireland team (called the BGITTs) that played against the USA. She will travel to Wales this month for a reunion.

The tour was approved by the Women’s British & Irish Hockey Boards but was self-financed by the players. The squad comprised of 15 players: four from England, Scotland and Wales and three from Ireland, plus a manager Mrs Hopkins, the mother of the Ulster representative Thelma Hopkins. They had no coach, physio or other support staff.

Back row: Jennie Braham (England); Joan Horne (Ireland); Maureen Short (E); Helen Weir (Scotland); Bridget Cannel (E); Thelma Hopkins (I); Valerie Sinclair (S). Sitting: Mary Hyland (Wales); Janice Mitchell (S); Joyce Hunter (S); Mrs Hopkins, Manager (I); Nan Thomas (W); Ellen Toulson (E); Helen O’Neil (I). Kneeling: Barbara Stacey (W); Janet Morgan (W)

On 5th & 6th October, I supported the Ireland men in their matches against Malaysia at Lisnagarvey Hockey Club.  The Malaysian men are the currently ranked 11th in the world and gave 14th-ranked Ireland strong opponents in the lead-up to their important World Cup qualifier event. The ‘Speedy tigers were on a European Tour, playing games against France and Wales and English Clubs. Ireland came out on top 3-1 in the first game but Malaysia were clear winners in the second game 4-2. Apparently, the visitors have really enjoyed their Irish visit and look forward to coming back.

After so little hockey match activity last season, I am looking forward to watching many more games in the next few months.

Ann Rosa

President, Hockey Ireland

October 2021

, , ,

Tumilty adds key experience for senior men’s World Cup qualifiers

** Ireland celebrate Sam Hyland’s debut goal against Malaysia. Picture: Billy Pollock

Mark Tumilty reckons experience could be key at the win or bust men’s World Cup qualifiers which get underway next week in Cardiff.

World number 14 ranked Ireland need to win their first two games – starting off against 23rd rated Russia on Thursday, October 21st in the quarter-final – to land a place at the 2023 showpiece event to be played in India.

It has been a quick turnaround time since August’s EuroHockey Championship II campaign in Poland where a fresh-faced Green Machine, featuring eight tournament debutants, took bronze in a first competitive outing in almost two years.

Since then, the vastly experienced Olympian Conor Harte has returned to the fold. Luke Madeley, Jamie Carr and Lee Cole are also available having missed out on playing time at the Euros when they were deemed close contacts in the lead-up to the event.

For Carr and Madeley, it was especially frustrating as they spent 10 days in a Gniezno hotel in quarantine but, all going well, Tumilty feels the extra know-how in big game situations will be invaluable

“There is more experience in this squad and, with the straight knockout format of the tournament, I feel experience will be very important” Tumilty said of selection.

“With Lee Cole and Luke Madeley available along with Tim Cross and Conor Harte, we have plenty of experience in our back four. The other big positive in the squad is that Luke Madeley, Lee Cole, Conor Empey and Conor Harte offer good attacking penalty corner options in addition to Shane O’Donoghue.

“With the Euros, due to Covid and availability, we were lighter in our penalty corner options; it was an important component of my selection decision to ensure we have more penalty corner options on the pitch at all times.”

Of the other changes, Neal Glassey is likely to be deployed in midfield rather than at the back while Sam Hyland and Conor Empey – who both scored on debut last week in a series against Malaysia – have retained their place in the 18-player central panel.

“Neal gives us a more defensive-minded midfielder which I feel is important for this tournament. It is unfortunate for Kevin O’Dea to miss out but he definitely has a great international future ahead of him.

Ireland men’s head coach Mark Tumilty. Pic: Adrian Boehm

“Conor has done well in the Dutch Hoofdklasse, scoring a few goals there and against Malaysia last week. Sam brings something different, too; I like his playing style and he has excellent basics which I feel is very important at the highest level. He also plays a big role in penalty corner attack and defence. They are two guys who have done the hard work and deserve their opportunity next week.”

In total, there are 11 of the Euros panel who saw game time are retained. Carr and Mark Ingram are the goalkeepers named with Harte, Madeley, Cole, Empey and Hyland coming in for Fergus Gibson, Ian Stewart, Ben Nelson, James Milliken while Mark McNellis and O’Dea are the travelling reserves this time out.

The two-game series against Malaysia was an opportune one, winning the first 3-2 before getting a reality check in a 4-2 defeat to the speedy tigers.

The matches came along at short notice with Lisnagarvey able to accommodate the fixtures under Malaysia’s UK visas for a tour which also encompasses England and Wales.

“Lisnagarvey have been fantastic to work with over the past 15 months. They have been very accommodating with regards to hosting Ulster regional sessions, national sessions, the EDP series and most recently the Malaysia games. Gail Geddis and the Lisnagarvey committee deserves a special mention for the work they have put into hosting the Malaysia games.”

And the lessons learned from that second game will be crucial when it comes to the qualifiers.

“We’re playing knock-out hockey in Cardiff and there’s no room for a bad period in the game at any stage as we found out against Malaysia. We conceded 3 goals in a very short space of time in Quarter 1 which proved costly and a good lesson in how a game an go away from you very quickly”.

“That’s one of the reasons to go with experience, so we have the players can deal with that pressure. We need to execute in both circles when it is really needed. I have confidence this group of players can deliver. It will be tough tournament and I would say that any two [of the eight] teams participating have the ability qualify for the World Cup. Our focus is our first game and we will need to produce a very good performance against Russia to progress to the semi-final to have the opportunity to qualify for the World Cup.”

First up are Russia, ranked lower but they did contest a higher level of European competition during the summer in June, scoring plenty of goals despite finishing last.

Tumilty pored over those videos and says they are a good side who play an attacking style of hockey. They have some excellent players with their main strength being in midfield. This was reflected in a strong performance from club side Dinamo Elektrostal in the Euro Hockey League when putting it up to Dutch giant SV Kampong.

“They are definitely a talented side with a goalscoring threat as they proved in the European Championship this summer”

“We go into the tournament well prepared and with a strong squad. It is a matter of whether we can deliver to take that next step and get to a major tournament. It would be massive boost for this senior men’s team to qualify again for a World Cup. It’s a big challenge but is one I certainly believe this group of players have the ability to overcome.”

Should Ireland win that tie, they will face either Wales or Italy on Saturday, October 23 for a place at the World Cup.

Ireland men’s squad for World Cup qualifiers (club/caps)
Jamie Carr (GK, KHC Leuven, 34)
Mark Ingram (GK, Pembroke, 27)
Tom Cross (Annadale, 22)
Luke Madeley (KHC Leuven, 23)
Lee Cole (Monkstown, 90)
Conor Harte (KHC Dragons, 254)
Peter McKibbin (Lisnagarvey, 8)
Kyle Marshall (Old Georgians, 7)
Shane O’Donoghue (Glenanne, 197)
Sean Murray (captain, KHC Leuven, 85)
Neal Glassey (Crefelder HTC, 67)
Daragh Walsh (KHC Leuven, 58)
Michael Robson (Annadale, 120)
Johnny McKee (Banbridge, 49)
Conor Empey (SCHC, 2)
Sam Hyland (YMCA, 2)
Ben Walker (Braxgata, 42)
Jeremy Duncan (Monkstown, 63)

Travelling reserves
Matthew Nelson (Lisnagarvey, 69)
Kevin O’Dea (UCD, 7)

Head Coach: Mark Tumilty
Assistant coach: Jason Klinkradt
Manager: Neil Irwin
Physical trainer: Eoin Cunniffe
Physio: Cameron Steele
Video technician: Ross Willis

 
FIH Men’s World Cup 2023 – European qualifier (Cardiff, October 21-24, 2021)
Thursday, October 21: Ireland v Russia, 4pm
Saturday, October 23: semi-final
Sunday, October 24: final/classification matches

** Full tournament information here: https://tms.fih.ch/competitions/1361

, , ,

Sean Dancer names new look Irish women’s side for World Cup qualifiers

Irish women’s coach Sean Dancer has named an 18-player central panel and two travelling reserves ahead next week’s vital World Cup qualifying competition which takes place in Pisa from October 21st to 24th.

The eight-team competition will be played in a knock-out format with only one side earning a place at next summer’s World Cup which will be played at venues in Spain and the Netherlands.

Ireland (12th ranked) meet France (27th) in their first game on October 21st (10.30am, Irish time) with the winner going on to play either Russia (20th) or Belarus (21st). Scotland (19th), Poland (23rd), Italy (17th) and Wales (25th) are on the other side of the draw.

Dancer’s central panel features 15 of the squad that travelled to the Olympic Games July with Niamh Carey, Erin Getty and Ellen Curran coming into the line-up.

“I am excited about the future and the balance within the squad,” coach Dancer said of his selection. “We have retained a lot of experience and have a lot of excitement coming through. It sits really nicely.”

For the players coming in, they have been aided by a comprehensive summer program with the Irish development squad, overseen by David Passmore which has been a fruitful avenue for those making the step up.

UCD’s Niamh Carey joins her twin sister Michelle in the panel and is on course to make her first capped international appearance in the quarter-final against France. She has been part of the panel for most of the past year and lined out against Great Britain in a couple of challenge matches.

New cap Niamh Carey. Picture: Billy Pollock

Queen’s University’s Erin Getty was one of the guiding lights of the summer developmental series to force her way back into senior international reckoning. The Queen’s University player earned eight caps in 2017 and 18 before a number of injuries set back her progress.

Pembroke’s Ellen Curran is another to return to the line-up. With 24 caps to her name, she was involved with the Green Army setup in the early phases of 2020, touring South Africa, prior to the postponement of the Games to 2021.

“Niamh has been in and around the senior group previously and has built on her strength on the ball and is scoring goals. She is very dangerous as an attacking player and we hope she will continue that.

“Erin played for Ireland before but never previously with me due to a long term injury which put her out for a while but, to her credit, she has worked really hard to get back into a position to be in the green shirt again.

“For Ellen, she had issues around her calf and ankle which didn’t make things easy for her but, once again, she took that time to work on areas we wanted her to. Credit to her, she staked her claim for a spot now and looking forward to seeing her use her speed and skill to create some havoc.

Of the Tokyo panel, Shirley McCay, Hannah Matthews, Lizzie Colvin and Nicci Daly have since stepped back from the program as have Nikki Evans and Grace O’Flanagan.

Reflecting on that changing of the guard, coach Dancer said it is “a natural” progression for the side in the wake of the Olympic Games, paying tribute to their immense contributions to the cause.

“It’s amazing how much effort the players have put into not just the last three years but the last eight to ten years to qualify for their first ever Olympics, giving it everything they’ve got,” Dancer said.

“It is natural some will step away and, for others, they needed a good break to refresh and get back to life, work, family and social things. I wanted to make sure everyone got a good break and once all the dust had settled, it certainly great to have a lot of experience in the group.

“Anna O’Flanagan, Chloe, Róisín, Ayeisha, Lena, Katie, Deirdre – we do have a huge amount there from the Olympics and beyond. We have to draw on that first of all and expect those guys to stand up under pressure which I certainly know they will.

“The flip side is the excitement. We have players who have never had a test match before; first ever event and they get to try qualify for a World Cup.”

The tournament also allows for two travelling reserves with Charlotte Beggs and Jane Kilpatrick joining the panel in Pisa.

While first opponents France are the lowest-ranked side in the competition, Dancer is more than wary of what they have to offer. With the Paris Games in mind, they have been working together close to full-time for a number of years and a silver medal at this summer’s EuroHockey Championship II shows they are on thr rise.

“France has been preparing well, not just this year, but with 2024 in their sights and getting there as host nation, they have a lot to play for. They did really well in the European Division 2 tournament. First team to meet, it will not be easy but we have to back our experience and what we have done in the last 18 month to get over the top of them.”

Irish senior women’s panel for World Cup qualifiers (club/caps):
Ayeisha McFerran (SV Kampong, Netherlands, 110)
Lizzie Murphy (Loreto, 13)
Lena Tice (Old Alex, 119)
Róisín Upton (Catholic Institute, 86)
Hannah McLoughlin (UCD, 24)
Sarah McAuley (UCD, 6)
Sarah Hawkshaw (Railway Union, 43)
Michelle Carey (UCD, 7)
Katie Mullan (captain, Ballymoney, 203)
Ellen Curran (Pembroke, 24)
Sarah Torrans (Loreto, 31)
Chloe Watkins (Monkstown, 234)
Zara Malseed (Ards, 4)
Naomi Carroll (Catholic Institute, 119)
Niamh Carey (UCD, 0)
Deirdre Duke (Old Alex, 151)
Anna O’Flanagan (Muckross, 217)
Erin Getty (Queen’s, 8)

Travelling reserves
Charlotte Beggs (Ulster Elks, 0)
Jane Kilpatrick (Belfast Harlequins, 0)

Head coach: Sean Dancer
Assistant coaches: Gareth Grundie, David Fitzgerald
Manager: Lisa Jacob
Physical trainer: Claire Brady
Physio: Stephen Brownlow
Video Technician: Mark Kavanagh

FIH Women’s World Cup 2022 – European Qualifier; Pisa, Italy (October 21 to 24, 2021)
Thursday, October 21: Ireland v France (10.30am, Irish time)
Saturday, October 22: Semi-finals / classification matches
Sunday, October 23: final / classification matches

HI Development coaches to conduct Preparation and planning webinar on October 27

Hockey Ireland’s national development coaches will conduct a webinar on October 27 at 5pm titled “Preparation and Planning – collectively modernising our approach”.

The webinar is designed for coaches working with schools, club and interprovincial teams to enhance understanding of the latest guiding principles for high performance hockey in Ireland.

David Passmore, the Irish women’s Under-21 and national development squad head coach, will present some technical developments in hockey player development and how these align to the Hooked 4 Life player pathway.

Men’s Under-21 coach Joe Brennan will focus on modern trends in international match play, referring specifically to Hockey Ireland playing philosophy.

The webinar is free and takes place on October 27 at 5pm.

Click here to register your interest in taking part

,

Annadale and UCD produce mighty comebacks in men’s EYHL

Men’s EY Hockey League – day five round-up
Annadale 3 (O McElhinney 2, A Lyons) Monkstown 3 (D Carson, R Nichols, D Nolan)

Annadale produced a remarkable comeback from 3-0 down to record their fourth draw of the campaign. Monkstown looked to be gliding to a third win of the season in the early stages. Mark Gibbons hit the post in the seventh minute from turnover ball deep in Dale territory.

But they only had to wait until the ninth minute when John Guilfoyle picked up a loose ball and fed Davy Carson who scored on his backhand. Rory Nichols nailed Town’s only corner of the match for a 2-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

David Nolan finished off a stunning team goal, started at the back and going through over 10 passing interchanges as Town looked set for an easy afternoon.

Hints it would not be so simple came just before half-time when Dale had four penalty corners in quick succession which were repelled. The hosts had lots of pressure in the second half and they were rewarded when Owen McElhinney turned in a cross from the left flank.

With Town going into card trouble, it was game on when Allen Lyons weaved his way out of some tackles and flicked in. The comeback was complete deep into the final quarter when Tim Cross fed Patrick Rose on the baseline and he centred for McElhinney to sweep in for 3-3.

UCD 3 (E Ramsay 2, J Menelaou) YMCA 3 (S Hyland 2, B O’Grady)
UCD snatched their first point of the season as they scored three second half penalty corners to come back from 2-0 and 3-1 down against YMCA at Belfield.

YM got off to a great start when Ben O’Grady dragged in a corner in the first quarter and Sam Hyland – fresh from his international debut in midweek – slapped home from the right of the circle after a swift overlapping run down the right.

Matthew Hoolohan-O’Brien kept his side just about in it with some corner stops to keep it at 2-0 into half-time.

The students, though, started to run up a healthy corner count and were back in it when a switch left was then slapped into the middle with Ewan Ramsay credited with the goal.

YM went back into a 3-1 lead in the fourth quarter from a Hyland stroke after Fionn Marriott was bundled over. But UCD replied within a minute with another corner variation, Ramsay again lurking around the flick spot to deflect in.

Jay Menelaou then got the equaliser when yet another corner hit the post and rebounded to him on the right to finish off his first goal for collidge. There was still time for them to earn another corner which YM defended well along with another chance from play while the Y were left to rue a huge chance in the last 10 seconds but Ross Henderson could not get enough purchase on his shot from Marriott’s driving run.

Glenanne 3 (S Boucher, S O’Donoghue, G Gibney) Banbridge 1 (C Curry)
Glenanne made it five wins in succession to maintain their perfect start to the season and five-point gap to the chasing pack. Shannon Boucher got the tie up and running with a third minute penalty corner goal but Bann responded immediately via Chris Curry – 1-1 after four minutes.

It was a very evenly contested tie after that but Glenanne landed the crucial blows with Gavin Gibney getting his first of the season in the second half before Shane O’Donoghue made the game safe with his ninth goal of the campaign in the fourth quarter.

Three Rock Rovers Jody Hosking gets away from Corinthian’s Robbie Clarke. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Corinthian 1 (I Stewart) Three Rock Rovers 4 (R Canning 2, A Empey, E Jennings)
Three Rock Rovers bounced back from their Euro Hockey League campaign in strong fashion to continue their unbeaten start to the men’s EY Hockey League, winning the Dublin 16 derby.

Quick finishes in the circles early in the first quarter from Ross Canning and Ali Empey had the visitors flying high at Whitechurch Park. At this stage, Rovers had more of the play but Ian Stewart scored via a deflection off Ben Ryder trying to cover to put the game back in the balance at half-time

Both sides played rather cautiously until quarter 4 when Corinthian took off their goalkeeper as they pressed for an equaliser.

But a defensive error let in Evan Jennings and he scored into an empty net; Canning then finished off a good move after Thornton had made a reappearance.

Pembroke 0 Lisnagarvey 3 (J Lorimer, O Kidd, B Nelson)
Lisnagarvey made it three wins in succession to rise to third place in the table as Pembroke remain in search of their first win of the campaign. After a scoreless first half, James Lorimer dragged in the first goal in the third quarter for 1-0.

Ollie Kidd then volleyed over Mark Ingram for the second and Ben Nelson concluded the victory with three minutes remaining.

, ,

Athlone and Kilkenny welcome interpro series

The new look junior age group interprovincial tournaments continue this Sunday with women’s fixtures at Under-16, 18 and 20 level taking place in Kilkenny and Athlone.

It follows the boys Under-16s and 18s tournaments which began last week with Munster hosting Leinster in Waterford with the youth competitions running in a new format this year over a series of weekends compared to the previous single-event schedule.

At Under-18 level, Munster took a 2-1 lead into half-time courtesy of Tiernan Gaffney and Adam Young strikes but Leinster fought back with Ed Collins and Mark Smyth on the mark and Ethan Sutton popped up with the winner in the third quarter in a 3-2 success.

In the Under-16 game, Leinster were 3-1 victors with Philip Cole and Zach Silverman putting them 2-0 up before Hugo Faulkner and Darragh Daly traded goals.

This week sees Leinster South playing the hosts to Under-16 (12pm) and 18 (2pm) girls fixtures against Munster at Loreto Kilkenny. In Athlone, Connacht are the hosts with fixtures against Leinster at Under-16 (1pm), Under-18 (3pm) and Under 20 (5pm) level.

** Click here to view last week’s match programme/squad lists

** Click here to view today’s match programme/squad lists

Boys results
Under-16: Munster 1 (Darragh Daly) Leinster 3 (Philip Cole, Zach Silverman, Hugo Faulkner)
Under-18: Munster 2 (Tiernan Gaffney, Adam Young) Leinster 3 (Ed Collins, Mark Smyth, Ethan Sutton)

Sunday 10th October 2021
Women
Under-16 Interpros: Leinster South v Munster, Loreto Kilkenny, 12pm; Connacht v Leinster, Athlone RC, 1pm
Under-18 Interpros: Leinster South v Munster, Loreto Kilkenny, 2pm; Connacht v Leinster, Athlone Regioal Centre, 3pm
Under-20 interpros: Connacht v Leinster, Athlone Regional Centre, 5pm

** To read more about how the new format falls into the Hooked 4 Life development plan, click here

,

Pegasus move clear at top of women’s EYHL after thrilling win over Catholic Institute

Women’s EY Hockey League – day five round-up
Pegasus 2 (L McKee, S McCay) Catholic Institute 1 (N Carroll)

Shirley McCay’s late winner sealed Pegasus a hard fought 2-1 victory over Catholic Institute which saw the Belfast side move a point clear at the top of the EYHL standings.

It was a thrilling encounter at the Dub and evenly contested for most of the game after Pegasus had been on top in the opening quarter.

But Pegasus owed a debt of gratitude to goalkeeper Megan Todd who brought off two outstanding saves on either side of McCay’s 56th minute winner.

The hosts had the edge in the opening quarter without being able to capitalise on three penalty corners.

From then on it was end-to-end stuff and Hannah Kelly shot narrowly wide before Naomi Carroll’s effort struck the post after a swift counter instigated by Leah Clery.

Pegasus broke the deadlock in the 31st minute when Lucy McKee scored with a first time shot after a lovely passing move down the left flank.

Pegasus celebrate Shirley McCay’s winning goal. Picture: Billy Pollock

Laura Foley went close to levelling for the Limerick side a minute later after a swift move which saw team captain and Ireland star Roisin Upton feed Eimear Ryan to set up the chance but Todd made a great save.

But she was beaten when Carroll equalised in the 42nd minute with a carbon copy of the Pegasus opener, the Olympian firing home from close range after a good move down the left in which Kelly was prominent.

Carroll almost made it 2-1 in the 51st minute from a set-piece switch but Todd was equal to the task in the final play of the third quarter.

Ireland’s most-capped player McCay blasted in what turned out to be the decisive goal in the first minute of the final quarter, slapping the ball low into the net from her team’s fifth penalty corner.

Sixty seconds later, Todd again excelled herself with a fine stop after Foley had controlled the ball at the edge of the D before firing in a powerful backhand shot.

The game continued to swing from end-to-end but Pegasus held on, Lucy McKee displaying some fine ball retention in the left-hand corner to wind the clock down to bring the conclusion to a memorable tussle which was a credit to both teams.


Railway Union 0 Pembroke 1 (G Pinder)

Gillian Pinder’s third quarter goal got Pembroke back to winning ways and within one point of leaders Pegasus thanks to their narrow win over Sandymount rivals Railway Union.

The tie opened up with end-to-end hockey with lots of opportunities. Railway had a promising effort with a ball played from Jenny Long into an open Katie Fearon who shot just wide of the far post. Shortly after, Pembroke overturned Railway outlet and Sally Campbell struck a reverse, floating over the goal
Fearon went close on the reverse after good build-up play from Ali O’Leary while both sides had corner chances repelled.

Into the second quarter, Emily Beatty drew a confident clearance from Riona Norton as defences – aided by some super tackling – were on top into half-time.

The key moment came early in Q3 when Pinder intercepted a Railway pass between wing back and centre back at the half way line.

This led to a foot race with pacey Pinder netting under the outcoming keeper Norton. Pembroke looked poised and in control for much of Q3, steadying the game.

In the final quarter, Sarah Hawkshaw created lots of danger with her direct dribbling at the intensity increased and both sides dropped to 10 players at a time.
Kate Lloyd was denied by the impressive Emma Buckley on her backhand while while a corner chance went through their grasp in rousing finish with Railway on the front foot.

Catholic Institute’s Naomi Carroll scores an equaliser. Picture: Billy Pollock

Loreto 4 (A Taaffe 2, N Torrans, C Hamill) Belfast Harlequins 1 (J Watt)
Loreto extended their unbeaten run to four games with a comfortable 4-1 win over Belfast Harlequins at Beaufort. Aoife Taaffe’s strong finish and a first of the season from Nicola Torrans put them two clear at the end of the first quarter.

Taaffe added another for her fourth goal of the campaign before half-time and they never looked likely to let that lead slip. Chirstina Hamill made a wealth of fourth quarter pressure count for 4-0 before Jenna Watt got one back from a penalty corner deflection move with three minutes to go.

Muckross 0 Old Alexandra 1 (D Duke)

Deirdre Duke’s first goal of the season from Old Alex’s second corner of the game was the difference as the Milltown club move into a share second spot after five rounds of matches.

It followed a lively start with chances at each end with close shaves aplenty. Aoife Glennon produced an excellent save to keep out Alex’s first corner but Alex prevailed from the follow-up with Duke – who is working her way back after injury – getting the all-important touch.

It was breathless stuff with momentum ebbing and flowing with both sides enjoying spells of greater pressure. Both also had a number of corner chances but no further one could be taken and so Alex prevailed by the single goal. It lifts them to 10 points, equal with Pembroke and UCD and one point behind Pegasus.

Cork Harlequins 0 UCD 9 (H McLoughlin 4, S Thomas 2, N Carey, K Egan, R Kelly)
UCD were convincing winners against Cork Harlequins at a sun-drenched Farmers Cross. The first half was a closely fought affair with both teams playing flowing hockey; Harlequins were unlucky not to take the lead as a Michelle Barry deflection from a short corner went narrowly wide.

In the last minute of the first half, UCD made the breakthrough that changed the momentum of the tie. Following good work along the baseline, a cross found Niamh Carey unmarked at the back post, she made no mistake to give College the lead.

From the restart, UCD went on the attack and a shot from the top of the circle was prevented from entering the net by back-stick. Hannah McLoughlin slotted the resulting stroke to leave UCD 2-0 up at half-time.

The strong tackling and excellent work-rate prevented Harlequins regaining a foothold in the game. With confident passing and good execution on short corners, UCD ran out deserving 9-0 winners – McLoughlin adding three goals to her earlier stroke with Sophie Thomas, Katherine Egan and Rachel Kelly on the mark, too.

, ,

Hannah Matthews confirms her retirement from international hockey

Olympian and 2018 World Cup silver medalist Hannah Matthews has confirmed her retirement from international hockey having been a crucial figure in the Green Army’s rise over the past seven years and 157 caps.

Since making her debut in 2014, the Loreto woman has been one of the first names on the team sheet, being an ever-present at each major tournament during that time.

“It’s 150 more caps than I thought I would ever get,” she said in the wake of her decision. “There was a long period where I wasn’t involved but once I got in, it was a case of grabbing the opportunity and I have enjoyed every second of it.

Matthews is something of a rarity as a “one-club” player, lining out for Loreto since she was eight-years-old, combining club life with her successful school days at Loreto Beaufort. With them, she scored the winning goal in the Leinster Schoolgirls Senior Cup final in 2008 in a 2-1 success against Alexandra College. The likes of Mary Barnwell, Paula O’Donoghue and Eimear Campion proved the best of mentors during those years.

In action in 2018 at Belfield against China. Picture: Adrian Boehm

Scoring big goals became a habit in those early years. While still a teenager – under the tutelage of future Irish coach Graham Shaw – she won the inaugural Women’s Irish Hockey League title in 2009 and, a year later, took the Irish Senior Cup final win against Railway Union; Matthews was raised and carried aloft by her team mates when she scored the winning penalty stroke.

They are the kind of early career highlights that often lead to instant Irish call-ups but the now 30-year-old had to bide her time, a difficult situation but one, in hindsight, widened her horizons.

“I don’t know what other people thought but I did have that expectation. I played Under-16, Under-18, Under-21 and I saw other people getting called in and you do start to think ‘this is not going to happen for me’. I worked on what I could work on and when the opportunity came, I was very much ready for it at 23. I had my college years, had a social life and so it worked out pretty well and I was lucky!

“I was playing away with Loreto and that was such a big thing for me, lining out in such a competitive team who wanted to play at a high standard.

“One year, I just sucked it up and worked on my fitness and got a call-up. I almost didn’t go to the trial weekend because it was in the middle of my teaching practice but I went and haven’t looked back since.”

That call came from coach Darren Smith who she reckons wans’t “a huge fan of mine at the start but he kept an open mind and called me in. I owe so much to him”.

From her debut In the idyllic vineyard setting in Mori, she describes it as a “whirlwind” from the devastation of missing out on the Rio Olympics to winning the EuroHockey Championship II a couple of weeks later.

“Darren wanted me to get in there, make my debut, get my cap as quickly as possible. He set a tone of a professional squad. Everyone took it so seriously, it was such a self-driven team which he ran from above. It was a great environment to come into. Obviously, it is everyone’s dream to play in an Olympics so that next summer was really tough to take but it did drive us.”

Making a key tackle in the World League Round 2 final against Canada. Picture: Adrian Boehm

That drive propelled Matthews and the side through the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign and ultimately becoming part of Irish sporting legend with the silver medal.

“You still look back and think it was almost like a holiday compared to Tokyo! We were having the time of our lives. It was so close to heartbreak all over again when you look back [at the qualifiers in South Africa].

“Grace [O’Flanagan] came off the bench, made that incredible save against India and it was such a game-changer, something we have in the memory bank that whatever happens, we can come through it. The road that got us there was definitely important and I would not change it.”

She became a softly-spoken but powerful voice within the team, notably speaking up about the side’s search for a sponsor in the months before the London madness that summer.

“It is hard to boil it down to money but it makes such a difference. Like if we hadn’t had them, we would have been booted out of our hotel in the World Cup because we overstayed our welcome! Little things like that don’t even cross your mind.

Celebrating a victory in the 2018 World Cup. Picture: Getty/FIH

“SoftCo and Park Developments allowed us go part-time and train professionally. If we are going to compete against the best, we have to have the resources and facilities to do so. We have to players who can commit to it, staff who can commit to it. It was so difficult when we just came together on a Sunday and then training regionally during the week.”

During that time, she was able to jobshare her teaching role at the Holy Trinity National School in Leopardstown. She is forever grateful for the school and her colleagues to allow her to do so, a healthy situation she knows was an option not afforded to a number of her team mates.

She did not think she would be in that position for quite so long, though, once Olympic qualification for Tokyo was in the bank.

“Of all the things you try to envision, you could never forsee a global pandemic. You just start thinking this might not happen for us. Up until Christmas, I kept checking any social media or news to see what was happening.

“It was worth the wait. For me, it certainly put things in perspective. I always knew I was going to retire after the Olympics. It was almost like another bite of the cherry for preparation and I went into the year wanting to enjoy every second of it, whether I got picked or not.

“I wanted to walk off and say I played my best hockey and enjoyed it. That was very freeing and I do think I played some of my best stuff in an Irish jersey compared to the year before.”

Celebrating Olympic qualification. Picture: Inpho

Having given her all in Japan, she is content to step back despite current Irish coach Sean Dancer keeping the door open for a comeback if she is keen

“100% – it was a decision I took a while to make. I didn’t take it lightly and I was honest with Sean. He was brilliant that I could have that honest conversation and it didn’t affect my selection for the Olympics or personal issues.

“It’s lovely to still be wanted but it is the right time in my life. There’s things I have put on hold and people who have put their lives on hold for me so it is time to grow up!

“It certainly hasn’t been easy but we have had great moments and great highlights over the years. Stepping away from it, I am just so grateful for every bit of it – the people I have met along the way, the people who have supported me who have been incredible.

“Now it’s time for teaching and enjoying club hockey! I’m really looking forward to this club season and a nice normal life, maybe slowing down a little bit!”

,

Sport Ireland Club Resilience Fund 2021

To:  Hockey Ireland Clubs and Branches

Re:  Covid -19 Resilience Funding Round 2021

As you may have seen in the press, Sport Ireland now invites recognised Governing Bodies of Sport & other Funded Bodies to apply for support under the Government’s COVID 19 investment programme for sport.

The COVID Fund is divided into several  key schemes, and one is like last year a Sports Club Resilience Fund.  We are looking at applications from our Clubs and Branches for the additional funding, which we can forward to Sport Ireland.

Documents:

Attached below are the following documents:

Timelines:

  • Club applications must be submitted to  finance@hockey.ie before 17.00 on 15 October
  • Applications will then be collated by Hockey Ireland and submitted to Sport Ireland before 26 October 2021
  • Sport Ireland will make an initial assessment on the level of request under each scheme.
  • Final decisions will need to take into account the level of demand across the schemes.
  • Depending on the level of submissions, the outcome of those deliberations will be communicated to sports organisations in December 2021
  • Subject to approval and standard Terms & Conditions, the process of payment will begin thereafter

 

 

, ,

Top two face off in women’s EYHL – weekend preview and fixtures

With Saturday rivals Pegasus and Catholic Institute set to face off at Queen’s, the top of the women’s EY Hockey League is set for another shake-up once again.

The two sides share first place on eight points after four rounds with a gaggle of four waiting in the wings a point back on seven as the competition takes on a hugely competitive early form.

For Insta, back-to-back wins over Muckross and Harlequins has the Limerick side flying high, doing so off the back of a miserly defence that has conceded just twice to date with Pam Smithwick notching three clean sheets.

Youngster Leah Clery has provided the ammunition up top, netting half of their six goals in what looks like a break-out season for her.

Pegasus, meanwhile, have played out four similarly close ties with never more than a single goal in the difference. A young gun to watch so far has been Ella Armstrong.

Of the close chasers, Railway Union and Pembroke meet in the Sandymount derby with both aiming to build on productive starts. Orla Macken is the dynamo at the heart of Pembroke’s midfield and comes up against her youth club for whom Kate Lloyd has been a constant threat up to.

Old Alex got back to winning ways last weekend against Pembroke and were bouyed by a first appearance of the campaign from Deirdre Duke after a foot injury. Lena Tice has missed the last few weeks, too, but could come back into the fray soon.

Their next task is a game against Muckross who are looking for a first win. The diminutive Julia Balcerzak has proven an excellent performer since her arrival from Poland and is one to watch.

Cork Harlequins are another side going for a first win with their developing side. Michelle Barry’s return last weekend was a big plus and they will need her and Yvonne O’Byrne on form to keep a talented UCD at bay.

Loreto host Belfast Harlequins at Beaufort in the day’s other contest, the latter bouyed by the form of Jane Kilpatrick in defence who has recently joined the senior Irish women’s training panel.

Sunday sees a healthy selection of interprovincial contests with Connacht facing Leinster in Athlone at Under-21, 18 and 16 level while Leinster South take on Munster in Kilkenny at 18s and 16s.

On the men’s side, Glenanne’s perfect record will be put to the test by Banbridge at St Andrew’s. For Bann, key man Jonny McKee picked up a concerning injury late on Tuesday night for Ireland against Malaysia.

For the Glens, they have already amassed a five-point lead with Shane O’Donoghue’s eight goals in four games putting him top of the goalscoring charts. With David Lawless impressing between the posts and Kevin Venter looking a very handy addition, they are going well at this stage.

The Marlay derby sees Corinthian and Three Rock Rovers face off at Whitechurch Park with both sides on seven points. The reds have enjoyed a super start to the campaign with Chad Futcher an inspired signing with his long aerial bombs and drag-flicking prowess.

For Rovers, they are unbeaten domestically but were given a reality check at the Euro Hockey League last weekend in Belgium, falling to Belarussian and English opposition.

Pembroke will hope to surprise Lisnagarvey at Serpentine Avenue to try and land a first win of the season. Despite their tricky start, new captain Julian Dale has been in inspired form, scoring seven times in four outings but they need to start keeping it tight at the back against one of the most potent attacking forces.

Annadale are another side looking to turn draws into victories as they welcome Monkstown to Lagan College. UCD, meanwhile, have had a rough start to the campaign but will aim to put it up to YMCA who have not won since the opening day of the season.

Elsewhere, there is action in the Irish Hockey Challenge with 10 teams playing on day one of the group phases.

Saturday 9th October 2021
Men
EYHL Division 1:
Annadale v Monkstown, Lagan College, 2.30pm; Corinthian v Three Rock Rovers, Whitechurch Park, 3.15pm; Glenanne v Banbridge, St. Andrews College, 3pm; Pembroke v Lisnagarvey, Serpentine Avenue, 3pm; UCD v YMCA, Belfield, 1pm

Irish Hockey Challenge
Group 1:
Mullingar v Galway, Loreto College Mullingar, 1pm
Group 2: Naas v Waterford, Naas SC, 3.30pm; Wicklow v Midleton, East Glendalough, 1pm
Group 3: Antrim v Saintfield, Antrim Forum LC, 2.30pm; Armagh v Portrush, Ardmore, 1pm

Women
EYHL Division 1:
Cork Harlequins v UCD, Farmers’ Cross, 12.45pm; Loreto v Belfast Harlequins, Beaufort, 2.45pm; Muckross v Old Alexandra, Three Rock Rovers, 1pm; Pegasus v Catholic Institute, Queens University, 2.30pm; Railway Union v Pembroke Wanderers, Park Avenue, 1.30pm

Irish Hockey Challenge – Round 1: Botanic v NUIG 2, Botanic Holy Faith Glasnevin, 12.30pm; Cork Wanderers v Tipperary, 2.45pm; Galway 2 v Athlone, Dangan, 1pm; Wicklow v Limerick, East Glendalough School, 3pm

Sunday 10th October 2021
Women
Under-16 Interpros:
Leinster South v Munster, Loreto Kilkenny, 12pm; Connacht v Leinster, Athlone RC, 1pm
Under-18 Interpros: Leinster South v Munster, Loreto Kilkenny, 2pm; Connacht v Leinster, Athlone Regioal Centre, 3pm
Under-21 interpros: Connacht v Leinster, Athlone Regional Centre, 5pm