, ,

Pembroke rebuild four-point lead in women’s EYHL as Insta emerge as main challengers

Women’s EYHL Division One – day 13 round-up
Old Alex 1 (Nikki Evans) Pembroke 1 (Gillian Pinder)

Old Alex and Pembroke shared the spoils from an extremely hard-fought tussle in Milltown with World Cup silver medalists Nikki Evans and Gillian Pinder trading goals.

Alex were first to strike just 68 seconds into the contest when Evans pounced on some dither in defence, picking up the ball on the circle’s edge and unleashing a brilliant reverse stick shot to match her one from a week ago.

The hosts had the momentum in this phase with Emma Russell’s shot well saved by Emma Buckley while their first of five penalty corners slipper just wide.

With a higher press in Q2, Pembroke had more of the play as they pinned Alex back for spells as both goalkeepers pulled off key stops. Emily Beatty’s quick shot was parried away by Holly Micklem while Buckley slid out to smother the menacing Mikayla Power.

Martha McCready had a huge chance snuffed out on the goal line by Micklem and the goalkeeper produced the pick of the saves from the follow-up penalty corner when she somehow blocked a corner deflected from Sally Campbell.

The equaliser for Pembroke arrived in the third quarter when Pembroke’s press swallowed up the Alex midfield, turning over ball on the 23m line. Ellen Curran slipped the ball right to Pinder who flicked across goal with a defensive intervention turning the ball in.

While Pembroke had slightly more of the ball, Alex were the ones who had the chances down the closing stretch with Evans hitting the side-netting from a corner move while two further penalty corners were blocked down in the last five minutes.

Belfast Harlequins 1 (J Watt) UCD 3 (A Naughton R Kelly, E Paul)
UCD kept up their push for a playoff place as they won well at Deramore Park, putting 10 points between them and their Saturday hosts.

The students started the livelier, forcing a corner in the first three minutes which was eventually cleared. Harlequins sustained the early pressure and started to ease up the pitch but an unfortunate slip in midfield allowed a ball through to the danger zone and Aine Naughton scored on her reverse. Although the play evened out, UCD found Michelle Carey in space on the right and she used her considerable pace to get to the byline and cross to Rachel Kelly at the left post for their second of the game.

Quarter 2 was a more even affair with some exciting hockey. Belfast Harlequins had their best chance to score from a corner but the UCD keeper made a fine save. Likewise, Q3 was honours even with not much circle penetration for either team but nonetheless entertaining hockey.

It heated up in the final quarter with Quins going down to 10 players but still found some slick two-touch hockey to get on the scoreboard as Sophie Hunter drove into the circle and made a crucial pass to Jenna Watt on the left. Watt made no mistake with the goal: 2-1.

Quins continued to press but a debated penalty corner for UCD, along with a yellow card for Natalie Lyttle, proved definitive. Emma Paul’s shot from that set piece took a deflection to kill off the result and a further yellow for the hosts stymied any hopes of a late charge.

Loreto’s Sarah Torrans gets away from Pegasus’s Emma Quinn. Pic Billy Pollock

Pegasus 0 Loreto 4 (H Matthews, S O’Brien, G Donald, S Torrans)
Loreto ran up a big win away to Pegasus to continue their hot and cold season, putting a dent in the Ulster side’s title hopes while giving their chances of a playoff place an extra pep in its step.

After a scoreless first half, Olympian Hannah Matthews broke the deadlock in the third quarter and they spun out into a 3-0 advantage courtesy of Siofra O’Brien and Grace Donald.

Pegs withdrew their goalkeeper Megan Todd for an extra outfielder for parts of the fourth quarter in a concerted bid to try and grab something from the game but it backfired with Sarah Torrans scoring into an open net. The defeat sees Pegasus drop into fourth place.

Railway Union 2 (L Lloyd, E Smyth) Muckross 0
Railway spent much of the first half on the front foot with Muckross’s defence called on to make a series of important blocks with Aoife Glennon busy in goal while Julia Balcerzak and Ella Malone clearing up off the pads.

The first goal came on the half-hour as Sarah Hawkshaw cut in from the right wing and laid on a perfect slide-rule pass to set Lily Lloyd free. She dummied right to creat a narrower angle but, crucially, an extra sliver of space to flick home from close to the baseline at the near post.

The pattern was a similar one in the second half with Railway pushing on and Muckross defending feverishly with Hawkshaw’s pump at goal well blocked by Glennon. Lily Lloyd picked out her older sister Kate in behind the last defender for another great chance but she was unable to connect with her reverse-stick effort.

Muckross, though, developed as more and more of a threat as time wore on and – after a series of three corners – Catalina Paz Montino hit the post from the second phase of one set play.

Railway Union’s Sarah Hawkshaw takes on Muckross’s Becky McMullen. Picture: Max Fulham

But the vital second goal arrived in the 51st minute when Niamh Shaw, Lily Lloyd and Ailish Long combined down the left channel, getting the ball into the middle where Emma Smyth swept home.

Catholic Institute 6 (N Carroll 2, A Horan, R Upton, A Hickey, E Ryan) Cork Harlequins 1 (L O’Shea)
Catholic Institute closed the Saturday night gap to one point in the women’s EYHL with their fifth successive win. They did fall behind in the first 10 minutes when Leah O’Shea as the bottom side dreamt of a shock result.

But Insta were firing in the second quarter when Olympic duo Róisín Upton and Naomi Carroll combined, the latter finishing off to make it 1-1. Anna Horan put the Limerick side in front for the first time when she dragged in a penalty corner before half-time and Upton matched that feat on the other side of the break.

Aoife Hickey extended the lead to 4-1 and Upton’s hit was turned in by Elizabeth Ryan for another one. Carroll closed out the scoring for a comprehensive win.

Sunday: Cork Harlequins 1 (Beth-Anne O’Farrell) Pembroke 2 (Gillian Pinder, Aisling Naughton)
Pembroke restored some breathing room when they dug deep to beat Cork Harlequins 2-1. Beth-Anne O’Farrell had put Quins in line for a shock result with a 49th minute penalty corner goal but Pembroke rallied quickly with Pinder netting a penalty stroke and Rachel O’Brien got the winner in the 53rd minute.

Pembroke went on the attack from the start, drawing a series of excellent saves from Lorna Bateman while Quins were holding their own in trying to disrupt Pembroke’s flowing hockey in the first half. All the fireworks came in a four minute spell toward the end of the third quarter and while Quins fought hard in the closing quarter, Pembroke picked up three more precious points to rebuild a four-point lead at the top of the table.

, ,

Lisnagarvey back on top of men’s EYHL with thrilling win

Men’s EY Hockey League – day 13 round-up
Three Rock Rovers 2 (R Canning) Lisnagarvey 3 (D Nelson, A Edgar, O Kidd)

Lisnagarvey won a top-table classic to move back to the top of the men’s EY Hockey League table as they beat previous leaders Three Rock Rovers 3-2.

It was their second successive win at Grange Road, winning 2-0 in the Irish Senior Cup a week ago, with this tie a far more open affair.

Garvey looked in good shape to win with something to spare when Ollie Kidd set up Daniel Nelson for a simple finish in the first half and Andy Edgar whipped in a penalty corner drag-flick.

But Rovers came storming back in the third quarter and got a deserved one back via Ross Canning’s outstanding reverse-stick shot that ripped into the netting.

Rovers looked well set to potentially level it in Q3 but Garvey steadied the ship and went into a 3-1 lead courtesy of Kidd’s goal from another set piece.

In the endgame, Peter Blakeney cracked a shot off the post with James Milliken getting an incredible touch to redirect it and the goalkeeper also brilliantly smothered Harry McMahon’s deflection.

James Walker smashed in a second for Rovers with two minutes to go before Matthew Nelson became the next player to rattle the metalwork with a powerful shot pinging off the crossbar.

It puts Garvey into a two-point lead at the head of the table with Rovers dropping back to second, level on points with Glenanne who were 5-2 winners over UCD.

“It’s been tough coming two weeks in a row here and it is always tough against these guys so delighted to come away with the points,” said goalkeeper Milliken post-match, highlighting how his side toughed up a concerted second half onslaught.

“We work really hard on our PCD [penalty corner defence] and it is one of our points of pride; sometimes its guys picking it off the line, sometimes are runners charging it down and occasionally I have to do a job!”

Lisnagarvey’s Troy Chambers and Three Rock Rovers’ Peter Blakeney. Pic: Adrian Boehm

It is the sixth successive round the lead has changed hands in the competition and Milliken says it keeps Garvey on alert that there is a long way to go.

“It is a significant win but we have to keep our feet on the ground. There’s five games left and a lot of teams playing well – Glenanne going well, Banbridge doing great stuff.

“You have to play well every week, have that as a baseline and not as a peak. Every team is working so hard this year and it is one of the most competitive years we’ve had and it forces you to be better every week.”

Annadale 2 (C Robson 2) YMCA 5 (H McCarthy 2, F Marriott 2, A Meates)
YMCA won a huge three-points at Annadale to move five points clear of the relegation zone and also give them a buffer in sixth place in the chase of the playoff places.

It took just two minutes for them to open the scoring with Harry McCarthy picking up the ball wide on the right and delivering an inviting cross for Fionn Marriott to deflect on his backhand.

There was just five minutes on the clock when Dale levelled, again a right-wing cross that was turned in first time, this one by Callum Robson with an open side slap. YM hit back when Scott Ruttle powered through the middle and while a couple of bodies were sent sprawling, Andrew Meates cracked home a reverse-stick shot for 2-1.

For the remainder of the half, Annadale laid siege to the YM circle but they could not make the most of five penalty corner opportunities. The visitors were proving far more efficient, through, as they grew their lead out to 3-1 in the third quarter as a diagonal overhead from Sam Hyland created an overload with the cross going to McCarthy to sweep in his first of the day.

Annadale bounced back with Michael Robson’s slip pass through to Callum Robson allowed the latter slam in his second, cutting the gap to 3-2. But they were wide open at the back and another long ball saw McCarthy through one-on-one with Sam Hamill and he rounded the goalkeeper fo 4-2.

Matthew Walker’s long overhead from left back made it all the way through to Marriott, again behind the last defender, and he slotted home with nine minutes to go and a big three points were assured.

Pembroke 3 (A Sothern 2, G Chambers) Banbridge 5 (Ph Brown, J McKee, O Magee, J Moffett, L Rowe)
Banbridge continued their excellent form, extending their run to eight games unbeaten as they won a goalfest at Serpentine Avenue. It was a measure of things to come that Owen Magee drew the first save from Ilko Dartsch just 10 seconds in.

Pembroke hit the front soon after when Greg Chambers cleaned up off the pads of Luke Roleston following an initial save from Cian Murphy. Bann replied with Philip Brown dragging down the middle from their first corner and they went 2-1 ahead from the penalty spot.

Annadale’s Michael Robson holds off YMCA’s Matthew Walker. Picture: Billy Pollock

Brown’s initially drag was parried high in the air where Jonny McKee batted it goalwards onto the body of Nick Burns; McKee slotted the stroke. It was 2-2 at half-time, though, as Sothern produced one of his trick moves at corner time, dribbling, lifting then bunting home from close range.

Bann restored their lead in the second half when, after some strong Pembroke blocks, a long corner was played to Magee whose shot from a tight angle snuck in. Josh Moffett made it 4-2 in the 44th minute when Alexander Tinney made it all the way up to Louis Rowe; he slipped the ball to Moffett who had a simple tap-in.

A direct Alan Sothern drag brought the contest back into focus but Banbridge killed off the game with nine minutes to go as the Co Down side hunted in packs to turn over the ball on halfway. The ball was fed forward to Rowe who was a handful all game and he dummied the goalkeeper before scoring.

Pembroke had a series of late corners but none hit the sweet spot and so they remain in ninth place while Bann move within two points of second place for the first time since the second day of the season.

Glenanne 5 (S O’Donoghue 4, G Gibney) UCD 2 (S Byrne, H Lynch)
Shane O’Donoghue netted two strokes and two corners to see Glenanne move back into second place with a 5-2 win at St Andrew’s. Gavin Gibney opened the scoring for the Glens with a diving finish to a backhand cross from the left-wing before the students replied with Sam Byrne finishing off in the wake of a turnover move on halfway.

But then O’Donoghue took over, making it 2-1 at half-time from the penalty spot after his initial drag hit a foot on the goal-line. He went direct to make it 3-1 with a direct shot, one which UCD countered with a corner goal of their own from Harry Lynch.

O’Donoghue, though, completed his hat trick in the 58th minute and he made the results extra safe with his second stroke, again awarded after his drag hit a UCD body on the line.

Corinthian 1 (P Caruth) Monkstown 6 (D Carson 2, L Cole 2, G Sarratt, M Gibbons)
Monkstown eased to a strong win over Corinthian to close the gap to the top of the table and put themselves in the frame for a possible top two finish and direct qualification for the EY Champions Trophy finals weekend.

It was 2-0 at half-time and while Peter Caruth got one back for the reds in the third quarter, Monkstown race off into the distance with Davy Carson and Lee Cole scoring twice each with Guy Sarratt and Mark Gibbons also chipping in.

, ,

Vital weekend of EYHL, IHC and interpro action

It’s one of the busiest dates of the season thus far with 11 crucial EYHL top tier games, four more in EYHL2 along with Irish Hockey Challenge knock-out ties and men’s interpro action on Sunday.

In the men’s EYHL, Three Rock Rovers and Lisnagarvey reprise their Irish Senior Cup meeting from a week ago with top spot in the table up for grabs. Garvey won round one 2-0 with a composed performance but Rovers have a couple of forwards returning to the line-up who could make a difference.

In the bottom half of the table, there are loads of permutations with Annadale, YMCA, Corinthian and Pembroke all lying between the cusp of the EY Champions Trophy playoff places and possible relegation.

The pivotal tie looks to be Annadale’s hosting of YMCA; the lie one and two points above the drop zone respectively. Pembroke, meanwhile, will aim to carry their win over Glenanne into a home date with an in-form Banbridge.

Corinthian will look to the double over Monkstown to aid their chances while the Glens host UCD, the latter needing close to a miracle to avoid the drop.

In the Irish Hockey Challenge, Waterford will look to continue their dominant form when they host Mullingar in the quarter-final while Limerick welcome Midleton in the other tie.

On the women’s side, leaders Pembroke and bottom side Cork Harlequins face a double weekend with the two meeting on Sunday. Before that, Pembroke have a big test against third equal Old Alex on Saturday as they seek to maintain their lead at the top.

Any slip, though, could open the door for Catholic Institute to put on more pressure; they host Cork Quins in the Munster derby.

Pegasus face Loreto in another classic encounter while Railway Union will hope not to have too much fatigue in their legs following their indoor exertions when they welcome Muckross to Park Avenue.

In EYHL2, the two Pool 1 leaders are in action with Corinthian facing Ards at Whitechurch Park with both sitting on 17 points, 10 clear of UCC and Trinity. As such, it is a de facto battle for top spot while the two student sides meet in the other game to try and keep their playoff hopes going.

In Group 2, Monkstown take their perfect record to Cork C of I while second place Queen’s go to NUIG in search of points to maintain their hold on second spot.

The women’s Irish Hockey Challenge is at the semi-final stage with Clonakilty welcoming NICS while Wexford go up to Bangor in two of the longest journeys undertaken this season.

Sunday’s interpros see Ulster face Munster at Under-16, 18 and 21 level in the male competitions. Ulster will hope to keep their perfect record going in the younger two age groups while Munster are aiming to reprise their earlier 3-0 win over the northern province at Under-21 level.

Saturday 26th February 2022
Men
EYHL Division 1:
Annadale v YMCA, Lagan College, 2.30pm; Corinthian v Monkstown, Whitechurch Park, 3.15pm; Glenanne v UCD, St. Andrews, 1.30pm; Pembroke v Banbridge, Serpentine Avenue, 2.30pm; Three Rock Rovers v Lisnagarvey, Grange Road, 3pm

Irish Hockey Challenge – Quarter-Finals: Limerick v Midleton, Villiers, 2pm; Waterford v Mullingar, Newtown, 1pm

Women
EYHL Division 1:
Belfast Harlequins v UCD, Deramore Park, 12.45pm; Catholic Institute v Cork Harlequins, Rosbrien, 1pm; Old Alex v Pembroke, Milltown, 1.30pm; Pegasus v Loreto, Queens University, 12.45pm; Railway Union v Muckross, Park Avenue, 3pm

EYHL Division 2 – Pool 1: Corinthian v Ards, Whitechurch Park, 1.15pm; UCC v Trinity @ Mardyke, 2.30pm
Pool 2: Cork C of I v Monkstown, Garryduff, 3pm; NUIG v Queens University, Dangan, 1.50pm

Irish Hockey Challenge – Semi-Final: Bangor v Wexford, Bangor Aurora, 2.30pm; Clonakilty v NICS, Clonakilty, 2pm

Sunday 27th February 2022
Men
Interprovicincial series
Under-16:
Ulster v Munster, Grange Road, 3pm
Under-18: Ulster v Munster, Grange Road, 3pm
Under-21: Ulster v Munster, Grange Road, 3pm

Women
EYHL Division 1:
Cork Harlequins v Pembroke, Farmers’ Cross, 1.15pm

, ,

South Africa complete SPAR Indoor Series in style

SPAR Indoor Hockey Series
Ireland 1 (M Power) South Africa 4 (E Molikoe 2, J Lardant, T Kock)

South Africa finished strong to win both the final test and the SPAR Indoor Hockey Series 4-1 at Gormanston Park in front of another big crowd at Áras Preston.

Overall, Ireland shone in game one, winning against world number 14 side South Africa for the first, 3-2, in game one but the visitors bounced back to win four on the spin, showing their know-how on the boards.

On Friday, coach Rob Abbott innovated from the start, going with six outfielders and no goalkeeper for most of the first quarter. They took the lead in the seventh minute when teenager Mikayla Power latched onto a chance and flicked in for her third international goal.

South Africa replied in kind, Jessica Lardant equalising from a penalty corner switch and they went in front just before half-time courtesy of Olympian Edith Molikoe’s first of this contest.

The third quarter was one for the goalkeepers with Millie Regan making a string of saves while Charlize Swanepoel did brilliantly to keep out Lily Lloyd and Sarah Patton.

The killer blow, though, came with 22 seconds to go in that stanza as Tamlyn Kock found some space to make it 3-1.

There was plenty of brave defence in the final quarter with Emma Buckley saving a penalty stroke – her second in succession indoors – and Amy Benson deflected over a corner as Kayla de Waal endured a frustrating evening from a personal perspective.

But it was all done and dusted when Molikoe netted with two minutes to go.

While the visitors took the laurels, the series was a promising one for Ireland as big crowds greeted each tie with post-match meet-and-greets with young fans proving particularly popular.

Regan was named the Irish player of the series for her performances between the posts and she says it will be an important milestone in developing this code.

“It’s been an unbelievable event,” she said. “Every night, we have had kids in, growing the game in this country and it is definitely on the up. SPAR have been unbelievable in their support and we really can’t thank them enough.

“Coming into this, we knew it was going to be a tough test against the world number 14 and luckily I played my part this week but there were a lot of girls out there on the court who could have easily got that award.”

As for those saves with her helmet, she added: “We’ve got all the gear! Why not use it?”

It concludes the indoor season locally with Ireland hosting 11 international games over the winter, the first time they have done so since the 1980s.

Ireland: L Graham, O Macken, M Power, O Fox, S Patton, A Benson
Subs: M Regan, E Buckley, K Kimber, R McMullen, H Kelly, L Lloyd

South Africa:
N Serage, J Southgate, D de Oliveira, E Molikoe, J O’Connor, E Walters
Subs: K de Waal, J Lardant, R Johnson, T Kock, D van Taak, C Swanepoel

,

South Africa take laurels on day four of SPAR Indoor Hockey Series

SPAR Indoor Hockey Series
Ireland 1 (O Fox) South Africa 3 (K de Waal 2, E Walters)

South Africa took game four and the overall series victory in the SPAR Indoor Hockey Series as Kayla de Waal turned on the style at Gormanston Park with a virtuoso double in front of a packed house.

It made it three on the bounce for the visitors after Ireland had won the opening tie on Monday with the series coming to a close on Friday night.

After a lively opening, De Waal broke the deadlock in the seventh minute with a super spin in mid-circle to force the ball over the line. It continued her goal a game record in the series to date.

Ireland replied in kind, winning two penalty corners but the SA defence were well organised by Jessica O’Connor – becoming their most capped indoor international on the night – and they held things tight throughout.

De Waal, with a classy corner, doubled up in the 15th minute and was only denied a hat trick by a super Emma Buckley save.

Ireland ramped up their performance in the second half with the diminutive Laura Graham winning two corners but Charlize Swanepoel was in inspired form between the posts.

Millie Regan was too, denying Danielle de Oliveira after some serious hustle forced the chance. Rob Abbott swapped out his goalkeeper with six minutes to go to try and force a comeback and it did lead to multiple chances, Lily Lloyd going closest.

But South Africa took advantage of their extra player with Eloise Walters getting on the end of a big chance to make it 3-0. Orla Fox got one back from the penalty spot in the closing seconds.

Ireland: E Buckley, S Patton, L Graham, M Power, O Patton, A Benson
Subs: S Barnwell, S Campbell, O Fox, K Kimber, L Lloyd, M Regan

South Africa: N Serage, J Southgate, D de Oliveira, E Molikoe, J O’Connor, E Walters
Subs: K de Waal, T Kock, R Johnson, J Lardant, D van Taak, C Swanepoel

,

South Africa edge defensive battle in SPAR Indoor Series game three

SPAR Indoor Hockey Series
Ireland 0 South Africa 1 (K de Waal)

Kayla de Waal’s 26th minute solo goal was all that stood between South Africa and Ireland on day three of the SPAR Indoor Hockey Series in Gormanston Park.

The win edged the visitors in front in the series 2-1 with further games at the same venue on Thursday and Friday evening.

Indeed, it was far cagier than the first two outings in which Ireland prevailed 3-2 before the African side bounced back to succeed 5-3 in game two.

The first quarter was the first stanza of the series not to trouble the scoreboard. Both sides had a corner each but neither drew a save from either Emma Buckley or Nepo Serage.

Likewise, the second quarter settled into a maze of patience with Rob Abbott’s Irish side settling into a dice formation which limited chances despite some neat South African passing moves.

Amy Benson had the biggest Irish chance but Jessica O’Connor did enough to snuff out the danger, keeping it scoreless into half-time.

Soon after the big break, it appeared to be opening up as South Africa earned a couple of corners while Ireland countered well.

But the vital moment came when de Waal swooped to rob Chloe Brown in her own circle and, in the next movement, flicked to the corner, inducing a fist-pump that has become her trademark this week.

Ireland battled hard to eke out an equaliser, Benson going closest from an excellent Brown set-up while de Waal hit the outside of the post for a potential insurance goal with two minutes to go.

Ireland: E Buckley, O Macken, O Fox, C Brown, O Patton, A Benson
Subs: H Kelly, L Lloyd, E Curran, M Regan, S Barnwell, R McMullen

South Africa: N Serage, J Southgate, D de Oliveira, E Molikoe, K de Waal, J O’Connor
Subs: R Johnson, D van Taak, T Kock, C Swanepoel E Walters, J Lardant

South Africa level up SPAR Indoor Hockey Series

SPAR Indoor Hockey Series
Ireland 3 (S Patton 2, C Brown) South Africa 5 (D de Oliveira 2, E Walters 2, K de Waal)

South Africa levelled the SPAR Indoor Hockey Series as they won an eight-goal cracker at Gormanston Park with Danielle de Oliveira and Eloise Walters firing home on the double.

For Ireland, they made a number of changes with Sally Campbell and Ellen Curran making their indoor international debuts with Orla Patton and Lily Lloyd coming into the side. Amy Benson, Katie Kimber, Sophie Barnwell and Orla Fox stepped out for this tie.

De Oliveira got the ball rolling in the seventh minute with a sweet penalty corner switch move, shooting home from the right of the D. Within four seconds, it was 2-0 with Kayla de Waal wriggling out of the right boards, pulling the ball around Millie Regan and flicking in on her backhand, a piece of class.

Chloe Brown – the hero on day one – got one back early in the second quarter with a direct corner strike. But the visitors two-goal advantage was restored just before the break when they robbed possession twice deep in Irish territory and Walters slotted in at the second attempt.

Ireland got the second half off to a fast start with Brown the instigator, affecting a brilliant interception on the edge of her own circle. Her pass found Orla Macken whose shot was blocked the way of Sarah Patton who pushed in for 3-2.

The two-goal gap, though, was restored once more when Walters turned over on halfway and drove on, laying off a pass to de Oliveira who swept in another classy finish.

Just 30 seconds into the final quarter, Ireland were back within range when Lily Lloyd got around the baseline to square to Patton for her second of the day, setting up another grandstand finish.

Ireland went close to nicking a result from a couple of corners but South Africa killed off the win in the 39th minute with the pick of the goals. Jessica O’Connor provided the power off the left board and Walters applied the perfect redirection to give Emma Buckley no chance.

The two sides meet again on day three of the series on Wednesday with the slightly changed time of 6pm, again at Gormanston Park.

Ireland: M Regan, S Patton, M Power, C Brown, L Graham, O Patton
Subs: H Kelly, L Lloyd, O Macken, S Campbell, E Curran, E Buckley

South Africa: N Serage, D de Oliveira, E Molikoe, E Walters, J O’Connor, J Lardant
Subs: K de Waal, R Johnson, D van Taak, J Southgate, T Kock, C Swanepoel

, ,

Ireland land first indoor win over South Africa in SPAR series

SPAR Indoor Hockey Series
Ireland 3 (C Brown 2, M Power) South Africa 2 (J Lardant, K de Waal)

Chloe Brown’s penalty corner two minutes from time saw Ireland pick up their first ever indoor international win over South Africa at the seventh attempt on day one of the SPAR Indoor Hockey Series in Gormanston College.

She struck the odd goal in five of a cracking, physical contest with the Irish goalkeepers Millie Regan – in the first half – and Emma Buckley after half-time put in outstanding shifts.

Early on, the visitors – who won all six meetings between the sides in 2019 – made the early moves with Edith Molikoe going within inches of breaking the deadlock while Regan used all parts of her padding, including her helmet to keep out a few early chances.

The hosts, meanwhile, went in front when Orla Macken pulled out a range of skills and won a corner which Brown expertly slotted away.

Ireland moved two up in the second quarter when Mikayla Power cleaned up a bouncing effort in the middle of the circle.

South Africa, though, started their comeback in the seconds before half-time when Jessica Lardant responded with a corner shot, 2-1 at the break.

The third quarter went back and forth with the Kayla de Waal equalising for SA and they almost got another when Eloise Walters’ shot – in her 50th international match – deflected in, but high and slightly off target with her initial shot.

The home side were denied from three corners in the closing seconds of the third quarter before the ship steadied. There were chances a plenty but Ireland won a vital corner with just under two seconds to go; it was switched left where Brown slotted in.

South Africa had some late moments but Ireland managed to hold on for the result. The sides meet again each night this week with games on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 7pm and the game on Wednesday at 6pm.

Ireland: M Regan, O Macken, M Power, C Brown, O Fox, A Benson
Subs: E Buckley, S Patton, S Barnwell, K Kimber, L Graham, H Kelly

South Africa: N Serage, J Southgate, E Molikoe, E Walters, K de Waal, J O’Connor
Subs: D de Oliveira, T Kock, R Johnson, J Lardant, D van Taak, C Swanepoel

, ,

Latest Irish Under-18 boys panel named for 2022 schedule

The latest Irish Under-18 boys panel has been named with a view to their 2022 campaign. They will play in a five nations tournament in Lilleshall, England from April 14 to 18 before hosting Scotland for three games from July 1 to 3 in UUJ.

In mid-July, they will play in an international tournament in Germany against the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, England and Spain.

Province Club School
Ben Pasley Leinster Three Rock Rovers The High School
Callum McCourt Munster Bandon Bandon Grammar
Charlie Rowe Ulster Banbridge Banbridge Academy
Cian Dorgan Munster Cork C of I Ashton
Conor Matthews Ulster Annadale Sullivan Upper
Conor Murphy GK Leinster Avoca Newpark Comprehensive
Harry Dagg Leinster Avoca Temple Carrig
James Clark Ulster Annadale Methodist College Belfast
James Evans Ulster Banbridge Banbridge Academy
Jamie Spratt Ulster North Down Regent House Grammar
Josh Gill Leinster Three Rock Rovers Wesley College
Louis Rowe Ulster Banbridge HC Banbridge Academy
Mackenzie Connor Ulster Lisnagarvey Friends’ School Lisburn
Matthew McKee Ulster Banbridge Banbridge Academy
Matthew Stevenson Ulster Banbridge Banbridge Academy
Max Anderson Ulster Cookstown Cookstown High School
Patrick McElhinney Ulster Annadale Methodist College Belfast
Rex Dunlop Leinster Three Rock Rovers The Kings Hospital
Rhys Armah-Kwantreng Leinster Monkstown St Andrew’s College
Robbie Duffy GK Leinster Monkstown Newpark Comprehensive
Sam Hickmott Leinster Monkstown HC St Andrew’s College
Scott Hosick GK Ulster Lisnagarvey Friends’ School Lisburn
Tiarnan Gaffney Munster Catholic Institute Villiers School
Tommy Dobson Ulster Banbridge Banbridge Academy
Alex Lynch DEV Leinster Three Rock Rovers The High School
Ben Pollock DEV Ulster Banbridge Banbridge Academy
Mark Cuddy DEV Ulster Cookstown Cookstown High School
Sam Dale DEV Munster Cork Harlequins Bandon Grammar
Allen Lyons TBA Ulster Annadale Royal Belfast Academical Institution
Peter Keappock TBA Munster Waterford Newtown School, Waterford
Sam Chapman GK – TBA Leinster YMCA Wesley College

* DEV denotes for Development

* TBA denotes To Be Assessed

, ,

Garvey through in ISC as Queen’s, North Down and Avoca into IHT finals

Lisnagarvey produced a defensive masterclass to outdo Three Rock Rovers and advance to the final four of the men’s Irish Senior Cup, winning 2-0 at Grange Road.

With Jonny Bell marsahlling things, they gave precious few chances to the current EY Hockey League leaders and eventually took their chances in the second half to win a big battle.

Indeed, they might have been in the clear earlier in the contest but for some outstanding Conor Quinn goalkeeping – not for the first time this season – as he denied Troy Chambers and James Lorimer early on.

Rovers were shy a number of their front line with Ben Johnson, Luke Adams and Evan Jennings out of action and they struggled to get much traction, the pick of their chances flashing just wide from Ross Canning before half-time.

Garvey went in front with half an hour to go when Ben Nelson charged down a couple of attempted clearances and followed up to give his older brother Matthew the chance to swipe home. They looked the more likely to strike again and they were two to the good in the last 10 minutes when Andy Edgar flicked home from the penalty spot after a swift counter-attack.

Peter Blakeney whizzed a corner shot just wide in the dying moments but Lisnagarvey were well worth their win, setting up a semi-final date with Glenanne.

In the men’s Irish Hockey Trophy, the all-Ulster semi-finals yielded a final showdown between North Down and Queen’s after they overcame South Antrim (6-2) and Portadown (3-2), respectively.

In the women’s Irish Senior Cup, Banbridge and Catholic Institute’s quarter-final was postponed for a second time.


Avoca reached the final of the Irish Hockey Trophy with a shoot-out win over YMCA. Orla O’Brien had Avoca 1-0 up until the closing minutes before YMCA withdrew their goalkeeper in favour of an extra outfielder and it paid dividends when Naoise Carraher netted for 1-1.

But they could not carry that momentum into the shoot-out where Avoce won out 3-1 with efforts from Aoife Grogan, Anna Richardson and Sarah Dillon, Joanne O’Grady getting YMCA’s reply.

Men
Irish Senior Cup, quarter-final:
Three Rock Rovers 0 Lisnagarvey 2 (M Nelson, A Edgar)
Irish Hockey Trophy, semi-finals: North Down 6 (P Templeton 2, J Orr, G McKeown, A Welsh, J Gilmore) South Antrim 2 (M Taylor, J Brown); Queens University 3 (H Scott 2, C Irwin) Portadown 2

Women
Irish Senior Cup, quarter-final:
Banbridge v Catholic Institute – postponed
Irish Hockey Trophy, semi-finals: Avoca 1 (O O’Brien) YMCA 1 (N Carraher), Avoca win shoot-out 3-1; Raphoe v Ashton – postponed