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Irish underage sides compete in Lilleshall and Zwolle

The Irish underage teams had their first outings of 2022, taking in fixtures in Lilleshall for the Under-18s and in Zwolle in the Netherlands for the Under-16s.

For the Under-18 boys, they started off at a high tempo against the Netherlands. The Dutch did see a first quarter stroke saved by Conor Murphy while Charlie Rowe had a goal disallowed as the Oranje eventually went on to win 1-0.

In game two, a strong, clinical Belgian side showed their strength and experience. A first Irish goal for Ben Pollock came from play while Harry Dagg scored a penalty corner rebound with the junior Red Lions winning 4-2.

The highlight of the weekend came against England Monday when a touch from Conor Matthews put Ireland in the lead in the second quarter and they held out for the rest of the match to bag the win.

The squad featured 12 first caps from the 22 traveling players this weekend. The side is supported by Comit.ie and Emtek.co.uk.

U18 Boys
Ireland 0 Netherlands 1
Ireland 2 Belgium 4
Ireland 1 England 0

***

The Under-18 girls also had their strongest outcome in game three when they drew 0-0 with England with both sides having their chances but defences held firm.

Belgium had earlier edged Ireland out 2-1 with Darcy McGall scoring the Irish goal. The Netherlands, meanwhile, were and outstanding outfit who won out 12-1, Anna Pim scoring a brilliant corner flick in a strong second half showing.

U18 Girls
Ireland 1 Netherlands 12
Ireland 1 Belgium 2
Ireland 0 England 0

**

The Under-16 boys made strong progress over the course of the weekend in their first games at this level for two years. They started off with a tough defeat to Belgium but narrowed the gap significantly after that.

They put in a strong performance against England, only conceding a late goal in 1-0 defeat while they pushed the Netherlands in an exciting contest which ended 2-0.

Under 16 Boys
Ireland 1 Belgium 7
Ireland 0 England 1
Ireland 0 Netherlands 2

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In what was a first international series for the Irish Under-16 girls, they fought hard through their series in Zwolle. They put in a superb effort against Belgium, conceding twice in the last eight minutes to lose 3-0.

It was the same scoreline against England and they finished off a learning experience against the Netherlands in a 4-0 result, improving game on game

Under-16 Girls
Ireland 0 Belgium 3
Ireland 0 England 3
Ireland 0 Netherlands 4

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Ireland Under-16 girls squad for 4 Nations in Zwolle

The Irish Under-16 girl’s team are travelling to Zwolle, the Netherlands, for a Four Nations tournament, taking on England, Belgium and the host country from 15th to 17th April.

“We are looking forward to travelling to Lilleshall to test ourselves against Nederlands, Belgium and England. This will be an important phase in this group’s development as we build towards our tournament in Spain in July.”

 

 

NAME SCHOOL CLUB PROVINCE
Aliya Davis Holy Child Killiney Muckross LEINSTER
Amy Handcock Kilkenny College Naas LEINSTER STH
Anna Campbell Crescent College Comp Crescent MUNSTER
Annie Cunningham Royal School Armagh Lurgan Ladies ULSTER
Aoife O’Meara Muckross Park College Pembroke LEINSTER
Charlie Bowman  (GK) Wallace Lisnagarvey ULSTER
Chloe Spencer Markethill High School Armagh ULSTER
Emilie O’Brien St Andrew’s Collerge Monkstown LEINSTER
Grainne Molloy (GK) Gaelcholáiste Na Mara Wicklow LEINSTER STH
Isobel Field Loreto Foxrock Avoca LEINSTER
Katie Heron Killicomaine JHS Portadown ULSTER
Kia McCartney Coleraine Grammar Coleraine ULSTER
Maebh McLoughlin Sligo Grammar Pembroke CONNACHT
Milla Fulton Wesley College Pembroke LEINSTER
Millie Jerman Hioly Child Killiney Monkstown LEINSTER
Orla Young Hughes Rathdown School Monkstown LEINSTER
Rachel Lennon Portadown College Portadown ULSTER
Rebekah Lennon Kilcomaine Jnr High Portadown ULSTER
Sarah Byrne Loreto Foxrock Avoca LEINSTER
Scarlet Taylor Royal School Armagh Armagh ULSTER
Sophie English Mount Anville Pembroke LEINSTER
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Ireland Under-16 boys squad for 4 Nations in Zwolle

The Irish Under-16 boy’s team are travelling to Zwolle, the Netherlands, for a Four Nations tournament, taking on England, Belgium and the host country from 15th to 17th April.

We’re very grateful to have the opportunity to play against some of the top European  nations this weekend. The players have been working hard together as a group since October, and this will be their first experience of competitive international hockey, so its a great opportunity to benchmark our progress. I’d like to say a huge thanks to all of our sponsors for supporting Irish hockey and helping the squad on its journey.

NAME SQUAD NUMBER
Jack Fairmaner 4
Harvey Begg 3
Ben Thompson 12
Robert Olden 5
Harry St Leger (Co captain) 6
William McMullan 18
George Palmer (Co captain) 7
Scott Kenny 13
Max Caulwell 8
ZachSilverman 14
Peter Montgomery 20
Zac JMoloney 16
Lukas Moles 19
Adam McKee 9
Matthew  McAreavey 17
Hamish JScott 21
Tom Archbold 11
Matthew Carry 10
Samuel  Mahoney Doyle 2
Benjamin Law 15
Matthew McLearnon 1
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Ireland Under-18 girls squad for 5 Nations in Lilleshall

Irish Under-18 girls are travelling to Lilleshall from 15th to 18th April where they will compete against The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and England in a five-nation tournament.

“We are looking forward to travelling to Lilleshall to test ourselves against Nederlands, Belgium and England. This will be an important phase in this group’s development as we build towards our tournament in Spain in July.”

  NAME PROVINCE
1 ROBYN MURPHY MUNSTER
2 MARTHA DUIGNAN LEINSTER
3 ANNA PIM ULSTER
4 KATE RYAN MUNSTER
5 ELLA PASLEY LEINSTER
6 AOIBHEANN COLLINS MUNSTER
7 REBECCA CARTHY LEINSTER
8 ROISIN SEXTON LEINSTER
9 KATIE MOORE MUNSTER
10 ENYA DARBY ULSTER
11 AVA MALEADY LEINSTER
12 EVA GASTON ULSTER
13 OLIVIA BEATTIE ULSTER
14 JODIE SIMMONS ULSTER
15 ELLA BROWN ULSTER
16 SARAH KIRGAN ULSTER
17 GABRIELLA SCOTT ULSTER
18 GEORGINA FOTTRELL LEINSTER
19 KAIA MOORE ULSTER
20 EMMA UPRICHARD ULSTER
21 DARCY MCGALL ULSTER

 

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Ireland Under-18 boys squad for 5 Nations in Lilleshall

Irish Under-18 boys head coach Simon Lowry has named a panel of 22 to travel to Lilleshall from 15th to 18th April where they will compete against The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and England in a five-nation tournament.

“After a 2 year break from international hockey, it is great to able to give lots of players the opportunity to represent Ireland for the first time. The squad has worked hard in recent sessions despite an incredibly demanding calendar. We are excited to get back out on the pitch to assess where we are as a squad as we continue to build towards the 8 Nations tournament this summer.”

Fixture schedule (all at Lilleshall, England)
Friday, April 15th: Ireland v Netherlands, 1pm
Saturday, April 16th: Ireland v Belgium, 1pm
Monday, April 18th: Ireland v England, 2.15pm
Squad:
Player Club School Province
Allen Lyons Annadale HC Royal Belfast Academical Institution Ulster
Ben Pasley Three Rock Rovers HC The High School Leinster
Ben Pollock Banbridge HC Banbridge Academy Ulster
Charlie Rowe Banbridge HC Banbridge Academy Ulster
Cian Dorgan Cork C of I HC Ashton Munster
Conor Matthews Annadale HC Sullivan Upper Ulster
Conor Murphy Avoca HC Newpark Comprehensive Leinster
Harry Dagg Avoca HC Temple Carrig Leinster
James Clark Annadale HC Methodist College Belfast Ulster
James Evans Banbridge HC Banbridge Academy Ulster
Josh Gill Three Rock Rovers HC Wesley College Leinster
Mackenzie Connor Lisnagarvey HC Friends’ School Lisburn Ulster
Mark Cuddy Cookstown HC Cookstown High School Ulster
Matthew McKee Banbridge HC Banbridge Academy Ulster
Matthew Stevenson Banbridge HC Banbridge Academy Ulster
Patrick McElhinney Annadale HC Methodist College Belfast Ulster
Rhys Armah-Kwantreng Monkstown HC St Andrew’s College Leinster
Sam Dale Cork Harlequins HC Bandon Grammar Munster
Sam Hickmott Monkstown HC St Andrew’s College Leinster
Scott Hosick Lisnagarvey HC Friends’ School Lisburn Ulster
Tiarnan Gaffney Catholic Institute HC Villiers School Ulster
Tommy Dobson Banbridge HC Banbridge Academy

 

Management Team:
Head Coach – Simon Lowry
Assistant Coach – Adam Pritchard
Manager – Ruth McDonagh
Physio – Hugh Byrne
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Pegasus and Three Rock face double Dutch challenge in Europe

Pegasus and Three Rock Rovers are going double Dutch on Friday in their opening Euro Hockey League matches this weekend, facing what look like the toughest possible draws first up.

For Pegasus, they are in Amsterdam for the top tier EHL FINALS in a knock-out eight-team competition. In the strange Covid world, the Belfast side qualified for the competition as Ireland’s last formal champion, dating back to 2019’s EY Champions Trophy.

It means the side that qualified for the competition has undergone a number of changes in personnel and has also attempted to peak for the tournament a couple of times only for the postponement notices to go up.

“It seems like a lifetime ago we qualified for the EHL so finally getting to play is really exciting and I know the entire squad can’t wait to play against some of the best club teams out there,” she said.

“It has been strange to try and prepare now more than once but we are just relieved to be able to participate, finally. It has its positives and negatives being postponed for so long; we now have players who no longer play or have had children since we were due to play who will miss out, but we have also got the chance to develop some of our younger teammates.”

In the KO8, they are up against Den Bosch who are – without question – the greatest club side Europe has ever seen. They are the reigning EHL champions and have won 16 of the last 20 top tier Euro competitions, including a run of 12 successive victories between 2000 and 2011.

To that end, Maguire knows it will be a rare battle: “Yes, we certainly realise Den Bosch is the toughest opponent given their incredible record. We are not naive to the fact that it will be the toughest game we will have ever played in a Pegasus shirt, but it is such an opportunity to play against the best there is, and anything we take from this game is bonus.”

But what better arena to prepare for a huge run-in to the domestic season as they will return for an EY Champions Trophy quarter-final against UCD next Wednesday.

“We finished third in the league which, at the start of the season, we might have been happy with, but seeing how close the season finished we feel we could have pushed that bit further.

Pegasus’s Ruth Maguire on the attack against Muckross. Pic: Adrian Boehm

“We still have at least another three games to play after the tournament, so it is hard to have the focus for EHL and for the ‘business end of the season’ but our approach is simple- take one game at a time.”

How they fare on Friday will determine what their classification matches series looks like over the weekend.

For Three Rock, they are in their second EHL competition of the season, taking on the EHL Cup in Terrassa, Spain having played in the Ranking Cup last October as well.

Coach Elun Hack says his side “obviously made excellent progress” since then. There, they were undone by HC Minsk and Hampstead & Westminster with a new look team but Rovers have gone on to have a productive domestic season, winning the Leinster Mills Cup and only missing out on the EYHL regular season title on goal difference.

“We were a new team, thrown together last minute, but to have ended our regular season level on points with a really well established team like Garvey, shows in itself the progress that has been made.

“The plan now is keep building on the squad as we go, and hopefully do well in EHL, not only results wise as the opposition are some of the best in Europe, but well in terms of hitting our own goals and objectives, and get some good momentum going into the important playoff weekend.”

They are close to full strength but will miss Luke Adams for the weekend. Their KO8 tie is against HC Rotterdam who feature the EHL’s all-time highest goalscorer Jeroen Hertzberger along with Olympians Justen Blok and speedster Thijs van Dam.

Rotterdam, however, have been slightly off-kilter this season and sit ninth in the Dutch league which maybe offers some opportunity.

Three Rock Rovers with their Mills Cup trophy in March. Pic: Adrian Boehm

“Rotterdam, or any Dutch team is always going to be a challenge,” Hack added. “The level that these teams play at week in and week out, is much higher than we are used to or exposed to, so they will always have the upper hand.

“The talent in their squad and ability of their star players, will always pose a massive challenge. They are struggling, and that does mean some light at the end of the tunnel for us, but sometimes a weekend like EHL, can be the spark that they need.

“We will naturally give it our best shot, we are representing both TRR and Ireland, and want to give the best account of both that we possibly can, and miracles do happen; you just never know when and where.

“If we give our best, and play at a 9 or 10 out of 10, then who knows… but it will certainly be a really good challenge. It’s a great opportunity for our lads to test themselves against some of the best players in Europe.”

Like Pegasus, a win on Friday would put them into the top four playoffs while a loss lead into the fifth to eighth playoffs.

Friday, April 15th (times Irish)
Men
EHL Cup, KO8:
Three Rock Rovers v HC Rotterdam, Club Egara, 1.15pm

Women
ABN AMRO EHL FINALS KO8:
Pegasus v Den Bosch, Wagener Stadium, 10.30am

Saturday, April 16th – Monday, April 18th
Classification matches – to be confirmed

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Four-star Ireland finish debut Junior World Cup with a flourish

Women’s Junior World Cup
9th-10th place playoff
Ireland 4 (S O’Brien, L Mulcahy, Y Pratt, C Hamill) Austria 0

Ireland finished strong to end their first ever Junior World Cup campaign in ninth place with a third successive win in Potchefstroom, running up four second half goals in a superb performance.

Siofra O’Brien, Lisa Mulcahy, Yasmin Pratt and Christina Hamill were all on the score sheet, ending the campaign in ninth place. It added to wins over Canada and Malaysia in the classification matches, bouncing back well from the group stages when Ireland missed out on the top eight in frustrating fashion.

“We really enjoyed this!” said player of the match Sarah McAuley. “We treated it like our final and did ourselves proud, finishing ninth. I am so proud of all the girls. It was the last game; we just said ‘go out, give it a lash and relish this opportunity’.”

Reflecting on the flow and tactical battle of the game, coach David Passmore added: “We didn’t convert in the first half and were a little bit frantic at times. But in the second, we played with a lot more composure. We did have a small panic when we lost a bit of structure but you have to ride those periods. It will never be plain sailing for 60 minutes.

“Tactically, we did it how we wanted to do it. The key thing is we wanted to develop with every game and finish well and we have done that.

“We like to play on the front foot, pressing, pressing, pressing. From the other Austrian games, I hadn’t seen them face that and so I thought we’d give it a go. You do accept they will occasionally get the ball through but we won a lot of ball.”

That high pressing intent was shown from the outset. Yasmin Pratt – player of the match in the win over Malaysia – won a corner with just 35 seconds gone, a set piece which took over 20 minutes to take place as lightning in the area saw the players race off the pitch as a precaution.

On their return to action, Sarah McAuley twice tested goalkeeper Fabienne Gnehm from the top of the D before brilliantly keeping out Anna Horan at close quarters from Christina Hamill’s dancing run and cross.

Austria, sitting in a deep half-court mode, had only fleeting moments in offence but were providing tough to break down and it remained scoreless in the first half.

The gaps started to appear more frequently in the third quarter and Ireland made the breakthrough in the 36th minute when McAuley, stepping up down the left wing, cut inside and picked out Siofra O’Brien.

The striker had her back to goal but turned smartly and chipped in a backhand shot that left Gnehm with no chance.

Austria showed more in attack after the goal, winning their first corner which Katharina Proksch fired just wide but they were two behind as the hooter blew for the end of Q3.

Pratt was again instrumental in winning the set play which Caoimhe Perdue slapped at goal and Lisa Mulcahy deflected in.

Holly Micklem was called to make her first save with nine minutes to go, sliding out brilliantly to block Franziska Frey and, from the rebound, the Old Alex keeper made her second block seconds later.

But the tie was well and truly settled from Ireland’s sixth corner, again Perdue bringing the power and Pratt was on hand to redirect the shot out of reach of sub goalie Corinna Stedronsky.

Christina Hamill closed out the tournament with a beautiful piece of work, McAuley’s long ball locating Mikayla Power who slipped an inviting pass that the Loreto midfielder threw herself to make it 4-0.

It brought the curtain down on a dramatic World Cup campaign, one which was initially postponed from December and then realigned due to Russia’s exclusion and Ukraine’s eventual withdrawal.

Nonetheless, it was an unforgettable experience for the Junior Green Army to compete at this level for the first time, winning three out of five fixtures in South Africa.

“I just want to thank everyone here for being so kind,” Passmore concluded. “We got such a great welcome. It;’s been a tough two years for everyone on the organising committee and we really appreciate everything they have done.”

Ireland: H Micklem, E Reid, S Murdoch, R Kelly, C Perdue, A Elliott, Y Pratt, C Sherin, C Hamill, L Mulcahy, S McAuley
Subs: E Paul S Cole, S O’Brien, M Power, A Horan, K-J Marshall, E McLoughlin

Austria: F Gnehm, C Kemper, H Herzog, J Czech, K Bauer, K Proksch, L Kern, L Buchta, F Felber, N Matousek, F Frey
Subs: M Monghy, A Minar, S Klaus, H Szladits, S Hruby, J Frey, C Stedronsky

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Cookstown and Ards claim EYHL2 season’s medals

Cookstown and Ards completed their EYHL2 campaigns with the medals following their Sunday wins over Instonians and Monkstown, respectively, at Whitechurch Park.

With promotion to the top tier assured by virtue of Saturday’s semi-final success, the EY2 title was up for grabs with the men’s final first to hit the turf between Cookstown and Instonians.

It was a tight affair with Greg Allen putting Cookstown in front when he finished off after Paul Thompson laid the ball into his path. Tommy Orr equalised when Mikie Watt brought out his bag of tricks to spin between a couple of challenges and then lay the ball into his team mate’s path.

It remained at 1-1 through the third quarter before youngster Mark Cuddy won the contest in the closing quarter, scoring the deciding goal with nine minutes to go.

“Absolutely chuffed; the main priority was to get promoted so we are delighted with that and obviously, coming out for a final, we were here to win it,” captain Thompson said afterwards.

“[For the semi-final] We had seen Clontarf’s results and knew it would be a tough game and it was a slog. When it went to shoot-out, we have Josh McCabe – he’s brilliant and we practice them an awful lot!”

In the women’s final, Ards got off to a flyer with Malseed thumping in from the top of the circle twice within minutes of each other for a 2-0 lead.

Fellow Olympian Chloe Watkins cut the gap in half when she jinked one way and then back onto her open side with a quality shot but Ali Carson put Ards two clear at half-time, making it 3-1.

Monkstown were right back in the mix when a Watkins backhand shot was guided in at the right post by Sophie Moore, setting up a grandstand finish.

But the Ulster side held firm to take the gold medals and a breathless Malseed said it was a perfect end to a long season.

“It was a tough day, physically taking its toll as you can hear!” she said with a grin.

“Yesterday was the final we were building toward all season so anything after that was an enjoyable moment. We came out knowing this was going to be a great game, knowing they have performed consistently all season.

“We started off going two up and surprised ourselves a bit! From there, it was about trying to keep the foot on the pedal to the end.

“With last season a write-off, this seems like a long-time coming and we have been building toward this for a while. We’ll definitely celebrate tonight!”

EYHL Division Two finals
Men
: Cookstown 2 (G Allen, M Cuddy) Instonians 1 (T Orr)
Women: Ards 3 (Z Malseed 2, A Carson) Monkstown 2 (C Watkins, S Moore)

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Monkstown and Ards going back up to women’s EYHL first division

Monkstown and Ards are both back in the big time as they won feisty battles in the women’s EYHL Division Two semi-finals to confirm promotion at Whitechurch Park.

First up, Monkstown won out 3-1 against hosts Corinthian with Anna O’Flanagan scoring twice. The first half were characterised by fierce tackles and a set of penalty corner battles and it was through this method the opening goal came just before half-time.

Olympic duo Chloe Watkins and O’Flanagan combined with the former slapping to the right post where the latter deflected in.

Lauren McGrane evened things up four minutes into the second with a super goal but parity only lasted just over a minute as O’Flanagan scored a similarly high quality effort.

Claire O’Reilly put them out of range in the 46th minute before Town had to endure a lot of pressure and suffered a number of cards in the closing quarter.

But they finished out the tie well to ensure promotion to return to the top tier for the first time since 2018.

The second quarter-final, Queen’s took the lead early on when Madison Bowyer followed up a penalty corner shot from Zoe Wilson that Naomi McKnight blocked.

Ards’ Amy Benson gets away from Alyssa Jebb Pic: Max Fulham

Ards fought back in and Zara Malseed whacked in a direct penalty corner to make it 1-1 by half-time and Ellen Robinson got what proved to be the crucial goal in the third quarter.

The two sides advance to Sunday’s EYHL Division 2 final at Whitechurch Park at 3.30pm on Sunday, looking to add an extra special end to their season.

Women’s EYHL Division 2, semi-final: Monkstown 3 (A O’Flanagan 2, C O’Reilly) Corinthian 1 (L McGrane); Ards 2 (Z Malseed, E Robinson) Queen’s 1 (M Bowyer)
Sunday, final: Monkstown v Ards, Whitechurch Park, 3.30pm

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Inst and Cookstown win dramatic EYHL2 promotion showdowns

Ulster will have five clubs in the top tier of the men’s EY Hockey League next season with Instonians and Cookstown both landing promotion at Whitechurch Park.

Inst won their EYHL Division 2 semi-final against Leinster champions Railway Union 4-2 to earn their promotion.

They were good value for it as they had most of the play in the first half with Mikie Watt getting them in front and it could have been more but for the goalkeeping of Stephen O’Keeffe.

The prolific Mark English – who scored 50 times in the Leinster league campaign – equalised early in the second half but Ben Rose restored the Belfast side’s lead in the 51st minute.

And they never looked back as skipper Stephen Kelso put extra daylight between the sides at 3-1 and, with Railway withdrawing their goalkeeper for an extra outfielder, James Palmer cashed in for a fourth.

Karl Chapple nicked one back but Inst were well clear and are back in the top division for the first time since 2017.

Cookstown, meanwhile, were taken all the way by Clontarf in a shoot-out with Josh McCabe excelling. The Co Tyrone side looked good in the first half and they took the lead via Jack Haycock’s penalty corner drag-flick in the second quarter.

But the Dubliners came back strong and got level with just two minutes to go from former Irish under-21 captain Sam Grace with a corner bullet of his own.

That sent it to the shoot-out where Cookstown did not miss with Ryan Millar, Mark Crooks and Greg Allen all scoring. McCabe, meanwhile, kept out the first two and then stood up brilliantly to make three interventions to block Alan O’Malley’s path to goal, the save leading to a 3-1 victory.

Cookstown celebrate with goalkeeper Josh McCabe. Picture: Max Fulham

Cookstown and Instonians will meet on Sunday for the league title with the game getting underway at 1pm in Rathfarnham.

Banbridge, meanwhile, will get to host their own EY Champions Trophy finals weekend party having got through their quarter-final date against YMCA, 4-2 at Havelock Park.

YM had only picked up one point this term against the top five in the EYHL regular season but this new format gave them a wildcard shot at a semi-final and they were determined to take the opportunity.

Peabo Lembethe’s penalty corner rebound gave the Y a lead in the second quarter and it was level at 2-2 in the closing stages of the third quarter when Grant Glutz countered home goals from Peter Brown and Jonny McKee.

But youngsters Charlie Rowe and Matthew McKee turned the game Bann’s way in the last 20 minutes to hand Bann a semi-final spot where they will be up against Three Rock Rovers.

Lisnagarvey, meanwhile, will meet Monkstown after the latter made it through in a shoot-out against Glenanne. Normal time ended 2-2 with Rowland Rixon-Fuller snatching a draw for the Glens but a perfect Town shoot-out saw them win out 3-0 and advance to the final four.

Men
EYHL Division 1 – Quarter-Finals:
Banbridge 4 (Pe Brown, J McKee, C Rowe, M McKee) YMCA 2 (P Lembethe, G Glutz); Glenanne 2 (S O’Connor, R Rixon-Fuller) Monkstown 2 (D Nolan, J Henry), Monkstown win shoot-out 3-0
EYHL2 play-offs, semi-finals:
Railway Union 2 (M English, K Chapple) Instonians 4 (M Watt, B Rose, S Kelso, J Palmer); Cookstown 1 (J Haycock) Clontarf 1 (S Grace), Cookstown win shoot-out 3-1

Sunday
EYHL2 final:
Cookstown v Instonians, Whitechurch Park, 1pm