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Ireland off to flying start in EuroHockey qualifiers

Women’s EuroHockey Championship Qualifier

Ireland 3 (R Upton 2, D Duke) Poland 0

Ireland recorded a strong opening win in the Women’s EuroHockey Championship Qualifier B at the Sport Ireland Campus to head their group after day one.

 

Deirdre Duke opened the scoring in the second quarter with a deft touch to Katie Mullan’s cross and Róisín Upton added her 22nd and 23rd international goals to put the result beyond doubt.

 

It has Ireland top of the group after day one following a 1-1 draw between Turkey and Czech Republic, putting them in pole position for the one ticket to next summer’s European Championships, a key waypoint on the road to Paris 2024.

 

“It was always going to be a really tough game because we know the importance of these games and that brings a bit of stress. To get the result is really positive,” said coach Sean Dancer.

 

Poland – ranked 27th in the world, 14 places below Ireland – offered a new challenge to the Green Army, one which took the hosts took a while to break down.

 

In the first quarter, Michelle Carey and Hannah McLoughlin both had shots brilliantly saved by Marta Kucharska while Katie Mullan poked a chance wide.

 

They went in front after 19th minutes when Duke got the deftest of touches from a move set in motion by Caoimhe Perdue and crossed by Mullan.

 

Upton then slung home a powerful drag-flick from the Green Army’s second corner of the game to give extra daylight. Poland, though, fought back in the second half and had a couple of key chances which Ayeisha McFerran dealt with confidently.

 

Ireland missed out on two glorious chances to make the game extra safe with both Ellen Curran and Mullan denied at point-blank range by sub goalkeeper Anna Gabara.

 

It left some tension in the contest until Upton repeated the feat in the closing minutes with another low bullet for 3-0.

 

“We are playing a tournament where we don’t really understand the opposition and so there is a lot of figuring out and a little bit of chess playing in the game,” Dancer said of the challenge.

 

“We got the better of the first half and they probably got the better of the second. 2-0, we were never fully safe and they still had a chance. Their keeper made some really good saves and if we had put one away, the game would have been done a bit earlier.”

 

Ireland face the Czech Republic on Saturday morning in their second fixture of the tournament at 1pm at the Sport Ireland Campus before completing the competition on Sunday against Turkey.

 

Ireland: A McFerran, S McAuley, M Carey, R Upton, S Hawkshaw, K Mullan, H McLoughlin, L Tice, N Carroll, C Perdue, D Duke

Subs: N Carey, S Torrans, C Beggs, K McKee, C Hamill

 

Poland: M Kucharska, M Drozda, A Katerla, J Balcerzak, M Rybacha, M Polewczak, S Tatarczuk, W Blaszyk, B Strubbe, N Suszynska, D Mazur

Subs: M Czujewicz, A Szot, D Skoraszewska, K Diurczak, M Pabiniak, P Slawinska

 

Women’s EuroHockey Championship Qualifier

Czech Republic 1 (T Mejzlikova) Turkey 1 (P Küçükkoç)

Ireland 3 (R Upton 2, D Duke) Poland 0

 

Standings: 1. Ireland 3pts (+3) 2= Czech Republic 1pt (0) 2= Turkey 1pt (0) 4. Poland 0pts (-3)

 

August 20:

Poland v Turkey, 10.45am

Ireland v Czech Republic, 1pm

 

August 21:

Poland v Czech Republic, 10.45am

Ireland v Turkey, 1pm

Tickets : https://bit.ly/EHCQ_Tkts

Niamh Carey returns to Irish line-up for Euro qualifiers

Niamh Carey has returned to the Irish senior women’s squad ahead of the EuroHockey Championships qualifier tournament which will be held at the Sport Ireland Campus from August 18th to 21st.

The UCD striker enjoyed a spectacular start to her international career last October, scoring in her first and second caps in Pisa to help propel Ireland to World Cup qualification.

She subsequently took time out for a college placement in the US which ruled her out of playing in July’s World Cup but she has been back in camp with Sean Dancer’s panel to provide a boost to the line-up for next week’s key qualifiers.

It is the one addition to the squad with all 20 of those who played in Amsterdam available for selection with UCC’s Caoimhe Perdue included who has recovered from a broken bone in her hand sustained against South Africa.

“Niamh Carey has pushed her way back into the team, and it will be exciting to see her and [twin sister] Michelle, back in action connecting with each other on the field,” said coach Sean Dancer of her return.

“We continue to have a good balance of experience and youth, with speed and skill, that will be important for us over the whole field to play the style of play we want.

Ireland take on world number 27 side Poland in their first game next Thursday at 7.30pm to start the four-team round-robin competition from which only the winner will play in Europe’s top tier in 2023.

They will follow up with a tie against the Czech Republic (ranked 23rd) on Saturday, August 20th (1pm) before completing the series against Turkey (33rd) on Sunday, August 21st (1pm).

At 14th in the world, Ireland are the favourites on paper and will be keen to use a strong home advantage to bolster their performances just a month after their 11th place finish at the World Cup.

“The Dublin Europeans is an important tournament for this group and we need to rise to the challenge and expectations of winning next week,” Dancer added.

“The World Cup experience overall was tough but also an excellent opportunity to progress our game. We have worked hard in our review period, and made the adjustments we feel we need.

“Playing important games at home can be a great experience for a team and we are hoping to have a lot of support from the ‘Green Army’ fans as we know they will do.”

To make sure you are part of the action, tickets are available via https://bit.ly/EHCQ_Tkts.

 

Irish women’s squad for EuroHockey Championship qualifiers (August 18th to 21st at the Sport Ireland Campus)

Ayeisha McFerran (SV Kampong, 118)

Elizabeth Murphy (Loreto, 13)

Róisín Upton (vice-captain, Catholic Institute, 94)

Lena Tice (Old Alex, 127)

Katie Mullan (Ballymoney, 211)

Sarah Hawkshaw (Railway Union, 51)

Naomi Carroll (Catholic Institute, 126)

Hannah McLoughlin (UCD, 31)

Sarah McAuley (UCD, 14)

Michelle Carey (UCD, 15)

Charlotte Beggs (Ulster Elks, 5)

Katie McKee (Pegasus, 5)

Ellen Curran (Pembroke, 32)

Christina Hamill (Loreto, 5)

Sarah Torrans (Loreto, 38)

Caoimhe Perdue (UCC, 4)

Deirdre Duke (Old Alex, 159)

Niamh Carey (UCD, 3)

Zara Malseed (Ards, 12)

Síofra O’Brien (Loreto, 1)

Erin Getty (Queen’s, 11)

Holly Micklem (Old Alex, 0)

Ellie McLoughlin (UCD, 0)

Fixture schedule

August 18th: 

Czech Republic v Turkey, 5.15pm

Ireland v Poland, 7.30pm

 

August 20th: 

Poland v Turkey, 10.45am

Ireland v Czech Republic, 1pm

 

August 21st: 

Poland v Czech Republic, 10.45am

Ireland v Turkey, 1pm

EuroHockey Championship Qualifiers – Tickets on Sale

Tickets have gone on sale for the women’s crucial EuroHockey Championship qualifiers which will take place at the Sport Ireland Campus in Blanchardstown from August 18th to 21st.

Tickets can be purchased by the following link: https://bit.ly/EHCQ_Tkts

It will be the first capped games for the Green Army on home turf since the 2019 Olympic qualifiers in Donnybrook with Ireland coming up against the Czech Republic (World Ranked 23rd), Poland (27th) and Turkey (33rd).

The winner of the competition will qualify for the top tier of 2023’s European Championships which is, in turn, a vital stepping stone on the road to Paris 2024. The Euros in Monchengladbach offers the first direct qualification ticket to the Olympic Games.

In addition, the places in the Olympic qualifying tournaments will also be determined by performances at the 2023 Euros and so reaching the top table is crucial for Ireland.

As such, the Irish hosts this week are looking to put on a big show at the Sport Ireland Campus to progress their Olympic hopes in front of a buzzing home crowd.

Over 1,200 seats have been installed at the venue, augmented by a fan village and children’s skill zone to add to the atmosphere.

Sarah Hawkshaw grew up minutes away from the venue in Castleknock and says this kind of set-up is unimaginable from her youth days in the area. She got her first glimpse of the new additions this weekend and is excited by the prospect of walking out to a raucous audience.

“With the stands in place, it looks class and looks a different pitch altogether from the one we train on. I wish it could stay all year!” she said. “It sets the perfect scene for what will be a really tough tournament but one which, for our campaign to Paris, we absolutely must win.

“We would love to do it in front of lots of our fans who always give us a huge boost. The campus is such a good complex and is easy access for people coming down from the north and just off the M50.”

Coach Sean Dancer added about the venue: “What they have done with the stands, the structure above the dugouts and the people they have around the ground supporting it makes the environment enjoyable to come here and play hockey. Real credit to Sport Ireland and Hockey Ireland to get these facilities in place.

“The challenge would be to get this all the time because this group really want to be here. Walking out, it is a different kettle of fish. Credit to everyone because they have got it right and it would be amazing to have it here full-time. It can help Ireland get to the next level.”

His side will be hoping to finish their summer schedule on a high following their 11th place finish at the World Cup in Amsterdam in the summer. The nature of the opposition will be very different with Ireland taking on the eventual champions the Netherlands and fourth place finishers Germany in the group stages.

This time around, they are the highest ranked side at 13th in the world and so Hawkshaw says there is a very different dynamic.

“That’s where the pressure is,” the dashing midfielder adds. “It is on us to go out and do a job. They are the teams we have to control in these games, move the ball well, take our opportunities when they come around.

“A lot of sides ranked lower than us are defensively strong and have experience of doing a lot of defending. So we are definitely not expecting to walk the ball into the goal and it is an area we have to improve.”

Women’s EuroHockey Championship qualifiers (all at the Sport Ireland campus)

August 18: 

Czech Republic v Turkey, 5.15 pm

Ireland v Poland, 7.30 pm

 

August 20: 

Poland v Turkey, 10.45 am

Ireland v Czech Republic, 1 pm

 

August 21: 

Poland v Czech Republic, 10.45 am

Ireland v Turkey, 1 pm

Ireland’s men run up fifth successive win

Men’s international test match

Ireland 3 (B Walker 2, C Empey) Austria 1 (M Frey)

Ireland picked up a second successive win over Austria this weekend at the Sport Ireland Campus as Ben Walker’s first quarter double continued their strong run of form.

 

This 3-1 win added to Saturday’s 2-0 success against the world number 19 side and as their fifth in succession and ninth victory from their last 11 fixtures as they continue to build momentum for the EuroHockey Championships qualifiers in three weeks time.

 

Walker opened the scoring just two minutes in when John McKee’s shot was never fully cleared with Jeremy Duncan robbing possession on the left edge of the D. He spun the ball into the danger zone where the Dubliner gave it a little nudge to deceive Matuesz Szymczyk.

 

They rode their luck a little bit after that with Mark Ingram making a couple of important saves from penalty corners while Oliver Binder’s shot clipped the base of the post.

 

But Mark Tumilty’s side were two up before the end of the first quarter when McKee’s drag was saved high, allowing Johnny Lynch to brilliantly take the ball out of the air and clip it across for Walker to tip-in

 

Ireland were the side on top in Q2 but the visitors bounced back in the third period to make more of the game and were on the scoreboard when Josef Winkler’s first-time shot bounced the way of Moritz Frey. He cleverly lifted his effort over Ingram.

 

And they were close to an equaliser when a fifth corner shot was deflected high with goalkeeper Ingram using his face protection to nod away the sharp change of direction.

 

The hosts, though, finished stronger and were rewarded with a clinching goal with five minutes left. Mark McNellis’s raking pass from right to left found Duncan on the circle’s perimeter and he angled a ball to the back post where Conor Empey was on hand to gobble up a simple chance.

 

Ireland completed this warm-up series on Tuesday evening (7.45pm) with another fixture against Chile – whom they beat twice last week.

 

The Irish women, meanwhile, play their second uncapped fixture against France on Monday evening (5.30pm) as the Sport Ireland Campus venue continues to take shape.

 

Ireland: M Ingram, T Cross, J McKee, D Walsh, K Marshall, S Murray, M McNellis, J Duncan, B Walker, S Hyland, N Page

Subs: K O’Dea, N Glassey, M Robson, J Lynch, C Empey, R Patterson, J Carr

 

Austria: M Szymczyk, T Mayer, O Binder, P Kaltenböck, D Fröhlich, F Unterkircher, F Lindengrun, N Wellan, L Thörnblom, X Hasun, O Kern

Subs: C Soldat, B Kölbl, J Winkler, B Valas, M Frey, L Rizzi

 

Umpires: I Strange, R Abbott

 

Fixture schedule (all at Sport Ireland Campus)

All live streamed on Hockey Irelands Youtube.

Tuesday, August 9: Ireland v Chile, 7.45pm

Women (uncapped fixture)

Monday, August 8: Ireland v France, 5.30pm

Ireland beat Austria 2-0 to extend winning run.

Men’s international test match

Ireland 2 (J McKee, J Duncan) Austria 0

Ireland made it three wins in succession at the Sport Ireland Campus as second quarter goals from John McKee and Jeremy Duncan saw off world number 19 side Austria 2-0.

 

It followed two wins over Chile (ranked 23rd) in midweek as part of this busy schedule in the lead-up to the EuroHockey Championship qualifiers later this month in Calais. All told, Ireland have won eight of 10 fixtures this summer to build confidence and momentum.

 

The tie was also the 100th cap for captain Sean Murray and he was delighted to receive the honour on home turf seven years after making his debut, also in Dublin.

 

“It’s a bit surreal. We play across the waters so much so doing it at home is so special, especially for the 100th,” the former Lisnagarvey man – now plying his trade in Belgium – said afterwards.

 

“Every cap is as special but it was nice to play freely today and get a win with the team. Our performances keep progressing and winning is certainly a habit so we want to keep that going as long as possible. It would be really good to go to France with that momentum.”

 

Indeed, it was Ireland’s eighth win in 10 outings this summer and Murray says these capped fixtures are giving the young Irish squad a strong matchplay grounding for those qualifiers.

 

“When we play the teams below us, there’s potential to lose far more than you gain so it gives the extra incentive to win. With the nature and experience of our squad, we need to get used to seeing out games [like this] well and putting the foot on the throat of the teams ranked below us. Today, we learned a bit about playing it smart when we were two goals up, not playing direct. It is a work in progress.”

 

He also paid tribute to Jaime Carr who recorded on a clean sheet in his 50th international: “Brilliant for him. It’s difficult for a goalkeeper to amass 50 caps – it’s not like a defender who can be the fourth best and still play every game.

 

“He is a world-renowned goalkeeper; everyone of the players in the Belgian league [where he is based] knows him because of that and it is a really strong area for us.”

 

On the field, Ireland had the edge in play for the majority of the tie with Daragh Walsh and McKee firing early shots on the backhand wide.

 

Michael Robson and Rory Patterson also had bashes at goal before McKee broke the deadlock with a low drag-flick through Mateuez Szymczyk – his third goal in successive fixtures.

 

And it was two at half-time when Ben Johnson’s extravagant turn on the baseline opened the door for Michael Robson to shoot goalward; he didn’t get a full sweep on it but the direction was good enough for Duncan to swoop and complete the job.

 

The third quarter saw the Green Machine in control but not able to capitalise further with McKee and Callum Robson looking dangerous. Austria held out and had their best moments in the closing few minutes but Kyle Marshall and Carr saved off the line to keep the clean sheet in place.

The two sides meet again on Sunday morning at 9.30am with Ireland finishing their series on Tuesday against Chile.

 

Earlier in the day, the Irish women drew 2-2 with France in an uncapped fixture.

 

Ireland: J Carr, L Witherow, T Cross, J McKee, D Walsh, C Robson, K Marshall, S Murray, M McNellis, J Duncan, N Page

Subs: K O’Dea, M Robson, B Walker, S Hyland, B Johnson, R Patterson, M Ingram

 

Austria: M Szymczyk, T Mayer, O Binder, P Kaltenböck, D Fröhlich, F Unterkircher, F Lindengrun, N Wellan, L Thörnblom, X Hasun, O Kern

Subs: C Soldat, B Kölbl, J Winkler, B Valas, M Frey, L Rizzi

 

Umpires: I Strange, S McAllister

 

Fixture schedule (all at Sport Ireland Campus, Abbotstown)

Men

Sunday, August 7: Ireland v Austria, 9.30am

Tuesday, August 9: Ireland v Chile, 7.45pm

Women (uncapped fixture)

Monday, August 8: Ireland v France, 5.30pm

Ireland make it two from two against Chile

Men’s international test match

Ireland 3 (J McKee, K O’Dea, C Robson) Chile 1 (M Rodriguez)

Ireland’s men picked up a second successive win over Chile as they saw off the South American side 3-1 at the Sport Ireland Campus with a fine second half showing in their latest capped fixture.

 

John McKee and Martin Rodriguez exchanged early goals to have it level at 1-1 and it remained that way into the second half when the hosts cut loose. Kevin O’Dea took advantage of a near-in miscontrol to put Ireland back in front and then Callum Robson sealed the deal with a rocket of a first time touch.

 

“Pleased, it was much better than yesterday’s performance [a 3-2 win],” coach Mark Tumilty reflected on the tie. “We played with more purpose and intent, especially in Q3. Q4 it became a bit too stretched and I think the players recognised that and over-carried the ball. It is progress and if we are winning at the same time, that’s good.”

 

The side now have two days off before facing world number 19 Austria on Saturday (3.30pm) and Sunday (9.30am), a busy schedule which Tumilty is grateful for following a quiet couple of years with Covid and a turnover of players.

 

“With this group, it is about getting them as many games as possible, up to 30 a year. The teams who are making progress and being competitive have 100-plus caps which we don’t have many of unfortunately.

 

“It is a great experience to play against a South American style of play and it is a chance to take on a side going to a World Cup. They are a dangerous side, have a good aerial ball and give us a real challenge.”

 

McKee got the tie off to a rip-roaring start with a gorgeous solo goal, his first time pull inside beating his marker 40-metres from goal. He drove at the heart of the Chilean D, taking the space on offer to work a shooting chance close in, flicking into the bottom corner.

 

The lead, though, only lasted a couple of minutes with the visitors winning a couple of corners, the second of which Jaime Carr but Martin Rodriguez pounced on to nudge over the goal line.

 

After that, chances were at a premium as the game settled into a tight battle. McKee fired the best opening over the bar while Sean Murray had a call for a penalty stroke turned away.

 

Into the second half, Ireland were more accurate and playing at a higher tempo. They went in front for a second time when Luke Witherow overlapped on the right sideline and his powerful cross fell invitingly for O’Dea to gobble up.

 

Conor Empey had two powerful blasts at goal blocked by Agustin Ayala while a couple of corner chances were also kept out. And they moved further clear from Ben Walker picked up turnover ball on the 23-metre line and laid the ball into the path of Robson who swung first time on the ball, thumping in for 3-1.

 

Ireland looked the more likely to score again but had to settle for three goals and another small boost to their world ranking quotient.

 

Ireland: J Carr, L Madeley, T Cross, J McKee, C Robson, K O’Dea, K Marshall, S Murray, M Robson, S Hyland, N Page

Subs: L Witherow, D Walsh, N Glassey, B Walker, J Lynch, C Empey, J Milliken

 

Chile: A Araya, J Purcell, V Goni, Fernando Renz, J Maldonado, A Pizarro, J Amoroso, J Hurtado, A Toncoso, N Strabucchi

Subs: A Amoroso, A Henriquez, M Rodriguez, K Gesswein, Felipe Renz, D Ordonez, A Valenzuela

 

Fixture schedule (all at Sport Ireland Campus, Abbotstown)

Men

Friday, August 5: Austria v Chile, 7.45pm

Saturday, August 6: Ireland v Austria, 3.30pm

Sunday, August 7: Ireland v Austria, 9.30am

Tuesday, August 9: Ireland v Chile, 7.45pm

 

Women (uncapped fixtures)

Friday, August 5: Ireland Development side v France, 5.30pm

Saturday, August 6: Ireland v France, 12.30pm

Monday, August 8: Ireland v France, 5.30pm

Ireland edge out Chile in first Sport Ireland Campus test match

Men’s international test match

Ireland 3 (B Walker, J McKee, L Madeley) Chile 2 (F Renz, R Valenzuela)

Luke Madeley’s drag-flick three minutes from time earned Ireland first blood from their five game stint this week at the Sport Ireland Campus, beating Chile 3-2.

 

It capped a lively closing back-and-forth after Ben Walker got the only goal of the first half and it remained that way until a volley of four goals in a 12-minute spell. Felipe Renz levelled at 1-1 before Jonny McKee and Raimundo Valenzuela shared goals for 2-2 going into the endgame where Madeley eventually sealed the deal.

 

This was the first of three meetings with the south American side this week wrapping around two fixtures against Austria on Saturday and Sunday, played out at a venue hosting international hockey for the first time.

 

Indeed, these are the senior men’s first capped matches in Dublin in over three years with a seated stand, scoreboard and countdown clock now in situ with further augmentations en route for the upcoming women’s EuroHockey Championship qualifiers.

 

This tie was high-paced from the start with Conor Empey fizzing a shot just by the post in the first quarter. Walker opened the scoring when a half-hit clearance fell his way and he slotted in from close range.

 

It stayed that way through to half-time with James Milliken making two big stop from Chilean penalty corner shots while Adrian Henriquez did likewise from sharp efforts from Jonny McKee and Nick Page.

 

Ireland held sway for most of the third quarter but were pegged back 20 seconds before the last interval when Felipe Renz turned sharply when Juan Amoroso’s cross deflected his way, flicking in from close range.

 

The lead was restored when McKee smacked in a backhand shot following a quick Daragh Walsh free, laying off to Walker on the left who returned the ball to the centre – a neatly worked move.

 

Once again, Chile responded, Raimundo Valenzuela deflecting in from a long pass down the middle at the right post in the 51st minute.

 

But Ireland finished strong, winning a quarter of corners in the last few minutes with Madeley flicking home the last of them for 3-2 and a little boost to their world ranking quotient.

 

They face Chile again on Wednesday evening at 7.45pm at the Sport Ireland Campus.

 

Ireland: M Ingram, L Witherow, L Madeley, T Cross, D Walsh, K Marshall, S Murray, J Duncan, M Robson, B Walker, C Empey

Subs: J McKee, M McNellis, J Milliken, B Johnson, N Page, R Patterson

 

Chile: A Henriquez, J Purcell, V Goni, Fernando Renz, J Maldonado, K Gesswein, A Pizarro, J Amoroso, J Hurtado, Felipe Renz, A Toncoso

Subs: V Gabilondo, I Contardo, R Valenzuela, D Ordonez, A Richter, N Strabucchi

 

Fixture schedule (all at Sport Ireland Campus, Abbotstown)

Men

Wednesday, August 3: Ireland v Chile, 7.45pm

Friday, August 5: Austria v Chile, 7.45pm

Saturday, August 6: Ireland v Austria, 3.30pm

Sunday, August 7: Ireland v Austria, 9.30am

Tuesday, August 9: Ireland v Chile, 7.45pm

Women (uncapped fixtures)

Friday, August 5: Ireland Development side v France, 5.30pm

Saturday, August 6: Ireland v France, 12.30pm

Monday, August 8: Ireland v France, 5.30pm

Ireland snatch safety with late Byrne and Reid goals

Women’s EuroHockey Championship

Pool C: Ireland 2 (C Byrne, E Reid) Wales 1 (E Bowen)

Ireland’s Under-21 women produced a remarkable late turnaround to snatch the win they needed to stay in the top tier of the European Championships.

Only victory could save them in Ghent but it looked a forlorn hope with 10 minutes to go as Wales led 1-0 before Caoimhe Byrne and Ellen Reid struck to outdo Eve Bowen’s earlier effort.

The late turnaround saw the Junior Green Army finish in sixth place and sent Wales down along with Scotland.

Coach David Passmore hailed it as an “exceptional effort” as the side backed up Friday’s gritty draw against 2019 champions Spain.

“This group have worked so hard over the past few weeks and although we haven’t been together that long, they came together as a tight group and progressed game on game,” he said.

“Top flight hockey is always tough and you have to ride the roller coaster and this group did that in abundance, finishing strong.”

Ireland held sway in the first half possession and chances stakes but were nervy in front of goal with efforts from Rachel Kelly and Leah O’Shea not fully threatening.

They also found penalty corners – a rich seam of goals this week – hard to come by with the Welsh earning the only set piece of the half.

As time wore on, counter-attacks were looking the more likely route to success and Wales took their big chance in the 45th minute, Bowen’s off-target shot making it in via a defensive stick.

It put Ireland in real jeopardy but they played it well, swapping out goalkeeper Ellie McLoughlin for an extra outfielder, using it well to stretch Wales out wide.

Byrne levelled when Lucy Crowe picked out Mikayla Power in the circle from the left and her great turn and shot was finished off by Byrne.

Wales were under further pressure when Stephanie Beaumont was sin-binned and, with a two player overload, they went in front when Reid – back after an ankle injury – rebounded a penalty corner for 2-1.

They duly held on for the remaining eight minutes to record a vital result and A division hockey in 2024.

 

Ireland: E McLoughlin, N McIvor, E Paul, S Cole, L O’Shea, S Murdoch, M Power, L Noble, L Crowe, A Horan, K-J Marshall

Subs: E Reid, C Byrne, A Taaffe, R Kelly, A Griffin

Ruttle secures Euro II gold for Irish Under-21 men

Men’s EuroHockey Junior Championship II

Ireland 2 (O Kidd, S Ruttle) Italy 1 (F Dionisi Vici)

Scott Ruttle’s winner two minutes from time completed a perfect morning for Irish hockey as the Under-21 men picked up the 2-1 result that assured them of gold and promotion from the EuroHockey Junior Championship II in Plzen Litice.

He finished off a sparkling move via Louis Rowe and Ollie Kidd to set off the celebrations, adding to an early Kidd drag-flick which Felix Dionisi Vici had countered.

It means Ireland will go up to the top tier in 2024 for the first time in seven years and give them a shot at qualifying for the 2025 Junior World Cup.

“We are over the moon and what a great way to do it,” said coach Joe Brennan. “Really proud of this hard-working group of players. They showed real mental maturity in how they approached the week.

“Italy can be really proud of their performance as can Turkey – so many good teams who made this a great battle. There were some tough games and our lads were outstanding and got everything they deserved.”

Going into the final day of competition, as the only unbeaten side, anything other than a heavy defeat would likely have brought promotion and so landing the overall title was the main focus.

They started well with Kidd netting his fourth goal of the tournament in the seventh to start the ball rolling but Italy were rugged and robust in defence and pounced from a rare first half chance to tie things up.

It came from a relatively innocuous left-wing cross which was miscontrolled, allowing Dionisi Vici to steady himself and slot home.

That ramped up the tension in the second half with Ireland not able to make more use of four penalty corners.

Italy, meanwhile, grew more into the contest and were only denied by Ruttle’s heroics on the left post with a pull-shot learned from his youth cricketing days.

And he popped up at the far end to win the contest when Rowe took a quick free and picked out Kidd racing clear on the right. The Lisnagarvey man could have shot but selflessly laid off to Ruttle to slap into an open net.

The promotion bodes well for the future with the side featuring 13 teenagers of which six were schoolboys for the 2021/22 season.

 

Ireland: S Dale, A Walker, M Collins, I Perrott, J Filgas, P Rose, E Jennings, C Mackay, L Rowe, J Lynch, M Cowan

Subs: M Duggan, S Ruttle, O Kidd, R Dunlop, J Clark, I Balding, R Clarke

 

Italy: E di Paola, G Brocco, M Succi, J Allegri, D Cavallini, C Brocco, G Fiorani, F Dionisi Vici, D Arosio, S Puglisi, A Giraudo

Subs: L D’Amico, S Zoppi, D Saoncella, L Palumbo, M Bettuzzi, A Dell’anno

 

Umpires: M Orzel (POL), M Cilkiz (TUR)

Sport Ireland Campus to play host to series of Irish international fixtures

The Irish men are set to play their first capped international fixtures in Dublin since May 2019 as they welcome Chile and Austria for final warm-up games in the Sport Ireland Campus next week ahead of the EuroHockey Championship qualifiers in late August.

In addition, the Irish senior women will also play two uncapped games against France at the venue as they, too, get back into gear for the Euro qualifiers following their World Cup campaign.

It will be the first time the Sport Ireland Campus has hosted a formal senior international fixture and acts as preparation for the senior women’s hosting of their qualifier at the venue.

For the 14th-ranked men, coach Mark Tumilty has named a 23-player panel with Lisnagarvey’s Mark McNellis the one addition to the panel having missed the recent successful series against Italy and the Four Nations tournament in Glasgow. Charlie Rowe steps out this time.

They will face world number 23 side Chile three times in what should be a strong challenge following their run to the Pan-America Cup final in January. Those games will start next Tuesday, August 2nd with the second game on Wednesday, August 3rd and the closing one on Tuesday, August 9th.

Ireland will then face Austria (ranked 20th) on Saturday, August 6th and Sunday, August 7th, a showdown which usually has plenty of spice to it and lots of goals based on their most recent meetings.

“The players and staff are looking forward to our first games in Dublin since the summer of 2019,” said Tumilty of the series.

“These are an important series of matches as they are the final preparation before we go to Calais for the Euro qualifier. I feel we have made progress in recent months but we must continue to develop as a group during this series. It is also vital that the results are positive”.

“Chile and Austria will pose different challenges to the squad than we have previously experienced this summer due to their playing styles, and I look forward to seeing how we overcome those challenges.”

For the women, it will be their first fixture since the World Cup which saw Ireland finish in 11th place overall. Caoimhe Perdue is a doubt due to a hand injury sustained against South Africa in the classification matches.

Their games take place on Saturday, August 6th and Monday, August 8th while a development team will face the French on Friday, August 5th, offering an opportunity for young players to step up.

 

Ireland men’s panel for series against Chile and Austria, Abbotstown

Mark Ingram (Pembroke)

Jaime Carr (KHC Leuven)

James Milliken (Lisnagarvey)

Kyle Marshall (Old Georgians)

Tim Cross (Annadale)

Luke Madeley (Gantoise)

Johnny Lynch (Lisnagarvey)

Rory Patterson (Wimbledon)

Luke Witherow (Banbridge)

Mark McNellis (Lisnagarvey)

Neal Glassey (Annadale)

Michael Robson (Annadale)

Sam Hyland (YMCA)

Nick Page (Old Georgians)

Sean Murray (Gantoise)

Daragh Walsh (Braxgata)

Callum Robson (Annadale)

Ben Johnson (Three Rock Rovers)

Kevin O’Dea (UCD)

Conor Empey (SCHC)

Johnny McKee (Banbridge)

Ben Walker (Braxgata)

Jeremy Duncan (Monkstown)

 

Fixture schedule (all at Sport Ireland Campus, Abbotstown)

Men

Tuesday, August 2: Ireland v Chile, 7.45pm

Wednesday, August 3: Ireland v Chile, 7.45pm

Friday, August 5: Austria v Chile, 7.45pm

Saturday, August 6: Ireland v Austria, 3.30pm

Sunday, August 7: Ireland v Austria, 9.30am

Tuesday, August 9: Ireland v Chile, 7.45pm

 

Women (uncapped fixtures)

Friday, August 5: Ireland Development side v France, 5.30pm

Saturday, August 6: Ireland v France, 12.30pm

Monday, August 8: Ireland v France, 5.30pm