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Irish Under-21 men named for Euro indoor debut

Ireland’s Under-21 men’s indoor side will make their international debut next week when they take on the EuroHockey Championship II in Paredes, Portugal from December 10th to 12th.

They will compete in a seven-team round-robin tournament with Croatia, Ukraine, Belarus, Denmark, Wales and hosts Portugal with two potential promotion places on offer.

It is part of Ireland’s continued return to international indoor action following the senior men and women coming back in late 2019 with the men and women coming on stream this winter.

For coach Kenny Carroll and his support team of Ross Willis, Neil Mackay and Huw Rees, it has been a tricky preparation period with indoor sports only getting the government green light to return in the autumn after the guts of 18 months.

Nonetheless, Carroll – who has lots of European club experience with Railway Union – is thrilled at the prospect of entering this new realm.

“The European Under-21 men’s indoor championships have been held since 1982 and this is the first time Ireland has entered it,” the head coach said.

“It goes without saying that preparation has been challenging but that is what International sport is all about, and the teams and players who adapt and learn the quickest do well.

“We have a good mix of players with different skills and experiences up to now in the squad which is important for Indoor hockey. There are a lot of talented and exciting young hockey players across Ireland and the players selected have an opportunity to see how high a level of performance we can reach together at a competitive European Championship.

“I would like to commend all players involved since the start of the programme on their commitment so far. The six other competing nations will all provide a very stern test, something which we are all really looking forward to.”

The side is captained by Ben O’Grady who brings big physical strength, a powerful ball carry and good communication to the defensive line.

He will be supported on the leadership front by Cookstown’s Jack Haycock who has helped his club reach the final four of the Irish Senior Cup. He has trained with the Ulster-based Irish regional training squad and will likely be the deepest player and distributor.

Outfield, Ben Ryder and Craig Mackay were all part of the Irish Under-19 boys outdoor side that impressed during their summer four nations tournament.

Ollie Kidd – a nephew of ex-international Peter Richardson – is another who has been training with the senior Irish setup and his excellent stickwork allows his to be a key player in the middle of the dice.

Jamie Orr will become North Down’s first current player to line out for Ireland since Peter McKibbin for the Irish Under-16s; an intelligent performer, he is likely to be primarily deployed up front.

Harry McCarthy is another exciting prospect, quick on the ball and excellent in one-on-one elimination spaces. He was an All-Ireland schools and Irish Hockey Trophy winner during his Newtown/Waterford days before moving up to Dublin with YMCA.

Pembroke’s Traolach Butler brings an explosivity to the side and was recently part of the TU Dublin team that won the Mauritius Cup for the first time.

Attack-minded Jake Pillow will make his first appearance in green having played for Leinster underage outdoor teams. He is one of three Railway Union players along with ex-St Kilian’s Deutsche Schule students Louis Murphy and Eoin Brennan.

Murphy is a specialist in the turnover while Brennan is very mobile in goal. He has a very different style to the other netminder, ex-Kilkenny man Ian O’Keeffe who is now plying his trade with HC Oranje-Rood in the Netherlands. He brings a big presence to the circle.

They get their campaign underway on Friday, December 10 with games against Croatia and Ukraine before meeting Belarus and Portugal a day later. Games five and six are on December 12th against Denmark and Wales.

EuroHockey U21 Men Indoor Championship II, Parades, Portugal , December 10-12 2021

  1. Ben O’Grady (Captain, YMCA)
  2. Jack Haycock (vice-captain, Cookstown)
  3. Traoloch Butler (Pembroke Wanderers)
  4. Ollie Kidd (Lisnagarvey)
  5. Craig Mackay (Corinthian)
  6. Harry McCarthy (YMCA)
  7. Louis Murphy (Railway Union)
  8. Jamie Orr (North Down)
  9. Jake Pillow (Railway Union)
  10. Ben Ryder (Three Rock Rovers)
  11. Eoin Brennan  (Goalkeeper, Railway Union)
  12. Ian O’Keeffe (GK, HC Oranje Rood (NED))

Manager: Neil Mackay
Head Coach: Kenny Carroll
Coach / Analyst: Ross Willis
Physio: Huw Rees

Fixture schedule (all times local)
Friday 10th December: Ireland v Croatia: 12.15pm; Ireland v Ukraine: 5pm
Saturday 11th December: Ireland v Belarus : 12.30pm; Ireland v Portugal : 6.30pm
Sunday 12th December: Ireland v Denmark : 8.45am; Ireland v Wales : 2pm


Cookstown stun Pembroke as Monkstown and Glenanne advance in ISC

Cookstown continued their hex over Pembroke as they knocked out the Dubliners in the Irish Senior Cup for the second successive campaign, emulating their success in the 2019/20 campaign.

Seventeen-year-old Max Anderson was the hero for the Ulster Premier side, scoring the clinching shoot-out in sudden death after a rollercoaster normal time ended 2-2.

The Co Tyrone side got off to a dream start with two goals in the first seven minutes with captain Paul Thompson driving down the right, finding Ryan Millar on the 90-angle and he calmly found the back of the net.

An electric run from Stuart Smyth set up the second, the midfielder getting into the circle before firing a shot at goal which Scott McCabe got the final touch to.

EYHL side Pembroke bounced back from the rough start and started to find some rhythm with key man Julian Dale causing all manner of problems, winning several penalty corners.

Millar’s running lines, however, kept the two-goal lead in place until half-time before Pembroke’s comeback started in earnest in the second half.

Harry Spain did eventually get on the board from a corner drag-flick and it was 2-2 when Greg Chambers cleaned up a fourth quarter rebound from another set piece.

That set up a shoot-out where Pembroke scored their first three efforts to lead 3-1 but Cookstown held their nerve to level at 3-3 at the end of the regulation series of five. In the first round of sudden death, Anderson slotted home before Dale could not make it by Josh McCabe and sent Cookstown through to the final four.

Reds captain Thompson said of the win: “The result keeps up our unbeaten record this season and naturally we are delighted to have got through, especially against an EYHL side.

“We got off to a flying start and then defended well before they got back into it with those two goals in the second-half.

Pembroke’s Andy Colton tackled by Mark Crooks. Picture: Adrian Boehm

“The quality of goals in the shootout was high although our keeper Josh McCabe pulled off a couple of good saves.

“Max then kept a cool head to score the winner and that was remarkable as he’s just 17 but he’s just one of several promising youngsters in the squad.

“Our biggest goal this season is to get promoted back into the EYHL but to have a good cup run is great as well.”

Munster Division One side Cork C of I pushed EYHL-high flyers Glenanne all the way but ultimately fell 1-0 in the Irish Senior Cup quarter-finals at St Andrew’s.
In the end, just Shane O’Donoghue’s first half penalty corner stood between the sides as the Garryduff side pushed hard in the second half but could not nab the equaliser.

Monkstown eased into the final four as four first half goals put them on their way to a 4-1 win over YMCA at Rathdown. David Nolan broke the deadlock in the first quarter before a couple of Rory Nichols strikes and one from Guy Sarratt put them well clear. Grant Glutz got the consolation goal for YM.

The much-anticipated clash between Three Rock Rovers and Lisnagarvey fell foul of a frozen pitch at Grange Road.

Men’s Irish Senior Cup, quarter-finals: Glenanne 1 (S O’Donoghue) Cork C of I 0; Monkstown 4 (R Nichols 2, D Nolan, G Sarratt) YMCA 1 (G Glutz); Pembroke 2 (H Spain, G Chambers) Cookstown 2 (R Millar, S McCabe), Cookstown win shoot-out 4-3
Postponed: Three Rock Rovers v Lisnagarvey

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Monkstown and Queen’s on the march in women’s EYHL2

Monkstown and Queen’s put their best foot forward in women’s EY Hockey League Division 2’s Pool B with strong wins but there is nothing to choose between the teams in Pool A.

For Monkstown, they were 3-0 winners over Cork C of I at Rathdown. Suzie Kelly opened the scoring with a thunderbolt hit from a penalty corner, awarded after Becky Maye produced an outstanding save from Chloe Watkins only for the ball to loop onto the body of one of her own defenders.

At the far end, Martha Duignam was called upon to make a fantastic block to Julie Coyne’s powerful drive to keep the lead in tact going into half-time.

The damage was done, though, in the third quarter as Anna O’Flanagan – in her first game since rejoining the club – turned in a penalty corner in the 53rd minute. And Olivia Brady finished off the scoring in the closing quarter with a delicate backhand shot after Kelly’s disguised first-up shot.

Their result was matched by Queen’s who were too strong for NUIG at the Dub. It was built around an excellent first 10 minutes in which Alyssa Jebb’s rising drag-flick put them 1-0 up in the sixth minute and Sophie McDowell added a second in the ninth minute when Erin Getty slid a pass into the middle of the circle which took a neat touch.

Queen’s had extra insurance with 18 minutes left when Madison Bowyer’s corner push deceived everyone for 3-0.

Next weekend sees Corinthian up against Galway while UCC face Ards.

In Pool A, Ards and Corinthian played out a high quality 1-1 draw at Londonderry Park with play flowing from end to end. Leigh Pelow had the reds in front as Ards suffered a couple of early cards – there were six players sin-binned through the afternoon – and it remained that way until 10 minutes from time.

Olympian Zara Malseed got the leveller following a series of corners with the ball slipped to her and she struck home. They had a final second corner to nick the win but it went wide.

At Santry Avenue, Trinity and UCC tied 0-0 as Iseult Cambay put in a super performance for the hosts while Julie Ringrose had a great chance cleared off the line at the far end.

Next weekend’s fixtures see Cork C of I up against Lurgan and NUIG meet Monkstown.

Women’s EYHL Division 2
Pool A:
Ards 1 (Z Malseed) Corinthian 1 (L Pelow); Trinity 0 UCC 0
Pool B: Monkstown 3 (S Kelly, A O’Flanagan, O Brady) Cork C of I 0; Queens University 3 (A Jebb, S McDowell, M Bowyer) NUIG 0

Saturday, November 27th
Pool A:
Corinthian v Galway, Whitechurch Park, 1.15pm; UCC v Ards, The Mardyke, 12pm
Pool B: Cork C of I v Lurgan, Garryduff, 12pm; NUIG v Monkstown, Dangan, 1.20pm

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Cork sides hand debutants tough baptisms in men’s EYHL2

Cork sides Bandon and Cork C of I gave Dublin debutants Portrane and Rathgar a tough baptism in the men’s EY Hockey League Division 2 as they ran up strong wins on the opening day of the competition.

For Bandon, they were 3-1 victors over Portrane in a fast-paced Pool C contest, Fionn O’Leary and Ethan Hamilton-Foott setting the result in the closing quarter.

Ali Smith had put Bandon in front with a sharp finish, nipping in front of his marker to get on the end of right-wing cross. just before the end of the first quarter.

Davy Graham, though, latched onto a through-ball from Imran Khan – an ex-Pakistan and Azerbaijan international – who finished well on the break with a delicate finish by Harry Forsey that went in off the inside of the post.

It remained that way into the final quarter when O’Leary’s shot from out on the left of the D took a heavy deflection and bounced in for 2-1. And the third came when O’Leary picked up an overhead in the corner, worked the ball to Dave Smith who fed Hamilton-Foott for a handy finish.

Elsewhere in the group, Cookstown defeated Mossley 5-1. Neal Glassey – on his return from Germany for the winter – put Mossley in front in the first quarter and they carried that through to half-time.

But Cookstown’s young guns turned things around after the break with a corner goal from Luke Haycock levelling matters in the 37th minute. Two minutes later, Scott McCabe was on the mark and Ulster underage representative Mark Cuddy swept them into a 3-1 lead before the end of the third quarter.

Further goals from Max Anderson and Michael Kerr completed the win in the closing eight minutes.

In Pool A, Instonians won a cracker of a contest against Railway Union 4-3. They prevailed 4-3 with Finley Marney making a key first half penalty stroke save while Mark Gleghorne, Ben Rose, Ben Palmer and Tommy Orr got the goals.

Railway led twice in the first half with Mark English and Karl Chapple on the mark but Rose levelled before half-time and Palmer put his side in front in the third quarter.

Orr made it 4-2 before English got one back in the closing 10 minutes but it only proved enough for a losing bonus point.

For C of I, theirs was a handy 5-0 win at Rathgar with three of those goals coming in the first half. Phil Sweetnam set them on their way in the fourth minute; Rob Sweetnam got the next from a flowing team move and Eoin Finnegan finished with a brilliant low shot into the bottom corner.

Gar, though, held up reasonably well in the second half with stand-in goalkeeper David Meade pulling off a number of stops.

He was swapped out for an extra outfielder in the closing minutes and the move back-fired with Rob Sweetnam and Mark Gallagher completing the victory.

At Farmers Cross, Munster sides were denied a clean sweep of results with a 2-2 draw for Harlequins against Tarf. John McNally put the Dubliners one up in the second quarter before Jack O’Meara equalised from a corner.

Brian Hayes-Curtin’s amazing end-line run put Quins in front for the first time before Davyn Keuter got the Bulls back on terms in the third quarter of an end-to-end tie.

Kilkeel wait in the wings for these two sides in a three-team group from which two sides will advance to the playoffs.

Men’s EYHL Division 2
Pool A:
Instonians 4 (M Gleghorne, B Rose, B Palmer, T Orr) Railway Union 3 (M English 2, K Chapple); Rathgar 0 Cork C of I 5 (R Sweetnam 2, P Sweetnam, E Finnegan, M Gallagher)
Pool B: Cork Harlequins 2 (J O’Meara, B Hayes-Curtin) Clontarf 2 (McNally, D Keuter)
Pool C: Cookstown 5 (L Haycock, M Cuddy, S McCabe, M Anderson, M Kerr) Mossley 1 (N Glassey); Portrane 1 (D Graham) Bandon 3 (A Smith, F O’Leary, E Hamilton-Foott)

Cork Harlequins v Clontarf EYHL2 20-11-21

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Monkstown stun Lisnagarvey in final play as Three Rock move top

Men’s EY Hockey League – day eight round-up
Monkstown 4 (G Sarratt 2, M Gibbons, D Carson) Lisnagarvey 3 (T Chambers, D Nelson, J Lorimer)

Monkstown won an exhilarating contest against Lisnagarvey with the last touch of the game as Davy Carson swooped to flick in a corner rebound at the death. It was the second time in three outings Town have beaten the side sitting top of the table at the start of the day’s play, having defeated Glenanne a few weeks back.

They got off to a dream start with David Cole’s slap from halfway finding Jeremy Duncan on the baseline; he swept across to Guy Sarratt arriving at the back post on the slide to sweep in.

And Town produced a wealth of chances in an electic start with James Milliken saving well from a clean-through Carson, Jazze Henry and Jeremy Duncan. At the far end, Dave Fitzgerald was in outstanding form as his long legs kept Ben Nelson out on more than one occasion.

Troy Chambers levelled with an excellent trap to get the ball out of his feet and smack home on the turn but Monkstown were back in front via Mark Gibbons when David Nolan drove forcefully into the circle and the young forward finished off.

They looked well in control when Sarratt’s second from a corner drag-flick put them 3-1 up but Garvey came on strong in the fourth quarter with waves of attacks. Fitzgerald tipped a Chambers strike over the bar before Ben Nelson’s beautiful dinked finish from Peter McKibbin’s pass got them back in range.

James Lorimer’s drag-flick then tied up the game at 3-3 but Garvey got into foul trouble in the closing minutes and Monkstown took full advantage. They won a final play corner which Sarratt dragged and Milliken saved but it fell to Gibbons who played into the middle for Carson to finish off.

Pembroke 0 Annadale 4 (T Cross 2, M Robson, O McElhinney)
Annadale picked up their second 4-0 win of the campaign, overturning a 5-1 defeat to the same opponent in the Irish Senior Cup last month to win comfortably at Serpentine Avenue.

In the early exchanges, Pembroke had the first chance with Julian Dale’s reverse hitting the side-board while Dale had two corners go by. The Ulster side went in front in the 14th minute when Michael Robson pinched the ball on halfway and played a perfect one-two with Robbie Davidson who laid on an inviting pass for the international midfielder to finish off.

Sam Hamill pulled off a great save from Nick Burns after Dale brought out his bag of tricks but Pembroke did miss out on the services of Alan Sothern up front. And Dale went two clear from their third corner as he initially shaped to shoot but ducked left and despite seemingly slipping, his backhand swipe had enough to make it in.

Cross’s hit led to the next, Mark Ingram saving but only as far as Owen McElhinney who emphatically spanked into the top corner. Pembroke did create a decent amount with Philip Forster’s shot brilliantly denied by Hamill.

But the game was well and truly put to bed when Cross tore out of defence, laying off to Robson and then continuing his run, eventually cracking home on his backhand in the 37th minute.

The game became fractious after that with Alex Burns and Robson taking yellows for an altercation while James Clark followed to the bin soon after. Later, Nick Burns and David Nicholl would also spend time on the side on yellows. Pembroke should have got one back from Andy Colton’s cross but contrived to miss out with two at the back post unable to turn home. The ever-dangerous Dale – playing the second half with a large bandage on his head – whipped a corner over the bar while McElhinney drew the best from Ingram.

Three Rock Rovers 4 (A Empey 2, R Spencer, B Johnson) YMCA 1 (B Campbell)
Four first half goals saw Three Rock Rovers ease to a comfortable win over YMCA at Grange Road to rise to 19 points from their eight games to date. They were in front inside four minutes when Ali Empey got a guiding touch to Mark Samuel’s right-wing cross.

Ryan Spencer followed up his own shot – saved initially by Jakim Bernsden – to get around the back and lift in from an acute angle for 2-0 in the 10th minute. And they closed out a dominant first half with further goals in quick succession from Ben Johnson’s penalty corner drag-flick and Empey’s second of the day from close range soon after.

YMCA’s Peabo Lembethe gets a stick in as Ben Johnson attempts a shot. Picture: Adrian Boehm

In between, Empey had also hit the bar while Spencer hit the inside of the post in the third quarter before Ben Chadwick cleared from the line. YM, though, did have stronger spells in the second half and they ran up six penalty corners, drawing a first save from Conor Quinn via Grant Glutz with 20 minutes to go.

Ben Campbell got them on the scoreboard with 14 minutes to go and Ethan McInerney’s low shot went close to getting another back but Rovers remained out of reach.

Banbridge 3 (O Magee, L Witherow, A Tinney) UCD 0
Banbridge made it three wins in a row and four for the season with a controlled 3-0 win over UCD at Havelock Park to strengthen their place in the top five. After a scoreless first quarter, Owen Magee opened the scoring with a sweet reverse for 1-0 and Luke Witherow added the next following some excellent pressing which led to steal and a finish into an open net.

Alexander Tinney became the second ex-Raphoe man on the score sheet when he whipped home a drag-flick for the third in the third quarter and that was how it remained as Luke Roleston completed his first clean sheet of the season.

Corinthian 0 Glenanne 1 (S O’Donoghue)
Shane O’Donoghue’s ninnth minute penalty stroke got Glenanne back to winning ways as they defeated Corinthian 1-0 at Whitechurch Park. The loss was the reds fourth successive setback at home.

Both teams came into the match off a weak run of form, looking to turn the ship around and Glens task was made that bit harder with the absence of key figures Shannon Boucher, Richard Couse and Richie Shaw as well as Rowland Rixon-Fuller who continues his rehab from a long term injury.

Glenanne started the match stronger with Adam Clayton winning a penalty stroke after a serious foul in the circle; O’Donoghue slotting the flick high into the roof of the net. In a strange turn of events however, the match was delayed by several minutes whilst one of the umpires received medical treatment eventually being replaced. Corinthian worked their way back into the match, with particularly good work from Ian Stewart and Nic White however Glenanne managed to withstand the pressure.

In the closing moments of the second quarter, a low cross from Brad Venter whizzed across the face of goal with the touch from Johnny McCormack unable to direct it goalwards. The half ended 1-0 to the visitors.

Glenanne looked to up the ante in the second half, creating several chances to score- through two corners and an open play deflection all missing the final important touch. Corinthian were not out of the match themselves and had a succession of penalty corners in the final stages of the match, but unable to execute, the first being run down and re-awarded whilst the second saw the dragflick fired wide of David Lawless’ right post in the Glenanne goal.

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Keeperless Railway play out memorable draw as Pembroke move further clear

Women’s EY Hockey League – day nine round-up
Railway Union 3 (K Lloyd 2, F Maughan) Old Alex 3 (N Evans 2, L Tice)

Railway Union produced a quite remarkable performance to come away with a 3-3 draw against Old Alex in a game that will go down in EYHL folklore having played almost an hour without injured goalkeeper Riona Norton.

Without a recognised replacement, they decided to go with 11 outfielders rather than deploy a stand-in and they duly produced an outstanding display in defence, limiting Alex to just one corner and seven circle entries in the contest.

Prior to Norton’s departure, Railway had the game’s first corner repelled by the returning Holly Micklem and they carried the greater threat in the first 20 minutes with Niamh Shaw’s blocked by Jessica McGirr.

Alex did go in front from their first shot of note, a cleverly angled ball finding Nikki Evans in behind the back and she slotted into an open goal in the 27th minute. The hosts hit back five minutes later when Sarah Hawkshaw’s skill and spin pass welcomed Florence Maughan to attack and she guided home her second goal in a week.

And they went in front just after half-time where Maughan intercepted inside her own half, drove up the pitch to Ali O’Leary and she picked out Kate Lloyd who spun around Micklem onto her reverse and clipped home.

Emma Smyth and Orla Fox went close before it became 3-1 with Lloyd gleefully smashing in a bouncing ball that popped her way. Alex stormed back with two goals within 40 seconds before the end of the third quarter, the first from Tice’s smart corner shot down the unguarded middle. Evans then got another direct from a tip-off turnover to make it 3-3, Mikayla Power putting her through.

Into the final quarter, the big moment came when Niamh Sweeney intercepted for Alex and set up a four-on-two attack. Deirdre Duke was through but Orla Patton somehow got back to block the empty net.

Railway finished stronger with the pick of the chances going to Kate Dillon, bardging through down the left but Micklem saved well.

Pegasus 3 (E Quinn, L McKee, T Doherty) UCD 3 (N Carey 2, M Carey)
Pegasus were left seeing double as UCD’s Irish international twins Niamh and Michelle Carey shared the students’ goals in an enthralling EYHL draw at Newforge.

Taite Doherty’s superb effort made it 3-2 to the Belfast side in the final quarter but Niamh set up her sibling to rattle in the equaliser with seven minutes left.

Emma Quinn gave Pegasus the lead after nine minutes from the third of three penalty corners forced in quick succession.
But, within 60 seconds Niamh broke clear and had plenty of time to pick her spot to make it 1-1. Michelle then got in on the act finishing off a fine sweeping move from right to left to send the visitors into the lead at the first break.

But Pegasus drew level in the 26th minute courtesy of a brilliant strike from Lucy McKee who found the net off the upright after an assist from Doherty. Nine minutes into the second half, Doherty’s sheer persistence was rewarded when she broke two tackles and fired the ball high into the net from a narrow angle to make it 3-2.

UCD enjoyed plenty of possession after that setback and deservedly snatched a share of the spoils when Michelle Carey found her twin at a set-piece and she deflected the ball home.

Pegasus had the better of the last few minutes and Niamh McIvor shot narrowly wide after Leah Paul had been denied by the keeper.

Muckross 0 Pembroke 2 (R O’Brien, T Wensley)
With results working in their favour elsewhere, Pembroke dug out a 2-0 win over a determined Muckross who made life very difficult for the current league leaders at Grange Road.

Julia Balcerzak’s strong sweep shot was the first to draw a save with Emma Buckley getting down low to tip away a good chance.

Pembroke ratcheted up the pressure and started to win a couple of corners which Muckross managed to keep at bay with Aoife Glennon to the fore. In the 16th minute, a great team move via Ella Pasley, Emily Beatty and Leah McGuire around the backline platform worked the ball to Amy-Kate Trevor who found Rachel O’Brien. She unleashed a brilliant shot into the bottom corner for 1-0.

And they moved two clear early in the second half when Ellen Curran’s backhand shot got a neat tip from Tori Wensley to lift the ball over the out-stretched leg of Glennon.

Pembroke had further corner chances but Glennon and Muckross were resolute and able to withstand the attacks but the visitors had done enough to move four points clear.

Loreto 8 (S Evans, H Matthews, A Murray, Y Pratt, G Donald, C Hamill, A Taaffe, S Torrans) Cork Harlequins 0
Loreto moved into the top four for the first time this season with a comfortable win to conclude their pre-Christmas programme of league matches.

Hannah Matthews started the goal-rush when Aoife Taaffe got to the baseline and pulled back into her path. Her shot took a couple of deflections but worked its way over the line. Sarah Evans added the next from a corner that went slightly awry at the top, smashing home on her backhand.

Aisling Murray finished off an excellent team goal, assisted by Nicola Torrans for 3-0 at half-time. Yasmin Pratt continued the scoring in the second half with a smart finish following Sarah Torrans’ driving run and pass through.

Pratt set up Grace Donald’s fifth score, a thunderous shot to the top corner; Christina Hamill powered in a corner from the trapper’s spot and Taaffe also netted from a corner. Sarah Torrans completed the eight in the closing minutes.

Catholic Institute 8 (N Carroll 3, R Upton 2, L Clery, A Horan, M Scanlon) Belfast Harlequins 0
Catholic Institute put an understrength Belfast Harlequins to the sword with a comprehensive 8-0 win at Rosbrien. Leah Clery got the ball rolling in the fourth minute after good pressure on the left ended with her unmarked in the circle to tap in at the back post.

Róisín Upton’s corner made it 2-0 in the eighth minute and it was 5-0 by half-time. Naomi Carroll got the first of her hat trick when she attacked the baseline and her ball across found its way in. She applied a rocket of a shot for the fourth and Anna Horan added another corner before the big break.

Upton intercepted a hit out and powered into the circle to fire home on the backhand for the next. Muireann Scanlon got the seventh and Carroll closed out the scoring with 15 minutes to go.

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Women’s EYHL2 promotion chase hits the turf for this season

The chase for promotion to the women’s EY Hockey League top tier begins in earnest on Saturday with eight of the ten teams involved meeting on the opening day of EYHL Division 2.

The competition format features two groups of five teams with the winner of each group advancing direct to the playoff semi-finals while the second and third place side in each group will go to the quarter-finals.

Saturday begins with some potential crackers on the agenda with Pool A featuring Ards against Corinthian and Trinity up against UCC with Galway on the bye weekend. The other group begins with Monkstown hosting Cork C of I and Queen’s up against NUIG while Lurgan complete the line-up.

Women’s EY Hockey League Division 2 – team-by-team info
Ards are going well in the Ulster Premier League, currently unbeaten with eight wins and two draws to their name, to sit top of the table. As well as having an impressive goal tally, defensively the squad is on form having conceded only three goals with Naomi McKnight the last line.

Up front, they have Olympian Zara Malseed to lead the line, indoor internationals Caroline Adams Amy Benson and Rebecca Kirk bringing lots of knowledge to the table while the return of youth international Alana Doyle has been another boon. The coaching ticket is similarly strong with Gareth Grundie – an Irish assistant coach – into his ninth year over the team, supported by Adams and Tamara McLeod.

Cork C of I
Phil Oakley’s outfit are currently sitting second in Munster Division One with just one defeat on their record. They start with a tough away date against Monkstown while lying in wait for them later on is a rematch with Queen’s who they fell 2-1 to in the Irish Senior Cup in early October.

The side can draw on quite a bit of EYHL experience with Becky Maye, Nicola Kerr, Alex O’Grady and key defender Emma Barber all having played for Cork Harlequins in the top tier. Ex-international Hollie Moffett and Ireland A player Mel Ryan are other key players while the squad has expanded this year with Henrietta Pienaar, Candace Davey, Julie Coyne and Jessica Kingston widening the panel, offsetting the departures of Hannah Kate Finn and Gill O’Leary.

UCC’s Caoimhe Perdue and Queen’s Jessica McMaster. Pic: Billy Pollock

Corinthian were frustrated back in 2020 as the one side to already have a playoff place confirmed in EYHL2 before the season was called to a halt. They are now coached by Ross Willis for his first proper season having arrived from South Africa in November 2020.

Holly Micklem (Old Alex) and Milly Lynch (the Netherlands) have moved on since then but, otherwise, they have a reasonably settled side and have won all five Leinster league games to date. Jessica and Lauren McGrane are scoring plenty, Jodie Douglas, captain Amber Kinlan and Lynn Pomeroy are strong performers and Georgie Fottrell is one to watch.

Galway’s star turn is 2016 Rio Olympian Alyssa Manley who lined out for the US the Games and the player-coach has already netted three times this season for the Dangan club in their two league wins to date in Connacht. Former UCD and Syracuse University player Elaine Carey is another with top-line quality.

They were in a share of top spot in Connacht’s Division One with NUIG when the 2019/20 season was called to a halt and they have lost just once domestically since the start of that campaign, form they will be keen to the EYHL2 stage.

Lurgan have the bye weekend in EYHL2 on Saturday having had a competitive start to the Ulster Premier Division, picking up three wins and four draws from 10 outings so far, scoring 14 goals, conceding 13 to sit in sixth place.

Charlene Stewart is a strong defender and organiser for the side with Lauren Wright and Sarah McClure bringing the eye for goal. Jade Lamont – a member of the Junior Green Army for a couple of years – is back in Ireland between the posts following a successful spell in the UK, winning a British Universities title with Nottingham Trent.

Monkstown bring an impressive squad to the table this season and it has shown in their games to date with six wins out of six in the Leinster league, scoring 30 times.

Simon Lowry and Sarah Scott are in their third season as a coaching duo and have added a number of youngsters to their panel to learn from the experience of Sarah Greene, Chloe Watkins and new recruits from the 2020 season Sarah Twomey and Suzie Kelly. The squad and management are excited for the season ahead and hope to make a strong push for promotion.

NUIG have started their season in upbeat mood with an Irish Hockey Trophy away win over Bandon and two league wins in the Connacht league. The side is coached by Cathal Duggan who was at the helm for Crescent Comprehensive when they won the Kate Russell All-Ireland Schoolgirls Championships a couple of years ago.

Freddie Timmins, meanwhile, is a long-time leader of the side; she captained Connacht’s first ever Under-16 interpro winning side in 2007. Ailbhe Folan is their chief goal-getter while Jenny Buttimer, Aoife McGovern, Ruth McNulty, Anna O’Donoghue and Anna O’Hara have EYHL2 experience under their belt from 2019/20.

Queen’s University
Queen’s domestic form has been a bit hit and miss with two wins from seven outings thus far in the Ulster Premier Division but, on the flip side, they are through to the last eight of the Irish Senior Cup, eliminating UCC in the second round.

Senior international Erin Getty will be a key figure as will forward flyer Jessica McMaster while an interesting prospect could be World Cup star Zoe Wilson who has registered from Randalstown as she works her way back from an ACL injury.

Simon Bell is in his 14th season as head coach and he can also draw upon new arrivals Sophie McDowell (from Beeston), Ellie Montgomery (Pegasus), Rebecca Spence (Lurgan) and Zoe Kilpatrick (also Lurgan) and they will hope to be physically up for the challenge following an eight-week S&C block with Mike McGurn.

Monkstown captain Sarah Greene. Picture: Deryck Vincent

Leinster contenders Trinity has seen a turnover of players since their last season in action with Sally Campbell, Ailish Long and Issy Delamer departing for EYHL clubs but they have started the new campaign well, unbeaten in six games with five wins in Leinster.

Irish development panelist Erica Markey, Amy Buttimer, Iseult Cambay and Kate Orr are strong performers while Valerie Hajek has joined from Davidson University in the US. They still have a bit of gelling to do, though, following a 3-0 loss to Corinthian in the Irish Senior Cup, a side they will face later in the group stages.

The club’s stated primary target is to make the playoffs for EYHL1 and they will also be keen to retain the Munster Senior League title, something they are looking good for with a 100% record so far.

At the back Emma Cripps will be pivotal and she will be ably assisted in guiding the team by senior players like Roisin O’Dea and Hilary Balding. Irish panelist Caoimhe brings huge energy across the pitch and plenty of goalscoring prowess.

Development panelists Nikki Barry and Sarah Murphy will also be hoping this season sees them break into the wider Irish panel and in the process help UCC gain promotion. Rising stars Elva Kerr, Hilary Balding and Rebecca Kingston have pushed on massively in the last year and will be hoping continue that progress. The Irish Senior Cup saw them eliminate Monkstown but fall to Queen’s, both in shoot-outs.

Women’s EYHL Division 2 (Saturday fixtures)
Pool A:
Ards v Corinthian, Londonderry Park, 2.30pm; Trinity v UCC, Trinity Sports Grounds, 2pm
Pool B: Monkstown v Cork C of I, Rathdown, 2pm; Queens University v NUIG, Malone Playing Fields, 1pm

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Interpro series heats up; watch the games back via Hockey Ireland Youtube

Last weekend saw a bumper five-game series of fixtures in the underage interprovincials in the female competitions following a triple header on the boys side a week earlier.

There are 10 of the games from this year’s interpro series available to view in full via the Hockey Ireland Youtube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/c/HockeyIrelandOfficial/playlists

Last Sunday at Under-16 girls level, Leinster have made a flying start with Milla Fulton’s hat trick helping to a 7-1 win over Munster, making it two wins from two. Ulster started their campaign with a 7-0 success against Connacht.

Moving up to Under-18 level, Munster remain unbeaten as Sarah Fitzgerald’s backhand effort from a penalty corner ensured a 1-0 win over Leinster. Ulster impressed with a 4-0 victory over Connacht to kickstart their campaign.

December 12 sees Connacht face Munster at Rosbrien and Ulster take on Ulster South at Grange Road.

In the Under-21 competition, Lauren Johnston got the only goal deep into the second half for Leinster as they won 1-0 against Munster in Newtown. It adds to their 2-0 success against Connacht. This series concludes on December 12 when Connacht face Munster in Limerick.

In the boys competitions, Ulster got off to a flying start at Under-18 level with an 8-1 success against Munster. They will next meet Leinster on December 12. It was 8-0 between the two provinces at Under-16 level while Munster were the dominant force in the Under-21 competition with three first half goals seeing them win out 3-0.

Men (Sunday, November 7)
Under-21: Munster 3 (Jack O’Meara 2, Kevin O’Dea) Ulster 0
Under-18: Munster 1 (Sam Dale) Ulster 8 (Ewan Cruickshank 3, Louis Rowe 3, Daniel Murray, Mackenzie Connor)
Under-16: Munster 0 Ulster 8 (Matthew McAreavey 2, George Palmer 2, Adam McKee, Ollie Berry, Ben Law, JJ Holley)

Women (Sunday, November 14)
Under-21: Leinster 1 (Lauren Johnston) Munster 0
Under-18: Munster 1 (Sarah Fitzgerald) Leinster 0; Ulster 4 (Emma Uprichard 2, Jodie Simmons, Imogen Graham) Connacht 0
Under-16: Leinster 7 (Milla Fulton 3, Sophie Kennedy 2, Millie Jerman, Emilie O’Brien) Munster 1 (Aoife Kavanagh) ; Ulster 7 (Kia McCartney 2, Scarlett Taylor, Lily Gallagher, Joni Cunningham, Ruby Monaghan, Georgina McGuckin) Connacht 0

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Passmore confirms squad for women’s Junior World Cup debut in South Africa

David Passmore has named his travelling squad of 20 players to form Ireland’s first ever side to contest the women’s Junior World Cup in Potchefstroom, South Africa from December 5 to 17, 2021.

It comes following the Junior Green Army’s late invitation to the competition off the first reserve when Australia and New Zealand withdrew due to Covid-19 restrictions. Their involvement in the Junior World Cup has been made possible by the considerable support of SoftCo, Park Developments and new additions Uniphar who announced their sponsorship of the team which will also encompass a top international Six Nations tournament next summer.

The late invite made for a short, sharp preparation phase but coach Passmore and the panel had banked a large volume of work into an extensive summer programme, taking in series in Spain, Belfast and London.

Ireland will start their campaign on December 5 against Zimbabwe before meeting top ranked the Netherlands a day later. The pool phase concludes with a tie against Korea with the initial target to finish in the top two of the four team group to reach the quarter-finals.

The Ireland squad is largely drawn from that selection with a couple of new faces coming into the fold since October.

Olympian Sarah McAuley has linked up with the side having debuted and established herself in the senior side this summer, debuting at June’s EuroHockey Championships and then helping the senior side qualify for the 2022 World Cup.

Sophia Cole in action against Scotland this summer. Picture: Billy Pollock

At the other end of the spectrum, Loreto’s Aoife Taaffe made a late charge for inclusion with some excellent form on the club front helping her break into the squad of 20.

Ulster Elks’ Charlotte Beggs was part of the senior setup that travelled to Pisa for their World Cup qualifier while fellow midfielder Amy Elliott was capped for Ireland when still a teenager in 2019.

Goalkeeper Ellie McLoughlin, now with UCD having developed her trade with Naas and Muckross Hockey Clubs, has also trained through the summer with the Irish senior panel. She is one of two keepers named with Holly Micklem the other included following a super start to the season with Old Alex.

Co-captain Caoimhe Perdue tasted senior international action this year, lining out in uncapped challenge matches for Ireland’s women against Great Britain in the spring. The current UCC player is the first graduates of Cashel New Inn Hockey Club to reach this elite level and will share the leadership duties with fellow defender Caitlin Sherin.

Sherin is joined by Loreto club mates Christina Hamill, Lisa Mulcahy, Siofra O’Brien and Yasmin Pratt.

Former Banbridge duo Ellen Reid and Nadia Benallal both now ply their trade with clubs in the UK, Loughborough Students and Beeston, respectively, having moved to study.

EYHL contenders UCD provide a large batch of the panel with, in addition to McLoughlin, McAuley and Elliott, KJ Marshall, Emma Paul, Sophia Cole and Rachel Kelly getting call-ups.

Limerick woman Anna Horan has enjoyed a whirlwind return to Ireland after a season in the United States’ NCAA system, helping Catholic Institute to their highest ever position in the EY Hockey League.

Síofra Murdoch, meanwhile, is part of the Harvard University team who have reached the NCAA finals this week having won the Ivy League conference recently.

The squad is also thankful for the support of the players’ respective third level institutions in helping to work with a rapidly changing schedule to allow them to perform to their optimum level.

U21 Junior World Cup

  1. Ellie McLoughlin (GK)                 UCD / University College Dublin
  2. Holly Micklem (GK)                     Old Alex / Trinity College
  3. KJ Marshall (Def)                        UCD / University College Dublin
  4. Caitlin Sherin (Def)                      Loreto / Dublin City University (Co-Captain)
  5. Emma Paul (Def)                        UCD / University College Dublin
  6. Sarah McAuley (Def)                  UCD / University College Dublin
  7. Ellen Reid (Def)                           Loughborough Students, Eng / University of Loughborough
  8. Caoimhe Perdue (Def/Mid)         UCC / University College Cork (Co-Captain)
  9. Anna Horan (Def/Mid).                Catholic Institute / Mary Immaculate College
  10. Siofra Murdoch (Def/Mid)           Harvard, USA / Harvard University
  11. Christina Hamill (Mid)                 Loreto / Technical University Dublin
  12. Amy Elliott (Mid)                         UCD / University College Dublin
  13. Lisa Mulcahy (Mid/Def)              Loreto / University College Dublin
  14. Sophia Cole (Mid/Def)                UCD / University College Dublin
  15. Charlotte Beggs (Mid)                Ulster Elks / University of Ulster Jordanstown
  16. Siofra O’Brien (Fwd)                   Loreto / Technical University Dublin
  17. Nadia Benallal (Fwd)                  Beeston, Eng / Nottingham Trent University
  18. Rachel Kelly  (Fwd/ Mid)            UCD / University College Dublin
  19. Yasmin Pratt (Fwd)                     Loreto / IT Carlow
  20. Aoife Taaffe (Fwd)                      Loreto / University College Dublin


Non Travelling Reserves

  • Gemma Ferguson (GK)              Ulster Elks / University of Ulster Jordanstown
  • Hannah Kelly (Fwd)                    Catholic Institute / National University of Ireland, Galway
  • Eva Lavelle  (Mid)                       UCD / University College Dublin
  • Lucy Crowe (Def)                        Railway Union / University College Dublin


2021 Junior World Cup schedule (Potchefstroom, South Africa; all times local)

Pool A

Sunday, December 5: Ireland v Zimbabwe, 9am

Monday, December 6: Ireland v Netherlands, 1pm

Tuesday, December 8: Ireland v Korea, 11am

Friday, December 11 to Thursday, December 16: playoff/classification matches

Upcoming Fundamentals of Umpiring Module 1 Q&A session – 2nd December

The last Fundamentals of Umpiring Module 1 Q&A session of 2021 is coming up.

International umpire Tanja Schafer will be taking the online Q&A session on the 2nd December at 7.30pm

To take part in this online Q&A session you must have fully completed your Fundamentals of Umpiring Module 1 through our eLearning Hub https://hockeyirelandhub.ie/

To book onto this online Q&A session please email linda.monaghan@hockey.ie