Presidents Newsletter September, 2022

President’s Newsletter

From 15th May 2022

It has been a very enjoyable and busy four months. On Sunday 15th May, I attended the last Interprovincial Final at Three Rock Rovers, when Leinster and Munster contested the Under 21 championship. Following the round robin stage of the competition all 3 teams finished on 6 points with 2 wins each, which meant that goal difference, which is a factor for U21s and Adult competitions, was required to determine the final placings. Leinster ended up on +2, Munster on 0 and Ulster on -1. After a closely contested match in the first three quarters where Leinster were just one goal up, they ended up coming out worthy winners 3-0. Our thanks go to Ann Ronan and the Interprovincial Working Group for all their hard work during the season to get all the matches played.

This was the start of a very sad week when we learnt of the passing of John Flack on 18th May and Dixon Rose MBE on 19th May. I attended both funerals. John gave hockey in Ulster and Ireland a great profile in the media and will be sadly missed. Dixon was Hockey Ireland President from 2006 to 2008 and a Hockey Ireland Honorary Life Member. He had a very distinguished career as an international player, captain and umpire and was widely respected for his love and work for hockey in Ulster and Ireland. Our thoughts were with both families at this sad time.

I attended Hockey Ireland’s Annual General Meeting, which was held online on Thursday 19th May.

My congratulations go to three members of the Hockey Family who received Honours from the Queen in the Birthday Honours, announced on Thursday 2nd June. Dr Shirley McCay, Ireland’s most capped female sports person was recognised for services to hockey and the community in Northern Ireland with an award of the MBE as was Eilish Rutherford (nee Mackin) for her services to sport and her charity work in Northern Ireland. Eilish is a former Chair of the Mary Peters Trust.  Ronnie Smyth was recognised also. Ronnie, a stalwart of Ulster and Annadale hockey, was awarded a British Empire Medal for his services to hockey. For over 50 years Ronnie has been an inspiration to many hockey players and continues to be known as the ‘Godfather of Coaching’.

On Saturday 4th June, I was honoured to be a guest at Newry Olympic Hockey Club’s Dinner and make a presentation to three Ireland players who had not received their caps. I would like to thank Nevin Gray for his help in organising this and for gathering the very relevant facts from Steven Hiles, who has worked hard on a database, with match details on all the capped players.  We recognise how the game has changed over the years with the number of international matches increasing – it is much quicker now in 2022 to chalk up several caps than it was in 1957 when an 18-year-old Newry Grammar schoolboy, made history for his club and school when he became the first Newry Olympic hockey player to play for the Ireland Senior men’s team. Bob Poots played 4 times for Ireland in that year. Unfortunately Bob was not present at the dinner to receive his cap as he divides his time by living in England and France. It is worth reading a very interesting article about Bob on the Club’s website.

Erroll Lutton first played for Newry Olympic in 1986-87 and he won the “4th XI player of the year”. In the next season, 1987-88, he was the “Young Player of the year”.  From 1993 to 2001 he had 52 Irish caps while playing for Newry and from 2001-2003 33 more while playing at Lisnagarvey – a total of 85 caps. Erroll captained Ireland on 12 occasions and scored 3 goals. Unfortunately, Erroll was not present to receive his first Irish cap and his 50th cap as he was in Copenhagen with Lisnagarvey at the EuroHockey Challenge Cup tournament. However, there is still a strong Lutton connection with Erroll’s, brother Ivor and his nephews Jonah, Noah and Corey playing for the club. We were pleased that Corey was present to receive Erroll’s caps.

Ivan Steen played for Newry Olympic Hockey Club for 10 years. He was the “Young player of the year” within the club for four consecutive years, from 1991 – 1994 and won 27 caps for Ireland scoring five goals. His first cap was on 8th August 1998 against Belgium in Dublin and he had 18 more international appearances to 2000 while at Newry Olympic. This was followed by nine more Irish caps when he was playing for Surbiton in England.

Ivan Steen receiving his Irish cap.

I was following the two Irish teams in their European competitions in June and would like to congratulate Loreto and Lisnagarvey on winning their respective tournaments.

I was at Lisnagarvey Hockey Club on Friday 10th June, to support the Ireland Senior Men play Italy in the first match of a three-match series.  Italy took lead and were ahead at halftime but the Irish men came back much stronger in the 3rd and 4th quarters and when Conor Empey and Johnny McKee scored two goals in quick succession in the 49th/50th minutes, Ireland came out winners 2-1. The following day I watched the second match in this series, which Ireland won 3-0, before going to Queen’s Playing fields, Upper Malone to support the Under 23 girls in their practice game against Scotland.

On Sunday 12th June, the Hockey Ireland Board meeting was held at the Carlton Hotel in Blanchardstown. This was the second meeting that was not held online and it was great to see everyone in person. Trevor Watkins welcomed all and especially the four new Directors, Rachel Berry, Niamh Byrne, Ursula Kilkelly and Dan McCormack. After the business part of the meeting, Rea Walshe, representing Carmichael, took us through Board Induction Training.

On Monday 13th, I was at Queen’s Playing Fields, Upper Malone to watch Under 23s in their final practice game against Scotland, as part of their preparation for the Uniphar 5 nations tournament.

The AGM of the Olympic Federation of Ireland took place, online, on Wednesday 15th June and I represented Hockey Ireland at this meeting.

As Hockey Ireland President, I was invited to the Centenary Dinner for Ards Ladies Hockey Club on Saturday 18th June in the Stormont Hotel. Over 130 members past and present were welcomed by their President Norma Gartside, who is an Honorary Life Member of Hockey Ireland. The speaker was Gillian Murphy who had gone to great lengths to research the history of the club and give an excellent comprehensive talk on the 100 years of hockey at Ards. The teams have celebrated their centenary also on the pitch during the year by winning the Under 16 Indoor Championship, the Ulster Premier League and coming out on top in EYHL 2, to gain promotion to EYHL 1 for next season.

The Lord Mayor of Ards & North Down Craig Blaney, Norma Gartside, President of Ards Ladies Hockey Club & George Wilson, Ulster Hockey President

On Sunday 19th June, I was at UCD for the opening games in the 5 Nations Uniphar Series.  We had teams from three continents stretching right across the globe – Europe, North America and Asia, with The Netherlands, Ukraine and India, joining Ireland in this Uniphar 5 Nations Tournament. We also had our senior women playing in a four match SoftCo sponsored series against Japan, as part of their final preparations for the World Cup in Amsterdam.

 

At the reception on Thursday 23rd June, it was my pleasure to welcome guests to UCD. We were pleased that Josepha Madigan, Minster of State with responsibility for Special Education and Inclusion and Senator Emer Curry were able to join us.

 

Minister of State, Josepha Madigan, Senator Emer Curry & Ukrainian Vice President.

 

I acknowledged and thanked the tournament sponsors, Uniphar for their tremendous support, not only sponsoring this 5 Nations tournament but also helping enormously in the money raised to bring the Ukrainian team to Dublin. David Passmore was also very grateful to a private donor and all the parental donations in this very sporting gesture, to bring Ukraine here.  They were so pleased to be in Dublin and could not thank me enough when through Michael, their interpreter, their Vice President spoke to me as I left the pitch after a presentation on the previous Sunday.  I must admit I found the conversation very emotional and mentioned that we were meant to play them in the Junior World Cup in South Africa, but due to the horrendous conflict in Ukraine, the girls could not take part. We felt their plight and were delighted to have them here with us. We wondered what some of them were heading back to in Ukraine when they left Ireland.

 

We had our sponsors at the reception. I thanked Susan Spence and SoftCo, the kit sponsors to both the Senior and Under 23 teams for their continued support and for sponsoring this Senior series against Japan. The girls were just back from Japan and were hosted there for their Olympic stay. Friendly relations have been developed over the past 18 months and it was great to have the Japanese team here. Our thanks were also expressed to Angela Cotter and Park Developments for their great support for the Under 23 and Senior programmes and to Alan Cadden from Saba who are the senior women’s food partners and provided all the dinners for the U23s during this tournament.

 

Sponsorship – what does it do for our sport? Success of the women in the World Cup put Ireland right at the top of the world. We have followers all over Ireland who would not have supported hockey in the past, new clubs especially in Connacht and increased membership in clubs. Unfortunately, the European Hockey Federation conference due to take place in Prague last summer had to go online – I was asked to speak on behalf of Hockey Ireland at it – “Inspiring a Nation – the inspiration of the women’s team reaching the Olympics”. The partnership that we have with all the sponsors has definitely helped to put us there.

 

Sponsorship of the Under 23 programme is vital and we can see the transition of the young players from this level to Senior level – congratulate David Passmore and his team for their hard work and commitment and it is great to see Sarah McAuley, Caoimhe Perdue, Christina Hamill & Siofra O’Brien, who were in the JWC squad for the tournament in South Africa, now in the senior squad.

 

I do not know if everyone knew that the Indian team arrived in Dublin but their hockey sticks didn’t and the girls lent them some so that they could play – this was true international sportsmanship.

The Ireland and Ukrainian teams

In the first match of the Uniphar tournament, the Netherlands came out 4-2 winners against the USA before Ireland took on India in their first match. Our girls played well but the Indian girls got stronger as the match progressed and came out winners 4-1.

I was back at UCD for the Play-offs and Final on Sunday 26th. An Ireland Development team had a good win against Ukraine in the first game before the Ireland Under 23 team lost narrowly to the USA in the bronze medal game. The final was won by the Netherlands who had a decisive win over India. We were pleased that representatives from the Sponsors, Uniphar took part in the trophy and medal presentation. Sally Ann Fanagan, Hockey Ireland Staff and the very large team of volunteers did an amazing job in organising and staging this event. They are to be congratulated and thanked for this.

After the Ireland Ukrainian game on Thursday 23rd, the Senior women played Japan in another build up game for the World Cup. They were just back from practice games in Japan. Just after the teams lined up with the umpires, members of the team made a presentation to the 5 Irish international players who had retired.

  • Grace O’Flanaghan, goalkeeper, has 36 caps, with her first cap on 26th July 2016. She is a World Cup Silver Medallist and an Olympian.
  • Lizzie Colvin, midfielder, 206 caps with her first one on 4th July 2008. Lizzie is a World up silver medallist and an Olympian.
  • Nicci Daly, midfielder, has 200 caps, with her first one on 5th February 2010. She is also a World Cup Silver Medallist and an Olympian.
  • Hannah Matthews, defender, has 157 caps, with her first one on 26th June 2014. Hannah is a World Cup Silver Medallist and an Olympian.
  • Shirley McCay, defender, the most capped athlete across all sports in Ireland with 316 caps. Her first cap was on 15th January 2007. She is a World Cup Silver Medallist and an Olympian.
  • An amazing total of 915 Irish caps, well done Girls.

During the half-time break, with the help of Sally Ann Fanagan, the tournament director, I had the honour of presenting Hockey Ireland’s two new Honorary Life Members, Inez Cooper and Brian Caruth, with their pins. An Honorary Life Member of Hockey Ireland is conferred to recognise an individual’s exceptional, prolonged and voluntary contribution to Hockey Ireland, especially at national level.

Inez Cooper has a long and distinguished history of involvement in Irish Hockey. She has contributed in a multitude of ways, filling significant roles at club, provincial, national and international levels. Photos

As an experienced project manager, in 2019 she successfully chaired the LOC for Ireland’s hosting of the Women’s FIH World Series Finals in Banbridge and followed this by leading the extremely successful Tokyo Olympic Games, FIH Women’s Qualifier Series in Donnybrook, Dublin. This ‘Donnybrook Event’ twice broke the previous record for the largest attendance at a Women’s International match in any sport in Ireland and culminated in ensuring that the Irish team became the first ever Women’s team to qualify for an Olympic Games. he has served for eight years on the Executive Board of the European Hockey Federation (EHF). During this time, she has held the position of Chair of the EHF Education Committee and has also acted as the of Chair of the EHF Officials Committee. In 2019 she was a speaker at the first European Hockey Female Leadership Forum where the EHF’s strategic goal, to advocate, support and build desires for equal female leadership opportunities, was to the fore. Last year Inez was elected Female Vice President of the EHF. This is very well deserved and a marvellous achievement.

He served a term on the Board of the IHU and then two further terms on the Board of Hockey Ireland. In total, he has served 12 years on the Boards and was Chair of the Board for 3 years.
In addition, he continues to co-ordinate HI competitions, convene the HI Competitions Committee and Chair the Competitions Committee. As well as being a dedicated volunteer, Brian is a great supporter of all the Irish National teams. He was a supporter even before his son, Peter, was involved with the Irish men’s side. He continues to support the teams now that Peter is no longer involved. In recent years, he has travelled to Rio to support the men’s team in the Olympics, London for the women’s World Cup, Canada for the men’s Olympic play-off, Cardiff for the Men’s EHF World Qualifiers and the indoor internationals against Scotland.

The Under 16 and Under 18 Boys played international matches against Scotland at the University of Ulster, Jordanstown at the beginning of July.  I watched the matches on 2nd July, when the Under 16s won 3-0 and the Under 18s won 4-1.  After their final matches on 3rd July, both teams had won all their games in the series – well done!

We knew when the draw was announced for the Women’s World Cup that we had a very tough pool with the Netherlands, Germany and Chile and we were not wrong when Germany and the Netherlands reached the semi-finals and the Dutch were World Cup winners. Chile were the unknown opponents and the girls were very disappointed when they narrowly lost that game. However, a good win against South Africa and a narrow defeat against China improved their world ranking from 13th to 11th. It was just wonderful to look around the stadium and see a sea of green with the support the team got from Softco Sponsors Susan Spence and Daragh Byrne, our Interim CEO Nick McElwee, Directors, Honorary Life Members, Family Members and Club players. We knew it would be a challenging tournament and appreciated that Grace O’ Flanaghan, Lizzie Colvin, Nicci Daly, Hannah Matthews and Shirley McCay had retired.  I felt very honoured to be there and cheer on our team.

 

While the women were in Amsterdam our Senior men won a 4 nations Invitational Tournament on July 3rd in Uddingston as part of their preparations for their EuroHockey qualifiers in Calais.

The Under 16 and Under 18 girls were in Terrassa in Spain for their European 8 Nations Tournament with the Under 16s finishing in 6th place. Both squads attended the semi-finals of the Women’s World Cup, which were being played at Terrassa.

The Under 16 boys were in Hanau, Germany finishing 5th in a European Six Nations tournament while the Under 18 boys played in an Eight Nations Tournament in Frankfurt.

The Under 21s were in action in EuroHockey Junior Tournaments with the women retaining their place in the top division coming 6th and the men winning the EuroHockey Junior Champions Division 2, to gain promotion into the top division for 2024.

Following on from the ID tournament, which was staged here last November, we sent a team to the EuroHockey ID event in Amsterdam at the beginning of July. It is great to see progress in the expansion of hockey ID in Ireland.

Ireland ID Team

I attended the Euro Qualifying event at the Sport Ireland Campus from 18th – 21st August between Ireland, the Czech Republic, Poland and Turkey, with one team going through to play in Munchengladbach next year. At the reception before Ireland’s first game against Poland I welcomed Minister of State Jack Chambers, representatives from Sport Ireland, Ambassadors from the Czech Republic, Poland & Turkey, EHF representatives’ Inez Cooper and Graine Corry, our sponsors SoftCo, Park Developments, Uniphar & Saba and invited guests and thanked them for joining us. I also acknowledged and welcomed the EHF delegates and officials; many had already been on duty in the first match, Czech Republic and Turkey.

This was a very notable event as it was the first time that an international hockey tournament was played at the Sport Ireland Campus. I acknowledged all the hard work in the planning and organisation of this event, thanks to great teamwork between Sport Ireland and Hockey Ireland. The reception was held in the extension of the pavilion which has just been completed a few days earlier and I thanked all involved for making this possible. We had experienced a taster event there in the last 2 weeks, when the women played games against France and the men played Chile and Austria. I watched the games on Saturday 6th August when the weather was superb and the setting perfect for players, officials and spectators with the stands on either side of the pitch, a Media Centre, PA system and live streaming of all the games. Other facilities had been brought in for this occasion. Well done to Sport Ireland, John Flannery, Nick McElwee and the Hockey Ireland organising committee for all the work they put into making this possible.

The tournament was a great success with Ireland coming out on top with three wins, 3-0 v Poland, 1-0 v Czech and 7-0 v Turkey and qualify for the Europeans in Munchengladbach next year. Well done to all and special congratulations to Ayeisha McFerran on becoming Ireland’s most capped female goalkeeper.

I followed the live streaming of the Men’s Qualifiers in Calais, where Ireland Men’s team were drawn against Lithuania, Turkey and France. Despite a mammoth 19-0 victory over Lithuania and a decisive 9-0 win over Turkey, a 4-1 defeat against France meant that the Ireland men finished runners-up in the tournament and will play in the second tier of the European Championships next summer.

On the umpiring scene, we continue to be very proud of the development of our young umpires and especially Alison Keogh, who umpired the bronze medal match in the World Cup when Germany played Australia and has received her golden whistle for officiating in 100 international matches. Another umpire, Bruce Bale, was prominent in the Commonwealth Games as an umpire and as a video referral umpire.

It was my pleasure to chair the Annual General Meeting of the Irish Hockey Umpires Association online, on Wednesday 31st August. My thanks go to Rob Argent, Jim Butler and Alison Keogh for their help during the meeting and I would like to congratulate all volunteers on the committee for their hard work and comprehensive reports. The meetings are always extremely well organised as all the information and reports have been sent out by Secretary Jim Butler, well in advance. Well done to you all. Thanks also go to Sedgwick for their continued support, which has enabled the umpires to conduct a number of activities focussing on development over the past year.

All these achievements could not be possible without the great funding and support that Hockey Ireland receives from Sport Ireland, Sport Northern Ireland and our sponsors, SoftCo, Park Developments, Uniphar and SABA.

I look forward to enjoying games at the start of the new season.

Ann Rosa, President, Hockey Ireland

6th September 2022

 

 

 

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EY League Round 1 Preview

The EY League is about to start. The players are ready. The clubs are ready. Are you?

17.09.2022

MEN

YMCA V Banbridge 

14:45 PM At St Andrews College

Cookstown V Lisnagarvey

14:30 PM

Annadale V Glenanne 

13:00 PM At Lagan College

Three Rock Rovers V Instonians

15:30 PM At Grange Road

 

WOMEN

Catholic Institute V UCD

13:00 PM At Rosbrien

Pegasus V Railway Union

14:30 PM At Queens University

Ards V Loreto

14:00 PM At Londonderry Park

Pembroke Wanderers V Belfast Harlequins 

14:30 PM At Serpentine Avenue

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EY Ireland extends sponsorship of Hockey League

Dublin, 13 September 2022: EY Ireland has announced it will continue as official sponsor the Irish Hockey League, Irelands highest performing hockey competition on the island of Ireland for a further three years.

The EY Irish Hockey League (EYHL) with ten men and ten women’s teams from around the Island of Ireland coming together to compete. Matches are scheduled to take to the pitch for the first round of the Men’s and Women’s EYHL this weekend on Saturday 17th of September, while the EYHL 2 returns to action on the 12th of November.

Covering all four provinces, the all-island EYHL will see twenty of Ireland’s top male and female clubs battle it out to become league champions over 20 weeks of exciting, fast-paced hockey.
The top six in each competition advance to the EY Champions Trophy where the ultimate champion for the season is determined at an end of season festival, showcasing the men’s and women’s grand finals on an equal basis.
The sponsorship also supports the EY Hockey League Division 2 (EYHL2), which will also feature 10 men’s teams and ten women’s teams, the top two of which will win promotions to the EYHL for the following season via an end of season playoff series.
The EYHL and EYHL2 showcase some of Ireland’s top players and has provided a vital stage for club players on their road to the international arena and, notably, the World Cup and Olympic Games.
EY Ireland has been the primary sponsor of the Irish Hockey League since 2016 with the formation of the EY Hockey League and its subsequent expansion to feature a second tier in 2019 The competition has since become universally known as the EYHL, a measure of the intrinsic link between sponsor and competition and provides an elite hockey competition on an equal basis to male and female players.

Frank O’Keeffe, Managing Partner for EY Ireland: “We are proud to announce EY Ireland’s continued sponsorship of the Irish Hockey League for a further three years. Hockey embodies strong team building and a great commitment to inclusion, diversity, and equality, values that are integral to EY. This partnership highlights our commitment to building the highest performing diverse teams and to celebrating the amazing men and women who participate in this incredible sport at a national level. We look forward to the continued success of all of the teams in the league over the coming three years as we have proudly done since 2016.”

 

Ronan Murphy, CEO of Hockey League Ireland: “We are delighted to have the continued support of EY Ireland for another three years. The support over the past seven years has been game-changing for clubs in Ireland, enabling them to hone their skills and match their ambition at an elevated level of competition. EY Ireland’s sponsorship is invaluable to raising the game, assisting with the organisation and promotion of the EY Hockey League, its high quality of matches, and ensuring clubs across the island are able to compete at the highest levels. It is no coincidence that our international teams have enjoyed an almost unprecedented run of success in the last decade, with Olympic and World Cup qualification for both genders. We are really looking forward to some top-class matches taking place over the coming season as we embark upon what promises to be a highly competitive 2022/23 season.”

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Ireland defeat Turkey but miss out on top tier qualification

EuroHockey Championship qualifiers

Ireland 9 (B Walker 3, J McKee 2, S Murray 2, M Robson, L Madeley) Turkey 0

Ireland closed out their EuroHockey Championship qualifier with a comprehensive 9-0 win over Turkey but ultimately finished runners-up to tournament hosts France in Calais.
It means they will contest the second tier of the European Championships next summer which, on the current basis, could offer one place in the Olympic qualifier events for Paris 2024.

 

The first half against the Turks was a slightly sleepy affair befitting the 10am Saturday morning start. Sean Murray smacked in a fourth minute effort from Walker’s pass but, otherwise, they found Turkey’s deep-lying defence tricky to unpick.

 

That changed in the second half with eight more goals coming in the last 25 minutes. McKee got the credit for the second when he intercepted 40-metres from goal with his eventual cross turned in by a diving defender.

 

Walker deflected in a powerful hit from Neal Glassey; McKee finished off his 15th goal in 14 matches and Murray clipped in a tidy shot for 5-0 at the three quarter break.

 

Michael Robson’s penalty stroke, another smart finish from Walker and a Luke Madeley drag-flick made it eight. Walker completed the scoring with the pick of the goals in the dying seconds, a head-high volley from Daragh Walsh’s bouncing aerial ball into the circle.

 

And while coach Mark Tumilty was pleased with how his side finished, netting eight second half goals, the 4-1 loss to France was the defining memory.

 

“We were a bit slow to start which was expected after the disappointment of Thursday,” said Tumilty after the tie. “We played some good hockey in Q3 and Q4, scored some nice goals which is pleasing.

 

“But against France, we weren’t good enough. We can’t give a team of France’s standard a two-goal lead and expect to win the game. We can’t make the individual and collective errors and we didn’t create enough chances. You have to be clinical in a game of few chances.”

 

Next on the agenda is the FIH Nations Cup in South Africa which gets under way on November 28th. As such, the Irish men will be back together in two weeks time and have fixtures against England in October in the pipeline.

 

After that, they await the breakdown of continental places for the Olympic qualifiers which will be confirmed in late January

 

Ireland: M Ingram, L Madeley, J McKee, D Walsh, N Glassey, K Marshall, S Murray, M McNellis, J Duncan, B Walker, N Page

Subs: L Witherow, C Robson, K O’Dea, M Robson, J Lynch, S Hyland, J Carr

 

Turkey: M Teke, I Bakar, S Polat, R Kayar, F Atas, M Elagoz, H Tasar, E Durmus, O Karakus, M Ekinci, H Erdogan

Subs: Y Yilmaz, H Ozturk, C Aydin, B Erman, M Demirel, F Ozkurc, F Bursalioglu

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Irish men in Euro qualifiers game 2

Men’s EuroHockey Championship qualifiers

Ireland 1 (L Madeley) France 4 (E Tynenez, G Baumgarten, C Sellier)

Ireland fell to a 4-1 defeat at the hands of France in Calais to leave their chances of qualifying for next summer’s European Championships top tier all but over.

 

The French hosts got off to a stunning start, netting twice in the first seven minutes, and were always in control from that point on, building a 4-0 lead before Luke Madeley pulled one back with 16 minutes left.

 

Their chance of A Division hockey is now a far-fetched one; they need to win their closing tie of the tournament on Saturday against Turkey and hope for a miracle from Lithuania – who lost 19-0 to Ireland – to defeat the French.

 

In reality, though, it looks like the Green Machine are destined for the second tier which they will hope still offers an Olympic qualifier ticket when the continental allocations are divided out in January.

 

In this tie, goals in the first seven minutes from Gaspard Baumgarten and Corentin Sellier created the big gap. The former profited when Sellier stole possession on the 23-metre line and set up the striker who powered in a shot from the right of the circle.

 

The second followed in quick succession as Francois Goyet nabbed the ball to break loose on the left wing and pumped in a cross which Sellier tipped home in the middle.

 

Ireland steadied in the second quarter but any comeback hopes were firmly shut down in the early stages of the second half.

 

A pin-point diagonal pass gave Xavier Gaspard space on the right baseline where he fired the ball to Etienne Tynevez to deflect in the third goal.

 

Tynevez made it 4-0 with 22 minutes to go from the penalty spot. Madeley got Ireland on the board when he whipped a drag-flick to the top right from their first series of penalty corners.

 

They attempted to push on in the closing quarter but the French defence stood firm to limit any route back into the contest.

 

Ireland: J Carr, L Madeley, J McKee, D Walsh, K O’Dea, K Marshall, S Murray, M Robson, B Walker, S Hyland

Subs: C Robson, N Glassey, M McNellis, J Duncan, J Lynch, N Page, M Ingram

 

France: E Reynaud, G Xavier, S Martin-Brisac, B Rogeau, V Lockwood, A Bellenger, F Goyet, E Curty, E Tynevez, V Charlet

Subs: S Branicki, J-B Forgues, C Sellier, B Marqué, T Clément, B Delemazure, A Thieffry

 

Umpires: S Michielsen (BEL), N Bennett (ENG)

 

Men’s EuroHockey Championship qualifiers, Calais

Turkey 3 Lithuania 1; Ireland 1 (L Madeley) France 4 (E Tynenez, G Baumgarten, C Sellier)

 

Standings: 1. France 6pts (+15) 2. Ireland 3pts (+16) 3. Turkey 3pts (-10) 4. Lithuania 0pts (-31)

 

Saturday, August 27th

Turkey v Ireland, 9am

France v Lithuania, 11.15am

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Irish men record biggest ever international victory

Men’s EuroHockey Championship qualifiers
Ireland 19 (L Madeley 4. J Duncan 3, J McKee 3, B Walker 3, M Robson 3, S Murray, D Walsh, L Witherow) Lithuania 0
Ireland’s men recorded their largest ever win as they swept aside Lithuania on day one of the EuroHockey Championship qualifiers in Calais.

Four goals from Luke Madeley along with hat tricks for Michael Robson, Jeremy Duncan, Jonny McKee and Ben Walker helped outdo the previous best of 13-0 against Malta in 2002 and Fiji in 2013.

They took the lead with barely 15 seconds on the clock with Madeley scoring from their first penalty corner chance.

Three further goals followed in a 39-second spell before the end of the first quarter for a 4-0 advantage. Duncan flicked home to start that run; skipper Sean Murray cracked home first time from a McKee assist and then McKee finished off a gorgeous interchange.

The second quarter proved harder to break through with just a Walker reverse-stick effort adding to the tally – 5-0 at half-time.

The record came into view in the third quarter with seven arriving in that 15-minute stanza as Lithuania were reduced to the role of spectators as they barely laid a stick on Ireland. Walker got his second while Duncan polished off a hat trick with a pair of goals within 45 seconds of each other.

Madeley’s second corner goal, a solo peach from Daragh Walsh and set piece efforts from Robson and McKee made it 12-0 with a full quarter remaining.

Madeley duly equalled the record with his third of the game and put Ireland over the total with eight minutes to go. Two more from Robson, one more each for McKee and Walker and a first international goal for Luke Witherow completed the 19.

It gave Ireland a winning start to the four-team competition from which the top side will qualify for next summer’s European Championships.

“I don’t think that scoreline is good for the game but we have to take into consideration in this tournament, there could be a lot of value on goal difference on Saturday morning,” Tumilty said afterwards.

“I am pleased we were clinical, executed some corners but apart from that, there is probably not a lot of value in it.”

Next up will be a completely different contest against the highest ranked side, France (11th in the world), with the winner likely to take control of the group.

“It is the one we spoke about since we came together in May and it is time for this group to produce a performance,” Tumilty said of that showdown.

“We have prepped well and the team know what is expected of them. We know there is a performance in there; corners will be a key area but we definitely have a good chance.”

Ireland: J Carr, L Madeley, J McKee, D Walsh, C Robson, K Marshall, S Murray, M McNellis, J Duncan, S Hyland, N Page
Subs: L Witherow, K O’Dea, N Glassey, M Robson, B Walker, J Lynch, M Ingram

Lithuania: N Andrasiunas, A Cesnulis, P Lakstauskas, A Burkot, M Pocevicius, R Stankevic, A Ridlauskas, A Jackevicius, J Bandziulis, E Ustinovicius
Subs: M Grubliauskas, P Sinkevicius, T Pabjianskas, I Balbatunovas

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Ireland on brink of Euro Championship qualification with win over Czechs

Ireland 1 (K Mullan) Czech Republic 0

Katie Mullan’s 21st minute goal has Ireland on the brink of qualification for the 2023 European Championships as they made it two wins from two at the Sport Ireland Campus this week with a 1-0 success over the Czech Republic.

She struck with a powerful backhand shot and while her side had numerous other chances to make the game safer, this was enough to record the win.

“It feels good,” said Mullan of the success. “It is only the second part of the job done but we have another big part of the work complete. Tomorrow is another big game and Turkey have some nifty players. A good performance today; we left a couple of goals out there but it was important to get the win.”

Ireland were in control from start to finish with the Czechs unable to muster a shot on Ayeisha McFerran’s goal but Ireland were unable to build on their first half lead to make the result safer, sooner.

“We are getting closer and closer to being a clinical side; there are a few of us up front who haven’t played a while lot together so we are building those connections. Each game, it feels like we are on the brink [of cutting loose]. We know we need to put more in the back of the net but, all in all, to be as in control as we were from the first to last minute was a big positive.”

Visiting keeper Barbora Chechakova produced some wonder saves before the goal, somehow denying Mullan from close range in the third minute with a sprawling block when the net beckoned.

The lively Deirdre Duke also went close while a rasping Mullan shot also hit the outside of the goal as the Czech goal led a charmed life.

Michelle Carey’s direct running was a constant source of pressure while Duke’s close range deflection was tipped over by Cechakova from a Sarah McAuley baseline cross.

And the goal inevitably arrived when Róisín Upton’s long overhead ball was not dealt with as the lurking Mullan picked up the ball and fired home on her backhand.

Cechakova continued her heroics with a diving intervention to halt Niamh Carey’s run through on goal. The half closed with Ireland’s first penalty corner, Upton’s drag blocked by the Czech netminder.

The second half was tighter though the hosts continued in the ascendancy with the Czechs unable to mount a circle penetration of note. Sarah Torrans went closest to doubling the score, her shot somehow saved by Chechakova’s instep in the 42nd minute.

Three more penalty corners came and went to no avail but the points always looked assured and they march on to Sunday’s final challenge of this round-robin competition, leading the group on six points and need a draw or better on Sunday against Turkey to qualifier for next summer’s top tier.

Turkey, for their part, lost 2-0 to Poland in their second game to sit on one point beside the Czechs. Maria Drozda opened the scoring in that contest with a smart finish close in. Marlena Rybacha then thumped home a penalty corner shot in the second half to complete the victory.

Mullan says the 33rd ranked Turks are not to be underestimated and are much improved since the sides last met in 2015 – a 13-0 victory for Ireland.

“The side we have seen the last few days is very different. They throw different things at you that we are not used to so we will suss them out and prepare for tomorrow’s game.”

And the Ballymoney woman is looking forward to seeing even more faces on the sidelines at the impressive Sport Ireland Campus venue where many kids enjoyed a meet and greet post-match with the Irish skipper and her team mates.

“It is fantastic to be here. We put a lot of training into this pitch but to play national games with a home crowd and so many young fans is brilliant.

“It’s fantastic when you ask the kids where they are from, they are from all round the country – it’s not just Leinster kids, there’s kids from Munster and Ulster and some from Connacht. It’s fantastic to see and we need to encourage this more to be able to repeat this at the Sport Ireland Campus.”

Ireland: A McFerran, S McAuley, M Carey, R Upton, S Hawkshaw, K Mullan, L Tice, N Carroll, C Perdue, D Duke, C Hamill
Subs: N Carey, H McLoughlin, S Torrans, C Beggs, K McKee, E Curran

Czech Republic: B Cechakova, K Lacina, L Duchkova, V Pribikova, K Topinkova, T Mejzlikova, V Novakova, A Lehovcova, A Kolarova, N Babicka, E Merxbauerova
Subs: K Basova, M Smidova, A Koziskova, A Vorlova, N Tlamsova, N Novakova

Women’s EuroHockey Championship qualifiers (all at the Sport Ireland Campus)
August 20:
Poland 2 (M Drozda, M Rybacha) Turkey 0
Ireland 1 (K Mullan) Czech Republic 0

Standings: 1. Ireland 6pts (+4) 2. Poland 3pts (-1) 3. Czech Republic 1pt (-1) 4. Turkey 1pt (-2)

Sunday, August 21:
Poland v Czech Republic, 10.45am
Ireland v Turkey, 1pm

Photos:- Inpho Photography

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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

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‘Sport for All’ Disability Supports Club Funding

As part of 2022 NGB Dormant Accounts Fund, Sport Ireland will provide a €2,000,000 ‘Sport for All’ Disability Supports Club Fund. The Scheme will be open to the affiliated clubs of Sport Ireland Recognised National Governing Bodies only. This fund offers every club affiliated with a Sport Ireland recognised National Governing Body an opportunity to provide inclusive opportunities for participation for people with a disability. It will provide funding supports for local clubs to connect in a meaningful way with their community, potentially even building the club’s own community over time through the inclusion of people with a disability in all club activities.

A minimum application amount of €1,000 and maximum application amount of €5,000 is available for clubs to apply to their NGB for the following:

  • Disability Supports Education & Training.
  • Disability Supports Programme Activation and Delivery.
  • Disability Supports Small Scale Equipment and Infrastructure

For examples of what to include in your application, see the following spreadsheet DAF Club Support Budget H4A

To apply for the funding click here

Deadline for applications is 26th Aug 2022.

If you have any question, please don’t hesitate your Regional Development Officer, or Sue at: sue.haslam@hockey.ie / 00353 831007105 / 00447465947447)

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Irish Under-21 men focus on promotion target in Czech Republic

The Irish Under-21 men’s side travel to the Czech Republic this weekend for the EuroHockey Championships II, looking to land promotion back to the top tier of continental actino.

 

With Belarus and Russia excluded from the competition, they face a six-team tournament, battling for one of the two promotion places on offer with Turkey, Wales, Italy, Poland and the Czech Republic hosts.

 

It will play out in one round-robin group phase and Joe Brennan, the head coach, says it is a very significant competition, not just for their own aspirations but for teams further down the line.

 

“It’s vital for Irish hockey and the men’s programme,” Brennan said ahead of the side’s departure on Friday.

 

“It is vital to get up to the A division because the way things work with World Cup qualification [for 2023], the only route is through the top tier. It means there is a cohort of guys, like where we are now, who will never get that opportunity to play in an Under-21 World Cup.

 

“Hopefully, if we go up, there are definitely guys here who can come back in two years time and can have a run at the World Cup 2025.”

 

Brennan was actually part of the last Irish men’s to play in a Junior World Cup in 2001 in Tasmania. Back then, the side drew with Australia and just missed out on a quarter-final spot to a late England goal.

 

They ended up with three wins and a draw from their eight games and was a significant developing ground for future senior internationals like Brennan, John Jermyn and David Hobbs.

 

And Brennan adds having that kind of target in mind is hugely important: “It gives a real reason for anyone in that under-18 squad for them to train, to commit to a programme for two to three years, knowing there is a reason to buy-in to 24 to 36 months with a real goal at the end of it. It’s a key age group and a key tournament. It is this group you will be looking at for your LA Olympics [in 2028].”

 

The side has a healthy look to the future with a dozen teenagers included, five of whom were still in school until June while Rex Dunlop has another year to go at King’s Hospital.

 

Mark Collins and Ian Perrott were both part of the Bandon Grammar School side who won the All-Ireland Schoolboys Championship earlier this year. They are among a trio of Munster players along with former Waterford man Ian Balding – now with Cork C of I – who will be a key figure in the defensive line-up.

 

Bar injury, Louis Rowe would have been in opposition for Banbridge Academy in that schools final but he is back in good shape for this tournament, adding to a busy summer for his family – his twin brother Charlie is currently making inroads with the senior setup.

 

Ollie Kidd and Johnny Lynch are part of the line-up following a hectic year, winning five trophies with their club, Lisnagarvey. Lynch made his senior international debut in June against Italy while Kidd was in the Irish indoor side who played in European competition in the winter.

 

All told, Ulster have seven representatives – Portadown goalkeeper Scott Dale linking up with Annadale duo James Clark and Patrick Rose as well as Bann’s Mark Cowan.

 

Craig Mackay is another dual international having played for the Irish Under-21 indoor side in January. He is among eight players who won the interprovincial series with Leinster, lifting the trophy along with goalkeeper Ross Clarke (Monkstown), Adam Walker (YMCA), Mark Duggan (Pembroke), Josh Filgas (UCD), Scott Ruttle (YMCA) and Evan Jennings (Three Rock Rovers).

 

In terms of preparation, the panel came together formally in March for the first time with a training camp in Belgium before ramping up preparations in the past five weeks from their base at Corinthian’s Whitechurch Park whom they are indebted to for the support for this programme.

 

Their schedule included fixtures against the English Over-35s, the Irish senior team and, last week, against Scotland’s Under-21s who are playing this week in the top tier.

 

Each series has seen results improve each day, closing the gap to the senior team while they won their second of two games with Scotland to finish preparations on a high.

 

“The guys have all bought into it and trained ridiculously hard, pushing the boundaries for themselves, probably more than they have had to do before. It has been excellent – they have put in a huge, honest effort and I couldn’t be happier with where they are as a group.

 

“For this particular age group, Covid has been a difficulty [over the past two years]. A lot have missed out on school and the first year of college life so we gave them a two-week break during the programme to go on holidays, enjoy themselves, and then asked them to come back for five hard weeks which they have all done.

 

“I felt it was the best way for the guys to come back hungry and to experience some of the life they hadn’t had at the age they are. They all came back fully committed, physically and mentally, and they have come a long way.”

 

As for their opposition in Plzen Litice, research is hard to come by but they have picked up video of the Polish Under-21s who face the Irish Under-18s last week – a 2-1 win for Poland – as well as Wales in action against the Scots. The Czechs will likely play a similar style to their senior team with the same coaching team in place.

 

But these tournaments are typically a journey into the “unknown” and managing that is high on Brennans’s agenda.

 

“We have worked really hard on our defensive game because the B division is really difficult to get promoted as we have seen on the last couple of occasions for the Under-21s and even at senior level.

 

“The players must approach each game with the same level of desire and intensity and concentration, regardless of opposition, giving each opponent the respect they are due because they have different styles, are technically different, or come from a country with a history of good hockey.

 

“Everything is cyclical at Under-21s and anyone can have a really strong group; you don’t know how it will work out. The idea is to get these guys into a really positive mindset to work to become really difficult to beat. If we are strong enough defensively then, we have some quality players, to take advantage of our opportunities up front.”

 

Irish Under-21 men’s team for the EuroHockey Junior Championships II (all in Plzen Litice, Czech Republic)

Scott Dale (Portadown)

Ross Clarke (Monkstown)

Adam Walker (YMCA)

Mark Duggan (Pembroke)

Mark Collins (Cork C of I)

Ian Perrott (Bandon)

Scott Ruttle (YMCA)

Oliver Kidd (Lisnagarvey)

Rex Dunlop (Three Rock Rovers)

Josh Filgas (UCD)

James Clark (Annadale)

Patrick Rose (Annadale)

Evan Jennings (Three Rock Rovers)

Craig Mackay (Corinthian)

Louis Rowe (Banbridge)

Ian Balding (Cork C of I)

Jonathan Lynch (Lisnagarvey)

Mark Cowan (Banbridge)

 

Head Coach Joe Brennan

Manager: David Howard

Assistant coach: Michael Styles

Physiotherapist: David McCrea

Video technician: Ross Howard

 

Men’s EuroHockey Junior Championships II (all in Plzen Litice, Czech Republic)

Sunday, July 24: Ireland v Turkey, 10.30am

Monday, July 25: Ireland v Czech Republic, 5pm

Wednesday, July 27: Ireland v Poland, 2.45pm

Friday, July 29: Ireland v Wales, 11.45am

Saturday, July 30: Ireland v Italy, 9am