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President’s Newsletter July 2021

Excitement is mounting with the departure of the Women’s team for the Tokyo Olympics on Friday 9th July. We wish the players all the best of luck for their matches. This is a marvellous achievement and we thank them for their commitment, drive, determination and for the time they have given to prepare for this amazing experience. Our sympathy goes to the players who have played a large part in the build-up over the last few years and missed out. We know how disappointed they must be. By following the team’s 37-hour journey on social media, they have received a great welcome in Iwate and have started training there. Our thanks go to all their sponsors and especially to Park Development, Softco and Saba.

Their match schedule is, with times for Ireland/UK viewing: –

Saturday 24th July v. South Africa at 1.15pm (21.15 JST)

Monday 26th July v Netherlands at 2am (10.00 JST)

Wednesday 28th July v Germany at 4.15am (12.15 JST)

Friday 30th July v India at 3.45am (11.45 JST)

Saturday 31 July v Great Britain 12.45pm (20.45 JST)

The EuroHockey Championships in Amsterdam at the beginning of June were challenging and the draw was tough. However, the girls held their heads up high, producing commendable performances against the Netherlands, Scotland and Spain in the group section and against Great Britain and Italy in the play-off games, finishing 6th overall with two wins, one draw and two losses.  One of the highlights was Deidre Duke being awarded the goal of the tournament.

Mark Tumilty and his Men’s team continue with their preparations for their European Division B matches in Gniezno, Poland from 15th – 21st August. They are drawn in Pool A against Italy, Poland and Croatia. With several new players in the squad, they have played warm-up games against Great Britain and Scotland. We look forward to supporting them in further pre-tournament games against England at Lisnagarvey on 4th, 5th, 6th & 7th August.

With restrictions on spectators easing, I was able to enjoy watching my first official games as President, when the Ireland Under 19s played Wales at The University of Ulster, Jordanstown on 9th & 10th July. Four exciting games resulted in four wins for Ireland: The Girls winning 6-0 and 5-0 and the Boys 1-0 and 5-3. I look forward to supporting the Ireland Under 23 Girls when they play Wales Senior Women from 16th to 18th July and Wales U23 Girls from 21st to 23rd July. Further matches for the Under 19 Boys and Girls will be held at UUJ on 24th and 25th July. This is a busy programme for the players and coaches and it is great experience for all in their build-up to Senior matches.

I was invited by Lisnagarvey Hockey Club on 26th June to watch Under 15 Cup Finals for a tournament that the club had organised. The Girls’ tournament was won by Armagh who defeated Lisnagarvey and, in the Boys’ Final, Lisnagarvey defeated Portadown. It was great to see young players and their families enjoying exciting hockey on a sunny afternoon. I would like to congratulate and thank Lisnagarvey Hockey Club for their excellent organisation for this event and their compliance with Covid 19 regulations.

Our third Pilot Communication Session took place on Wednesday 16th June with Clubs from Armagh, Belvedere, Blackrock, Bray, Club KV, Cork Wanderers, Malahide Fingal, Newry and Parkview taking part. Topics discussed included how clubs were planning to get players back into hockey after this long Covid break; had they approached schools nearby to attract more members and what was the relationship between their Club and local schools; where they see their club in terms of Hockey Ireland’s priorities; had they applied for a grant and if so, how successful was their application. A follow up session on all three meetings is planned for early in the new season. My thanks go again to John Dennis and Linda Monaghan for their help and support in these meetings.

On Sunday 27th June I chaired an online meeting of the Four Provinces Advisory Committee and welcomed H.I. Vice President, John Dennis and representatives from the Four Provinces – Kevin Keane, Connacht, David Curran, Leinster, Colette Coomey, Munster and Christine Reid, Ulster.  This was an introductory session to get this committee meeting again, look at the Terms of Reference and arrange a further meeting on Monday 19th July.

In my last newsletter, I mentioned that we were pleased to support Inez Cooper’s candidature for election to the Executive Board of the Federation Internationale de hockey (FIH). The FIH Congress was held online on 24th & 25th May, with a strict voting procedure which required practice sessions. Inez narrowly missed out in the election to the 2 sitting members. She is a candidate for Female Vice President of EHF, with the Congress due to take place in Prague on 19th August.  I was delighted, on behalf of Hockey Ireland, to write her supporting letter.

Finally, again I end on a sad note with the passing of Nora Smith on 24th May. In recognition of her international career, Nora was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007 and was an Honorary Life Member of Hockey Ireland. After her playing career as an outstanding centre-half, she became the Irish Women’s first ever coach from 1973 to 1976. Our thoughts are with her family at this sad time.

Ann Rosa

12th July 2021

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President’s Newsletter May 2021

It is great to see that hockey and outdoor sport can start again across the 4 provinces. It has been a long period of restrictions with no games to watch or events to attend.  I must admit I had never experienced meetings on zoom in March 2020, but this has become a daily way of hockey life over the last 14 months.

With no hockey matches and events, John Dennis, Vice-President, Linda Monaghan, National Development Manager and I were keen to communicate with smaller clubs; those that have a maximum of 3 adult teams, are not involved in EYHL and ideally have a developing youth section and have organised pilot communication meetings with these clubs.

We held our first session was on 18th March, when we were joined by club representatives from Antrim, Ashton, Crescent, Dungannon, Dungarvan, Greenfields, Kilkenny, Kinvara, Midleton, Mullingar, Priorians and Tullamore. We were pleased to welcome Eric Brady, Chair of Hockey Ireland’s Board of Directors. Topics discussed included how clubs were coping with the Covid restrictions and the impact on their Youth/Underage section; where did their Club see itself in terms of Hockey Ireland’s priorities; how did their club see a role for your Club in supporting the Women’s team for the Olympics and how was their Club coping financially, coupled with the importance of participation in National Competitions?

A second session was held on 29th April when we were joined by Eric Brady and club representatives from Abbeyleix, Athlone, Ballynahinch, Carlow, Catholic Institute, Clonakilty, Galway, Gorey, Limavady, Limerick, Naas, Raphoe, Saintfield, Tipperary and Wicklow. Over a two-hour chat, topics discussed were how had their club coped with the Covid restrictions and in particular the impact on their Youth/Underage section; how was their club keeping the link between players of all standards, leaving school and continuing to play hockey at 3rd level education; has their club a pathway for developing Under 16 players into adult hockey and would their club be interested in joining a workshop to get advice on grant applications?

We plan to continue with this project with our 3rd meeting on Wednesday 2nd June and hopefully organise a Forum at the start of the new season to feedback on questions that came up in the 3 sessions. My thanks go to John, Linda and Eric for their help, support and enthusiasm with the meetings.

When only our elite hockey players could carry on with their preparations the 3-game series that the Women played against GB in March gave us all the chance to watch live hockey on TV. The Irish women played exceptionally well and showed great determination and drive to level the series with a win, a draw and a defeat. The squad have played another series against Great Britain and continued with practice games against Scotland on 15th & 16th May before the European Championships in the Netherlands in June.

Mark Tumilty, the Senior Men’s Coach, is pleased with the progress being made by the players currently involved with the Senior Men’s Programme. Regional sessions are taking place in Leinster, Munster and Ulster midweek, with national sessions happening at the weekend. The focus in the coming weeks will be preparing for the European B division in Poland, in August. Mark hopes to confirm warm-up games against Scotland and Great Britain during June and July. It has been a difficult 12 months with many unknowns, but hopefully things are becoming clearer and the players are excited to get playing competitive matches again.

We are delighted to support Inez Cooper’s candidature for election to the Executive Board of the Federation Internationale de hockey (FIH). Inez has a long and distinguished history of involvement in hockey in Ireland and has filled significant roles at Club, Provincial and International level. In July 2021 she will celebrate eight years on the Executive Board of the European Hockey Federation (EHF). The election will take place on 22nd May.

Soon after writing my first newsletter, we heard of the passing of Vivienne Clarke, a stalwart of Hockey Ireland. Vivienne will be sadly missed as she went out of her way to help everyone. With the restrictions on travel and funeral service attendance, we were unable to join Vivienne’s family at her funeral service but were able to watch the service online and hear the very fitting tributes and joy that she brought into the life of so many. A minute’s silence, before the start of Ireland’s Sunday match against Great Britain at Queens University’s Playing Fields, enabled the hockey community to remember Vivienne.

More sad news arrived when the death of Cees Koppelaar on 26th April at the age of 81 was announced. Cees was Ireland’s first external appointment as Senior Men’s Coach from 1987 to 1997 and later became an Honorary Life Member of Hockey Ireland. He brought a new dimension to the game in Ireland, based on his vast experience in identifying young talented players in Holland. He established a network of key coaches at Interprovincial level and was a regular visitor to the provinces, where he ran training sessions for existing and potential international players. Behind his affable and friendly approach to all was a steely resolve to achieve. This focus for success was reflected in the Senior Men competing in the World Cup in Lahore in 1990 and finishing fifth in the European Championships in 1995. Tributes to him say that he “put Ireland on the map in European and World terms”.

 

Ann Rosa

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President’s Newsletter February 2021

It is just over two months since the postponed 2020 Hockey Ireland Annual General Meeting which took place on 26th November 2020 and  I officially took over the honour of being President of Hockey Ireland. This was the first time in the history of Hockey Ireland that an AGM was held as a teleconference and it had a record number of over ninety voting and non-voting online attendees. New Board Directors, Aisling Keogh, Rosita Wolfe, Iain Kelly, Billy Pollock and Edward Simpson were appointed and welcomed and the retiring Directors, Imelda Brennan, Fiona Hanaphy, Frank Byrne, Peter Conway and Stuart MacDonald were thanked for their hard work and service over the years. Pamela Bastable was also welcomed as the new Secretary to the Board.

At this meeting two new Honorary Life Members of Hockey Ireland were announced and we congratulate Joan Morgan and Arlene Boyles for this accolade in acknowledgement of their exceptional, long-service and outstanding contributions to Hockey Ireland, especially at national level.

Our thanks go to Martin Canniffe for his dedication, service and enthusiasm in his 4 and a half years in office – 2 as Vice-President and 2 and a half years as President. Surely he will go down on record as being the longest serving Hockey Ireland President? Personally I have appreciated the help and advice he has given me and I have thoroughly enjoyed supporting him as Vice President. Martin was the Irish Hockey Association/Hockey Ireland’s 10th President since 2000, following Joan McCloy, John Smyth, Grace Redmond, Dixon Rose, Doreen Howe, the late Herbie Sharman, Daphne Hall, Richard Kendrick and Ivy Dennis. To follow on from Martin and these hockey legends is daunting but is a huge privilege. I look forward to my role and to John Dennis’s expertise and support as Vice President.

As we all are fully aware there has been no competitive hockey in all the provinces for several months with the gloomy prospect of games not returning in the immediate future. At the time of writing this, the EY Hockey Leagues have been abandoned for this season, as have all Ireland Schools’ competitions. Hockey Ireland and the provinces will keep monitoring the situation and subject to government guidelines in the ROI and NI, may be able to offer some form of competitions, to give players the opportunity to play at a later date. It is encouraging to read on social media how clubs are keeping up fitness programmes for individuals with step and charity drives.

Our best wishes go to the Women’s and Men’s squads which are able to keep up their training schedules at elite level. The Women are back from their five match build up in Spain and the organisers of the Olympic Games are hopeful that the Games will go ahead in July. We are all behind the team, coaches and support staff in their preparations for Tokyo.

Sadly, I end this newsletter with the news of the death of John McDonough on 27th January 2021. John was a widely respected and great supporter of hockey in Ireland and was a former Director of Hockey Ireland. Our thoughts are with his wife Margaret, son Andrew, daughter Jenny and their families at this time.

I hope that I shall be able to record some hockey action in my next newsletter. We are all hoping that life and hockey will be able to return to normal, soon. Many families have been affected in some way by this dreadful pandemic and our thoughts are with you all.

Stay safe.

Ann Rosa

President, Hockey Ireland

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President’s Message September 2020

Martin Canniffe  –  Final Presidents Message

My term as President of Hockey Ireland should have finished on May 16th last when our AGM was due to be held but because of Covid-19 restrictions this has not taken place and as  per the constitution I am officially unable to hand over the Presidency to incoming President Ann Rosa until this meeting takes place.

However, I wish to say what an honour and privilege it has been for me for the past number of years, representing Hockey Ireland at Tournaments and Congresses both within the country and abroad.

I wish to thank the Branches and Clubs for all their support to during my term. It was indeed a great pleasure to meet so many people from all around the country. Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 Pandemic all hockey activities ceased earlier on in the year which put a stop to my travelling and this is to be regretted.

There were many highlights throughout my term, but the highlight has to be the Silver Medal won by the Women’s team  at the World Cup held in London in 2018 and this was followed closely by their qualification for the Tokyo Olympics, which then had to be postponed due to the Covid19 Pandemic.

Hopefully, these Games will go ahead in 2021. Unfortunately, on the Men’s side, it was disappointing to lose our “A Division” status at the Europeans but hopefully we will be back where we belong at the top division in a few years.

I would like to thank the Chief Executive and the staff of Hockey Ireland for all their help and assistance. I also wish to thank the Chairman and the Board of Directors for their support and I wish them well in future years.

Finally, to your new President, Ann Rosa, every success in her term of office and I must thank her for her support over the last two years, particularly during my enforced absence for a short period of time.

Best wishes,

Martin Canniffe

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President’s Newsletter July 2020

Presidents Newsletter July 2020

Following the ups and downs of the International sides in their quest for Olympic Qualification, it was back to domestic hockey for the 2019/20 with the EYHL now in full swing when the Men started in September while the Ladies league started later, on November 9th due to the Ladies Olympic Qualifier in Energia Park, Donnybrook in early November.

Seven rounds were played before year end when there was a winter break during December and January when the Indoor game came to the fore with the provincial leagues taking place and the qualifiers from these took part in the National Finals which were held this year in the Kingfisher Club, NUIG, Galway on February 2nd,2020. There was a feast of Indoor hockey in this magnificent facility where the pitch size was at the maximum allowed and it took some getting used to as all the players previously played their league games in much smaller halls.

At the end of a very entertaining days hockey, the double was achieved by Railway Union where the Men defeated Three Rock Rovers in a shoot-out (1-0) following a 3-3 draw at the end of normal time and the Ladies defeated Muckross on a score-line of 2-0, ensuring both secured a place in Europe for 2021. The finals this year were streamed live on the Euro-Hockey Channel and the commentator was “the voice of Hockey in Europe”, Nick Irvine.

On Wednesday March 4th, I was invited by the Ulster Branch to attend the Final of the Belfast Telegraph Senior Schools Cup Final in Lisnagarvey between Belfast Royal Academy and Friends School Lisburn. It was a bright sunny spring day and we were entertained by two very good hockey teams in an excellent final where BRA excelled and  were deserved winners on a 4-2 score-line. This was the first time that they have won the Cup since 1974.

After this competition things changed in the world with the onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic which necessitated the cessation of all aspects relating to hockey. First to be hit were the schools with the cancellation of the Schoolboys All Ireland (John Waring), All Ireland Schoolgirls (Kate Russell), June Smith competition and latterly the Junior Inter-pros in May. Both the EYHL and EYHL2 competitions were stopped as per a HI communication on April 9th and declared null and void as there were too many games left to play to determine a fair final ranking for the season. The Champions Trophy was also cancelled.

The Hockey Ireland Annual General was also postponed from May 16 and has now been rescheduled for August 22nd.

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President’s Newsletter December 2019

The new hockey season is now in full swing but let me start this Newsletter by going back to June of this year when the FIH World Series Finals for the Road to Tokyo both for the Women and the Men took place during this month.

The Women’s team were first out of the blocks when the tournament was held at Banbridge Hockey Club from June 8th to June 16th. A very big thank you to Banbridge Hockey Club for hosting this tournament at short notice when there wasn’t a suitable venue available in Dublin. Following a very gruelling schedule of pool matches both Ireland and Korea came top of their groups and came together in the Final on June 16 where Korea got the better of Ireland on a score line of 3-1. Both teams then qualified to go forward to the next phase for the qualifiers to take place in November.

A special mention must go to all the members of Banbridge Hockey Club along with all the other volunteers from the various clubs in Ireland. A special mention must also go to Inez Cooper and Joan Morgan for steering the ship for this event. During the event there was also a reception by the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council which was attended by various dignitaries.

The Men’s team had to travel to Le Touquet, in France for their World Series Tournament which overlapped with the Women’s event in Banbridge. In this event both Ireland and France topped their respective pools and played of for the No 1 spot and this honour went to France on a score of 3-1 in a very tough encounter. However, both France and Ireland advanced to the Olympic Qualifiers to be played in October.

August was the month for the European Championships which were held this year in Antwerp, Belgium which unfortunately due to illness, I was unable to travel to at the last minute. The Women’s team had a very satisfactory tournament finishing a very credible 5th position. However, the same can’t be said of the Men’s side who unfortunately lost their Division 1 status and will be fighting hard over the next number of years to regain this position.

On August 31st I was invited to Mossley Hockey Clubs annual dinner where they were celebrating their 90th year in existence. It was a very special occasion and a very enjoyable evening where the speeches weren’t too long but very entertaining. The dinner was held in the Old Mill and the evening ended with a lot of the guests returning to the Clubhouse to finish off their evening.

September saw both the Boys and Girls Interpros taking place with the Boys competing in Belfast where the Ulster boys were victorious in the U16 competition with Munster taking the honours in the U18 event. In fact, this was the first time that Munster won these Interpros since 2005 where the Harte brothers David & Conor were represented on this team.

The Girls Interpros took place this year in Garryduff, Cork where Ulster had a clean sweep in both the U16 and U18 competitions taking regaining the honours from Leinster who won both in 2018.
On September 7th as President I was invited to chair the AGM of the IHUA which was very well attended this year.

On October 14th I was invited to attend the Cork City & County Youth Awards where the month of September winner was a hockey player. Kevin O’Dea of C of I hockey club and Ashton School was the recipient of this award for captaining the Munster U18 team who brought the trophy back to Munster for the first time in fourteen years. Kevin was also the Captain of the Irish U18 team which competed in the Europeans in 2018 which were held in the Mardyke in Cork.

Later in October the All Ireland Schoolboys Championships took place this year in Dublin where seven venues were used during the three day competition. The weather was magnificent for the first two days but unfortunately on the Friday of the tournament the rain was incessant as both semi finals were played in atrocious conditions, however the four teams put on a magnificent display of hockey despite the weather. The final took place later that afternoon, still in bad conditions, at Columbus College between High School and St Andrews when after a magnificent comeback by High School in the second half they forced the game to a Shootout which they subsequently won on sudden death with a score of 7-6 to take the Tasmanian Shield back to High School for the very first time.

This year also saw the introduction of a Plate Competition for the inaugural Herbie Sharman Shield, which was presented by Kilkenny College. Herbie was a former teacher in the College for 27 years and was also a coach for the school and was manager of many underage Leinster and Irish teams as well as being President of Hockey Ireland from 2010/2012. This competition is played for by the runners up in the 4 pools and this year’s final was between two Cork sides, Ashton and Bandon, with Bandon winning out on this occasion with a score line of 1-0.

November was a big month for Irish Hockey with both the Men’s and Women’s teams playing their respective Olympic Qualifiers for a place in Tokyo 2020. Both teams were drawn against Canadian opposition, with the men playing away in Vancouver and the women playing at home in Energia Park in Donnybrook.

At the end of the second leg in Vancouver, the game finished in controversial circumstances with the Irish team coming out the wrong end of a very unusual umpiring decision. As a result of this the Men’s side will not now, due to this unfortunate incident be going to the Tokyo Olympics next year.

The Ireland Women’s team played Canada on a specially laid an International Hockey pitch to the same standard as the Tokyo Olympic Polytan pitch on a rugby ground in Energia Park in Donnybrook, Dublin. This was achieved with the help of 57 local volunteers with over 350 hours over three sessions to deliver this project. Having drawn the first leg 0-0 in atrocious conditions the stage was set for an intriguing second game. On a much better night for hockey watched by over 6137 people in the stadium and a peak live audience of 397,000 watching on TV. Again, after a nail biting finish, not the best hockey game we’ve seen, it again finished in stalemate at 0-0. So, we went to the dreaded shoot outs. After the first three rounds Ireland were down 1-3….. enter goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran to once again make two crucial saves (as in last year’s World Cup) while Beth Barr and Chloe Watkins both scored and to set up a sudden death scenario. Roisin Upton stepped up to take the first shoot out and squeezed the ball into the net from a very acute angle while Ayeshia went on to thwart the Canadian player. The Canadian player came forward to take her shoot out but failed to score within the 8 seconds allowed.

And so, the celebrations could begin, the Irish team made history by becoming the first Women’s Hockey team to make an appearance at an Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. Many congratulations to Coach Sean Dancer and all the backroom staff on a magnificent achievement.

On Saturday November 9th I, along with my wife Anne were invited guests to the 125th Anniversary Dinner of Monkstown Hockey Club. This event was held at The Pavilion, Leopardstown where 220 guests sat down to an excellent meal which was followed by dancing until the early hours. I spoke on behalf of Hockey Ireland to respond to a toast to Ireland. A very enjoyable night was had in excellent company.

I want to take this opportunity of wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and a healthy and peaceful 2020.

Martin Canniffe, Hockey Ireland President.

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President’s Newsletter May 2019

Since the start of 2019 events have been moving on at a fast pace. While the EYHL was on a winter break during December and January, the National Indoor finals took place on January 27th at the excellent Antrim Forum facility where the Women’s Trophy was won by Railway Union and the Men’s Trophy by Three Rock Rovers. My thanks to Vice President Ann Rosa who presented the trophies on my behalf while I was laid up following knee surgery. Both Railway Union and Three Rock Rovers will represent Ireland in next years European Indoor Championships.

The All Ireland Schoolboys Championship was won this year by Newtown School, Waterford for the first time in their history. The 2109 Kate Russell was held this year in St Andrews College, Booterstown, Dublin on March 21 & 22 and the trophy was won by Crescent Comprehensive, Limerick. The John Waring was held this year at Friends School, Lisburn on April 10 and here the winners were Banbridge Academy. On the following day the hockey bandwagon moved on to Dangan Sports Facilities NUIG where the 2019 June Smith Competition was held and this was won by Mount Anville, Dublin.

The weekend of April 13 & 14 saw the Finals of various competitions taking place at Pembroke Wanderers and Three Rock Rovers. This year we were unable to play our Finals at UCD as the pitch is being relayed. On Saturday the 13th in the Irish Hockey Challenge the Women of Dromore beat Clonmel by 1-0 in a very closely contested game and in the Men’s Ballynahinch just got the better of Limerick in a high scoring game on a score line of 4-3. In the Irish Hockey Trophy (Women) Cork C of I came from being 2 goals down to Greenfields to rally in the second half and recorded a comprehensive 4-2 win. On Sunday 14th in TRR, Waterford won their first National title since 1922. They beat NICS by 3-1. This victory was made all the sweeter when you take into consideration that the club almost went out of existence 13 years ago. Only for the dedication of some of the older members in the club Waterford would not have been here today, so congratulations to those brave people who persevered. In the Irish Junior Cup (Women) UCD got the better of the holders Railway Union in a very tight game in which they came out on the right side of a 2-1 scoreline. In the Men’s Irish Junior Cup Three Rock Rovers had a comprehensive win over Instonians, winning by 4-1. This trophy has eluded TRR for the past 5 years and in fact is the first time they have won it since 1998.

April 27 & 28 saw the EYHL 2 Playoffs weekend which was held at Corinthians in Whitechurch Park., where there was a festive atmosphere with a BBQ on the go all weekend along with teas, coffee, sandwiches and homemade cakes available for the large numbers of spectators who turned up for the matches. Following two very closely fought Semi Finals on a windy Saturday UCD and Corinthians came through on the Men’s side while on the Women’s side it was also very close with Queens University and Catholic Institute through to the Final on Sunday. First up on Sunday was the Men’s Final where Corinthians came from behind to snatch a 2-2 draw and so went to the dreaded Penalty Shootout where Corinthians won on a score line of 3-2, thereby earning their place in the EYHL next season. Next up were the Women and in yet another very tight game Catholic Institute fought back to 3-3 against Queens University to send the game to another Shootout where Catholic Institute were the victorious team also on a score line of 3-2. So, EYHL for Catholic Institute also next season.

The weekend of May 4 & 5 was the EY Champions Trophy, played at Banbridge Hockey Club and also the 9th place play offs for next seasons league.
On the Women’s side we saw Muckross retain their EYHL spot with a narrow victory over Queens University on Sunday morning in Banbridge in a Shoot- Out. Also on Sunday, this time at Corinthians, Whitechurch Park, UCD got the better of Cork C of I following a high scoring game where it finished at 4-4 and in the ensuing Shoot -Out, UCD came out on top by 3–2 and so earned their spot in the EYHL league for next season.

In the Champions Trophy on Saturday Pegasus overcame Cork Harlequins by two goals to one in the first women’s semi final and Loreto beat UCD also by two goals to one in the second semi final to set up a Sunday Final between Pegasus and Loreto. Both these teams finished first and second in the League and we were sure of a tight battle in the final. As predicted, it was a very closely contested game and was no surprise when we had to go to another Shoot Out after the game finished 1-1 in normal time. Following the Shoot Out Pegasus came out on top on a score of 4-2 and so secured the double.

On the Men’s side Lisnagarvey had a comprehensive 6-0 win over Glenanne on Saturday while Three Rock Rovers also had a comfortable win over Banbridge on a scorline of 4-2. So, just as in the Women’s league the winners of the League, Lisnagarvey were up against second placed Three Rock Rovers in the Final on Sunday. This turned out to be a cracking game with Three Rock Rovers getting the better of Lisnagarvey with a 2-0 victory and so take the EY Champions Trophy for the third season in a row.

On May 11 for the second weekend in a row Lisnagarvey played Three Rock Rovers, this time in the Irish Senior Cup Final. This is the oldest Hockey Cup in the world, dating back to 1894. This game was played this year in Grange Road due to the no availability of UCD and yet again it was a very closely contested affair with TRR winning by the narrowest of margins on a 1-0 scoreline and so retain the trophy. TRR have now won this trophy 12 times in total.

In the Women’s Cup Final Loreto played Cork Harlequins also at Grange Road. Both teams were short some of their regular international players for this game. Loreto were the dominant team in the first half and led by 2-0 but in the second half Harlequins came back strongly to draw level at 2-2 and sent the game to Shoot-Outs. Harlequins won out on the shoot-outs on a scoreline of 2-1. This is only the second time in their history that they have lifted the Irish Senior Cup, the first time being in 2000.

And so on to the final domestic Competition for the 2018/19 season. We headed off to Cork for the Junior Interprovincials on the weekend of 18/19 May. This year the tournament was held in Cork Harlequins, up on the hill near the airport where the weather can be wet, cold and windy even in summer. However, Harlequins were excellent in all arrangements, even to the extent of getting the weather right, it was a beautiful sunny weekend. The hockey as you can imagine was very competitive both in the Women’s and Men’s sides of the tournament with the Munster Ladies coming out on top with a 100% record with 3 wins over the weekend. But in the Men’s side it all came down to the last game of the tournament with Ulster needing to beat Leinster and getting the required number of goals to overhaul Munster. However, they failed to do so and Munster completed the double on goal difference by 1 goal.

Overall, it was a very successful season on the domestic front, so now onto the Internationals until September when the 2019/20 will start again.