Annadale produced another huge comeback to land what could be a very important point in men’s EY Hockey League’s battle to avoid the relegation places. 

They trailed 4-1 deep into the second half at Whitechurch Park against Corinthian but fought back to level at 4-4 and move four points clear of the drop zone. For the reds, they went a point clear of ninth-place Pembroke but they will rue not making more ground on a day when player-coach Brinsley Powell was on their line for the first time. 

Ciaran O’Shea gave them the lead in the second minute before Callum Robson’s cracker levelled the game early in the second quarter. 

Parity was only temporary, though, as Ian Stewart’s deflected penalty corner put Corinthian back in front and a Peter Caruth bullet – against his old club – off the back of turnover ball, made it 3-1 at half-time. 

Davy Howard’s penalty stroke seemingly had the Dubliners on course for the points but Robson’s second opened up hope and the belief – perhaps bolstered by a similar comeback against Monkstown before Christmas – was obvious. 

Robbie Davidson got in on the act with seven minutes to go and, from a corner in the 67th minute, David Tremlett equalised the tie. 

In EYHL Division 2, David Rae’s last minute screamer saw Kilkeel land the first win for any side in Pool 2, earning a 3-2 away win over Clontarf, putting them into a four-point lead. 

Kilkeel and Clontarf in action. Picture: Deryck Vincent (click image for more pictures)

The tie went tit-for-tat throughout with Alan O’Malley and Rae exchanging first half goals and the score advanced to 2-2 in the third quarter with John Mullins and Luke Russell trading strikes. 

It left the game in the mix until the last seconds when Rae was seemingly running out of pitch but, from the baseline, thrashed the ball into the top corner.  

In Pool 1, Instonians moved into the lead courtesy of their 4-0 win over Rathgar while Railway Union undid Cork C of I 1-0. 

The latter contest was a fierce one with C of I having the edge in chances in a scoreless first half. But the tie was ultimately settled by a great piece of individual skill from David McCarthy who beat a couple of defenders before firing into the bottom left corner. 

For Inst, they scored once in each quarter, Stephen Kelso getting the first, Tommy Orr nabbing the next just before half-time. Another from Kelso and a corner-switch slap from Ross Kelly completed the win. 

Bandon took a big step toward topping Pool 3 when they came back from a goal down to defeat Cookstown 3-1 in west Cork.  

Scott McCabe put the Tyrone side one up in the first quarter but his brother, Josh, was soon the busier of the goalkeepers.  

Ian Perrott equalised in Q2 and he turned creator after half-time to set David Smith to put Bandon 2-1 up. Perrott again was crucial when he picked out Karl Smyth to deflect in the third and they carried that scoreline through to the finish. 

Mossley, meanwhile, picked up their first ever EYHL win to give them a chance of pushing for a playoff place in March when the competition returns to action. 

They led from the off against Portrane with Matthew Warnock putting them 1-0 up in the second minute. A full pitch breakaway was finished off by Ethan Clotworthy and Ricky McClintock put them into a dominant position with just 22 minutes gone. 

Portrane fought back with Tom Mulvey and Anthony Glutz trimming the gap back to 3-2 early in the second half.  

But another Mossley breakout led to a corner, won by Jamie Lyall, and Neal Glassey scored to give some breathing room. Simon Todd then put them out of sight with a corner rebound and a hammer-blow from the top of the circle for 6-2. 

 

Men 

EYHL Division 1: Corinthian 4 (C O’Shea, I Stewart, P Caruth, D Howard) Annadale 4 (C Robson 2, R Davidson, D Tremlett) 

EYHL Division 2 

Pool 1: Instonians 4 (S Kelso 2, T Orr, R Kelly) Rathgar 0; Railway Union 1 (D McCarthy) Cork C of I 0 

Pool 2: Clontarf 2 (A O’Malley, J Mullins) Kilkeel 3 (D Rae 2, L Russell) 

Pool 3: Bandon 3 (I Perrott, D Smith, K Smyth) Cookstown 1 (S McCabe); Mossley 6 (S Todd 2, M Warnock, E Clotworthy, N Glassey, R McClintock) Portrane 2 (T Mulvey, A Glutz)   

An stronger idea of who will be involved in the shake-up for EY Hockey League places next season will move closer after Saturday with a full series of Division 2 fixtures on the agenda.

In addition, there is a vital men’s top tier meeting between Corinthian and Annadale while Muckross and Pegasus meet in an Irish Senior Cup quarter-final postponed from before Christmas.

Looking at the one top tier EYHL game, Corinthian and Annadale sit just outside the relegation places and will be hoping to use this tie to give them a bit more breathing room.

They drew 3-3 on the opening day of the season with Chad Futcher scoring twice for the reds; he has since returned to South Africa and they will miss his impressive drag-flicks – scoring six in total – and long overheads.

Dale are three points better off and a third victory of the season would see them put six points between them and the drop zone.

In EYHL2, the tension is ramping up in the group stages, particularly in a very tight Pool 1 where just one point covers the top three places. Cork C of I lead the way on goal difference and they meet third placed Railway Union.

Both are leading their regional leagues but have not it all their own way of late. C of I needed a late Rob Sweetnam to win at Catholic Institute in Munster to win 2-1 and stay top. Railway scraped by Dublin University and Portrane before losing their unbeaten record at the hands of Clontarf.

Instonians, meanwhile, host Rathgar who have yet to land a point in the competition.

Similarly, there is nothing between the sides in Pool 2 with Cork Harlequins, Kilkeel and Clontarf drawing all the games they have played so far.

This time out, Clontarf host Kilkeel with the Bulls in red-hot form with nine games unbeaten in Leinster, most recently beating Dublin Uni in midweek 5-0 with a Sam Grace hat trick. Kilkeel, meanwhile, have been shading high-scoring battles, beating Queens 4-3 this week and Newry 5-4 either side of a 2-2 draw with Portadown.

Pool 3 has two clear leaders – Cookstown and Bandon – with a maximum 10 points from two games on their record but that will not remain beyond Saturday with the two clubs meeting in west Cork.

Mossley and Portrane will look to kickstart their potential chances of reaching the playoffs when they face off at The Glade.

On the women’s side, it’s a similarly vital moment in the EYHL2 season. Leaders Ards are on the bye weekend and so chasers UCC and Corinthian will see their meeting at the Mardyke as vital.

NUIG and Queen’s are in EYHL2 action. Picture: Billy Pollock

The students are on seven points and five above the reds but the Dubliners have only played one game thus far due to a frozen-out fixture before Christmas which leaves them ground to catch-up and seven games remaining.

Galway and Trinity, meanwhile, are seeking their first win of the campaign when they meet in Dangan and needing a result to keep their chances of a playoff spot alive.

In Pool 2, with runaway leaders Monkstown on a break, it is a great chance for all four of the sides to put themselves in the frame for a playoff place.

Cork C of I and NUIG are both seeking their first win of the league having drawn with Lurgan in earlier rounds. The Cork side have been in excellent form in Munster, moving top of the table and reaching their regional cup semi-final with a 5-0 away win over Bandon.

Queen’s will strengthen their hold on second significantly if they can win their meeting with Ulster rivals Lurgan on Saturday. Queen’s have made strong moves in 2022 with healthy wins over Dungannon (5-0) and Raphoe (2-0) lifting them five places in the table, one spot behind Lurgan but with two games in hand.

In the women’s Irish Senior Cup, Muckross are hoping to overturn their EYHL 3-1 defeat to Pegasus when they meet at Grange Road. Both are aiming to join UCD and Pembroke in the final four with Banbridge and Catholic Institute’s date now refixed for February.

Sunday sees the latest round of matches in the male underage interprovincials with Munster and Leinster meeting in a triple-header at Three Rock.

Elsewhere, the draws were made for the men’s and women’s Irish Junior Cups and the women’s Irish Hockey Challenge with the men’s playoff places also confirmed.

Saturday 29th January 2022
Men
EYHL Division 1:
Corinthian v Annadale, Whitechurch Park, 3.15pm

EYHL Division 2
Pool 1:
Instonians v Rathgar, Shaw’s Bridge, 3pm; Railway Union v Cork C of I, Park Avenue, 1.30pm
Pool 2: Clontarf v Kilkeel, Mount Temple, 1.30pm
Pool 3: Bandon v Cookstown, Bandon GS, 1pm; Mossley v Portrane, The Glade, 2.45pm

Women
Irish Senior Cup, quarter-final:
Muckross v Pegasus, Grange Road, 2.30pm

EYHL Division 2
Pool 1:
Galway v Trinity, Dangan, 1pm; UCC v Corinthian, Mardyke, 2pm
Pool 2: Cork C of I v NUIG, Garryduff, 2pm; Queens University v Lurgan, Malone Playing Fields, 12.45pm

Sunday 30th January 2022
Men
Interprovincial series
Under-16:
Munster v Leinster, Grange Road, 3pm
Under-18: Munster v Leinster, Grange Road, 5pm
Under-21: Munster v Leinster, Grange Road, 4pm

National cup draws
Men
Irish Junior Cup semi-finals:
Cookstown v Bangor; Banbridge v YMCA
Irish Hockey Challenge, quarter-finals: Limerick v Midleton; Waterford v Mullingar
Semi-finals: Winner of QF 1 v Portrush; Winner of QF 2 v Saintfield

Women
Irish Hockey Challenge semi-finals:
Bangor v Wexford; Clonakilty v NICS
Irish Junior Cup semi-finals: Pembroke v Queens; Corinthian v Railway

Hockey Ireland is delighted to welcome Christine O’Shea as our new Connacht Regional Development Officer. 

Christine joins Hockey Ireland with a wide range of experience in the sport from coaching, managing and umpiring over the past 20 years. 

She has been a Director of Hockey for a number of years in a secondary school in Limerick, involved in Munster development teams and as Munster Under-18 interprovincial manager. 

Christine is a qualified coach and umpire and is no stranger to Hockey Ireland, providing strength and conditioning work with the Irish women’s development squad. 

She has also delivered development programmes in schools (eg Tricks 4 Sticks) and helping out with the initial coaching set-up of new schools and clubs. 

Christine continues to shine on the playing front with Catholic Institute, playing a key role in their rise to national contention in the EY Hockey League.  

Her appointment comes at an exciting time for hockey in Connacht with a number of new clubs getting off the ground in recent months. 

Last weekend saw Tuam Falcons and Loughrea Lakers host their first taster sessions. Ballinasloe Lions have their first introductory event on February 5 at the football grounds at Portiunculla. Athenry Swans got under way in September and have already played in their first blitzes.  

Some of the areas the Connacht Regional Development Officer will focus on are:

  • Grow hockey, support and develop existing/new resources for the Connacht region, an area that Hockey Ireland see as having huge potential for growth. 
  • Partnering and growing participation in NUIG 
  • Growing indoor hockey in NUIG, specifically around growing men’s hockey and encouraging social participation in hockey
  • Promoting and developing the indoor format of the game across the province 
  • Management and administration of development programmes including ClubMark, Tricks4Sticks etc.
  • Working in new areas to run cluster Primary School/Secondary School programmes with the aim of setting up new clubs around Connacht
  • Act as link between clubs and schools and identify and support clubs to develop ways to increase volunteers, coaches and umpires.
  • Delivering workshops and holding meetings to support, educate and empower clubs to implement change and become more sustainable 
  • Working in partnership with LSP/ local councils and helping clubs to identify and apply for funding opportunities

Christine started in the role last week and can be contacted on christine.oshea@hockey.ie.

 

Adam Grainger has stepped down as Hockey Ireland’s High Performance Director to pursue a new work opportunity with Kitman Labs.

It follows a successful period since joining Hockey Ireland in 2017 with both the Irish men’s and women’s senior international sides contesting World Cups with the latter winning silver in London 2018 before going on to qualify and compete at the Tokyo Olympics.

“Adam has made defining and lasting contributions to our high-performance programme and can be very proud of all the achievements during his time with us,” said Hockey Ireland chief executive Jerome Pels.

“We wish him the very best and thank him for all the support and his service to the sport of Hockey in Ireland.”

For Adam’s part, he said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Hockey Ireland and I am extremely proud of the work that Hockey Ireland, the wider hockey community, Sport Ireland and Sport Northern Ireland have undertaken together.

“I believe hockey is in a strong place in Ireland and it is my hope that Hockey Ireland can now build upon the successes we have all created during both the Rio and Tokyo Olympic cycles.

“I would like to specifically recognise the passion, time and effort given to me by the Hockey Ireland Board, the Hockey Ireland High Performance Committee and the wider Hockey Ireland staff.

“Similarly, thanks to Sport Ireland and Sport Northern Ireland high performance units for their ongoing support.

“Lastly, I want to acknowledge the support being provided by coaches and volunteers in clubs and leagues across the country, particularly at the junior age grade level.

“I am looking thoroughly looking forward to starting my role with the fast growing and ambitious performance science company Kitman Labs and will, of course, be keeping an eye on Hockey Ireland results in years ahead.”

Banbridge’s Havelock Park has been confirmed as the venue for the EY Champions Trophy, the marquee club event of the 2021/22 Hockey Ireland club season.  

The event will take place on Saturday, April 23 and Sunday, April 24, 2022, bringing together the top four men’s and women’s club sides from around the island to crown the national champions. 

The club and the venue has played host to a string of memorable events, including the most recent edition of the EY Champions Trophy in 2019 as well as the FIH World Series Finals in the same year. Havelock Park was also the venue for the first – and only to date – visit of the Euro Hockey League to Ireland in 2016.

Frank O’Keeffe, Managing Partner, EY Ireland said: “This has been an incredibly exciting league so far and all the more precious given the challenges presented by ongoing pandemic.

“We are very much looking forward to the event and seeing which of the league’s high performing teams will ultimately come together to vie for the EYHL Champions Trophy. I’m delighted EY’s sponsorship of the league continues and this event will certainly be an excellent opportunity to celebrate the fantastic talent, teamwork and leadership displayed throughout the league.”

The host club’s president Mark Evans added: “Banbridge are delighted to once again have to opportunity to host the EY Champions Trophy weekend at Havelock Park,”

“Following the enforced cancellation of the event these past two seasons due to Covid-19, we are looking forward to showcasing the best of club hockey in Ireland over the weekend of April 23 and 24, 2022. 

“As a club we pride ourselves in our hosting capabilities and will work closely with Hockey Ireland to ensure that the standards we have set are matched and hopefully surpassed this time round.” 

Welcoming the agreement, Hockey Ireland CEO Jerome Pels added: “We are delighted to confirm Banbridge as the host club for the 2021/22 EY Champions Trophy. 

“With their army of enthusiastic volunteers, the club and the town will once again provide a perfect showcase for our players and our sport along with a top fan experience.”  

The line-up of competitors for the EY Champions Trophy will be confirmed following the conclusion of the regular season of the EY Hockey League (EYHL) and the subsequent quarter-finals which are scheduled to take place on April 9, 2022. 

Next Saturday sees Corinthian meet Annadale in a back-match from before Christmas. The EY Hockey League returns in full for the new year on February 5th with a full schedule of matches on the agenda.

** To keep up to date with the EYHL, go to: https://hockey.ie/competitions-2/eyhl/

Irish women’s indoor coach Rob Abbott said he was “immensely proud” of his side’s efforts at the EuroHockey Indoor Championship II in Spain in their first appearance in a tournament of this level for 30 years.

Ultimately, they fell to five defeats out of five to end the competition in last place but, with a tournament restructure for 2024, Abbott says there will be plenty of take from this series when they compete at the same level in two years time.

“Immensely proud of how the girls played,” Abbott said after the tournament. “I certainly can’t fault the commitment, heart or morale. The camaraderie on and off the pitch has been great fun. Big learning curve; we have to improve in areas but overall I deem this a success. They represented Irish indoor hockey pretty well.”

After defeats to Poland and Belgium on Friday, Ireland started well on Saturday against world number seven side Switzerland, leading early on through Orla Patton and they went in level at half-time.

But a penalty stroke decision early in the second half proved a momentum shifter as Sofie Stomps put the Swiss in front and despite a Lily Lloyd goal, it ended with a 5-2 final outcome.

Against Scotland, Ireland were level twice in the first half with Orla Macken scoring her first international goals but Fiona Semple’s 18th minute effort proved the winner.

That made it 3-2 before half-time and despite an end-to-end second half, no further goals accrued.

The tournament concluded with Ireland facing the hosts Spain who needed a win to land the title and promotion to Europe’s top tier.

The coaching team of Ross Willis, Gareth Myburgh, Amy Phelan, Rob Abbott and Aaron Passmore

But they knew they were in a game early on as Ireland defended well before landing a couple of corners and created a couple of other chances. They were left to rue not taking one of those as the game turned in the 100 seconds before half-time with Spain going 1-0 up through the legendary Rocio Ybarra before Maider Altuna added another in quick succession.

It ended 4-0 to the delight of the noisy home support who celebrated their title but Abbott was pleased with how his side showed up against more resourced and experienced opponents.

“The atmosphere in the arena was superb. Loads of youngsters, bells, hooters going off. Being the last game of the tournament, every other player and staff was there and, being the underdog, they were all cheering us on which was great.

“The noise at the end was out of this world and I told the girls ‘half of that applause is for you’ because of how well we played. Spain knew they were in a game there.

“Disappointed not to get a result as I felt we deserved one or two, especially against the Swiss and Scotland. It might sound a little crazy for the Swiss game when we lost by three but it was the best we played with the ball, the most chances we created. The stroke was a big momentum swing.

“We are going back to this level in two years time. We need to be more flexible and adaptable when we have the ball, certainly more clinical and improve the way we look to score goals. Off the ball, we were quite comfortable at this level; we found a few styles of play that suited us and didn’t concede many field goals other than in the Belgium game.

“We need to improve some technical skills but we are a new indoor nation. There’s a bit of indoor naivety and experience in managing games.

“One thing we were superb at was, before today, we hadn’t conceded when we were down a player. Our structure and organisation in understanding the game off the ball has been pretty impressive for the time we had together.

“Experiencing it as a coach, it is demanding – I am absolutely shattered. My voice is nearly going with all the noise in the hall and that Spanish game was electric. You don’t sleep much because you are constantly working. I have had a blast; I’ve learnt a lot myself from the staff with me who were all superb and the girls have been a joy to work with.”

Ireland: E Buckley, S Patton, S Barnwell, O Fox, O Patton, O Macken, M Regan, H Jenkinson, M Power, H Kelly, L Lloyd, A Benson

EuroHockey Indoor Championships II

Friday results: Ireland 1 (H Kelly) Poland 4  (P Slawinska 2, A Katerla, S Tatarczuk); Ireland 1 (O Patton) Belgium 9 (J Peeters 3, M Ronquetti 2, C vander Gracht, M Vouche, D Gose, C Closset)

Saturday, January 22: Ireland v2 (O Fox, L Lloyd) Switzerland 5 (S Stomps 3, N Pohler, C Heselhaus); Ireland 2 (O Macken 2) Scotland 3 (E Dark, S Hinds, F Semple)

Sunday, January 23: Spain 4 ((R Ybarra, M Altuna, A Civera, L Bruguera) Ireland 0

Women’s EuroHockey Indoor Championships – day one round-up

Ireland endured a tough opening day at the women’s EuroHockey Indoor Championships II in Ourense, falling to both Poland and Belgium in the six-team round-robin group.

The first tie, though, was a heartening one against the world number six Poles. Hannah Kelly’s penalty corner goal had Ireland 1-0 up at half-time and it was level until four minutes from time courtesy of disciplined, deep defence.

But Poland stayed patient and eventually converted a couple of late corners to run out 4-1 winners. 

Game two against Belgium was a rougher outcome with a Joanne Peeters’ hat trick underpinning a 9-1 result. Orla Patton’s direct flick had Ireland in the tie at 2-1 going into the second quarter but six second half goals saw the Belgians turn on the style.

“Obviously, it was a tough day but there was lots to learn,” Patton said of this Ireland side’s first taste of this level of competition. 

“We were really pleased with our first game this morning, particularly against such a class opposition, going one up. 

“Disappointed with the afternoon game but there are positives to take into tomorrow. Our penalty corners are working well and there is a lot of hockey left to play. 

“We’ll be looking for good games tomorrow against Switzerland (9am, Irish time) and Scotland (3.15pm) and definitely feel like we can get results from both. Looking forward to it!” 

Scotland and Switzerland drew 3-3 to sit just above Ireland in the table after two games each with Belgium and Spain on six points with two wins.

 

Ireland: E Buckley, S Patton, S Barnwell, O Fox, O Patton, O Macken, M Regan, H Jenkinson, M Power, H Kelly, L Lloyd, A Benson

EuroHockey Indoor Championships II

Friday results: Ireland 1 (H Kelly) Poland 4  (P Slawinska 2, A Katerla, S Tatarczuk); Ireland 1 (O Patton) Belgium 9 (J Peeters 3, M Ronquetti 2, C vander Gracht, M Vouche, D Gose, C Closset)

Saturday, January 22: Ireland v Switzerland, 10am; Ireland v Scotland, 4.15pm

Sunday, January 23: Spain v Ireland, 1pm

The Irish women’s indoor compete this weekend at their highest level since 1990 as they contest the EuroHockey Indoor Championship II in Ourense, Spain.

It promises to be a real baptism of fire for the fledgling panel who only returned to the international game in late 2019 after a long absence as they start their campaign on Friday against world number six side Poland before facing Belgium.

Also in the mix are Switzerland (seven in the world), Scotland and Spain who beat Ireland to third tier gold in early 2020.

As such, Ireland are self-professed “underdogs” in this six-team competition but coach Rob Abbott is thrilled about the prospect of facing such illustrious opposition.

“It’s exciting times,” he said on Tuesday evening. “It will be a huge challenge and we are playing some very established indoor nations. We are still developing, only back on the court for a couple of years.

“We start off against Poland, world ranking number six so we will give it a go but we are underdogs.”

In preparation, Ireland did get in a highly competitive three-game series against Scotland just before the turn of the year, winning one, drawing one and losing one of those fixtures.

In total, seven of that side made their international debuts with Emma Buckley, Mikayla Power and Lily Lloyd all keeping their spot of the newcomers from those games in Antrim.

Captain Orla Fox, sisters Orla and Sarah Patton, Amy Benson and Sophie Barnwell all retain their sport while there are four players coming into the fold.

Millie Regan joins Buckley on goalkeepeing duties while Holly Jenkinson, Hannah Kelly and Orla Macken are all coming in to make their indoor debuts.

For Jenkinson, it will be her third different international cap having represented Ireland already in netball and tag rugby.

“Haha, I am trying to get as many international caps while I still can,” she says of the unique record and she says her previous experience will help her out when she hits the board.

“The whole setup of any international tournament – the travel, the training, the circumstances you are under, the competition, the pressure; all that is replicated in high performance sport and how you react is the same throughout. With netball and tag rugby, I can’t say it is the same skillset but it is still high performance which is similar!”

“I can’t say playing indoor for Ireland is something I dreamed about because I didn’t know if it is something that could or would exist until a few years ago.

“But since we have put a squad together and started to enter competitions, it was definitely a goal of mine. It’s different to outdoor and can be tough on the body, very fast paced so I wasn’t sure if I could make it but I have been aiming for it for some time and that’s why I am so excited.”

On the debit side from the Antrim games, Chloe Brown – top scorer in the series against Scotland – will be a big loss as she is unable to travel due to work commitments. Becky Maye, Katie Kimber, Becky McMullen and Laura Graham also miss out this time.

“The Europeans will be a very different challenge,” Abbott added. “Dave [Passmore] and the team in 2020 in Bratislava were exceptional, finishing runners-up in the C Division, bringing a medal home and, more importantly, promotion.

“Going up to the B division, it’s a different kettle of fish. First game, Poland ranked 6th, the Swiss have a world ranking of seven; the Belgians were preparing for the World Cup in February and then you have Scotland who we played the other week.

“It will be a great challenge and we will see if we can learn from every game. As long as the team improves and we come back with more knowledge, we can further improve the game of indoor here.

** All games will be streamed via: https://www.eurohockeytv.org/en-int/page/home-ehf-hockey

Ireland indoor panel for Euro Hockey Indoor Championship II; Ourense, Spain (club/caps)
Emma Buckley (Pembroke, 3)
Millie Regan (Old Georgian’s, 10)
Sarah Patton (Railway Union, 9)
Sophie Barnwell (Muckross, 13)
Holly Jenkinson (Railway Union, 0)
Orla Macken (Pembroke/North Kildare, 0)
Mikayla Power (Old Alex, 3)
Orla Fox (Railway Union, 15)
Orla Patton (Railway Union, 15)
Hannah Kelly (Catholic Institute, 0)
Lily Lloyd (Railway Union, 3)
Amy Benson (Ards, 14)

Euro Hockey Indoor Championship II (Ourense, Spain)
Friday, January 21: Ireland v Poland, 12.30pm; Ireland v Belgium, 5.30pm
Saturday, January 22: Ireland v Switzerland, 10am; Ireland v Scotland, 4.15pm
Sunday, January 23: Spain v Ireland, 1pm

Head Coach: Rob Abbott
Assistant Coach: Ross Willis
Manager: Gareth Myburgh
Physio: Amy Phelan
Video technician and analyst: Aaron Passmore

Leinster took the Under-21 interprovincial title with a 5-2 victory over Connacht at Grange Road following a cracking contest with all the goals coming in a wild second half.

It was a scarcely predictable final scoreline after a scoreless first half in which the western province enjoyed plenty of the game.

But Leinster struck first in the 44th minute and followed up with two more in a blistering four minute spell to transform the look of the game. Lauren Johnston set them on their way, swooping to push in the first on her forehand to pop home and she added the second with a backhand flip after Orna Bools’ right-wing burst.

Zoe Watterson rebounded for the third in the 49th minute as Leinster suddenly were out of sight. Bools added a fourth with an audacious upright backhand shot but Connacht had plenty of fire and they got on the board with Fiona Kelly’s powerful hit.

Blues’ captain Bools swept in a corner switch for 5-1 before Jenny Buttimer completed the scoring with eight minutes to go.

In the Under-18 competition, Ulster dropped their first point of the competition thus far but the shoot-out bonus against Leinster is enough to put them into the final of the competition where they will meet Munster.

Leinster carried the lead into the half-time break with Alex Gallagher’s penalty corner goal putting them 1-0 up but Ulster replied in with Gabriella Scott getting the vital equaliser.

They went on to win the shoot-out 3-1 and now move up to eight points in the group alongside Munster who they meet in their last group game on February 6.

For Leinster, it was their first point of the series; they will meet Leinster South in their last group game, also on February 6.

Leinster South got their first win of the competition with a 1-0 win over Connacht at Wilson’s Hospital, Eva Sterritt striking from a corner.

At Under-16 level, who reaches the final is very much up for grabs with four teams still in the mix. Leinster are best placed after they picked up a shoot-out bonus against Ulster to continue their unbeaten run to date.

Ulster and Leinster both held the lead in a lively first half with Isobel Field putting Leinster 1-0 up before Annie Cunningham and Grace Cowden turned things around, 2-1 to the northern province. Field’s second of the day, though, came in the 40th minute saw Leinster earn a draw and they followed on win the shoot-out 2-1.

Leinster lead the way on eight on eight points with three sides on five points going into the final round of fixtures on February 11.

Ulster are one of them while Leinster South remain unbeaten run with a 1-1 draw against Connacht. Emily Quinn put the western province into the lead at half-time; Emer Sweetnam equalised in the 43rd minute and her side got the bonus 4-3 in the shoot-out.

Women

Interprovincial series

Under-16: Leinster South 1 (E Sweetnam) Connacht 1 (E Quinn), Leinster South won shoot-out 4-3; Ulster 2 (A Cunningham, G Cowden) Leinster 2 (I Field 2), Leinster won shoot-out 2-1

Under-18: Leinster South 1 (E Sterritt) Connacht 0; Ulster 1 (G Scott) Leinster 1 (A Gallagher), Ulster won shoot-out 3-1

Under-21 final: Leinster 5 (L Johnston 2, O Bools 2, Z Watterson) Connacht 2 (F Kelly, J Buttimer)

Women’s EY Hockey League

Catholic Institute 6 (H Kelly 2, N Carroll, R Upton, C Moloney, L Hickey) Railway Union 1 (L Lloyd)

Catholic Institute hit Railway Union for six as they produced a remarkably clinical performance to jump up to second place in the women’s EY Hockey League.

It was a performance of attacking precision as they built a 3-0 lead in the first three quarters despite Railway having plenty of the game before the Limerick side cut loose in the closing quarter.

The visitors were without Orla Fox while Grace O’Flanagan for her first game of the season with Riona Norton out injured. They had a couple of early corners – they ended up with eight in total to Insta’s two – but Pam Smithwick and her defensive team were well organised.

And the hosts took the lead from their first major attack with Laura Foley drawing two good saves from O’Flanagan only for Naomi Carroll to clean up and fire home.

In the second quarter, Aebhfhinn Bourke laid on the cross for Hannah Kelly to guide home after a couple of waves of attacks. Railway felt they were still very much in it as Kate Lloyd’s cross somehow did not find the touch as it rolled across goal.

Almost instantly, Insta countered with Róisín Upton – imperious stepping out from midfield – drove to the baseline, won a corner and dragged it home herself. Again, Railway were frustrated as Sarah Hawkshaw’s snapshot hit the base of the post as the Dubliners peppered the Insta circle but found no joy.

They scored their second corner despite a mistral, Upton gathering to find space to put the ball into the dangerzone and Ciara Moloney got the touch into the backboard.

Christine O’Shea’s gutsy tackle from another Railway corner set the base for number five. Upton duly smacked the ball 70-metres to Carroll who was in behind the last defender and she selflessly squared to Kelly for her second of the day. 

Sarah Patton denied Jenny Clein off the line before number six came, Carroll again with some sublime skills before she unselfishly squared to Aoife Hickey. Lily Lloyd flicked into the top corner in the last minute of the game but it was scant consolation.

It is the sole match to be played in January with the next round of matches being played on February 11.