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Irish Senior Cup quarter-finals take centre-stage

Saturday brings the quarter-finals of the men’s and women’s Irish Senior Cup with a number of potential classics on the list while there are women’s EYHL Division 2 and Irish Hockey Trophy games.

In the men’s line-up, there is a potential classic as two of the competition’s most successful clubs meet at Grange Road with Three Rock Rovers hosting Lisnagarvey at 3pm, accounting for 36 of the titles since the trophy was introduced in 1893.

Garvey are the reigning champions with Rovers winning the two editions before that. The former won their most recent tie two weeks ago 3-2 but Rovers subsequently got the upper hand in the league with victories over Glenanne and YMCA.

A key factor could be the availability of Ross Canning who has been a key figure for Rovers thus far but he was rested for the second half of that win over YM with a hamstring strain.

Cookstown are one of two second tier sides looking to cause an upset against top division opposition in a repeat of the 2009 final. The unbeaten Ulster Premier side face an out of sorts Pembroke who have just two wins in national competitions this term in nine attempts and were without player-coach Alan Sothern last weekend.

Three Rock Rovers’ James Walker and YMCA’s Grant Glutz in action last week. Pic: Adrian Boehm

The Co Tyrone side are seeing plenty of young guns rising through the ranks with Mark Cuddy and Luke Haycock shining last week along with Max Anderson and the McCabes: Scott and Josh.

Cork C of I will get a big test of their credentials when they take on Glenanne in the quarter-finals of the men’s Irish Senior Cup on Saturday in Dublin.

The Garryduff side are unbeaten on all fronts this term, topping Munster Division One and starting their EYHL Division 2 campaign in rude health with a 5-0 win over Rathgar.

But the Glens will be a different level to anything they have faced this term with the Tallaght club sitting equal second in the top division.

It is the kind of challenge Jonny Bruton’s side have expressly stated they want to face more frequently, targeting a return to the top tier of the EYHL where they believe the likes of Rob Sweetnam, Mark Collins, Ian Balding and Rory Treacy will thrive.

The Glens were understrength last week with Shannon Boucher, Richie Shaw, Richard Couse and Rowland Rixon-Fuller all out but, in Shane O’Donoghue, they have the country’s outstanding goalscorer at the heart of things.

Monkstown meet YMCA who they drew with 1-1 recently in the league with Sam Hyland scoring a late penalty stroke. The Y have missed the fiery presence of Ross Henderson up front while Town’s form has been hit and miss, beating two of the top three in the league either side of that draw with YM who occupy eighth in the table.

In the women’s Irish Senior Cup, Banbridge and. Queen’s will aim to defy the odds against in-form and higher ranked opposition to reach the semi-finals.

Bann are at this stage for the second successive campaign but face a Catholic Institute side who have catapulted into the national shake-up in recent years with Olympians Naomi Carroll and Roisin Upton back in the fold.

The Co Down side will hope the likes of Katie McDonald and Lucy Mackey to fire as they have in the Ulster Premier, leading the scoring in the division.

NUIG and Queen’s both face another big tie this weekend. Picture: Billy Pollock

For Queen’s, they face another side shining in the EYHL, Pembroke, who have been the outstanding side thus far, building a healthy four-point lead.

Queen’s have had a middling Ulster Premier campaign, sitting in tenth place, but they have saved their best form for the big games this term and with internationals Jessica McMaster and Erin Getty in the mix and Alyssa Jebb firing up front, they can cause problems.

Pegasus go into their quarter-final with plenty of confidence against Muckross at Grange Road following a solid first half of the season which included a 3-1 success against their opponents.

UCD and Railway Union can provide some potential early fireworks at Belfield at 11.15am in a repeat of the 2013 final. The students have won three of the last four editions of the competition and, with the Junior World Cup postponed, their sizeable Irish Under-21 contingent will not have any mixed focus.

Railway did a fine job of blocking their open goal last week after goalkeeper Riona Norton went off injured and if they can display that same defensive organisation, they could be well set to repeat their 2-1 league win.

It’s a busy day on the national stage with round two of EYHL Division 2’s group stages. Galway enter the stage with a trip to Corinthian, their young side guided by US Olympian Alyssa Manley who is the player-coach. UCC and Ards are both looking to land their first win of the campaign following opening day draws.

In Pool B, Cork C of I host Lurgan who are playing their first tie of the competition while Monkstown will look to make it two wins from two when they head to NUIG.

It means the Galway side’s Irish Hockey Trophy game with Avoca has been postponed, leaving three ties in that competition on the agenda. Ashton host Clontarf, Genesis face YMCA and Raphoe take on Armagh.

Saturday 27th November 2021 fixtures
Irish Senior Cup, quarter-finals: Glenanne v Cork C of I, St Andrews, 1.15pm; Monkstown v YMCA, Rathdown, 2.30pm; Pembroke v Cookstown, Serpentine Avenue, 2.30pm; Three Rock Rovers v Lisnagarvey, Grange Road, 3pm

Irish Senior Cup, quarter-finals: Banbridge v Catholic Institute, Havelock Park, 1pm; Muckross v Pegasus, Grange Road, 2.30pm; Queens University v Pembroke Wanderers, Malone Playing Fields, 2.30pm; UCD v Railway Union, Belfield, 11.15am

EYHL Division 2
Pool A: Corinthian v Galway, Whitechurch Park, 1.15pm; UCC v Ards, Mardyke, 12pm
Pool B: Cork C of I v Lurgan, Garryduff 12pm; NUIG v Monkstown, Dangan, 1.20pm

Irish Hockey Trophy, quarter-finals: Ashton v Clontarf, Ashton School, 12pm; Genesis v YMCA, St Raphaela’s, 12pm; Raphoe v Armagh, Royal & Prior, 1pm

Monkstown celebrating a goal in midweek against Trinity. PIc: Deryck Vincent

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Women’s Junior World Cup in South Africa put on hold

Following the outbreak of a new coronavirus variant in South Africa, the International Hockey Federation (FIH), the South African Hockey Association and the North-West University of Potchefstroom have jointly decided that the FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup South Africa 2021 has been put on hold.

The Irish Under-21 women were due to take part in the event which was due to be played in Potchefstroom from December 5th to 16th.

“We are disappointed for our young players and the staff who were given this special opportunity and put in an incredible amount of work to be ready to participate in this event and play on the world’s stage,” said Hockey Ireland chief executive Jerome Pels following the announcement.

“However, we are looking forward for the 2021 FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup to be played at a later date. I would like to thank the sponsors and donors who had made travel and participation at the event possible and for their continued support of our rising stars.

“We respect the FIH’s decision to postpone the World Cup. We are proud of our players group who very much understand that the health situation is very serious and that this decision unfortunately had to be taken.”

Explaining the decision to put the event on hold, FIH CEO Thierry Weil added: “The safety of everyone involved in the FIH events is an absolute priority.

“Additionally, many countries, including from some of the participating teams, have now strongly increased their travel restrictions with South Africa, including halting flights.

“Therefore, it simply isn’t possible to maintain this event as planned. This is hugely disappointing. An FIH Junior World Cup is so important for the development of young players.

“Also, it was the first time that an FIH World Cup was due to take place on African soil. On behalf of FIH, I’d like to thank all teams for their understanding as well as the local organisers for their great work and collaboration.”

The FIH will keep monitoring the situation and take a decision about the potential staging of the 2021 FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup as soon as it will be possible to do so.

Hockey Ireland EGM – November 25th, 2022

On Thursday, November 25, an Extraordinary General Meeting of Hockey Ireland was held to discuss and vote on four special resolutions.

The special resolutions related to the individual membership system which came into effect at the AGM on May 20th, 2021. In each instance, and in accordance with the company constitution, a 75% majority was required to pass each special resolution. 

The Special Resolutions were:

1) That, IRISH HOCKEY COMPANY LIMITED BY GUARANTEE do not implement or impose the individual affiliation fees notified to members at the AGM of the 20th May 2021.
2) That, IRISH HOCKEY COMPANY LIMITED BY GUARANTEE Member Club Affiliation rates for 2021/22 season be set at the same rates of the 2019/2020 season.
3) That, IRISH HOCKEY COMPANY LIMITED BY GUARANTEE refund any individual affiliation fee already paid for the 2021/22 season.
4) That, any further changes to affiliation fees or methods of collection for subsequent hockey seasons shall be proposed by the board of IRISH HOCKEY COMPANY LIMITED BY GUARANTEE at an Annual General Meeting and agreed by a majority of voting members.

Special Resolution 1 received a 46% vote in favour, 52% against with 2% abstentions.
Special Resolution 2 received 55% in favour, 38% against with 7% abstentions.
Special Resolution 3 received 43% in favour, 53% against with 4% abstentions.
Special Resolution 4 received 97% in favour, 2% against with 1% abstentions.

With the resolutions not reaching the threshold required, this means the individual membership system will remain in place on the same basis as outlined at the AGM on May 20th, 2021.

Hockey Ireland members now have until January 1st, 2022 to complete their registration and payment of fees.

Speaking about the outcome of the EGM, Hockey Ireland Chairman of the Board Trevor Watkins thanked the participants in the meeting for their input and contributions to the debate.

“On behalf of the board of Hockey Ireland, I wish to thank every club for taking part and actively engaging with the EGM tonight,” Watkins said.

“It was an important debate and encouraging to see the passion for our sport. The EGM was the largest general meeting we have held with 97 club delegates registering and over 130 interested parties joining the call and contributing to the discussion.

“As a board and as Hockey Ireland, we will take on board issues raised at the meeting to help guide our future plans and offer the best possible governance for our members.”


Sport Ireland issue guidelines for underage indoor hockey

Sport Ireland has issued further guidelines for underage indoor matches and competition. Please note that these guidelines apply to the Republic of Ireland only.

Indoor Underage Hockey: Games and Competitions for Children under 18 Years Old

  • The current “pod of six” system can be adjusted to allow for indoor games and competition activities for players of mixed immunity status according to the ordinary rules and limits of the sport concerned.
  • The ‘pod of six’ system should be retained for all other settings such as training activities.
  • The continuation of the pod system for more frequent activity will assist in minimising the overall risk and facilitate contact tracing.

Additional Hockey Ireland Guidelines:

  • Clubs should limit squad sizes as much as possible.
  • Parents of players should be informed of the restrictions and guidelines for competitive hockey.
  • All other guidelines should be strictly adhered to as per the previous Hockey Ireland Covid-19 update on 28th October 2021 (see below).

Mitigation Measures for Inclusion in Indoor Youth Sport Protocols:

  • Staggered start and finish times combined with appropriate entry, exit and traffic management protocols to minimise the unnecessary interaction of participants at any one time.
  • The pre-booking of activity including the health screening of participants along with coaches & support personnel.
  • Symptomatic individuals not to participate in or attend sporting activities.
  • Consideration of indoor space densities when determining overall numbers.
  • Reduction in the overall duration of activities.
  • Ensuring that indoor spaces are well ventilated.
  • Participants to arrive prepared to play; limited use of changing room or showers.
  • The ongoing promotion of good respiratory & hand hygiene.
  • The wearing of face coverings by coaches and support personnel.
  • Additional signage, hand sanitization stations and deep cleaning implemented.
  • The use of physical distancing during warm-ups, rest times and off the field of play.
  • No handshakes, high fives, fist pumps, chest bumps, huddles, group celebrations, etc.
  • The use of dedicated Covid-19 Officers to ensure implementation and compliance of measures

First Irish Under-21 women’s indoor panel named for December Euros

The squad for Ireland’s first ever entry in the women’s junior European Championships has been named as they prepare for the competition in December in Sveti Ivan Zelina in Croatia.

The side features 16-year-old Emma Nolan who becomes the first Boyne Hockey Club player to be called up to an international panel. Despite her age, she has amassed a relatively high amount of competitive indoor experience through the PSI series with the North Dublin Knights.

Old Alex’s Mikayla Power is another 16-year-old who has been enjoying a break-out season on the outdoor circuit, scoring four times already in the EY Hockey League with some serious style.

At the other end of the scale, goalkeeper Millie Regan has 12 senior indoor caps, taking in the December 2019 tour to South Africa in addition to the European indoors a month later. She is one of two goalkeepers, named alongside Muckross shot-stopper Aoife Glennon.

Kilkenny native Hannah Kelly has been busy of late. She was named on the reserve list for the Junior World Cup and gets her chance at this tournament alongside her Catholic Institute club mate Fiona Kelly, who originally hails from Galway.

Laura Graham is another with strong youth indoor experience in the English Super 6s competitions, winning Under-16 national silver with her club Isca and Under-18 schools silver with Cranleigh. She is now based in Essen in Germany with Limburger HC.

Rebecca McMullen impressed domestically in the Leinster indoor league with Muckross before Covid hit while Katie Kimber is another strong product of Ards, a club who have set a standard for Irish indoor in the past decade.

Emily Kealy (Monkstown), Laura Noble (Trinity) and Leah O’Shea (Cork Harlequins) shone during the trial process, making the transition over from the outdoor game in impressive fashion.

Kealy scored the winner in the 2020 Leinster Schools Senior Cup for Loreto Beaufort and was a member of the Leinster Under-21 interpro panel. Noble, meanwhile, has been part of the Irish Under-21 outdoor panel with Leaving Cert student O’Shea featuring this summer for both the Irish Under-19 and 21 sides.

For co-coach Gareth Myburgh, it has been a tricky task to get this new squad together due to the limitations on indoor sport but he is delighted with the side that has come together.

“We were constantly checking the updated government Covid advice and taking guidance from Hockey Ireland on when we could start the trials and eventually started on October 17th.

“After four weeks and eight trial sessions, we had the very difficult task of picking the squad to travel to Croatia. We were fortunate to have Kenny Carroll and Ross Willis assist us with the selection process and the team selected demonstrates a good balance of players with international outdoor experience, through the development squads, and players with strong indoor experience.

“It’s always a privilege to be able to work with talented players and this group certainly has some serious talent. We look forward to travelling to Croatia and have no doubt that this group will do Ireland proud at the tournament.”

At the tournament, Ireland will compete in a four-team group with Italy, Sweden and Croatia with the action fast and furious. Ireland play two games on December 18, meeting the Italians first before taking on hosts Croatia. They conclude their tournament against Sweden at 8.45am local time the following day.

Women’s EuroHockey Junior Indoor Championship II (Sveti Ivan Zelina, Croatia; December 17-19, 2021)
Rebecca McMullen (Muckross)
Emily Kealy (Monkstown)
Mikayla Power (Old Alex)
Fiona Kelly (Catholic Institute)
Emma Nolan (Boyne)
Laura Graham (Limburger HC, Germany)
Aoife Glennon (Muckross)
Leah O’Shea (Cork Harlequins)
Millie Regan (University of Surrey/Old Georgians)
Hannah Kelly (Catholic Institute)
Laura Noble (Trinity)
Katie Kimber (Ards)

Fixtures (times local)
December 18:
Ireland v Italy, 11am; Ireland v Croatia, 5.30pm
December 19: Ireland v Sweden, 8.45am

Coaches: Gareth Myburgh, Rob Abbott
Physio: Thomas Murray
Manager: Niamh Small
Video & technical analyst: Ross Willis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Cork sides hand debutants tough baptisms in men’s EYHL2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cork Harlequins v Clontarf EYHL2 20-11-21

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Monkstown stun Lisnagarvey in final play as Three Rock move top

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Keeperless Railway play out memorable draw as Pembroke move further clear

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Contenders emerging as EYHL Division One closes in on halfway stage

With EY Hockey League women’s and men’s divisions closing in on the halfway stage, the main contenders have emerged in recent weeks with a couple of key fixtures on the horizon.

Pembroke have eked out a two-point lead in the women’s division and and two games in the next fortnight against the sides at the bottom of the table can strengthen their hold on the lead.

First is an away game against Muckross at Grange Road before facing Cork Harlequins on December 4th at home.

The sides just below them, meanwhile, have tough encounters against each other. Third placed Old Alex welcome back Nikki Evans, Emma Russell and Holly Micklem to the line-up after they missed last week’s draw with UCD. They face a Railway Union side who have picked up seven points from the last nine available to rise to fourth place.

Second placed Pegasus are up against UCD who, while they currently sit seventh, are the league’s top scorers but have missed Hannah McLoughlin’s huge influence since sustaining injury on Irish duty in Pisa.

Loreto will be hoping to make it back-to-back wins for the first time this season when they host Cork Harlequins at Beaufort. They are boosted by their strong Irish Under-21 contingent – Caitlin Sherin, Christina Hamill, Lisa Mulcahy, Siofra O’Brien, Yasmin Pratt and Aoife Taaffe.

Catholic Institute, meanwhile, hosts Belfast Harlequins at Rosbrien with the Limerick side looking to bolster the top six playoff chances.

On the men’s side, Lisnagarvey’s six game winning streak faces a serious test when they travel to Monkstown in a meeting between the sides with the two best defensive records in the EYHL. The game will be live streamed on the link below.

Pembroke will hope to emulate their 5-1 success against Annadale in the Irish Senior Cup and build on last week’s first EYHL success of the campaign when they got the best of Corinthian 4-3.

Banbridge will look to make it three wins in a row when they host UCD at Havelock Park with the students hoping they can land a first win of the campaign.

Second placed Three Rock Rovers face a tester in their Dublin derby against YMCA who fought well to earn a point last week against Monkstown. The Y are looking for their first win since the opening day of the campaign.

Corinthian and Glenanne are both looking to get back on the winning trail with the former aiming to end a run of three defeats while the Glens fell to top two Lisnagarvey and Three Rock in recent weeks.

** To read about the teams playing in men’s EYHL2 click here and for women’s EYHL2, click here

Saturday 20th November 2021 fixtures
EYHL Division 1

Banbridge v UCD, Havelock Park, 2.45pm; Corinthian v Glenanne, Whitechurch Park, 3.15pm; Monkstown v Lisnagarvey, Rathdown, 4pm; Pembroke Wanderers v Annadale, Serpentine Avenue, 4pm; Three Rock Rovers v YMCA, Grange Road, 1pm

EYHL Division 2
Pool 1:
Instonians v Railway Union, Shaw’s Bridge, 3pm; Rathgar v Cork C of I, The High School, 2.45pm
Pool 2: Cork Harlequins v Clontarf, Farmers’ Cross, 2.45pm
Pool 3: Cookstown v Mossley, Coolnafranky, 2.30pm; Portrane v Bandon, Donabate Leisure Centre, 2pm

EYHL Division 1:
Catholic Institute v Belfast Harlequins, Rosbrien, 3pm; Loreto v Cork Harlequins, Beaufort, 1.15pm; Muckross v Pembroke Wanderers, Grange Road, 1pm; Pegasus v UCD, Newforge Country Club, 2.30pm; Railway Union v Old Alexandra, Park Avenue, 1.30pm

EYHL Division 2
Pool 1:
Ards v Corinthian, Londonderry Park, 2.30pm; Trinity v UCC, Trinity Sports Grounds, 2pm
Pool 2: Monkstown v Cork C of I, Rathdown, 2pm; Queens University v NUIG, Malone Playing Fields, 1pm