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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monkstown captain Sarah Greene. Picture: Deryck Vincent

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

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

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

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

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

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


Eleven teams ready for men’s EYHL Division 2 campaign

Saturday sees the men’s EY Hockey League Division 2 hit the turf for the first time in the 2021/22 season featuring 11 clubs, divided into three round-robin, home and away groups.

It is an expansion from the eight-team, two group format from the 2019/20 season, accounting for the state of play when that campaign was called short.

The two sides who win their groups with the best record on a points-per-game basis will advance straight through to the EYHL promotion playoff semi-finals. The third best group winner and the three group stage runners-up will go to the quarter-finals.

It starts with Instonians facing Railway Union and Rathgar meeting Cork C of I in Pool 1, Cork Harlequins welcoming Clontarf in Pool 2 and Pool 3 featuring Cookstown against Mossley and Portrane up against Bandon.

Men’s EY Hockey League 2 team-by-team information

Bandon have emerged as serious rivals for Munster honours this term, putting it up to Cork C of I at every turn and they sit just a point off the Garryduff side having drawn twice in normal time – once in the cup, once in the league.

Masters international Dave Smith continues to prove that age really is just a number. Ross Smyth and Eoin Nyhan are continuing their development and have looked really sharp along with rising stars Ian Perrott, Karl Smyth and Ethan Hamilton-Foott who all have some great experience, even at a young age.

Head coach Denis Pritchard has a vast range of experience to call upon and he has laid out the following targets, saying: “Our minimum aim is to maintain our current EYHL2 status. We also aspire to win our local competitions and to challenge for promotion to EYHL 1.”

Clontarf got off to a slow start to the season with losses to Avoca and Portrane in the opening weeks as they adjusted to life after David Lawless (Glenanne) and Mark Duggan (Pembroke) moved on to EYHL hockey while Kevin Mullins went travelling.

But they have since started to amp up their performances with strong performances against Railway Union, Wicklow and Bray, scoring 19 goals along the way.

They are further bouyed by the new turf at Mount Temple which they formally opened last Saturday, celebrating with a 10-1 victory. Davyn Keuter netted a hat trick while former Irish Under-21 captain Sam Grace has linked up with the club and gives them a range of corner options. Luke Hayden has five goals to his name already, too.

Clontarf’s Luke Hayden. Pic: Adrian Boehm

The Co Tyrone club come into the EYHL2 as the top scorers in the Ulster Premier League with 51 goals from their seven outings to date, dropping just two points, and still rolling in the Irish Senior Cup following a shoot-out victory over Railway Union.

They face Mossley first up having won 9-1 against their Ulster rivals in September and so will be big favourites to land the points from the opening day. Experienced heads like Greg Thompson, Mark Crooks, Stu Smyth and Ewan Butler joined by the likes of Stewart Wylie and Jack Haycock – a significant corner threat – while they also have a trio of players in the Ulster Under-18 line-up who impressed last week.

Cork C of I
Cork C of I have targeted a return to the EY Hockey League as their primary focus and they have widened their panel well with the arrival of underage internationals Rory Treacy and Ian Balding among key additions along with Neil Pelow from Corinthian to help mitigate against the departure of Kevin O’Dea for college at UCD.

They begun the season in strong fashion, unbeaten to date with six wins out of seven in Munster Division One and through to the Irish Senior Cup quarter-finals.

There is experience from Simon Wolfe, Jason Lynch, Alec Moffett, Phil Sweetnam and player coach Jonny Bruton with Rob Sweetnam among the regular goal-getters.

Cork Harlequins
Cork Harlequins will be keen to make an impact this year with a young panel who are aiming to continue their rise into the adult ranks. Jamie Venner will be looking to command midfield, stepping in to the shoes of Mark Black who has stepped away from the squad due to injury.

Sam Dale, the youngest in the Dale dynasty, will be looking to beat defenders with his injection of pace and has a sharp eye for the goal. Both attended regional development sessions along with Ross Bailey who is vice captain this year. Jack O’Meara also took part in Irish men’s training and his goals have helped drive this team forward. The squad has a good mixture of youth such as John Whyte and Andrew Dale as well as experience from John Hobbs and Dave Egner who will steady the ship. They sit third in Munster Division One after seven rounds of matches.

With Olympians Mark Gleghorne and Mikie Watt in their ranks, Inst have serious firepower and it has helped them hit the current top spot in Ulster’s Premier Division with seven wins from eight league outings and 42 goals along the way.

At the far end, Finley Marney has impressed, conceding just five times in the Ulster league. Stephen Watt coaches the side, bringing his vast knowledge to the table while the likes of captain Stephen Kelso, Gavin Lecky, Andrew Corry and Ben Palmer bring their experience from Inst’s most recent stint in the EYHL top tier.

Gordon Cracknell’s side line out in Pool 2 of the competition but wait to enter the fray as Cork Harlequins and Clontarf face off against each other in the three-team group on day one.

The Mourne men’s form in the Ulster Permier League has been a mixed bag to date with two wins, two draws and a loss on their card but an impressive draw against Cookstown shows they can be more than competitive with the sides in this division. Luke Russell, Jonathan Aiken and David Rae bring the forward threat while Jedd Campbell is their rising star, lining out with the Ulster Under-21 side this season.


Mossley are contesting their first EYHL2 season having been in the top four mix when the 2019/20 Ulster Premier season was called to a halt. They are currently in seventh place in that league but can take confidence from their competitive performance last Friday evening against high-flying Instonians, former international Simon Todd on the mark.

He brings the experience along with Fraser Mills for Harry McNeill’s side which Matt Anderson captains. Jamie Lyall is a rising star and was recently called up to the Ulster Under-21 line-up.

Portrane are preparing for their first EYHL2 campaign off the back of an incredible recent rise in Leinster, coming up from the lower reaches of the league roster in Division 6 to competing in the top half of Division 1A and winning the 2020 Irish Hockey Trophy.

The early stages of this term has yielded four wins from six outings with last week’s 3-2 success against Rathgar a significant one as was their 1-0 victory over Clontarf.

Ex-Pakistan and Azerbaijan international Imran Khan is still one of the most skillful players in the local game while South African dup Andrew Darroch and Ross Hetem are helping guide a large contingent of players who have developed their hockey in the Fingal region.

Railway Union
A vastly experienced outfit, the side features a string of players who were part of their run to the 2012 Irish Senior Cup including top scorer Mark English – who already has over 20 goals to his name this season – Rob Abbott, Rob Devlin, Kenny Carroll, Stephen O’Keeffe, Richie Forrest, David McCarthy and Fergal Keaveney.

They are the last remaining unbeaten side in Leinster Division 1A, recording a remarkable 38 goals in five games with another 26 coming in three Leinster Cup fixtures.

Cork C of I’s Simon Wolfe. Picture: Adrian Boehm

Simon Filgas joined the Rathgar coaching set up after Ronan Hickey made the move to UCD. He inherits a new-look side with Shane Madeley, goalkeeper Aidan Doyle (both from Three Rock Rovers), Patrick Temperley and Julian Foley (from Dublin University) adding to the ranks while David McCrea, Ricky McMahon and Stephen Ludgate have all returned to the club after stints abroad.

They have had a tricky start to the Leinster Division 1A season with defeats at the hands of Avoca, Railway Union and Portrane and just one win to their name to date. This will be their debut at this level of competition, getting their chance following an excellent run toward the end of the shortened 2019/20 season where they ended level with Portrane on points.

Men’s 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, 2.45om
Pool 3: Cookstown v Mossley, Coolnafranky, 2.30pm; Portrane v Bandon, Donabate Leisure Centre, 2pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

U21 Junior World Cup

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


Non Travelling Reserves

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


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

Pool A

Sunday, December 5: Ireland v Zimbabwe, 9am

Monday, December 6: Ireland v Netherlands, 1pm

Tuesday, December 8: Ireland v Korea, 11am

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

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Uniphar supports Junior Green Army ahead of December World Cup

Hockey Ireland is delighted to announce Uniphar plc has come on board as a central sponsor of the Irish women’s Under-21 and Development programme – known as the Junior Green Army – just ahead of next month’s Junior World Cup.

Uniphar is a trusted global partner to pharma and medtech manufacturers, working to improve patient access to medicines in Europe and around the world. With its headquarters in Dublin’s Citywest and employing over 3,000 people globally, Uniphar has been transformed over the past decade through acquisitions and organic growth to become a high-growth diversified international healthcare services company

Uniphar’s support for the Junior Green Army will encompass December’s upcoming showpiece World Cup event in South Africa and will extend into 2022, taking in a high quality Six Nations tournament to take place here on home turf in Ireland.

Announcing the new sponsorship, Uniphar CEO Ger Rabbette said: “We are thrilled to support the Irish Women Under-21’s and Development Programme as they prepare for the upcoming World Cup in December.

“Women’s hockey has enjoyed a surge in popularity in recent years and this young squad is playing an important role in helping bring it from minority status into the Irish sporting mainstream.

“The under-21 team truly embodies the meaning of ‘high-performance’ – competing and winning at the very highest level internationally. The Junior Green Army are our next generation of hockey greats, and not only do they excel in their sport but they are also important exemplars of successful high-achieving young women in sport. Uniphar is delighted to support them on the exciting journey ahead.”

Caitlin Sherin and Anna Horan at the launch of Uniphar’s support of the Irish Under-21 side.

The Junior Green Army is one of the key development pathways to the senior women’s international team which continues to break new ground for the sport, winning World Cup silver in 2018 and qualifying for a maiden Olympic Games appearance in Tokyo.

Eight of the panel that travelled to the Olympics followed this route in the past four years while a dozen of the Irish team that qualified for the 2022 World Cup through a qualifier in Pisa in October did likewise.

Welcoming the new agreement, Irish Under-21 head David Passmore said: “With the late announcement of our World Cup qualification we were delighted that Uniphar chose to come on board, and I think their decision to support the players and form a partnership is an ideal relationship.

“This sponsorship allows us to professionalise the programme and has made many programme aspects so much easier for the players and we are hopeful that there will be no parental contribution required for the trip to South Africa.

“Furthermore, to have Uniphar in addition to both SoftCo and Park Developments moving into next year’s Europeans, which is also a World Cup Qualifier, it allows us to plan along with our philanthropic donor to develop a programme to maximise player development and team performance.”

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Garvey go top as Rovers make big comeback against Glens

Men’s EY Hockey League – day seven round-up
Lisnagarvey 5 (D Nelson 2, J Lorimer, O Kidd, M Nelson) UCD 1 (T Cope)

Lisnagarvey went top on their own for the first time this season with a sixth successive victory, beating bottom side UCD 5-1. While the final score might have been anticipated, the students made life very difficult and led 1-0 at time thanks to Tim Cope’s counter goal.

But three goals early in the second quarter changed things as James Lorimer levelled from a corner before Ollie Kidd and Daniel Nelson turned things around. Nelson and his younger brother Matthew then completed the victory.

Early on, Garvey had an early corner charged down before that UCD goal which was well-worked down the left, building an overload which ended with Tim Cope finishing off from five metres out.

The second half continued a pattern of UCD sitting back and playing off Garvey scraps. Three more corners were kept out while Matthew Hoolohan-O’Brien did well to keep out Matthew Nelson after he had put on the after-burners.

The press continued into the second half with Garvey pushing forward from the back through Jonny Bell to camp in the students’ 23-metre zone.

The equaliser eventually came via James Lorimer’s trademark drag-flick for 1-1. It open the floodgates with Ollie Kidd finishing off a chance from close range and Daniel Nelson getting on the end of a stylish passing move.

It gave some breathing room at 3-1 and they kept that buffer despite strong UCD openings in the fourth quarter which James Milliken was equal to. And the game was safe when Garvey produced another superb passing move with Matthew Nelson popping up with the finish following great link up between his younger brother Ben and Kidd.

Daniel Nelson finished well to put the game well and truly out of sight.

Glenanne 2 (S O’Donoghue, G Gibney) Three Rock Rovers 4 (A Empey 2, J Walker, E Jennings)
Three Rock Rovers came back from 2-0 inside the opening 11 minutes to land a big win and jump above the Glens into second place in the men’s EY Hockey League.

The hosts bossed the opening quarter, Shane O’Donoghue scoring with their first short corner attempt after eight minutes. A few minutes later, an overload on the right gave O’Donoghue space to smack a cross into the circle which was met flush by Gibney sliding in at the flick spot.

Gradually Rovers were working their way back into the game and James Walker scored via a deflection from their first short corner, 2-1 at half time.

Another short corner routine, this time via the stick of Evan Jennings, provided the equaliser in the third quarter and the momentum was beginning to shift.

Bann’s Philip Brown tackles Annadale’s Kent Irwin. Picture: Billy Pollock

Despite two short corners to Glenanne, Three Rock were creating the more scoring chances with Ross Canning going close and Walker almost latching on to a Fred Morris left -wing cross.

A slip pass by Ryan Spencer was finished off on the reverse by Ali Empey in the closing 10 minutes and he completed the scoring with another reverse stick-shot after good work by Canning down the right.

Annadale 1 (R Davidson) Banbridge 3 (C Curry, Ph Brown, J McKee)
Banbridge won a feisty all-Ulster battle as some quality goals from Chris Curry, Philip Brown and Jonny McKee saw them win 3-1 at Annadale.

Bann almost got on the board inside the first minute when Louis Rowe was set through but Sam Hamill came off his line in typically swift fashion to smother the chance. The opening goal arrived when McKee’s skills got him to the baseline where he scooped high over the defence to the back post where Curry was arriving to bat in over head-height.

From there, chances were at something of a premium with Banbridge looking to counter and exploit McKee’s ability. Annadale, though, did get level when a loose overhead fell to Tim Cross and his control and pass to David Nicholl was first-timed to Robbie Davidson at the left post for another one-touch finish – a fine goal.

Bann restored their lead before half-time courtesy of Philip Brown’s powerful drag-flick from the game’s first corner down the stick side.

Through the second half, Dale probably had more of the game with Callum Robson fizzing over the bar on his backhand while Kent Irwin almost worked a chance. But a brilliant left wing cross in Q4 was met by the diving McKee for the 3-1 lead. Annadale did camp in the Bann D for the latter stages, winning a couple of corners and having one effort ruled out following a high ball into the danger zone.

Corinthian 3 (P Caruth 2, I Stewart) Pembroke 4 (A Sothern 2, G Chambers, J Dale)
Julian Dale’s 62nd minute goal earned Pembroke their first win of the season as they got over the line against Corinthian who lost 4-3 at home for the second successive fixture. Alan Sothern got the first of his double in the 19th minute only for Peter Caruth to do likewise in the 28th minute.

Greg Chambers and Sothern’s second from the penalty spot had put Pembroke into a strong 3-1 half-time lead but Ian Stewart’s penalty corner drag-flick closed the gap and it was 3-3 before the end of the third quarter when Caruth got his second.

But Dale popped up with the winner eight minutes from time for Pembroke to significantly cut the gap to the sides just beyond the relegation zone.

YMCA 1 (S Hyland) Monkstown 1 (D Carson)
Sam Hyland’s penalty stroke in the dying moments to make it three draws in their last four outings for YMCA as Monkstown lost a bit of ground on the leading group. David Carson put YM 1-0 up in the second quarter which they held through to the closing quarter and his side had a trio of corner chances to make the game safe which Jakim Bernsden blocked to keep the game live.

He was swapped out for an extra outfielder and YM used the 11th outfielder well, winning a corner which was transformed into a stroke with Hyland holding his nerve to score.