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Glenanne move clear at top of men’s EY Hockey League

Men’s EY Hockey League – day three reports
Lisnagarvey 3 (B Nelson, A Edgar, C Chambers) Corinthian 1 (P Caruth)

Lisnagarvey recorded their second successive win to move up into the top four as they got the better of Corinthian 3-1 at Comber Road. After some early reds’ pressure, Garvey took control and took the lead despite a mistrapped corner with Ben Nelson making amends, beating Simon Thornton at the near post.

The lively Nelson was causing plenty of problems, winning corners and making a nuisance of himself, and they were soon ahead after a robust Andrew Sutton challenge led to a corner and a green card. In his absences, the corner was duly despatched into the bottom left by Andy Edgar.

Chad Futcher soon followed to the bin but, despite his absence, Corinthian went level with an excellent counter from a Garvey set-piece. The resulting chargedown was worked all the way up the pitch to Peter Caruth to finish expertly past James Milliken.

Play ebbed and flowed in the third quarter with no real chances until Troy Chambers combined with Harry Morris down the Garvey right. Morris cut through the defence, finding a great ball to Cole Chambers who just managed to force the ball over the line.

It proved the last of the scoring as Corinthian pushed Caruth further up the pitch in search of an equaliser. Troy Chambers’ fearsome run released Ben Nelson whose rising shot was still rising when it hit the fence behind the goal.

Despite Ryan Getty being shown a yellow, the youngest Nelson went agonisingly close to killing off the game but that cause was aided when Caruth took a yellow for the last four minutes and Garvey saw out the results comfortably.

Three Rock Rovers 2 (B Johnson, R Canning) Annadale 2 (T Cross, A McAllister)
Annadale ended Three Rock Rovers’ perfect start to the season but could have done even better had it not been for the heroics of Conor Quinn who produced a save of the season contender from Owen McElhinney to ensure a draw at Grange Road.

The first half led to an exchange of penalty corners with Tim Cross’s straight hit finding its way in before Ben Johnson equalised for Rovers with a more conventional drag-flick.

At the start of the second half, Three Rock were causing all manner of problems – despite the absence of Ali Haughton and Jody Hosking – with the always active Sam Hamill making numerous interventions, racing off his line to good effect.

Ross Canning did slap in for 2-1 after another couple of waves of attack but Dale were level before the end of the third quarter via Adam McAllister’s rasping strike.

From there, it was anyone’s game with chances aplenty with both times able to pick up overloads. Tom Robson saved a Johnson drag on the line while Hamill brilliantly palmed away from the same player.

Quinn then produced his magic, a crazy double-save before scrambling across goal to keep out McElhinney. A Rovers’ corner on the final whistle went incomplete and the spoils were shared.

Pembroke’s Alan Sothern takes on Shane O’Donoghue and Neil Byrne. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Pembroke Wanderers 2 (S Sullivan, J Dale) Glenanne 4 (S O’Donoghue 2, S Boucher, B Venter)
Glenanne continued their winning start to the season, going two points clear of the top following a 4-2 win at Pembroke. The greens were in clear control in the first half as Pembroke struggled to get up and running and they went in front in the 12th minute from a Shane O’Donoghue penalty corner, deflected off the first runner.

Mark Ingram denied him another soon after with a stunning stick save but it was 2-0 in the 23rd minute when Richard Couse’s cross was miscontrolled at the back post and Brad Venter reacting incredibly quickly to dive in and score.

Julian Dale was the spearhead for Pembroke and his hard running leading to their two main chances of the half. Into the second half, after Jason Rogan’s shot was repelled, Dale got Pembroke back into the game.

Alan Sothern won the ball on his own 23-metre line and played through the Cork man who was fully 45-metres out but raced through and placed the ball past the impressive David Lawless.

Dale’s touch to Scott Sullivan’s pass was brilliantly denied by Lawless soon after before Sullivan equalised in the 50th minute from a corner rebound, Dale taking the initial shot.

But parity last only a couple of minutes with O’Donoghue dragging in his second of the game and fifth of the season on the three quarter hooter. Gary Shaw was next to test Ingram and the game was put to bed when Neil Byrne’s cross from the left picked out Shannon Boucher and reversed home for 4-2.

Monkstown 3 (R Nichols 2, M Gibbons) UCD 0
Monkstown continued their productive start to the season with a strong 3-0 win over UCD at Rathdown. It took just a couple of minutes to break the deadlock, Jazze Henry’s smart reverse-stick cross guided in by Mark Gibbons after Jeremy Duncan turned over possession.

Duncan slipped another effort inches wide after a nice peel down the left channel and it was 2-0 before the end of the first quarter when Rory Nichols ripped in the first corner of the game.

UCD had the best of the second quarter, earning four penalty corners while Tim Cope also had a strong chance but Dave Fitzgerald stood up calmly to save whatever came his way.

But Town pulled further clear early in the second half with Nichols firing in another corner shot with a powerful flick. From there, UCD had their moments with Harry Lynch excelling once again at the back while stinging the palm of Fitzgerald. Town, meanwhile, had chances to extend the lead but found no further goals.

Banbridge 4 (J McKee 3, J Moffett) YMCA 2 (G Glutz, H McCarthy)
Banbridge eased to a first win of the season as Jonny McKee’s hat-trick underpinned their 4-2 success against YMCA at Havelock Park. The Irish striker started the scoring in the first quarter and got the next, too, before Josh Moffett stretched the lead to 3-0 at half-time. He completed his treble just before the end of the third quarter.

YM got two back in the last 10 minutes via Grant Glutz and Harry McCarthy bit it proved immaterial to the desination of the points.

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Town to stream UCD clash on day three of men’s EYHL

Monkstown’s upwardly mobile side will hope to show off their skills to a wider audience this afternoon as they live stream their men’s EY Hockey League contest with UCD on Saturday (2.15pm).

The Rathdown club have made a positive start to the campaign with Guy Sarratt in fiery form hat trick propelling them a 4-2 win over Pembroke a week after salvaging a draw late in the game against Banbridge.

Sarratt was a key figure for UCD in the past couple of seasons and will now meet a student side who are growing after a summer overhaul and have former Town players Josh Filgas, Sam Byrne and Matthew O’Brien Holohan looking to make an impact.

** You can view the Monkstown v UCD game live from 2.15pm here

At Havelock Park, Bann are up against YMCA in what promises to be a high quality affair between two sides intent on fast-paced hockey.

The Co Down side’s hopes of a result were stymied last week when key overlapping presence Philip Brown went off with a head injury against Rovers, also limiting their corner options.

YM, meanwhile, found the Glenanne corner machine too hot to handle, but their ability to stretch the game means this tie could have serious entertainment value. They also have the confidence of having raided this same venue a year ago to land three points.

Pembroke will hope the return of Alan Sothern to the line-up can see them get off the mark for the season. His razor-sharp shooting was a loss in their loss to Town a week ago but he is set to return to the fray while Mark Duggan is also back to add to their midfield options.

They will host Glenanne who are on a high with maximum points with Shane O’Donoghue netting three times in two appearances. Their corners were a feature against YMCA a week ago with Shannon Boucher providing a twin threat from the top of the D.

Corinthian head north for the second time this term to take on Lisnagarvey at Comber Road with Ian Stewart and Chad Futcher leading the line. Andrew Sutton brings a wealth of experience which they will need against a Garvey side packed with talent.

All told, Garvey’s Saturday squad features 12 players who are either capped at international level or currently in Mark Tumilty’s wider senior Irish panel. Following a frustrating 2-1 defeat to Glenanne, they raced away from Annadale in game two to run up a 5-1 success and get back on track.

** To view the men’s EYHL table, click here

At Grange Road, Annadale will look to show off how much they have improved since this time a year ago when they endured a harrowing 10-0 defeat at the hands of Three Rock Rovers.

It was a rough outing in which Dale were left without a recognised goalkeeper in the second half due to injury and the Rathfarnham club duly prospered. Since then, both sides have undergone an overhaul with Rovers perhaps even surprising themselves with two wins from two having seen seven players emigrate and then assimilating a high volume of newcomers.

Annadale, meanwhile, are also building on their cohesion after the arrivals of internationals Tim Cross, Michael and Callum Robson.

Men’s EYHL Division 1 (Saturday): Banbridge v YMCA, Havelock Park, 2.45pm; Lisnagarvey v Corinthian, Comber Road, 2.30pm; Monkstown v UCD, Rathdown, 2.15pm; Pembroke Wanderers v Glenanne, Serpentine Avenue, 4pm; Three Rock Rovers v Annadale, Grange Road, 3.45pm

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Five sides on four points after highly competitive women’s EYHL opening rounds

A measure of the competitiveness in the women’s EY Hockey League is, after just two rounds, there are no perfect records left intact following a couple of high quality midweek fixtures.

Railway Union’s was the last to fall despite an outstanding comeback against Loreto at Beaufort on Wednesday, netting twice in the last quarter to draw 2-2.

Spurred by a healthy crowd, Loreto’s young guns showed plenty of composure and accuracy to build that two-goal lead with Aoife Taaffe on the mark both times.

The first was a cool finish following a long ball up through the middle, controlling and finishing, while the second owed much more to power than subtlety, a blast from the left side of the D.

** to view the women’s EYHL table, click here

And that looked set to bring a big boon for Paul Fitzpatrick’s side who were without Olympians Nicci Daly and Hannah Matthews, Ali Meeke, Mia Jennings and Hayley Mulcahy.

But Railway were always well in the contest and eventually made their penalty corner count tell. Orla Fox’s direct strike got one back and, with just a few minutes left, Kate Lloyd levelled from a corner rebound.

“I thought it was a really good game,” was Loreto coach Paul Fitzpatrick’s reflections afterwards. “Disappointed to have given it away in the end but, given the number of players missing and the experience of the team, absolutely delighted.

“We were down seven players for tonight but showed real character and it is a great opportunity for players to step up to do well in games like this.”

Her Railway counterpart Una McCarthy, meanwhile, added: “Full team effort, full resilience. We are disappointed not to have the win but relieved to have the point with that comeback.”

She said the experience around the squad of Kate Dillon and Emma Smyth – missing this one with a broken toe – has been a key factor in giving their young guns an extra belief to fightback. Both have been in and out of the panel for the past few years.

“Having both of them back after starting young families, to have them on the pitch and guiding our youngsters is great. It’s a great family club and team, going from 17-year-olds up to 35-year-olds. It’s a pleasure to work with them.

“They come off and suggest things to me and my assistant Gareth [Myburgh]. It all makes sense and that’s what they can bring to the game. They have both calmed down from the mad young ones that they were; they used to be much more volatile but they have become rocks of sense… most of the time!

“With Sarah Hawkshaw in there, between them, we have that brainpower on the pitch which keeps things under control. I am not sure whether the young ones would have had that resilience before but there was that know-how to do it.”

Up next for Railway is a home date against Pegasus who were 2-1 winners against Belfast Harlequins in midweek. Quins had taken the lead via Kathryn Smiley’s well-placed shot but rising star Ella Armstrong levelled before the end of the first quarter.

And the winner came in the 42nd minute with Taite Doherty finishing off some strong work down the left by Niamh McIvor to nab the lead.

It means both sides are on four points for the Saturday meeting at Park Avenue with the hosts set to miss Lisa McCarthy with an Achilles injury.

Elsewhere on Saturday, there are plenty of other mouth-watering ties. Old Alex – another on four points – host Loreto who are set to have a couple of players back in their line-up.

Catholic Institute and Muckross will be aiming to land a first point of the season at Rosbrien as will Belfast Harlequins against their Cork counterparts at Deramore Park.

Another couple of unbeaten records will also be put to the test at Belfield with UCD hosting Pembroke at 2.50pm.

Women’s EYHL Division 1 (all Saturday): Belfast Harlequins v Cork Harlequins, Deramore Park, 2.30pm; Catholic Institute v Muckross, Rosbrien, 1pm; Old Alexandra v Loreto, Alexandra College, 1.30pm; Railway Union v Pegasus, Park Avenue, 3pm; UCD v Pembroke Wanderers, Belfield, 2.50pm

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Junior Green Army accept invitation to FIH World Cup in December

Hockey Ireland is delighted to accept an invitation to the Women’s FIH Junior World Cup which takes places in Potchefstroom, South Africa from December 5th to 16th 2021.

It means the Junior Green Army will feature in the women’s competition for the first time and Irish Under-21 head coach Dave Passmore says it offers a huge opportunity for this current crop of players.

“We are delighted to take up this place at December’s Junior World Cup,” Passmore said. “Taking part in a global competition of this stature is massive for Ireland and will offer an amazing environment for our young athletes to grow and develop.

“Over the past few years, we have seen the importance of nurturing this age group for the senior team with several players already advancing from the Junior Green Army to play in the Olympic Games.”

Ireland initially finished just outside the qualification places at the 2019 EuroHockey Junior Championships in Valencia, ending seventh when six European spots were on offer.

However, the withdrawal of Australia and New Zealand opened up two spaces at the competition with Hockey Ireland successfully able to make its case for inclusion in their stead.

“When the opportunity arose for us to take part, we contacted the FIH to make sure we were in line for consideration,” said Hockey Ireland High Performance Director Adam Grainger.

“We see the Junior World Cup as a vital tournament and getting six games in such a setting, against high quality opposition, is exactly what we need as we pursue becoming a fixture among the world’s elite nations.”

While the tournament is under three months away, Ireland do have an extensive training base to work from.

In preparation for the tournament, coach Passmore has named a 25-player panel with the final squad anticipated to be named in late October.

Most of this Under-21 squad are currently working with Sean Dancer’s senior international team on Mondays and Tuesdays who are in preparation mode for their own World Cup qualifiers in October.

During the summer, the Junior Green Army followed an extensive high performance programme, featuring series wins over the Wales senior squad and a GB elite development programme outfit.

They were also highly competitive at a Six Nations tournament in Spain and it gives Passmore confidence they can impress in South Africa in December.

“This summer, the Junior Green Army has worked exceptionally hard in an extensive schedule of fixtures. We feel this puts us in a good position to make an impact at the World Cup and we cannot wait to see what we can do on this stage.”

Group and fixture details will be confirmed in due course.

Ireland Under-21 panel for Junior World Cup; Potchefstroom, South Africa, December 5-16 (Club / College)

Gemma Ferguson (GK, Ulster Elks / UUJ)

Ellie McLoughlin (GK, UCD / UCD)

Holly Micklem (GK, Old Alex / UCD)

Charlotte Beggs (Ulster Elks / UUJ)

Nadia Benallal (Beeston, England / Nottingham Trent)

Caoimhe Byrne (UCD / UCD)

Sophia Cole (UCD / UCD)

Amy Elliott (UCD / UCD)

Christina Hamill (Loreto / TU Dublin)

Anna Horan (Catholic Institute / Mary Immaculate College)

Hannah Kelly (Trinity)

Katie Jane Marshall (UCD / UCD)

Sarah McAuley (UCD / UCD)

Niamh McIvor (Pegasus / Queens)

Lisa Mulcahy (Loreto / UCD)

Siofra Murdoch (Harvard University, USA)

Aisling Murray (Loreto / Trinity College)

Laura Noble (Trinity / Trinity College)

Siofra O’Brien (Loreto / TU Dublin)

Emma Paul (UCD / UCD)

Caoimhe Perdue (Capt, UCC / UCC)

Yasmin Pratt (Loreto / IT Carlow)

Ellen Reid (Loughborough Students / Loughborough University)

Muireann Scanlon (Catholic Institute / UCC)

Caitlin Sherin (Capt, Loreto  / DCU)

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Covid-19 update – September 20, 2021

Hockey Ireland – Covid-19 Guidelines Update

20th September 2021 

The Irish government have issued updates to the Covid-19 guidelines for Returning to Sport.

Sport Ireland have issued further guidelines as of the 16th of September 2021. This includes guidance around the use of changing rooms and travelling to and from matches. These are summarised below.

Please note that these guidelines apply to clubs based in the Republic of Ireland (ROI) only. Teams travelling across the ROI/Northern Ireland (NI) border in both directions (for EY Hockey League or National Cup Competitions), should familiarise themselves with the Covid-19 protocols and guidance for the area.

Guidelines for Ulster clubs can be found here: COVID Guidance Sept 2021 – Ulster Hockey

Spectator Capacities:

From 06th September 2021:

  • Outdoor venues will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity. Social distancing should be maintained at all times. This assumes that host venues will not seek proof of vaccination from patrons.
  • Spectators will not be allowed for indoor venues.

Please note: Clubs may increase spectator capacity to 75% with appropriate protective measures if checks of proof of immunity are conducted prior to entry. Hockey Ireland recognises the logistical challenges around processing Covid passports on match days for clubs and would therefore recommend proceeding on the basis of a 50% attendance.

Training and Playing Restrictions: 

From 20th September 2021:

Outdoors:

  • For outdoor training, the current system of training in pods of 15 will be removed and training will be allowed to proceed as normal.
  • Outdoor matches may proceed as normal with Covid-19 restrictions in place. A record of players, team management and match officials involved should be kept (both for pre-season and competitive inter-club matches).

Indoors:

  • For indoor training, pods of up to 6 will be permitted (not including a coach). Multiple pods will be allowed to train in a single indoor venue subject to substantial social distancing between each pod.

General (current guidelines):

  • Covid Compliance Officers (CCO) must be present for all match activity.
  • For underage (U18 down) training, a CCO must be present at all training sessions.
  • For senior training only, a CCO is no longer required to oversee training sessions. Training attendance must still be logged and recorded for tracking purposes in the event of a positive Covid-19 case.
  • Indoor changing rooms may be used subject to guidance below.
  • Substitutes and team management officials should remain socially distant when not on the playing field.
  • Ball patrol may be used provided appropriate hand sanitising procedures are in place for ball patrol personnel.

Use of Changing Facilities and Showers:

 Showers & Changing Rooms can begin to reopen with protective measures in place. Recommended measures include:

  • Ensure only necessary participants have access to changing rooms.
  • Limit the overall number and duration of individuals in a changing room depending on the space available. Continue to implement adequate social distancing measures in changing areas. For example, a maximum of 6 in a dressing room at a time for a maximum duration of 15 minutes.
  • Masks should be worn in shared areas (showers an exception).
  • Provide clear signage highlighting any relevant space capacities and time durations.
  • Close off any unnecessary spaces or those not in use/not permitted.
  • Monitor toilets with agreed capacity numbers and limit to participants only.
  • Implement flow management systems where necessary.
  • To improve ventilation, consider an open window/open door policy (subject to privacy).
  • Provide sanitisation stations as appropriate on entrances and in shared areas.
  • Continue to promote hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette through signage, posters etc.
  • Ensure deep cleaning of shared areas on a regular basis.

Travelling to/from Matches: 

Hockey clubs organising transport to/from events should implement private Coach Tour capacities (currently at 75%). Protective measures such as physical distancing, mask wearing etc. should also be implemented.

For carpooling, hockey clubs should be aware of the higher risks involved with transport carrying those not yet vaccinated or of mixed immunity. The use of appropriate face coverings is recommended. If carpooling, Hockey Ireland recommend the use of a pod system in which the same participants pool together for all activities.

Indoor Training Guidance 

The Sport Ireland Return to Sport Expert Group have issued detailed guidelines for the return of indoor training. These guidelines remain in place.

Please note: The following guidelines apply to Republic of Ireland only. For Northern Ireland, please find further details here: Return To Sport | Sport NI

 The following applies for indoor activity:

  • From September 20th, organised indoor sport can take place with capacity limits of 100 people (with appropriate protective measures) where all patrons are immune (fully vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 within previous 6 months).
  • Where individuals have mixed immunity status, pods of up to 6 participants will be permitted (excluding adult coaches/instructors).
  • Multiple pods will be permissible subject to protective measures such as appropriate distancing between pods. HI recommend a minimum of a 5-metre exclusion zone between pods.
  • Number of pods will have regard to the size of venue and substantial social distance between individual pods.

Administration:

  • Staggered start and finish times combined with appropriate entry, exit and traffic management protocols to limit the interaction of participants at any one time.
  • Prebooking of activity is essential. This includes the health screening of all participants (including coaches & support personnel). All personnel on-site should be recorded.
  • Reduction in the overall duration of the activity.
  • Participants arrive ready to train and leave immediately (no changing room or shower use).
  • Additional signage, hand sanitisation stations and deep cleaning implemented.
  • No equipment sharing in any circumstances.
  • Activity should take place in a predefined area which is visually marked out and directionally signed.
  • The space required in this area should reflect the nature and intensity of the activity.
  • There should be in excess of 5m social distancing between each of the predefined areas.
  • The Cleaning & Ventilation of facilities should be conducted in accordance with the Government’s most recent Work Safely Protocol.
  • The training must be supervised by a branch-registered Club Covid-19 Compliance Officer.

Coaching Guidelines:

  • Any demonstration of equipment or technique should ensure that a minimum of 2m social distancing is maintained.
  • Individual equipment should not be shared.
  • In the case of fixed equipment, cleaning of such equipment must be completed immediately after demonstration and before the individual participant uses it.
  • There should be no hands-on adjustments or physical contact during training sessions.
  • Coaches and trainers are asked to refer to the HSE guidance on wearing of face coverings, which is available here: When to wear a face covering – HSE.ie

Clubs undertaking indoor activity must:

  • Implement thorough and regular cleaning of frequently touched surfaces. If disinfection of an area is required, it must be performed in addition to cleaning, never as a substitute for cleaning.
  • Ensure contact/touch surfaces such as table tops, door handles, and handrails are visibly clean at all times. Additionally, sports equipment should be cleaned before and after use.
  • Provide coaches/ participants with essential cleaning materials to keep their own areas clean (for example wipes/disinfection products, paper towels and waste bins/bags).
  • Records should be maintained for all cleaning.

Additional Guidance for Hockey Clubs:

Hockey clubs should seek to maintain overarching structures and basic protective measures throughout the winter season. This includes the use of COVID Compliance Officers (CCOs) for matches and the ongoing promotion of good respiratory & hand hygiene along with the wearing of face coverings in relevant settings and considering indoor space densities and duration of indoor activities.

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Glenanne and Three Rock lead the way in men’s EY Hockey League

Men’s EY Hockey Legaue – day two round-up

Glenanne and Three Rock Rovers made it two wins from two to head up the early season standings following impressive victories over YMCA and Banbridge on Saturday.

Pembroke 2 (J Dale 2) Monkstown 4 (G Sarratt 3, M Guilfoyle)
Guy Sarratt’s hat trick gave Monkstown their first win of the season while Pembroke await their first points of the season as two final quarter goals proved the difference.

Pembroke went 1-0 up when two defenders went for the same ariel ball and missed it, leaving an overload which Julian Dale exploited to score on his backhand. Town, though, drew level by half-time when Rory Nichols cut in from the right and found Sarratt mid circle and he bundled home.

Sarratt’s drag-flick made it 2-1 in the third quarter but Pembroke were back on terms via a straight drag-flick from Dale, 2-2 in the final quarter.

But Sarratt completed his treble from another set piece and then a good counter was slipped to Jeremy Duncan on the left of the D. His reverse was saved and Max Guilfoyle flicked the rebound in; Sarratt got a touch on it but just after the ball had crossed the goal line – the debate mattered only for the player stats as the three points were secured for the sky blues.

The game was very competitive with both defenses were solid as Town took more of their opportunities when it came to the crunch while Pembroke missed the services of Alan Sothern and Mark Duggan this time out.

Three Rock Rovers 3 (B Pasley, B Johnson, R Canning) Banbridge 1 (J McKee)
Three Rock Rovers made it two wins from two as they produced a strong defensive performance to get the best of the visiting Banbridge at Grange Road.

Bann made most of the early inroads with Jonny McKee hitting the post two minutes into the game before breaking the deadlock 15 minutes in with a back post deflection.

Rovers, though, responded in kind with their first shot in anger as Ben Johnson scored a corner flick to make it 1-1 at the end of Q1. Ben Pasley then finished off an excellent counter goal to put the hosts in front and it remained 2-1 until half-time with Harry MacMahon saving a Philip Brown shot off the line.

For Bann, they were frustrated they could not do more with eight corner efforts – not helped by Brown’s departure with a concussion – as Ben Whelan and his defensive team were able to rebuff those attacks. And the result was sealed in the third quarter when Ryan Spencer’s turnover laid on the chance for Ross Canning to score with a first time finish.

Pembroke’s Julian Dale scores the opening goal against Monkstown. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Glenanne 4 (S O’Donoghue 2, S Boucher, A Clayton) YMCA 2 (G Glutz, A Bailey)
Glenanne’s penalty corner machine clicked into gear as they continued their impressive start to the season with a second successive win. Shannon Boucher put them on their way in the first minute with a low corner shot past Jakim Bernsden – who returned last week after a year of injury – for 1-0.

And they ended the first half just as they started it with Shane O’Donoghue firing home down the low road once again for 2-0 in the 35th minute. YM got back into contention courtesy of Aaron Bailey’s effort four minutes after half-time but the Glens restored their two-goal cushion via Adam Clayton almost instantly.

YM’s hopes of closing the gap were stymied by yellow cards for Sam Ryder and Bailey and the game was put to bed by O’Donoghue’s second of the day, a corner shot from the left of the circle. Grant Glutz nabbed a consolation goal on the final hooter.

Corinthian 4 (I Stewart 2, C Futcher, M Wright) UCD 2 (S Byrne, H Lynch)
Corinthian made it four points from six to get up and running in strong fashion as UCD fell to a second defeat of the campaign. Chad Futcher continued his productive early form with his third goal in a week arriving just two minutes into the contest, his drag-flick proving the only goal of the half.

UCD had plenty of the game and chances to level things up in an end-to-end first half in which Corinthian also hit the bar through Max Neill.

Into the second half, the reds capitalised on a loose ball out of defence with their main marksman, Ian Stewart, the man to latch onto it one-on-one, lifting home a lovely second goal. UCD replied with Sam Byrne scoring with a clean strike from the top of the circle but Corinthian were back to 3-1 clear via Max Wright, a great counter move down the left side, finished at the back post.

Stewart added his second from a corner to make it 4-1 to cap an exciting third quarter. UCD got another back from a corner through Harry Lynch but the deficit was too much to claw back.

Annadale 1 (T Cross) Lisnagarvey 5 (P McKibbin, T Chambers, J Lorimer, D Nelson, C Chambers)
Lisnagarvey produced a resounding return to form as they won the Comber Road derby 5-1 over Annadale at Lagan College.

In a cracking opening medley, Peter McKibbin put Garvey in front from a fifth minute penalty stroke only for Tim Cross to reply quickly from a corner, 1-1 at the end of the first quarter.

It stayed that way through the second quarter before Garvey forged ahead with Troy Chambers, James Lorimer and Daniel Nelson all netting in quick succession. Cole Chambers completed the rout with nine minutes to go as Garvey bounced back from their opening day defeat to Glenanne.

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First women’s EYHL wins of season for UCD, Railway and Pembroke

Women’s EY Hockey League – day two round-up
Old Alex 0 Catholic Institute 0

Old Alex and Catholic Institute shared the spoils as defences were on top in Milltown as goalkeepers Holly Micklem and Pam Smithwick put in fine performances. The former was the first to get down low to deny a first minute chance from the visitors from Limerick.

Alex, though, had the better of the first half with Lena Tice on her return controlling things from the back and Niamh Sweeney, Jessica McGirr and Gisela Estrenjer getting the better of midfield.

Both sides won a trio of penalty corners in the first quarter but to no avail and strong running lines was to be a major feature of this contest. Insta ended up with nine penalty corners across the match but the usually ferocious flicking of Róisín Upton was snuffed out at each turn.

From play, meanwhile, Naomi Carroll had the pick of their chances when a long second quarter overhead made it through to her in behind the last defender but Micklem was off her line like a light to keep out the chance.

For Alex, their attacks were more sporadic in the second half but they did find joy through Aine Connery and they almost nicked the victory in the closing couple of minutes. Mikayla Power drew an excellent stop from Smithwick and the rebound was scrambled clear to leave it scoreless.

Alex welcomed Lena Tice back into the line-up for the first time this season while Institute had welcomed Rebecca Barry for the first time since 2012 after spells in the US and at Cork Harlequins.

Muckross 0 UCD 4 (H McLoughlin 3, S Cole)
Hannah McLoughlin’s hat trick of backhand goals saw UCD pick up their first win of the season, lifting them to four points out of six to date. In the early phases, it was a corner battle with Ellie McLoughlin and Aoife Glennon trading saves until Sophia Cole broke the deadlock in the 20th minute with a low flick down the left channel.

Hannah McLoughlin then turned up the tempo when she stormed forward from midfield, dribbled left and then whipped home her first of the day just before half-time.

It became part of a recurring theme and she had a second when she pinched possession on the 23-metre line, forged a way forward and picked her spot on the backboard.

Her third – and UCD’s fourth – was the pick of the bunch, an excellent team move from the back finding the Olympian high up the pitch. She still had plenty to do but weaved her way through a number of tackles and pinged a shot in off the inside of the post.

Cork Harlequins 0 Railway Union 6 (S Hawkshaw, F Maughan, K Dillon, K Lloyd, L Lloyd, E Smyth)
Railway Union opened their EYHL campaign with a well earned win against a developing Harlequins side. The Railway side included Olympian Sarah Hawkshaw as captain, while Harlequins welcomed back Irish underage international Lauren Cripps.

An even first quarter saw both teams play enterprising hockey in an unusually warm Farmers Cross. Railway’s breakthrough came early in the second quarter when Florence Maughan came off the bench to finish sharply from close range. Harlequins keeper Lorna Bateman kept Railway at bay until half-time with an outstanding performance.

Railway’s strength and experience showed as a tiring Harlequins conceded four goals in a five minute spell in the third quarter to decisively decide the tie, including a wonderful individual effort from captain Hawkshaw. Emma Smyth’s goal in the 65th minute rounded off a convincing performance against the hardworking Harlequins side.

Pembroke 3 (S Loughran, L McGuire, T Wensley) Loreto 0
Pembroke produced an outstanding second half performance to beat Loreto 3-0 to build on their opening day away draw with Pegasus. The first half was a very even affair with Pembroke picking up a couple of incomplete chances toward the end of the first quarter while Loreto were unable to make the most from their corner openings.

The second half, though, saw things open up with Pembroke seizing the initiative in Q3. Sinead Loughran grabbed the first from a penalty corner scramble and it was a 2-0 scoreline inspired by Leah McGuire. She won possession to spark a rapid counter-attack which ended in a penalty corner which the former UCD and Armagh player stepped up to crack home.

Loreto attempted a kickstart their comeback in the final quarter, applying a lot of pressure, but Sarah Torrans missed out on a great chance.

And the result was sealed when an excellent passing moved was worked into the D to Tory Wensley to find the net with seven minutes to go.

Pembroke’s Tori Wensley gets away from Caitlin Sherin. Picture: Adrian Boehm

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Loreto and Railway enter the fray on EYHL day two

Key contenders 12 months ago, Loreto and Railway Union have their first opportunity to show their hand this season in the women’s EY Hockey League.

Loreto will make their seasonal bow with a Dublin derby date against Pembroke at Serpentine Avenue. Paul Fitzpatrick’s team look like one of the more settled line-ups and they can draw on a range of players who were busy this summer with international squads in addition to Olympians Sarah Torrans and Hannah Matthews.

Siofra O’Brien, Yasmin Pratt, Caitlin Sherin and Christina Hamill were all with the Under-23 development panel that impressed in series wins over Wales’ senior team and GB’s development squad.

With no major departures, the 2019 runners-up will look to push for top laurels once again but their first tie will be a tough one against a Pembroke who, themselves, have designs on a top four playoff place.

Indeed, they showed plenty to suggest they will be in the shake-up last weekend with a 1-1 away draw at reigning champions Pegasus. Ellen Curran is a big addition in midfield, playing the game at a ferocious tempo which will help unleash Gillian Pinder as time goes on.

And Coach Gavin Groves said preseason he feels he now has a squad that can be genuine contenders at his dispoal.

Railway Union enter the fray with a trip to Cork Harlequins. The Sandymount club’s flying form 12 months ago was rudely interrupted by lockdown after three successive wins and they will look to get back on that trail this weekend.

Sarah Hawkshaw was an instrumental figure then, either scoring or assisting all bar one of their goals in that winning-streak. For Harlequins, they handed six EYHL debuts last weekend and this will be another quick learning curve for their young side.

Loreto in action against UCD in 2020. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Elsewhere, Old Alex host free-flowing Catholic Institute with Lena Tice potentially making her return to club action having missed Alex’s 4-1 win over Belfast Harlequins. The Milltown club were the only side to win on day one of the season with their youngsters making an impact; among them, Mikayla Power – daughter of Olympic umpire Carol Metchette – netted her first EYHL goals.

Muckross’s new look side are up against UCD at Grange Road. They handed a wealth of debuts out last weekend who were well guided by sisters Caroline and Emma Mathews while Polish addition Julia Balcerzak got her first taste of Irish club hockey.

The students, meanwhile, showed the ability to dig deep in salvaging a point from their trip to Insta with a couple of minutes to go as their new

Belfast Harlequins’ date with Pegasus has been pushed back to midweek; they play their all-Ulster clash on Wednesday, September 22nd at Queen’s. Railway Union’s refix with Loreto takes place on the same night.

In the men’s competition, it’s derby time as Annadale host Lisnagarvey. In recent years, this tie might have been heavily-weighted in Garvey’s favour but the influx of internationals Tim Cross and brothers Michael and Callum Robson should make a big difference for Dale.

Garvey, meanwhile, could not find their full flow against Glenanne a week ago, losing 2-1 but they will still be bouyed by the number of chances created with Glens’ keeper David Lawless enjoying a debut to remember in the face of a star-studded forward line.

Three Rock Rovers host Banbridge with the former potentially adding Ross Canning and Mark Samuel to the panel that beat UCD 5-2 last weekend.

Banbridge were frustrated to be caught by a late Monkstown counter-attack but showed they have plenty of strong options. Philip Brown’s overlapping runs down the right are a big feature while Jonny McKee’s innovation at the apex of their attack is also key.

UCD’s students will benefit from an extra week together with Kevin O’Dea shining last Saturday despite just a short time to assimilate into the club. Harry Lynch was also excellent in defence and they provide the fulcrum to a squad which coach Ronan Hickey hopes will be augmented following exam rechecks.

They head up to Whitechurch to meet a Corinthian side who look like they have a gem in the form of Chad Futcher who scored twice on debut against Annadale.

Lisnagarvey’s Jonny Bell. Picture: Adrian Boehm

It is one of three Dublin derbies up for decision. YMCA go to Glenanne looking to make it five wins in succession but are coming up against one of the other sides to win on day one.

The Y produced some serious counter-attack hockey against Pembroke, deploying a high striker in behind the last defender to great effect while Matthew Walker’s all action performance made him one of the players of the round.

For the Glens, they will be bouyed by their excellent defensive work against Lisnagarvey while their attacking efficiency to pick off their two goals was a strong feature.

Pembroke and Monkstown, meanwhile, are both eyeing their first win of the season. The former will need to keep things tight at the back as their forward line looks to be packed with goals with Julian Dale and Alan Sothern working in tandem.

For Town, Dave Fitzgerald was in fine form in goal last weekend in what is his 18th season in the first team.

Saturday 18th September 2021
Men – EYHL Division 1:
Annadale v Lisnagarvey, Lagan College, 2.30pm; Corinthian v UCD, Whitechurch Park, 3.15pm; Glenanne v YMCA, St. Andrews; Pembroke Wanderers v Monkstown, Serpentine Avenue, 4pm; Three Rock Rovers v Banbridge, Grange Road, 2.45pm

Women – EYHL Division 1: Cork Harlequins v Railway Union, Farmers’ Cross, 12.45pm; Muckross v UCD, Grange Road, 1pm; Old Alexandra v Catholic Institute, Alexandra College, 1.30pm; Pembroke Wanderers v Loreto, Serpentine Avenue, 2pm

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Old Alex make early statement in women’s EY Hockey League

** Muckross’s Laura Hanlon celebrates making it 1-0. Picture: Adrian Boehm

Old Alex were the big winners on day one of the women’s EY Hockey League as they got the best of Belfast Harlequins 4-1 while the other three times on the agenda ended in close-fought draws. Here’s the round-up of Saturday’s action.

Women’s EY Hockey League – day one round-up
Belfast Harlequins 1 (N Lyttle) Old Alexandra 4 (M Power 2, S Robinson, M O’Donnell)

Old Alex got their campaign off to an impressive start with a 4-1 win over Belfast Harlequins at Deramore Park. It was end to end stuff throughout an entertaining contest but Alex edged possession and displayed a more clinical touch in front of goal.

After a scoreless first quarter, the visitors broke the deadlock when Mikyala Power netted at the far post shortly after Niamh Sweeney had been denied by a stunning save from Quins keeper Suzie Taylor.

On the stroke of half time, Alex doubled their lead through Millie O’Donnell’s direct penalty corner strike. The home team replied in kind early in the second half with Natalie Lyttle netting a set-piece to pull one back.

But with nine minutes left, Alex made the points virtually safe when Power got her second from yet another penalty corner. Any hope of a Quins’ comeback were well and truly extinguished in the 68th minute when Sarah Robinson crashed home after a penalty corner switch.

Despite the result, there were plenty of positives for Harlequins who, like Alex, were without their current Ireland players, most notably the performance of debutante Jane Kirkpatrick, who was a tower of strength at the back and was creative when going forward.

Catholic Institute 2 (E Ryan, L Clery) UCD 2 (S Young, KJ Marshall)
Honours even at Rosbrien as KJ Marshall bundled home a penalty corner melee in the dying embers of the tie to earn UCD a point from a strong battle with five Olympians on display.

Sarah Young had given the students the perfect start when she swooped off the pads to score a penalty corner rebound in the early minutes. Pam Smithwick did brilliantly against her alma mater to deny them a second when she got down to low to keep out Katherine Egan.

But Insta started to make waves of their own and they were level in the 17th minute with a swift move down the middle. Their Olympians were key to it with Naomi Carroll feeding Róisín Upton who picked out the run of Liz Ryan to the left of goal and she was on hand to shovel in first time.

The Limerick side enjoyed a lot of the ball between the second and third quarters but they looked like they had been caught on the break when UCD found the net. After a lengthy discussion, though, play was brought back for an Institute free some 80-metres away from their goal for an earlier incident.

And the hosts duly went in front in the 60th minute following a brilliant interception on the 23-metre line which was quickly worked into the circle and crossed for Leah Clery to finish off.

It left UCD only a short while to fight back but they forged forward, winning a couple of corners while Hannah McLoughlin’s driving runs almost unlocked the door. In the end, their leveller was something of a scramble but Marshall was on hand to get the final credit.

Muckross 1 (L Hanlon) Cork Harlequins 1 (M Barry)
Two almost identical penalty corner moves meant the points were shared at Grange Road between two new look sides with Laura Hanlon and Michelle Barry cancelling each other out.

Cork Harlequins’ Michelle Barry on the attack. Picture: Adrian Boehm

The Dubliners started in the ascendancy with a couple of early corners while Caroline Mathews vision from the back was a key feature and Sophie Barnwell’s surging runs a feature. For Quins, Yvonne O’Byrne was the driving force with Barry providing the creativity further up the field along with the beautiful skills of Julia McCarthy.

Hanlon broke the deadlock from a switch move back to the injector, flicking home from the left of the circle for 1-0 at half-time. Barnwell went within inches of a second early in the third quarter before Quins started to run up the corner count with a trio coming in quick succession.

And they got on the board when they used the same move to pick out Barry on the left post and she flicked in. And they had another corner chance on the final whistle but Muckross held them at bey to leave it at 1-1.

Pegasus 1 (E Armstrong) Pembroke Wanderers 1 (C Foley)
Reigning champions Pegasus and a confident Pembroke drew 1-1 from a well-matched battle at Queen’s to open up their respective campaigns.

Claire Foley put Pembroke in front in the 33rd minute after a flurry of attacks. One crash ball found them with an overload and the ball was worked to Foley for a close-range finish.

Peagsus got their equaliser via an excellent give and go move on the left touchline with Ella Armstrong storming on, laying the ball off the baseline and then getting back for a great finish.

The hosts had three corner chances in succession but could not nick a second to take a lead into the closing quarter. Pembroke, meanwhile, pushed on in the final stanza but were also kept out by Megan Todd.

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Goals galore on opening day of men’s EY Hockey League

** YMCA celebrate a Matthew Walker goal. Picture: Sinéad Hingston

With 26 goals across five matches, the men’s EY Hockey League returned with drama a plenty. Here’s the round-up of the first day of action!

Men’s EY Hockey League – day one round-up
Annadale 3 (R Davidson, O McElhinney, D Tremlett) Corinthian 3 (C Futcher 2, D Howard)

Both Corinthian and Annadale were left to reflect on whether it was a point gained or a two points lost from a topsy-turvy tie in which both sides held the lead only to be pegged back.

For Dale, bolstered by the return of Callum and Michael Robson and the arrival of Tim Cross, they were up and running when Robbie Davidson broke the deadlock in the 24th minute. That came from a pitch-length counter-attack from a Corinthian corner, Davidson popping up in front of Simon Thornton to slot home.

The Ulster side were two to the good four minutes later, this time another of their additions for this campaign – Owen McElhinney – guiding home a crash ball to make it 2-0.

The reds, though, responded well and were back in the mix when Chad Futcher netted a debut goal from a corner, the South African international whipping home in impressive fashion. It remained 2-1 until the final quarter when Futcher grabbed his second from mid-circle.

And the reds looked on course for the victory when Davy Howard scored from the penalty spot after a physical challenge wide on the right of the circle. But Dale kept battling and the Robson brothers worked the opening, Michael feeding Callum on the his way down the left channel; the latter’s reverse stick cross turned in by Tremlett.

Glenanne 2 (S O’Donoghue, J McCormack) Lisnagarvey 1 (J Lorimer)
Glenanne produced an excellent first performance of the season to beat off a fancied Lisnagarvey at St Andrew’s. The prolific Shane O’Donoghue opened the scoring in the second quarter from play and that lead was augmented in the second half by Jonny McCormack before Garvey got a lifeline with nine minutes to go via a James Lorimer penalty corner.

Early on, the Glens were thankful to goalkeeper David Lawless who made some excellent point blank saves while Ben Nelson and James Corry could not find the target with great chances. O’Donoghue’s opening goal came direct from a free-in, dribbling into the circle and then flipping the ball over a stick before batting in the chance.

His side had a trio of corner chances repelled before Lawless also came to the fore when his defence were unable to clear under pressure from Nelson. He did have the ball in the net in the third quarter with a brilliant piece of ball juggling to an overhead into the circle – after an umpire’s discussion, the goal was disallowed.

Kevin Venter cleaned a corner from the goalmouth to keep the slender lead intact and they went up the field and doubled the advantage soon after. Shannon Boucher took a quick sideline ball, got it to Gavin Gibney whose cross was turned in by McCormack.

Lorimer got one back with a rocket of a shot and Garvey piled on the pressure in the closing minutes but Glenanne defended their circle superbly to hold on for the points.

Monkstown 1 (G Cole) Banbridge 1 (Ph Brown)
Geoff Cole’s excellent goal four minutes from time saw Monkstown snatch a share of the spoils at Rathdown against Banbridge after a high octane battle between two sides who will fancy their chances at the playoff places this term.

Cole was at the back post to turn in Jazze Henry’s baseline cross following a patient move from front to back which went perfectly through the lines before finding the opening down the left.

It cancelled out Philip Brown’s powerful effort, following up from a blocked corner chance from mid-circle for 1-0 in the third quarter. It was a deserved lead for Banbridge who had most of the first half chances, only to be denied by some excellent Dave Fitzgerald stops while two other big chances flashed across the face of goal.

Luke Roleston was similarly strong on the half-time hooter to tip away a Guy Sarratt drag-flick. As time wore on, Bann looked to be controlling proceedings well with Eugene Magee deployed in a sweeper role and they went ahead from their fifth corner of the game.

Monkstown, though, pushed on in the closing minutes with Lee Cole brilliantly denied an equaliser by Roleston at close quarters just before the vital goal from his younger brother.

YMCA celebrate a Harry McCarthy goal. Pic Sinead Hingston (1)

UCD 2 (S Walker, S Byrne) Three Rock Rovers 5 (A Empey 4, R Spencer)
Ali Empey produced a spectacular set of four goals to mark his return to Three Rock Rovers in style, earning against the points against the club he played for last season. It was another one of the new arrivals at Grange Road who opened the deadlock when Ryan Spencer got on the end of a superb interception and crash ball from Jody Hosking.

Sam Walker equalised from UCD’s second corner with a diving touch to Harry Lynch’s swept ball into the danger zone. Both were former Rovers players lining out against their siblings, Walker against older brother James, Lynch against younger brother Alex with Peter also in UCD colours for good measure.

Empey put Rovers back in front before half-time, peeling left before turning right to a ball to the top of the D, slamming home on his open side. His next came in the third quarter, this time peeling left and flipping onto his reverse and unleashing a rocket into the roof of the net.

UCD were level with a very sharp piece of work from Sam Byrne but the game was put out of reach when Empey pinched the ball off the last defender and swept home from the top of the circle. And he tipped in a handy rebound from Fred Morris’s shot to complete the victory.

YMCA 5 (R Henderson 3, H McCarthy, M Walker) Pembroke Wanderers 3 (A Sothern 2, J Dale)
YMCA carried on where they left off 12 months ago, making it four wins in succession between this term and the short-loved 2020/21 campaign as Ross Henderson’s hat trick propelled them to victory over Pembroke.

In a cagey first quarter, the visitors could not make the best of three penalty corners but the game burst spectacularly into life in the second phase with five goal. A quick break from Fionn Marriott down the right side was followed by a hard, bobbly ball into the circle to Ross Henderson who controlled and finished very well.

Pembroke hit back immediately through Alan Sothern as he waltzed into D to score the equaliser and he added another a few minutes later from a stroke after Julian Dale was denied by a sliding tackle.

But the Y had the lead for a second time just before half-time. First off, Henderson picked up another long ball into the D behind the back of the defence and applied a great scoring moment for 2-2.

Then another breakaway down the right saw Matt Walker making a tackle in his own 25 and passing to Sam Hyland. Walker continued his run and Hyland weighted an overhead to him perfectly, picking it up at the endline where he pulled the ball back to Harry McCarthy to finish off the goal of the day.

Walker went himself for the fourth goal in the third quarter to make it 4-2, smashing home from the centre of the D from breaking ball. Henderson completed his hat trick after an excellent attacking move instigated by Ben Stewart on his first team debut.

Julian Dale pulled one back from a corner drag to make it 5-3 and a YM yellow soon after kept things interesting for a spell but the hosts saw out the closing 10 minutes to earn the spoils.