IRISH WOMEN’S SENIOR CUP FINAL 2023
The Blue Riband of domestic hockey, the Irish Women’s Senior Cup Final, takes place this Saturday April 29th at UCD. The action gets under way at 12:45.
The Women’s Irish Senior Cup was first competed for in 1903, making it one of the oldest cup competitions in World Hockey.
The winners in 2022, first timers Catholic Institute are back once again to defend their title. Their opponents Monkstown were only promoted a year ago from Leinster Division 1. Their first season back in the top fight proved to be a battle against relegation. It was nip and tuck between Monkstown and Ards, and came down to a game between the two sides a few weeks from the end of the season. Ards hosted Monkstown but lost the League game between the two sides. The following day Monkstown won their semi-final against Avoca thus rescuing their entire season in just 48 hours, securing their status as an EYHL side and reaching their first Irish Senior Cup Final.
With no pressure on them to win the title, Monkstown go into Saturday’s game as rank outsiders. However, there are three former Irish Senior Cup winners in the squad in Chloe Watkins, Suzie Kelly and Sarah Twomey all of whom previously won the Irish Senior Cup during stints with UCD.
Catholic Institute have most of last season’s Cup winning squad all of whom have been there and done that with regard to winning an Irish Senior Cup . Goalkeeper Pam Smithwick previously won an Irish Senior Cup during her time at UCD as a student.
Catholic Institute beat Pembroke Wanderers in their second round tie and were drawn against Old Alexandra in the quarter-final. A 4-1 win over Old Alex secured a semi-final against Railway Union. A 4-2 win for Insta in that game secured a place in this weekend’s decider.
Monkstown overcame Leinster Division 1 side Glenanne 6-0 in their second round tie. They then had to travel to UCD to take on the students in the quarter-final. A 3-2 win for Monkstown secured a semi-final tie against Leinster Division 1 side Avoca. And a 2-1 win for Monkstown secured their place in this weekend’s decider. Given that Catholic Institute finished 4th in the League and Monkstown finished 8th the form book might suggest a win for Catholic Institute but the Cup has a reputation for producing shocks even on Cup Final day which means Monkstown have a chance although not being favourites to win. Factor in the fact that both games between these sides in the League ended in stalemate and this game could go all the way to a shootout.
IRISH MEN’S SENIOR CUP FINAL 2023
In the second game down for decision on Saturday the later game is the Irish Men’s Senior Cup Final. The very first Irish Senior Cup Final took place as long ago as 1894, making the Irish Senior Cup the oldest competition in World hockey.
This year’s decider sees EYHL Men’s Division winners 2022-23 and recently crowned Champions Trophy winners Banbridge, take on Glenanne from Dublin. Banbridge will be attempting to win a treble, Glenanne to win an Irish Senior Cup would cap a fine season which saw them reach the semi-finals of the EY Champions Trophy thanks to a 5th place finish which secured a spot in the Quarter-final of the Champions Trophy where they beat Three Rock Rovers 7-3 to reach the semi-final only to come up short in last week’s semi-final against Banbridge.
So revenge could be on the cards as well, as if they needed any more motivation than winning this prestigious trophy the oldest in World Club Hockey. A few weeks ago both teams played both their League fixtures within a couple of weeks apart. In the first game Banbridge and Glenanne played out a 4-4 draw in Havelock Park. The return game took place on 1st April last and Banbridge defeated Glenanne 6-2 in Dublin.
Banbridge won their second-round tie against Bandon 5-0 and advanced to a quarter-final against YMCA which they won 4-1. In the semi-final Banbridge took on Annadale and their 2-0 win secured their place in this weekend’s decider.
Glenanne had a narrow 4-3 win in their second-round tie. Their much-delayed quarter final against Lisnagarvey saw them knock out the defending champions Lisnagarvey by 2-1 and up next in the semifinal were Monkstown. Glenanne won an 11 goal thriller by 7-4 to reach this weekend’s decider.
Glenanne have not enjoyed any Irish Senior Cup success since 2010 while Banbridge’s last victory dates back to 2017.