The National Indoor Trophy champions will be decided on Sunday evening with four men’s and four women’s clubs vying for glory at Gormanston Park
The series starts on Sunday morning with the men’s semi-finals between Three Rock Rovers against Cookstown at 9.45am with Banbridge up against Railway Union at 10.45am. The winners will advance to the final at 3.45pm with the third place playoff on at 2pm.
The women’s semis follow on court with Muckross up against Ards (11.45am) and Railway facing Galway (12.45pm) with the prize a 5pm final with the third place match at 2.45pm.
For the men’s competition, Three Rock and Banbridge qualified as the Leinster and Ulster champions, respectively, with their opponents reaching the final four as runners-up.
Rovers were 8-3 victors over Railway Union having won all their group phases and advanced to the Leinster final with an 8-2 success over Monkstown.
In the final, it was a tight affair in the first half with Railway keeping pace in the first half with the tie 3-3 before netting five goals in succession with a hat trick from Jody Hosking.
They also feature Irish international Ross Canning while with Club an der Alster outfielder Jonas Althusmann an influential guest star.
For Railway, Stephen O’Keeffe is the outstanding Irish goalkeeper in this format, starring in the series against Scotland after Christmas while they have a wealth of experience to call on from Kenny Carroll, Brendan Parsons and Rob Abbott.
In Ulster, Banbridge took their regional crown last Sunday, winning three out of their four games in a three-team group and drawing the other against runners-up Cookstown in their final game.
The Bann line-up features outdoor international Jonny McKee who may have picked up a few tips during his time in Germany with Luke Roleston donning the pads, Sam Farson, Luke Witherow and Andrew Tinney helping power their success last weekend.
Cookstown were second in Ulster and bring with them two newly capped Irish internationals to their line-up, Jack Haycock and Mark Crooks, who will be looking to bring that know-how to bear. Their guest stars are Daniel Nelson and David Rae.
In the women’s competition, Galway were the first side to qualify for the finals weekend when they prevailed in the Tighe Cup in Connacht, winning the final five-team tournament.
Crucially, they prevailed in the final against Greenfields with Fiona Kelly’s hat trick underpinning a 5-3 success, allowing captain Elaine Carey to lift the cup. They are now looking to win the national title for the second time in their history having succeeded in 2008.
— Ulster Hockey (@UlsterHockey) January 30, 2022
Their opponents at the reigning champions Railway who won in 2019 and 2020 and have backed that up with a Leinster victory last weekend with a dramatic 6-5 win over Muckross.
Hannah de Burgh Whyte was the game-breaker, scoring a corner in the last two minutes, crowning a big closing salvo after Muckross had led 5-4. Holly Jenkinson captains the side with fellow indoor internationals Sarah and Orla Patton and Lily Lloyd giving them plenty of options.
Muckross have internationals of their own with Irish stars Sophie Barnwell and Becky McMullen joined by Julia Balcerzak who played for Poland against Ireland in January.
Ards – national champions from 2012 to 2018 – won the Ulster title from a three-team competition. On the opening day, they ran up 15 goals in wins over Queen’s and Coleraine and followed up last weekend with a 4-4 draw against Queen’s before getting the best of Coleraine 7-2 in the repeat fixtures.
Andrea Desneaux weighed in with eight goals with Frankie Brown nabbing seven across that series.
The semi-finals and finals will be streamed live on the Hockey Ireland Youtube channel.
National Indoor Trophy – Sunday 6th February 2022 (all at Gormanston Park)
Men’s semi-finals: Three Rock Rovers v Cookstown, 9.45am; Banbridge v Railway Union, 10.45am
3rd place playoff: 2pm
Women’s semi-finals: Muckross v Ards, 11.45am; Railway Union v Galway, 12.45pm
3rd place playoff: 2.45pm
Another shout out to the winning Leinster Hockey Indoor League winners
🏑 Women’s Champions; Railway Union
🏑 Men’s Champions; Three Rock Rovers
A huge THANK YOU to Arjen Van As for organising both competitions this year, all the umpires and to @sccdublin for the use of the hall pic.twitter.com/3zGsQAUJv6
— leinsterhockey (@leinsterhockey1) February 2, 2022