Since the start of 2019 events have been moving on at a fast pace. While the EYHL was on a winter break during December and January, the National Indoor finals took place on January 27th at the excellent Antrim Forum facility where the Women’s Trophy was won by Railway Union and the Men’s Trophy by Three Rock Rovers. My thanks to Vice President Ann Rosa who presented the trophies on my behalf while I was laid up following knee surgery. Both Railway Union and Three Rock Rovers will represent Ireland in next years European Indoor Championships.
The All Ireland Schoolboys Championship was won this year by Newtown School, Waterford for the first time in their history. The 2109 Kate Russell was held this year in St Andrews College, Booterstown, Dublin on March 21 & 22 and the trophy was won by Crescent Comprehensive, Limerick. The John Waring was held this year at Friends School, Lisburn on April 10 and here the winners were Banbridge Academy. On the following day the hockey bandwagon moved on to Dangan Sports Facilities NUIG where the 2019 June Smith Competition was held and this was won by Mount Anville, Dublin.
The weekend of April 13 & 14 saw the Finals of various competitions taking place at Pembroke Wanderers and Three Rock Rovers. This year we were unable to play our Finals at UCD as the pitch is being relayed. On Saturday the 13th in the Irish Hockey Challenge the Women of Dromore beat Clonmel by 1-0 in a very closely contested game and in the Men’s Ballynahinch just got the better of Limerick in a high scoring game on a score line of 4-3. In the Irish Hockey Trophy (Women) Cork C of I came from being 2 goals down to Greenfields to rally in the second half and recorded a comprehensive 4-2 win. On Sunday 14th in TRR, Waterford won their first National title since 1922. They beat NICS by 3-1. This victory was made all the sweeter when you take into consideration that the club almost went out of existence 13 years ago. Only for the dedication of some of the older members in the club Waterford would not have been here today, so congratulations to those brave people who persevered. In the Irish Junior Cup (Women) UCD got the better of the holders Railway Union in a very tight game in which they came out on the right side of a 2-1 scoreline. In the Men’s Irish Junior Cup Three Rock Rovers had a comprehensive win over Instonians, winning by 4-1. This trophy has eluded TRR for the past 5 years and in fact is the first time they have won it since 1998.
April 27 & 28 saw the EYHL 2 Playoffs weekend which was held at Corinthians in Whitechurch Park., where there was a festive atmosphere with a BBQ on the go all weekend along with teas, coffee, sandwiches and homemade cakes available for the large numbers of spectators who turned up for the matches. Following two very closely fought Semi Finals on a windy Saturday UCD and Corinthians came through on the Men’s side while on the Women’s side it was also very close with Queens University and Catholic Institute through to the Final on Sunday. First up on Sunday was the Men’s Final where Corinthians came from behind to snatch a 2-2 draw and so went to the dreaded Penalty Shootout where Corinthians won on a score line of 3-2, thereby earning their place in the EYHL next season. Next up were the Women and in yet another very tight game Catholic Institute fought back to 3-3 against Queens University to send the game to another Shootout where Catholic Institute were the victorious team also on a score line of 3-2. So, EYHL for Catholic Institute also next season.
The weekend of May 4 & 5 was the EY Champions Trophy, played at Banbridge Hockey Club and also the 9th place play offs for next seasons league.
On the Women’s side we saw Muckross retain their EYHL spot with a narrow victory over Queens University on Sunday morning in Banbridge in a Shoot- Out. Also on Sunday, this time at Corinthians, Whitechurch Park, UCD got the better of Cork C of I following a high scoring game where it finished at 4-4 and in the ensuing Shoot -Out, UCD came out on top by 3–2 and so earned their spot in the EYHL league for next season.
In the Champions Trophy on Saturday Pegasus overcame Cork Harlequins by two goals to one in the first women’s semi final and Loreto beat UCD also by two goals to one in the second semi final to set up a Sunday Final between Pegasus and Loreto. Both these teams finished first and second in the League and we were sure of a tight battle in the final. As predicted, it was a very closely contested game and was no surprise when we had to go to another Shoot Out after the game finished 1-1 in normal time. Following the Shoot Out Pegasus came out on top on a score of 4-2 and so secured the double.
On the Men’s side Lisnagarvey had a comprehensive 6-0 win over Glenanne on Saturday while Three Rock Rovers also had a comfortable win over Banbridge on a scorline of 4-2. So, just as in the Women’s league the winners of the League, Lisnagarvey were up against second placed Three Rock Rovers in the Final on Sunday. This turned out to be a cracking game with Three Rock Rovers getting the better of Lisnagarvey with a 2-0 victory and so take the EY Champions Trophy for the third season in a row.
On May 11 for the second weekend in a row Lisnagarvey played Three Rock Rovers, this time in the Irish Senior Cup Final. This is the oldest Hockey Cup in the world, dating back to 1894. This game was played this year in Grange Road due to the no availability of UCD and yet again it was a very closely contested affair with TRR winning by the narrowest of margins on a 1-0 scoreline and so retain the trophy. TRR have now won this trophy 12 times in total.
In the Women’s Cup Final Loreto played Cork Harlequins also at Grange Road. Both teams were short some of their regular international players for this game. Loreto were the dominant team in the first half and led by 2-0 but in the second half Harlequins came back strongly to draw level at 2-2 and sent the game to Shoot-Outs. Harlequins won out on the shoot-outs on a scoreline of 2-1. This is only the second time in their history that they have lifted the Irish Senior Cup, the first time being in 2000.
And so on to the final domestic Competition for the 2018/19 season. We headed off to Cork for the Junior Interprovincials on the weekend of 18/19 May. This year the tournament was held in Cork Harlequins, up on the hill near the airport where the weather can be wet, cold and windy even in summer. However, Harlequins were excellent in all arrangements, even to the extent of getting the weather right, it was a beautiful sunny weekend. The hockey as you can imagine was very competitive both in the Women’s and Men’s sides of the tournament with the Munster Ladies coming out on top with a 100% record with 3 wins over the weekend. But in the Men’s side it all came down to the last game of the tournament with Ulster needing to beat Leinster and getting the required number of goals to overhaul Munster. However, they failed to do so and Munster completed the double on goal difference by 1 goal.
Overall, it was a very successful season on the domestic front, so now onto the Internationals until September when the 2019/20 will start again.