A varied weekend of action sees games in European indoor action, women’s EYHL 1 and 2, the Irish Senior Cup and the Irish Hockey Trophy on what was initially set to be a relatively quiet fixture list.
For Railway’s women, they start bright and early on Friday morning in Alanya, Turkey in the EuroHockey Indoor Club Trophy, facing Buckingham at 8am Irish time.
It has been a tough build-up for the side who recently retained their National Indoor Trophy crown with Emma Buckley and Holly Jenkinson unavailable through injury while, of their successful side from Gormanston, Kate McKenna and Hannah de Burgh Whyte also unable to travel.
As such, they look to the experience of Orla Fox and Orla Patton along with the trickery of Kate and Lily Lloyd; they can play with some freedom knowing there is no relegation this year with two sides withdrawing from the competition.
They also face Slavia Prague on Friday in their second game before meeting Austria’s SV Arminen and Turkish home club Gaziantep on Saturday. The tournament concludes with a final group game on Sunday against Scotland’s Clydesdale.
Elsewhere, on Thursday evening, Loreto won their first match of the new year with a healthy 4-1 win in the teeming rain at Belfield against UCD. The Beaufort side dominated the first half and went into a 3-0 lead with Hannah Matthews getting the ball rolling from a penalty stroke with Yasmin Pratt and Mia Jennings also weighing in.
Siofra O’Brien got their fourth despite UCD having the best of Q3, getting one back via Hannah McLoughlin’s deflected penalty corner. But they could make no further inroads and they drop out of the EY Champions Trophy playoff places with Loreto taking their place inside the top six.
On Saturday, Old Alex will face Pegasus in another rearranged fixture in the last outstanding match of the first 12 rounds of the season. Both need a win to close the gap on the automatic Champions Trophy semi-final spots.
For Pegs, three points would lift them into second place while Alex need a result to keep in touch with the three sides above them.
In EYHL2, Corinthian and Galway will play their refixed at Whitechurch Park with the former hoping to move level with Ards at the head of their group at the halfway stage while the Connacht side aiming for a first win.
The final four for the women’s Irish Senior Cup will be finalised with Banbridge and Catholic Institute both seeking their first journey that far in the competition.
Insta are the obvious favourites having made their way up to second in the EYHL while Bann sit sixth in the Ulster Premier League.
On the men’s side of the competition, there is a potential classic in store at Grange Road where Three Rock Rovers meet Lisnagarvey in the Irish Senior Cup quarter-final.
Rovers are top of the men’s EYHL with Garvey in second but the latter did win their meeting earlier this season, 3-2 at Comber Road. It is the first of two meetings between the teams in Dublin within seven days of each other as they play a crucial league encounter next week too.
The Irish Hockey Trophy semi-finals for men are an all-Ulster affair with North Down facing South Antrim and Queen’s up against Portadown.
On the basis of reaching the top half of the split Ulster Premier Division, South Antrim and Queen’s would be pegged as favourites in these ties.
In the women’s Irish Hockey Trophy, Leinster Division 1 side Avoca face Challenge A side YMCA in a semi-final derby with the other final four tie postponed between Raphoe and Ashton due to the various weather warnings in place in Donegal and Cork.
Thursday 17th February
EY Hockey League: UCD 1 (H McLoughlin) Loreto 4 (H Matthews, Y Pratt, M Jennings, S O’Brien)
Friday 18th February 2022
EuroHockey Indoor Club Trophy (Alanya, Turkey – times Irish): Railway Union v Buckingham, 8am; Railway Union v Slavia Prague, 2.15pm
Saturday 19th February 2022
Irish Senior Cup, quarter-final: Three Rock Rovers v Lisnagarvey, Grange Road, 3pm
Irish Hockey Trophy, semi-finals: North Down v South Antrim, Comber LC, 2.40pm; Queens University v Portadown, The Dub, 2.30pm
EuroHockey Indoor Club Trophy (Alanya, Turkey – times Irish): Railway Union v SV Arminen, 10.30am; Railway Union v Gaziantep, 3.30pm
EYHL Division 1: Old Alex v Pegasus, Milltown, 1.30pm
EYHL Division 2, Pool 2: Corinthian v Galway, Whitechurch Park, 1.15pm
Irish Senior Cup, quarter-final: Banbridge v Catholic Institute, Havelock Park, 2.45pm
Irish Hockey Trophy, semi-finals: Avoca v YMCA, Newpark, 2.30pm; Raphoe v Ashton, Royal and Prior, 1pm
Sunday 20th February 2022
EuroHockey Indoor Club Trophy (Alanya, Turkey – time Irish): Railway Union v Clydesdale, 7am