Hockey Ireland Junior Age squads return from recent successful England series

Hockey Ireland Junior Age squads return from recent successful England series 


February 20, 2024, Dublin: Ireland U16 Boys, U16 girls and U18 boys each completed a three-game series with England last week on their three-day visit starting Tuesday February 13. Here’s a summary of how the games went.

Tues Feb 13 – Day 1:


England U16 Boys 2 Ireland U16 Boys 2

Ireland, fielding a number of debutants, twice led against England only to be pegged back on both occasions. Ed Irwin opened the scoring in Q2 from a drag flick. Toby Slye O Connell grabbed a second after the home nation had equalised to give Ireland a Half time lead. England equalised again in the third quarter. Both sides had chances to win the match but all in all the result was fair.


England U18 Boys 3 Ireland U18 Boys 2

Goals from John Cunningham (Penalty stroke) and Milo Thompson saw Ireland race into a 2 goal lead in Q1. England pulled one back before the end of the quarter. As the game ebbed back and forth both sides could have scored but Ireland secured a Half time lead. England equalised in Q3 pouncing on a rebound after an initial save from a drag flick by Coffey. The hosts grabbed the winner with 7 to go, but both sides would feel that they have more than a chance in the remaining fixtures.


England U16 Girls 4 Ireland U16 Girls 2

An Irish team with no fewer than 16 debutants grew into the game against a strong opponent. England took the lead on the stroke of half time, converting after a period of concerted pressure. Ireland thought they had equalised when Evie Girvan bundled home, only to be halted by the umpire who had already awarded a stroke. Hollai Quinn however stayed calm and equalised. Further English pressure saw them race into a 3-1 lead, before Quinn struck again, this time from a corner strike to bring Ireland back within 1. A fourth England goal killed the game off, but Ireland showed improvement in each quarter and could look forward to the next two games.


Weds Feb 14 – Day 2:


England U16 Boys 1 Ireland U16 Boys 2

Alfie Le Quesne’s last minute drag flick gave Ireland a much deserved victory in match 2 of their England trip. Oliver Graham had earlier converted a corner strike of his own, before an England equaliser. It was a solid performance by Ireland to back up their opening day draw.


England U18 Boys 4 Ireland U18 Boys 4

A frantic last 4 minutes saw Ireland throw away a 4-2 lead in the U18 Game. Max Caulwell scored an early corner rebound to give Ireland the lead before England struck back. Rob Olden converted a corner, only to see England equalise with the last touch of the first half. Last quarter goals from John Cunningham and Matthew McAreavey looked to have won the game, however a corner and last second penalty stroke earned England a draw.


England U16 Girls 4 Ireland U16 Girls 3

Goals from Hollai Quinn and Evie Girvin saw Ireland race into a 2 goal lead. England pulled one back then dominated the third quarter to lead 4-2. Caitlin Gribbin pulled one back but the girls couldn’t find an equaliser and the game finished 4-3


Thurs Feb 15 – Day 3:


England U16 Boys 7 Ireland U16 Boys 1

A first half blitz saw England secure the third game as they tore into the Irish leading an improbable 6-0. The second half was much more even as the young Irish lads showed great character. Johnny Woods was the Irish scorer.


England U18 Boys 0 Ireland U18 Boys 1

A final quarter penalty corner from Rob Olden secured a final day win for the U18 boys. With lessons learned from the previous day they were able to see out the win without major alarm. A solid defensive effort, highlighted by the penalty corner running of Max Caulwell ensured that the one goal was enough for victory.


England U16 Girls 3 Ireland U16 Girls 2

There was last second heartbreak for the Irish U16 girls as England struck to seal their win. Holly Farrell had given Ireland the lead before two third quarter goals had the hosts 2-1 ahead. Hollai Quinn equalised with 7 to go only for England to score just before the whistle. The girls improved every game and will hopefully take a number of lessons home with them.


Mick McKinnon Pathway Manager for Hockey Ireland reflected on the mini tournaments when the three teams returned home and said:

“I don’t really care about the results. It was the performances and the learnings that we had in these games that mattered. As a tick box yes, I am pleased with the results achieved with this particular group of players. Results, while good, are immaterial to what we are trying to achieve.” 

“The U18 Boys in the game they drew 4-4 with England and had been leading 4-2 until near the end of the game. They will have learned that they need to close out games when they have the upper hand and can apply this when the results do matter. The U16 Girls had some close games and the lessons they learned towards the end of those games will stand to them in the future.”  

“The U16 Boys in their  third game  may have had their worst result. But the character they showed in the second half when they were trailing 0-6 showed great resolve and was great to see. Learning to play when you’re tired is another box ticked.  Our underage international squads are largely  self-funded programmes that depend on the goodwill of the hockey community. If anybody reading this is interested in sponsoring these teams or helping out with raising funds for these teams contact the Hockey Ireland office and they can be put in contact with the Pathway Collective.”