Friday, August 13, 2010

The Hook moves to new expanded home

The Hook is moving to an expanded new home at The new version of the site will endeavour to keep the spirit of the blog, carrying all the latest Leinster hockey news, reports and photos.

The site features a number of new elements to help you find your preferred content – whether it be club, school or international – in as few clicks as possible, changing from the blog format to a categorised setup. Links to the latest news from your club can be found in left column, too,

Comments can be submitted through a simpler process than in recent months on the blog, with just a moniker and an email (which will not show up on the site) required.

A couple of features will be added to the new site in the coming weeks. There are also increased options for advertisers so if you would like to do so or have any suggestions in the meantime, feel free to send me your ideas to

A huge thanks to Gillian McAuliffe for all her help with the site. Check out her work at

Monday, August 9, 2010

Pembroke appoint Carolan as men's coach

Pembroke have again cast their net to South African to secure a coach, appointing Brendon Carolan (pictured) as their men’s first team coach for the 2010/11 season.

The 29 year old brings with him an impressive coaching CV, being named the South African Coach of the Year in 2009 as well as obtained an FIH High Performance qualification.

He is currently the men’s head coach of KwaZulu Natal in Durban who were the State winners in 2009, and is Director of Hockey at Glenwood High School.

He has also taken on the Head Coach role for South Africa U-17, U-18 and U-19A teams in the pas three years.

In a statement released by Pembroke, the club are delighted with the new appointment, saying:
“Brendon brings a wealth of coaching experience with him and has the calibre to take on our men’s first side as they head into another busy and challenging season, of defending the Leinster Senior League, the Leinster Senior Cup, the Irish Indoor Cup and the Irish Hockey League, and also preparing for the first round of the EHL in the autumn.

“We are delighted that Brendon will be also be taking on the role as Director of Coaching for the club, where he can pass on his wealth of experience for the benefit of both the men’s and ladies’ sections of the club, and, of course, the youth section as well.”

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Ireland complete Belgian whitewash

Ireland 2 (Alex Speers, Jean McDonnell) Belgium 1 (Morgane Vouche)
For the third day running, Ireland wrapped up victory with something to spare as they netted twice in the first half at the National Hockey Stadium and while, Morgane Vouche got the Belgians in range, the hosts always held the aces.

Alex Speers broke the deadlock in just the fifth minute when she dived to finish off fine combination play between the forward trio, Anna O’Flanagan and Nikki Evans renewing their link-up from a couple of seasons ago at Hermes to create the chance.

And Jean McDonnell pouched her second international goal with a clinically struck hit two minutes before the interval from just left of centre of the circle. Miriam Crowley notched the assist to add to an impressive weekend’s work from the UCC woman.

In between goals, Emma Clarke almost capped her 100th international appearance with a spectacular goal but her shot cleared the bar while Emilie Sinia’s shot wide of Emma Gray’s posts was the sum of Belgium’s efforts.

They did, however, strike back when Jill Boon’s build-up play down the right wing set up Morgane Vouche to give the visitors hope of salvaging a result. It came in the 43rd minute, again during a third period in which they held sway in a similar manner to Saturday’s tie.

But Ireland recovered and went closest to adjusting the score when Nicci Daly struck the post with a little over 20 minutes remaining. It was the pick of a number of late chances, none of which were necessary to complete a first series whitewash for Ireland in many a year.

Overall, the three games series proved the right opposition at the right time – facing a side with a similarly new-look about it with places for new squad possible members in the balance.

With the centralised panel of 25 to be announced in the coming weeks ahead of its October inception, the attacking intent and fluidity shown by the side could see a number of new forward options retained.

Coach Muller said after series "I was very happy with the weekend. We were very solid at the back and were always a threat up front. The new players integrated well into the team and it augurs well for the start of our central preparation programme in October. "

Ireland: Emma Gray, Cliodhna Sargent, Sinead McCarthy, Michelle Harvey, Lizzie Colvin, Emma Clarke, Shirley McCay, Anna O’Flanagan, Nikki Evans, Alex Speers
Subs: Niamh Atcheler, Nicci Daly, Louisa Healy, Jean McDonnell, Miriam Crowley

Belgium: Elizabeth Achten, Joy Jouret, Anouk Raes, Valeries Vermeersch, Lola Danhaive, Gaelle Valcke, Emilie Sinia, Caroline Himpe, Barbara Nelen, Jill Boon, Laurence Delmulle
Subs: Morgane Vouche, Olivia Bouche, Caroline Guisset, Julie Scraeyen, Helene Delmee

* Photos from Adrian Boehm

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Ireland notch second comfortable Belgian win

Ireland 3 (Cliodhna Sargent, Nikki Evans, Miriam Crowley) Belgium 1 (Valerie Vermeersch)
Ireland again showed an enterprising spirit as they swept by Belgium for a second day running at the National Hockey Stadium as both sides continue with experimental sides.

Emma Clarke returned to the side, coming in for Anna O’Flanagan in the match day 16, for her 99th cap but eight of the squad would be considered as relative newcomers to the setup.

Belgium, meanwhile, are using a similarly mixed panel with eight of their central panel not travelling while none of their U-21 European B division winning side have been incorporated but will be tried out in an upcoming series with Scotland.

Lining up with a four-two-four formation, Ireland showed their attacking intentions from the start with Clarke finding a foot inside three minutes to win the days first corner.

Michelle Harvey’s drag was blocked but it showed the hosts intent. Nikki Evans again provided the spark going forward, powering through three tackled down the left wing before zipping across a dangerous reverse-stick cross.

Soon after, Nicci Daly was put through one-on-one by a simple crash ball from Cliodhna Sargent through the centre of the Belgian defence but was unable to ever truly control and the chance drifted over the endline.

The visitors were living on borrowed time at this stage and the breakthrough came in the 11th minute from Ireland’s second corner. Cliodhna Sargent’s first dig rebounded straight back to her at the top of the circle and while her shot might have been thundering wide, the post-woman’s stick turned it over the line.

Chances continued to flow as Shirley McCay’s shot was deflected wide while Niamh Atcheler’s cross wreaked havoc, Achten forced to make a double save from Daly and Miriam Crowley.

And Evans doubled the lead – her third goal in two games – in the 25th minute from a neatly worked free. Lizzie Colvin’s pass into the circle seem to vex the Belgian defence, two players leaving the ball, allowing Chloe Watkins time and space in the circle to steady herself and pick out Evans at the back post to prod home from a yard.

Belgium made just two circle incursions in the first half, neither drawing a shot in anger, but they did bounce back after the break. At the height of their purple patch, they pulled a goal back through Valeire Vermeersch in the 42nd minute from their third short corner.

It was a soft concession as Ireland did not utilise any top-circle runners and the defender ambled four yards into the circle unopposed and crisply hit the backboard.

But the tie was settled six minutes later by the goal of the game in brilliant fashion. Michelle Harvey’s ball down the right sideline gave Alex Speers plenty of space to run into and she controlled perfectly on her reverse before sweeping a fine cross for Miriam Crowley to guide home expertly on her reverse.

After that, there was little to write home about bar a last minute scuffle which saw McCay and Jill Boon sin-binned. The latter reacted angrily after taking a stray stick to the head after an awkward tackle and the aftermath saw both yellow-carded.

Nonetheless, it was a second strong showing and a potential whitewash is on the cards tomorrow afternoon at 12pm at Belfield in the final match of the series.

Ireland: E Gray, M Harvey, C Sargent, C Watkins, E Clarke, A Speers (capt), A O’Flynn, S McCarthy, L Colvin, N Evans, N Daly
Subs: J McDonnell, N Atcheler, M Crowley, K McConnell, S McCay

Belgium: E Achten, J Jouret, M Vouche, A Raes, V Vermeersch, L Danhaive, G Valcke, E Sinia, C Himpe, B Nelen, J Boon
Subs: L Delmulle, O Bouche, C Guisset, J Scraeyen, H Delmee

* Photos from Adrian Boehm

Friday, August 6, 2010

Young Irish end losing run in style

Ireland 4 (Michelle Harvey 2, Nikki Evans 2) Belgium 0
A four-star second half performance saw Ireland end their Belgian hoodoo in fine fashion at the National Hockey Stadium as Nikki Evans and Michelle Harvey (pictured, right) both scored twice.

It ended the country’s ten game losing streak in the best possible manner as a number of players made serious cases for inclusion in Gene Muller’s centralised panel.

With Emma Clarke not arriving in Dublin until Saturday, just seven of the side in the match day 16 had more than ten caps to their name with Jean McDonnell, Miriam Crowley (below, left), Anna O’Flanagan and teenagers Niamh Atchler and Chloe Watkins all playing their first senior internationals on home soil.

Indeed, they were full value for the result, notching up 16 shots in the game, testing the visiting goalkeeper Elizabeth Achten from start to finish in a one-sided affair.

Watkins went close inside three minutes with a thumping reverse which Achten did well to bat away after Lizzie Colvin’s early inroads. It was the sole effort of a stop-start opening quarter, punctuated further by an injury to umpire Moira Flahive – standing in her first international – which caused a brief delay.

The resumption, though, saw Ireland tear into the game. During this period, Watkins would test the goalkeeper further still with another rasping reverse after the impressive Crowley had laid into her path. The UCC woman had a reverse-sweep palmed away while McDonnell skewed wide.

As it was, not taking one of the first half chances proved frustrating as two would-be corners were waved to play on and the ensuing chances went a begging with Crowley’s push across goal and Nicci Daly’s baseline run coming to nought.

Shirley McCay took a two-minute suspension for dissent on the second occasion just before half-time.

Ireland though they had taken the lead soon after the interval when McDonnell smashed the ball into the bottom corner. The shot was well outside the circle but was initially awarded before a consultation saw the right decision reached.

For good measure, McDonnell’s next crash ball hit the post from 20 metres out but it was a brief respite for the Belgian defence who finally succumbed in the 40th minute.

Anna O’Flanagan snuck in to win a penalty corner and Harvey whipped home low and true for 1-0.

Achten denied Evans’ volley and Daly’s punch shot in the immediate aftermath with a brilliant double save but the second was only three minutes in coming. Evans mazily raced down the right wing and her neat exchange with Crowley opened a comfortable chance to slot the second and Ireland were on easy street.

In a flurry of action, Evans, Colvin and, captain for the day, Alex Speers all went close before Belgium belatedly showed some attacking flair with Jill Boon striking her side’s first shot in anger in the 50th minute.

It was a rare break-out and Ireland sealed the win in the 62nd minute. This time Evans needed no help – though Nicci Daly provided a fine decoy run – switching her focus to the left-wing where she burned past Julie Scraeyen 25 metres out and easily evaded Achten to roll home her second international goal.

Harvey dragged home her second and Ireland’s fourth on the final hooter to complete a fine win. The sides meet again on today at 4pm and on Sunday at 12pm in which Clarke will return to play in her 99th international fixture and will don the captain’s armband.

Ireland: L Healy, M Harvey, C Sargent, C Watkins, S McCay, A Speers (capt), A O’Flynn, S McCarthy, L Colvin, N Evans, N Daly
Subs: J McDonnell, N Atcheler, M Crowley, K McConnell, A O’Flanagan

Belgium: E Achten, M Vouche, A Raes, V Vermeersch, L Danhaive, G Valcke, E Sinia, C Himpe, B Nelen, J Boon, L Delmulle
Subs: J Jouret, O Bouche, C Guisset, J Scraeyen, H Delmee

* A couple more pics from the game can be seen here

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Chiefs salute men's league reshuffle

The men’s Leinster league restructure will see the return of division nine while division two will remain in its existing format for the upcoming season, rising to seven in numbers following the formation of a new club, the Rathgar Chiefs.

Based in High School’s idyllic Danum grounds, the Chiefs were formed this summer from a group of recent university graduates looking to continue playing together after using up their ‘years of grace’.

The club has set up links with Diocesan hockey club – who celebrate their 50th anniversary in the coming season. For the first season, they will enter two teams, the first of which will play in division two while the second team will compete in the revamped division nine. A youth setup is planned for in the coming years.

The club draw their nickname from the one ever-present in Dublin University Hockey Club, the American-Indian chief who has been the club’s unofficial mascot since being installed in the Trinity hockey rooms over a decade ago.

Elsewhere, the restructure sees divisions four to eight revert back to the regular, ten-team format after a couple of years of increased numbers, mainly precipitated by sides dropping out of division two and into the junior leagues.

As such, eleven first teams will compete across these divisions with Irish Hockey Challenge winners St Brendan’s/PP, Naas, Portrane, Mullingar and Kilkenny all contesting division four.

Corinthian III, Three Rock Rovers III and YMCA III join already relegated Avoca II in regarding as division five sides and the fourth teams of that former trio are also repositioned into division six.

Skerries go with them as one of four teams moved down. None come the other way with table-toppers Fingal III and Dublin University III remaining in situ while Bray II, Avoca III, St Brendan’s/PP II, Railway Union IV and YMCA V are all moved to division seven.

YMCA VI, Navan III, Pembroke VII, Dublin University IV, Glenanne V and St Brendan’s/PP III will now make up the new division nine and will be joined by new second teams from the Rathgar Chiefs and North Kildare.

Divisions one and three will get underway on September 18.

Leinster Men's Hockey Leagues 2010/2011
Division 1:
YMCA, Weston, Corinthian, UCD, Three Rock Rovers, Glennane, Fingal, Monkstown, Railway Union, Pembroke Wanderers

Division 2: Suttonians, Navan, Rathgar Chiefs, Clontarf, Dublin University, Bray, Avoca

Division 3: Corinthian II, Pembroke Wanderers II, Glennane II, UCD II, Railway Union II, Dublin University II, Monkstown II, Fingal II, Three Rock Rovers II, YMCA II

Division 4: St Brendan's/PP, Pembroke Wanderers III, Railway Union III, Clontarf II, Naas, Portrane, Mullingar, Monkstown III, Kilkenny, Glennane III

Division 5: Three Rock Rovers III, Pembroke Wanderers IV, Monkstown IV, Corinthian III, Suttonians II, YMCA III, Weston II, Avoca II, North Kildare, St James Gate

Division 6: Glennane IV, Three Rock Rovers IV, Pembroke Wanderers V, Skerries, Dublin University III, Monkstown V, Corinthian IV, Navan II, YMCA IV, Fingal III

Division 7: Bray II, Railway Union IV, St Brendan's/PP II, Athy, UCD III, Avoca III, Kilkenny II, Mullingar II, Weston III, YMCA V

Division 8: Naas II, Corinthian V, St James Gate II, Pembroke Wanderers VI, Three Rock Rovers V, Wicklow, Clontarf III, Smithfield, Fingal IV, Railway Union V,

Division 9: YMCA VI, Navan III, Rathgar Chiefs II, Pembroke Wanderers VII, North Kildare II, Dublin University IV, St Brendan's/PP III, Glenanne V

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Jermyn back in Ireland fold for Malaysian ties

Paul Revington plans to use at least 25 players as Ireland’s men return to their international schedule after a brief summer break as the build-up to 2011’s European championships ramps up with a four-game series against Malaysia from August 18 to 22.

The coach had named four separate groups of 15 players for each of the four-game series which precedes a five-nations tournament in Paris a week later with the second goalkeeper slot to be confirmed for each panel at this point.

John Jermyn (right) - the Ireland selection's current top-scorer since Stephen Butler's retirement - returns after a summer sabbatical from the panel as does Adam Pritchard who missed out on the Celtic Cup and mid-summer series against France but David Hobbs has yet to return to the setup.

Brian Doherty (below, left) has a chance to continue his 100pc scoring record in the national jersey after three goals in three 2009 Celtic Cup ties – as well as a string of netbusters for the U-21 selection last month

They face a side with plenty of motivation with their coach Stephen van Huizen charged with delivering medals from the upcoming Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games – the latter offering potential Olympic places.

“Gold has always been our target [in these tournaments], and it will be the same for the other teams in the Asian Games as well. Our highest achievement in the Asian Games to date is bronze and we will again have to beat higher ranked teams like South Korea, Pakistan and India to achieve the set target.

“And if we fail, we will have to go through a qualifier where there will again be a higher ranked team than us to beat.

“In short, we are working towards an Asian Games gold, but it will not be easy,” said Van Huizen.

Ireland squad for Malaysia series:
Iain Walker (GK), David Harte (GK), Ronan Gomley, Joe Brennan, Adam Pritchard, Paul Gleghorne, Michael Maguire, Conor Harte, Brian Doherty, John Jackson, Geoff McCabe, Alan Giles, David Ames, Bruce McCandless, John Jermyn, Jason Lynch, Andy McConnell, Peter Caruth, Eugene Magee, Phelie Maguire, Chris Cargo, Gareth Watkins, Timmy Cockram, Peter Blakeney, Mitch Darling, Alan Sothern

* To see who plays in which specific game, click here

Match Schedule:
August 18, 2010 (8pm):
Ireland vs Malaysia, Belfield
August 19, 2010 (8pm): Ireland vs Malaysia, Belfield
August 21, 2010 (4pm): Ireland vs Malaysia, Grange Road
August 22, 2010 (4pm): Ireland vs Malaysia, Belfield

McConnell returns, Clarke in line for 100

Ireland will stick with a similar, experimental make-up to the squad which played Scotland recently with Gene Muller making two changes to the panel for next weekend’s series against Belgium.

Kate McConnell (left) returns to the senior panel for the first time since July 2008 when she featured in the Celtic Cup in Garryduff with Stephanie Quinn stepping out of the selection for these games, to be played at Belfield.

Louisa Healy comes back in for Pamela Smithwick between the posts after the Alex goalkeeper made her debut against the Scots.

Emma Clarke (below, right), meanwhile, is in line to make her 100th appearance for Ireland – becoming the fourth player in the current panel to do so after Nikki Symmons, Bridget Cleland and Eimear Cregan – should she play twice.

She captains a side once again which features nine players with less than ten caps to their name. Alex Speers is one of the more experienced members of the panel and has made the switch back to Ireland to work in Dublin from Belgium and will play her club hockey with Pegasus in the upcoming season.

Ireland will hope to end a ten-game losing streak since beating Chile in the World Cup qualifier against a Belgium side who come to Dublin on a high, having claimed gold at last week’s U-21 Women’s European Nation’s Trophy and will play in the A division next time round.

The lowlanders are currently ranked three places below Ireland in the world rankings but have held the Indian sign over Muller’s charges in recent times, winning a pre-WCQ double-header as well as taking a 3-1 in 2009’s Champion’s Challenge in Kazan.

Ireland squad for Belgium series (club/caps):
Niamh Atcheler (Hermes, 2), Emma Clarke (Leicester, 98), Lizzie Colvin (Loreto, 37), Miriam Crowley (UCC, 2), Nicci Daly (Loreto, 6), Nikki Evans (Railway Union, 8), Emma Gray (GK, Hermes, 16), Louisa Healy (GK, Loreto, 51), Michelle Harvey (Pegasus, 41), Sinead McCarthy (Cork Harlequins, 6), Shirley McCay (Dragons, 94), Kate McConnell (Pegasus, 2), Jean McDonnell (Railway Union, 3), Anna O’Flanagan (Hermes, 3), Audrey O’Flynn (UCC, 17), Cliodhna Sargent (Cork Harlequins, 68), Alex Speers (Pegasus, 87), Chloe Watkins (Hermes, 3)

Match schedule (all at Belfield):
Friday, August 6 (7pm): Ireland v Belgium (Carol Metchette, Moira Flahive)
Saturday, August 7 (4pm): Ireland v Belgium (Carol Metchette, Liz Clifford)
Sunday, August 8 (12pm): Ireland v Belgium (Carol Metchette, Catriona Hassey)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hooked! returns in early September

Just two weeks remain before the early bird offer expires for the IHA’s annual Hooked! Coaching Conference.

The IHA are currently offering a 25pc discount to the €60 price for the conference which gets underway in early September.

Senior international coaches Paul Revington and Gene Muller, along with IHA High Performance Director Dave Passmore will be among the key presenters.

They will cover topics including practical conditioning for clubs and schools; penalty corner defence; developing fast attacking hockey; integrating goalkeepers into training sessions and developing junior drag-flickers.

The conference takes place in three centres: Banbridge (September 4), UCD (September 5) and Garryduff (September 12) and runs from 10am to 4pm.

To avail of the early bird, call Katie on 01 716 3264.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Malaysians set to return for Irish series

Paul Revington’s Irish men’s team have a busy August in store as Malaysia have been confirmed as visitors for a four match series (times and dates to be confirmed) before taking on a five nations event in Paris.

Ranked 14 in the world, Malaysia are the highest placed side Revington has beaten with Ireland since taking over the post in November 2008, getting the better of the Asian side 2-1 in last summer’s Champion’s Challenge II.

Following that series, they travel with Malaysia to Paris for a tournament with Scotland, Poland and hosts France, beginning on August 24.

The squad is currently on a six-week break from training following their Celtic Cup success and series win over France.

They return to training on August 14 and Revington is looking forward to get back into gear with the 2011 Europeans and a first shot at Olympic qualification on the horizon.

"Our Team needs to continue to accumulate game and competition experience and these events provide this opportunity.

“The current challenge for our team will be playing these test matches after a period of necessary rest and recovery for the players, knowing that the players will be competing with international teams at the peak of their respective summer programmes.

“The team however showed a good balance of technical quality and emotional strength during the recent summer period and I know they will arrive back on the August 14 determined to make the most of these test match and competition opportunities before they start their respective club seasons."

Five-Nations - match schedule (Paris):
Tuesday, August 24: Malaysia vs Poland, France vs Scotland
Wednesday, August 25: Ireland vs Poland
Thursday, August 26: Malaysia vs Scotland, France vs Ireland
Friday, August 27: Poland vs Scotland
Saturday, August 28: Malaysia vs Ireland, France vs Poland
Sunday, August 29: Ireland vs Scotland, France vs Malaysia

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Scots complete clean sweep over Irish women

Senior Women's international challenge match
Scotland 3 (Kareena Marshall, Susan Hamilton, Aimee Clark) Ireland 1 (Alex Speers)
Scotland completed a clean sweep from their three match series with Ireland this afternoon in Forthbank, finding it a smoother transition to bed in their three new squad additions than Ireland’s sixth.

Old Alex goalkeeper Pamela Smithwick was the latest new Irish cap, lining out for the first time at senior level after five others had made debuts this weekend.

Scotland took the lead in the 25th minute when Kareena Marshall completed a switch-left routine. Claire Scott had two efforts foiled by the Irish defence soon after but Shirley McCay went closest when she was denied a leveller, smacking a post, also from a corner.

But Scotland killed off the tie early in the second period when Aimee Clark swept to Susan Hamilton to score from their second corner and, in the 48th minute, Ali Bell planted a low shot into the right corner to make it 3-0.

Late on, Ireland did force four corners – Nikki Evans to the fore – and she was involved in the consolation goal after Emma Clarke strode forward into the circle. Evans goalbound shot took a nick off Alex Speers for her fifth international strike.

Speaking afterwards, Gene Muller reflected on a worthwhile weekend to test out possible additions to the senior panel in the future, using ten players with less than ten caps to their name.

“We made too many errors today and did not create enough momentum. It was a scrappy match which demanded a tougher mentality than we showed and this is the main lesson for us.

“These three matches have been very useful for an opportunity to give players a chance at this level.”

Ireland will play a three match series against Belgium at the National Hockey Stadium from August 6 to 8.

Ireland: Pamela Smithwick, Audrey O’Flynn, Michelle Harvey, Cliodhna Sargent, Sinead McCarthy, Lizzie Colvin, Emma Clarke, Shirley McCay, Alex Speers, Nikki Evans, Nicci Daly
Subs: Chloe Watkins, Niamh Atcheler, Anna O Flanagan, Stephanie Quinn, Jean McDonnell
Not Used: Emma Gray, Miriam Crowley

Saturday, July 24, 2010

McDonnell strike not enough for Ireland

Senior women's international challenge match
Scotland 2 (Louise Baxter, Vikki Bunce) Ireland 1 (Jean McDonnell)

Despite Jean McDonnell’s stunning second half effort, an experimental Ireland side fell 2-1 to a Scottish side also using this series to assess their options as the Forthbank hosts fielded two debutants for Saturday’s tie.

The Scots took the lead midway through the first half following a turnover and subsequent neat interplay between Louise Baxter, Sam Judge and Vikki Bunce, the latter’s square pass left Emma Gray stranded allowing Baxter to roll the ball home.

Nikki Evans and Alex Speers had the best of the Irish chances in the first period while Carmin Dow had to be particularly alert to foil an Irish attempt following a quick free hit.

But, eight minutes into the second half, McDonnell scored her first international goal – on her second cap – when she picked up Cliodhna Sargent’s pass, turned a defender and blasted past Dow.

Scotland forced a series of corners in the aftermath but their winner came from play when debutant Susan McGilveray crossed and Bunce finished off after Ireland struggled to clear.

Speaking afterwards, Irish coach Gene Muller said of the game: “We were a notch up from yesterday in terms of performance it has been heartening to have consecutive good displays. The new players continue to hold their own against a good Scottish team.”

Ireland: Emma Gray, Audrey O’Flynn, Sinead McCarthy, Cliodhna Sargent, Michelle Harvey, Lizzie Colvin, Emma Clarke (Capt), Shirley McCay, Alex Speers, Nikki Evans, Nicola Daly.
Subs: Jean McDonnell, Anna O Flanagan, Chloe Watkins, Stephanie Quinn, Miriam Crowley
Not Used: Pam Smithwick (GK), Niamh Atcheler.

Five make debut but Kidd settles tie

Senior women's international challenge match
Scotland 1 (Nikki Kidd) Ireland 0

Gene Muller handed five Irish players their first senior international caps but they were unable to turn the tide against Scotland as a 40th minute goal settled the tie with Nikki Kidd dragging home the winner in the first of the three match series in Forthbank on Friday night.

Emma Clarke, elevated to captain on her 96th appearance, was impressive in midfield together with fellow senior players Shirley McCay and Alex Speers to help drive the young Irish team forward.

The goal came soon after the break, though, as Scotland created a number of second half chances as coach Gordon Shepherd assesses his pack before the upcoming Commonwealth Games, handing Kay Bartlett her first cap, too, while Laura Wrightson celebrated her 50th cap.

Speaking afterwards, Muller said “It was a very even match with both teams creating quality chances we had five players on debut and they al played very well for their first caps. We played at a high level for long periods and I am very encouraged by this.”

Ireland: Emma Gray, Audrey O’Flynn, Sinead McCarthy, Cliodhna Sargent, Michelle Harvey, Lizzie Colvin, Emma Clarke, Shirley McCay, Jean McDonnell, Nikki Evans, Alex Speers
Subs: Anna O’Flanagan, Chloe Watkins, Niamh Atcheler, Miriam Crowley, Stephanie Quinn.
Not used: Pamela Smithwick, Nicci Daly

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Six debutants in for Scotland series

Gene Muller has named six uncapped players in his squad for this weekend’s three-match series against Scotland in Stirling this weekend.

The selection comes 13 months before Ireland’s first shot at claiming an Olympic spot at the European championships in Monchengladbach in late August 2011 with this series – and three games against Belgium in a fortnight – a showcase for the possibles with ten probables rested.

Hermes trio Niamh Atcheler, Chloe Watkins and Anna O’Flanagan are all included in the experimental panel as is Old Alex goalkeeper Pamela Smithwick. Jean McDonnell, after three years as the country’s top scorer in the domestic game, gets her chance to stake a claim in the forward line.

Miriam Crowley is the one non-Leinster new inclusion, the UCC woman joining club mate Audrey O’Flynn in the selection.

The squad is shy on caps bar the Ulster trio of Emma Clarke, Alex Speers and Shirley McCay. The three are based abroad and so unlikely to be named in the centralised panel. Nor is Lizzie Colvin as the Loreto player is going to take up an Erasmus option for the coming year and so is included, too.

Defenders Michelle Harvey and Cliodhna Sargent are the two others included from the World Cup qualifying squad but Emma Stewart, Lauren Barr and Rachel Mulligan – squad members in 2009 – look to be out of favour.

They face Scotland three times this weekend before facing Belgium in another three match series in early August.

Muller, meanwhile, has released the specific details of the Central Participation Programme to the respective clubs.

Players will undertake full squad sessions in Dublin on Sundays and Mondays with the centralised panel then taking in Tuesday and Wednesday sessions in Dublin along with a pair of strength and conditioning sessions.

This programme will run from October 18 on a three weeks out of four basis with players available to play club matches on the same rota; a schedule which will run until the Europeans and probably on until the Olympic qualifiers or, indeed, the Olympics.

Playing in midweek league or cup matches, though, have been ruled and club training will only be factored into the programme in Irish Senior or IHL weeks.

International build-up matches are currently not likely to be scheduled in mid-season, with April 2011 pencilled in as the date for the next series of games.

Ireland’s men, meanwhile, will travel to France for a five-nations competition against the hosts, Poland, Malaysia and Scotland.

The tournament runs from August 24 to 29 with a squad to be named nearer to the time.

Ireland squad for Scotland series (Club, caps):
Emma Gray (GK) (Hermes, 14) Niamh Atcheler (Hermes, 0), Emma Clarke (Capt, Leicester, 95), Lizzie Colvin (Loreto, 33), Miriam Crowley (UCC, 0), Nicci Daly (Loreto, 5), Nikki Evans (Railway Union, 5), Michelle Harvey (Pegasus, 38), Sinead McCarthy (Cork Harlequins, 3), Shirley McCay (Dragons, 91), Jean McDonnell (Railway Union, 0), Anna O'Flanagan (Hermes, 0), Audrey O'Flynn (UCC, 14), Stephanie Quinn (Armagh, 4), Cliodhna Sargent (Cork Harlequins, 65), Pam Smithwick (GK) (Old Alex, 0), Alex Speers (Pegasus, 78), Chloe Watkins (Hermes, 0)
Rested: Mary Goode; Eimear Cregan; Lisa Jacob; Roisin Flinn; Bridget Cleland; Nikki Symmons; Emma Smyth; Niamh Small; Megan Frazer; Louisa Healy

Match Schedule:
Friday, July 23 (7pm): Ireland vs Scotland, Stirling
Saturday, July 24 (4pm): Ireland vs Scotland, Stirling
Sunday, July 25 (12pm): Ireland vs Scotland, Stirling
Friday, August 6 (7pm): Ireland vs Beglium, Belfield
Saturday, August 7 (4pm): Ireland vs Beglium, Belfield
Sunday, August 8 (12pm): Ireland vs Beglium, Belfield

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Indoor groups named for 2010/11 season

The line-up for the group stages of the National Indoor Trophy were released earlier this week with initial rounds of the competition in December and January, leading to the finals weekend in the NBA on Ferbuary 12 and 13, 2011.

Lisburn will be a new venue for the competition as two men’s and two women’s team from Ulster enter the competition – Belfast Harlequins and Annadale in the former; Armagh and Knock on the ladies side.

Cork C of I, meanwhile, are the sole Munster representatives on the men’s side and face a tough group against reigning Irish champions Pembroke along with Corinthian and Monkstown and last season’s surprise package Clontarf.

TRR and YMCA – both semi-finalists at least for the past couple of years – are the front-runners in Group III with former kingpins Avoca and Railway waiting in the wings.

On the women’s side, Railway begin their title defence with ties against Pembroke, Clontarf and Old Alex. Hermes travel to Lisburn to play the two Ulster sides and Trinity while 2009 winners Galway tussle with Avoca and Glenanne.

Men’s groups
Group I (Lisburn): Glenanne, Suttonians, Belfast Harlequins, Annadale
Group II (Dublin): Pembroke, Clontarf, Cork C of I, Corinthian, Monkstown
Group III (Dublin): TRR, YMCA, Avoca, Dublin Uni, Railway Union

Women‘s groups
Group A (Lisburn): Hermes, Armagh, Knock, Trinity
Group B (TBC): Galway, Avoca, Glenanne
Group C (Dublin): Railway Union, Pembroke, Clontarf, Old Alex