Sunday, November 30, 2008
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 7:55 PM
Cork Harlequins 1 (Dan Hobbs) Glenanne 4 (Stephen Butler 2, Enda Tucker, Gary Shaw)
Banbridge 2 (Stephen Dowds, Ross McCandless) Cork C of I 1 (Stephen Parker)
*Pictures courtesy of Adrian Boehm
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 1:13 AM
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Belfast Harlequins 5 (Kellie Thornton 3, Clare Coey 2) Cork C of I 1 (Julie O'Sullivan)
Belfast Harlequin cut loose in the final quarter against Cork C of I to claim a bonus point win. Kellie Thornton opened the scoring early on but CI were level when Julie O'Sullivan's struck from the top of the circle.
Clare Coey got the hosts back in front to the delight of the Deramore crowd after Judy Getty's initial burst. Thornton made the game safe with 12 minutes left from a corner, Coey bagged the bonus point in the 63rd minute before Thornton wrapped up her hat-trick.
Railway Union 6 (Cecelia Joyce 3, Kate McKenna, Emma Smyth, Jean McDonnell) Randalstown 2 (Judith Atkinson, Grace Watters)
Mick McKinnon's innovative side did their semi-final hopes a power of good as they were way too strong for Randalstown, picking up a bonus point. Cecelia Joyce - a converted midfielder - scored a hat-trick of deflections, as well as hitting the bar and directing the ball goalwards for Smyth's goal in a great display of centre-forward scavenging.
Meanwhile, Jean McDonnell, Smyth and Kate McKenna have pace to burn that perfectly suits the new rules format, creating some truly brilliant goals. Joyce hit the bar from the first such move in the sixth minute with a reverse. Railway, though, were rocked on their heals at the start of the second quarter as Judith Atkinson pinged in from the top of the circle.
Two goals in two minutes from perfectly executed corners turned the game around before half-time - the second a peach - preceding a second-half onslaught. McKenna roofed a reverse, reacting fastest to a rebound 30 seconds after the break. Smyth created and scored the fourth with a brilliant solo run along the left end-line, crossed for Joyce and tapped in her the latter's goal-bound shot.
McDonnell aerialled in the fifth before Grace Watters netted a rebound. Thoughts of losing the bonus point, though, were dispelled when Joyce deflected in a McDonnell long corner and subsequently claimed the Player-of-the-Match award.
* Loreto P Pegasus P
UCD P Ballymoney P
Armagh 0 Hermes 2 (Jenny Kinch, Gillian Pinder)
Hermes became the only side in Group B to claim two wins from two but were made to wait by a determined Armagh whose defence stood firm until the final quarter when Jenny Kinch converted a well-worked corner.
Gillian Pinder added the goal two minutes later that denied the hosts a bonus point, collecting Anna O'Flanagan's right-wing cross and slot home and seal the win. They top the group but their lack of bonus point yet means they can be caught in top spot by Ballymoney should they win their rearranged game with UCD.
Cork Harlequins 1 (Karen Bateman) Pembroke Wanderers 0
Karen Bateman's 27th minute goal was all that separated the sides at Farmer's Cross as Cork Harlequins move into second place in the group while Pembroke's bonus point means they remain in the mix in third.
Pembroke started slightly the better, creating three clear-cut chances but could not convert. Quins, though, found their feet and won four corners, the last of which was switched to Bateman. It took a heavy deflection to sail high into the net for a half-time advantage.
The visitors again started the half better, winning two corners one of which hit the post. At the other end, Rachel Kohler forced a great save out of Jane Coyne, ensuring Pembroke's bonus point.
*Armagh vs Hermes pictures courtesy of Deryck Vincent while a couple of Railway vs Randalstown pictures can be seen here and pictures from sportsfile here.
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 10:37 PM
Glenanne move into a tie for third with a 2-1 win against Bray in the only game of the day in division one. Corinthian and Old Alex fell victim to the frost.
*More detail to follow, picture courtesy of Emer Keogh.
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 10:32 PM
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 9:35 PM
Suttonians 12 (Richie Wormold 5, Ed Hipwell 2, Yasir Islam 3, Conor Gillett, Mukhtar Ahmed)
Suttonians got their league campaign back on track after a couple of difficult weekends with an emphatic win over Naas - a side struggling badly this season. Richie Wormold helped the side to an 8-0 half-time lead and ended up with five.
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 9:27 PM
Friday, November 28, 2008
Nine Leinster players have been included in Mary Logue’s initial Irish U-18 panel of 33 as the preparations begin for next summer’s U-18 Eurohockey Nations tournament in Belgium.
Five Hermes’ players are included while Loreto’s Ali Meeke and Hannah Matthews – who missed the recent interpros through injury – also get the nod. Leinster captain Orla Fox and Glenanne striker Marie Goulding are the other players while Trinity’s Irene Gorman and Kilkenny’s Aine Curran are also in the squad. Curran is one of two South-East players involved while there is ten from Ulster, nine Connacht and thee Munster
The panel meet up for the first time on January 2 and 3, 2009 with the tournament ultimately taking place from July 7-12, 2009.
Niamh Atcheler (St Andrews College/Hermes), Natalie Barr (Lurgan College/Lurgan), Naomi Carroll (St Patricks Comprenhensive/Catholic Institute), Hannah Clarke (Belfast Royal Academy/Pegasus), Katie Coydre (Colaiste Iognaid/Greenfields), Deirdre Duke (Alexandra College/Hermes), Brenda Flannery (Colaiste Iognaid/Greenfields), Orla Fox (Mount Sackville/Pembroke Wanderers), Dora Gorman (Taylors Hill/Greenfields), Irene Gorman (Taylors Hill/Trinity), Sammy Jo Greer (Coleraine HS/Ballymoney), Jenny Kyle (Belfast Royal Academy/Pegasus), Hannah Matthews (Loreto Beaufort/Loreto), Jessica McMickan (The Bower/Galway), Ali Meeke (The High School/Loreto), Tara Melvin (Colaiste Iognaid/Galway), Ruth Millar (Grosvenor Grammar/Belfast Harlequins), Emile Molloy (Colaiste Iognaid/Galway), Anna Mae Morton (Royal School Armagh/Armagh), Gillian Pinder (St Andrews College/Hermes), Amy Stewart (Royal School Armagh/Armagh), Vanessa Surgeoner (Ballyclare High/Randalstown), Claire Warnock (Royal School Armagh/Armagh), Chloe Watkins (St Andrews College/Hermes), Jenna Watt (Victoria College/Belfast Harlequins), Jennifer Lyttle (Villiers School/Limerick Club), Edwina McGrath (Ursulines College Thurles/Moyne Thurles), Hilary Griffen (St. Leo's/Wexford), Aine Curran (Loreto Kilkenny/Kilkenny), Marie Goulding (St Marks/Glenanne), Sarah Greene (Loreto Foxrock/Hermes), Freddie Timmins (Salerno/Galway), Lynsey Trainor (Colaiste Iognaid/Galway)
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 4:19 PM
Belfast Harlequins vs Cork C of I, 2.30 Deramore Park, (Umpires: Gail Taylor, Jennifer Drewitt)
CI's 1-0 win over Randalstown in week one of the IHL should give them confidence against what has been an inconsistent, youthful Belfast Harlequins this term. Mel Ryan scored the winner at the Cork-side missed a host of chances against a side that is still unbeaten up north in league action and so logic would dictate a win over Harlequins is on the cards.
Loreto wrapped up their win over Quins in the opening quarter but they showed enough in the game's latter stages, with Jenny McDonough driving them on, to show they can do some damage on home turf.
Railway Union vs Randalstown, 6pm, Park Avenue (Zena Howe, Catriona Hassey)
Saturday evening's focus will definitely be on Park Avenue as Railway play host to the only evening tip-off in the province, giving allcomers the chance to watch some IHL action. It worked up north in Banbridge with over 700 making in attendance.
On the field, Railway will hope to get their semi-final bid on track after a narrow 2-1 defeat to the country's top dogs, Pegasus. On home turf, they should have the upper hand though they are playing a side unbeaten in domestic action. Railway have both Leinster's top scorer - Jean McDonnell - and the most miserly defence in the league with just one goal conceded, with former Belfast Harlequin' Helen Stevenson minding the net.
Loreto vs Pegasus, 3pm, Loreto Beaufort (Carol Metchette, Lynn Morrow)
Undoubtedly the tie of the round, Loreto's quintet of Irish players mean they will not suffer for quality though Pegasus' form up north has been nothing short of scintillating. 39 goals in seven games just one conceded with the likes of Armagh, Ballymoney and Belfast Harlequins summarily dismissed.
Former internationals Jill Orbinson and Arlene Boyles are back in after missing round one and will hope of repeating the 5-2 win in last season's ISC semi-final. Loreto, meanwhile, have their internationals in action for the club for the first time since November 8 but still managed a cup win over Pembroke II last Sunday.
POOL B (All Saturday)
Armagh vs Hermes, 2pm, Ardmore Leisure Centre (Laura Callaghan, Jennifer Hobson)
Irish club champions Hermes face a journey into the unknown as they face Armagh for the very first time. They do so with Irish legend Jenny Burke back in action to add experience to their young line-up, having played a useful friendly under IHL rules against UCD on Wednesday night. They will also hope the bug that affected Chloe Watkins last weekend will have cleared up.
Armagh, on the other hand, have struggled this term and still face hockey life without a number of their stars. Amy Stewart and Stephanie Quinn are recovering from long term injuries but Rachel Mulligan is back in the line up after injury.
UCD vs Ballymoney, 4pm, Belfield (Gerry Kotze, Nigel Brislane)
Another legend makes her return this weekend as Lyndsey McVicker returns to the Ballymoney line-up after her honeymoon against a miserly UCD side. Under Mary Logue, they have developed a side conceding very few against the top sides, picking up a 0-0 against Hermes and letting just one goal and no corners against Railway. Ballymoney go into the game with three wins and three losses in the Ulster league.
Cork Harlequins vs Pembroke Wanderers, 1pm, Harlequin Park (Julie Beamish, Liz Clifford) Cork Harlequins will hope their recent defeat at the hands of UCC is more of a blip than a sign of decline after so many years of dominance in the South. To that end, Quins' will need to keep Louisa Moore at bay if they are to prevent Pembroke from a second successive win and avenge the fate of their men's side.
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 12:33 AM
The battle of Ulster's top two in Tyrone could prove one of the pivotal ties in what, already, looks to be the tighter of the two groups. Cookstown will miss former international Andy Babrbour but their young charges are bouyed by another of their number, Colin Donaldson, stepping up to national level. A 4-2 win for the Tyrone side earlier this season and last season's title breaking Annadale's domestic dominance should see Cookstown as narrow favourites.
Group B (All Saturday)
Fingal vs Three Rock Rovers, 1.45pm, ALSAA (S MacAllister, Dan Clarke)
Returning to the scene of a 2-1 win two weeks ago, Rovers go into the Dublin derby in full confidence after a good win over Monkstown with a long absentee list. Ali Haughton, Neil Lyons, Mitch Darling, Charlie Henderson and Phelie Maguire all return to the squad but Peter Blakeney is a doubt with a shoulder injury.
Banbridge's home tie with Lisnagarvey proved one of the highlights of the IHL opening round and, while the time is slightly earlier, the later tip off should again ensure a good turn out. CI have Mark Ruddle back between the posts after a lengthy injury battle and Johnny Bruton makes an instant return to the scene of his international debut.
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 12:25 AM
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Men's Division 2: Suttonians vs Naas, 1.30pm, Sutton Park School
Ladies Division 1: Glenanne v Bray, 12.30pm, St Mark's; Corinthian v Old Alex, 1pm, Whitechurch Park
Neville Cup Semi finals: YMCA v Three Rock Rovers, 7.45pm, Claremont Road; Railway Union vs Glenanne, Park Avenue, 7.45pm
Division 1: Monkstown vs UCD, 8pm, Rathdown
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 11:51 PM
North Wicklow hockey club will open its doors for the first time this Sunday at their base in Charlesland Sports and Recreation Centre, Greystones and will be open for membership.
Initially aimed at junior players, the club has the full backing of the IHA and will host an open day at Charlesland from 10am to 12pm on Sunday to which all are welcome.
Speaking about the launch, club man Taragh Seaver said "it's a really exciting time for us, starting a new club aimed at the junior section and trying to involve more children in hockey at a young age.
"It is aimed at both girls and boys in the local area of North Wicklow. With many existing clubs already full and with long waiting lists, it's time Greystones and the surrounding towns had it's own club."
Stephen McGrath will be the head coach. He currently holds a level 2 coaching badge and has been coaching and playing hockey for over 24 years. Stephen is currently Irish U15 boys TID Manager/Assistant coach.
The assistant head coach Stephen O'Keefe is currently Irish A Goalkeeper, with five years coaching experience and an accredited Goalkeeper coach from the Mercian School of Hockey.
The IHA's Eastern RDO Lucas Piccioli was delighted with the launch of the new club, saying "It is so important to see locals taking part in an initiative such as starting up a new youth hockey club; the support from them is vital to our sport.
"This also demonstrates that there is a demand for hockey and also that there is a need for more structures so we can cater for everyone interested in playing our sport."
Anyone interested in joining the club should call Taragh Seaver on 087 8296766.
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 11:13 PM
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Ireland’s men and women have been confirmed as one of the qualifiers to play in the first ever Champion’s Challenge II competition. The tournament will act as a third-tier of the yearly Champions’ series, behind the Champion’s Trophy and the Champion’s Challenge I and will be Paul Revington’s first full tournament in charge of the men’s team.
His Irish side is the fifth ranked side in the competition – a position based on Ireland’s position in the Olympic qualifiers – behind Japan, Malaysia, France and Russia. Poland, Austria and Chile currently make up the rest of the group, though this could be subject to change should one or more sides pull out.
The women, meanwhile, are rated second, again as a result of the OQT. Chile, the Netherlands Antilles, India, Ukraine, Canada and Russia make up the group.
It begins a busy period for of hockey of three big tournaments though Ireland could end up hosting the competition, as High Performance Director Dave Passmore explains: “We hopefully find out where it takes place in two weeks time. We know the eight teams but we don’t know where it’ll be.
Passmore adds that it could throw up a few logistical problems which may have an unsettling effect. “It’s a difficult one because we may not know which WCQ we are going to until September even though we could be going away the next month.
“That was the situation we found ourselves in with the Olympic qualifier. They were going to tell us at the end of November when we needed to leave in January and have flights booked. When you are trying to plan domestic leagues and support the branches it becomes quite complicated.”
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 10:45 PM
For such a marquee appointment, Paul Revington’s first meeting with the Irish press proved quite a low key affair as the South African comes across as the poster boy for understated confidence.
During a half hour media briefing before Ireland’s first of three wins over Scotland last weekend, the new boss showed little fear of what lies ahead for him while side-stepping the gentle grilling provided by the assembled hacks.
What struck most was his age. At 35, he is just a few years older than the players he deals with and yet he gives off a more mature vibe, something he admits himself, “I probably feel over 40 by now having coached from such a young age. Generally, I’ve dealt with players in my development as a coach with players older than me and so have been forced to grow quite quickly.
“I’ve dealt with far trickier circumstances years ago. I’m confident in myself as a person and as a coach, from a knowledge and experience point of view. I know what I want to do and I will set about and do it.”
His coaching began early. Injury curtailed a promising playing career when he was 22 but he soon made his way through the coaching ranks, taking South Africa to their first Junior World Cup in 2001 before being elevated to the senior squad.
Revington subsequently took the Springboks to third place in the Champions Challenge in 2003 before successfully negotiating the qualifier for the Athens Olympics, beating Belgium on strokes to reach the elite competition.
With Ireland attempting to qualify for the 2010 World Cup late in the New Year, it is obvious how such a note on a resume stood out during the IHA’s interview process.
Decent results in Athens, including wins over Argentina and India and 3-2 losses at the hands of Australia and Holland represented an impressive campaign before eventually bowing out on strokes.
A Commonwealth Games appearance in Melbourne preceded his final act as South African coach in 2006. Once again, Revington led his side through the qualifiers to a showpiece event – this time through the African qualifying zone – to take part in the World Cup in Germany. Scarcely will a side have a worse build-up to a major event.
No international side would tour South Africa in the six months building up to the World Cup and the national hockey association had no money to fund touring. As a result, the side went into the competition with no competitive fixtures under their belt for six months but pushed Holland all the way once more before drawing with bronze medalists Korea.
As yet, his record appears unblemished and while it has been documented he parted ways not quite in the way he would have liked, Revington feels his departure from the South African job is water under the bridge.
“I don’t think there is a need to elaborate on it. I think as a coach, you are either coming in or you’re going out. I’ve had lots of super memories and great moments within SA over a long period and, for me, that is what I’ll hold with me, not the other issues.”
He met the Irish players in a formal setting for the first time last Saturday night in Havelock Park after the second Scottish game – the 5-1 win the on-pitch highlight of the weekend.
During that time, he attempted to convey to his new charges his short and long-term plans, something he touched on the night previously with the press: “Having gone through years of international coaching, one can sometimes get caught up in long-term processes and think four years down the line.
"Outside of building the team quickly, it’s crucial for us to build a continued winning environment within the group. As you do that, the milestones of World Cups and Olympics potentially take care of themselves.”
Getting into the European A division is described as an “obvious tournament priority” and responding to whether 2012 Olympics is a possible target, “Yes, absolutely”.
He adds, though, that the players need to heed Dave Passmore’s lament that they need to believe to achieve: “The Irish group, having watched them over the last few years, they’re a good group. Sometimes South Africa has had a similar environment where the actual belief in the quality of what they’ve got is not always there. A process is required to get the team to a certain level and you’ve got to have someone who believes in the process and the group of players and I certainly believe in them.”
The vibe around the country, backed by recent results, suggests we are on the cusp of something good. Revington has the knowhow to qualify for major events and has been entrusted with a four year contract – with a two-year review – to get Ireland to the next level. An understated show of belief and intent, the hockey fraternity waits with baited breath.
* Revington picture courtesy of Rowland White; action pictures courtesy of Adrian Boehm.
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 1:43 AM
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 9:34 PM
Monday, November 24, 2008
Glenanne's Mary Waldron (pictured, right) starred on Saturday night in the women's Umbro FAI Cup final at Richmond Park, scoring the winning penalty in injury time for St Francis to beat a side from just half a mile down the road from their base in West Dublin, Peamout United, 2-1.
Winger Niamh Small (Loreto, left), however, was unable to take part on cup final night as she was involved with the Irish national team in their series with Scotland.
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 11:05 PM
The Jacqui Potter cup showed the difference in class between in division one and two as all seven ties went the way of the premier sides. Trinity were the big winners with a confidence boosting 6-0 win, dismissing what could have been a tricky tie against Genesis, unbeaten in division two thus far. The students will hope to emulate last season's surprise journey to the final.
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 10:14 PM
Leinster's U-16s did the necessary against Munster on Sunday morning to guarantee retention of the interprovincial title at the first attempt - given two games to procure the three points necessary for victory.
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 9:14 PM
A much changed Irish outfit produced a third win in three days over Scotland as Paul Revington caught a glimpse of the wider pool of talent available to him. A virtual second string outfit took the field on Sunday at Havelock Park with only Karl Burns and Eugene Magee having a wealth of experience under their belts.
The game itself had been recategorised as a capped match on request from Scotland having initially been billed as an uncapped game which meant debuts for Cookstown’s Colin Donaldson, Mossley’s Simon Todd and C of I’s Johnny Bruton.
Alan Sothern continued his impressive scoring form – he has scored 14 in seven Leinster league games – with a 13th minute drag-flick to give Ireland a 1-0, held in tact by Mark Ruddle’s save from Niall Stott’s drag-flick and Johnny Jackson’s goal line clearance until William Marshall levelled right on the stroke of half-time.
Jonny Bruton, though, made it a debut to remember when he netted the winner in the 54th minute from a move instigated by Mikey Watt and Sothern.
The game became increasingly scrappy thereafter, with Geoff McCabe and Adam Pritchard both sent to the bin, preluding a number of corners before Stott picked up his second yellow of the weekend, easing the pressure in the closing stages.
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 10:01 AM
Scotland started the quicker in a game delayed 30 minutes due to a sleet storm, winning three corners inside 15 minutes while Ireland’s chances were limited to a Nikki Symmons short corner strike in the latter stages of the half and Cathy McKean’s shot flashing wide, after Shirley McCay’s through ball.
On the hooter, though, Louise Munn got a simple tap in to out the Scots ahead.
Megan Frazer went close early in the second half, unfortunate to slip after a well-worked two on one.
McKean, though, levelled matters from a switched corner deflecting in Emma Stewart’s strike. The Scottish replied within 120 seconds, though, forcing a corner. Emma Grey saved well but Merchant snapped up the rebound via a cruel deflection from Cliodhna Sargent’s stick.
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 9:52 AM
* Thanks to Alan Good for the words and Rachel McSharry for the pics
Ulster claimed the girls’ U-18 title by the narrowest of margins after another dramatic series of games at Garryduff earlier today.
The northern province looked dead and buried after being hammered by Connacht on Saturday, but they defeated Leinster by the required two-goal margin yesterday to take the spoils from the westerners on goal difference.
Vanessa Surgeoner slammed home the opener for Ulster, but Leinster’s Sinead Loughran spurned a glorious chance to equalise when she shot wide after being put through one-on-one with Sammy Jo Greer.
Kirsty Lammey grabbed Ulster’s second after half-time, nudging them into top spot on goal difference, and they held out to leave the Connacht girls heartbroken.
While it was tough on the westerners, who were seeking to annex their first ever title at this level, they only had themselves to blame after going down 3-1 to Leinster in the morning game.
Connacht’s Dora Gorman had cancelled out Deridre Duke’s opener, but strikes from Niamh Atcheler and Loughran gave the Dublin girls a win that blew the competition wide open.
Ulster then put four past the South East - with Lammey, Surgeoner, Anna Mae Morton and Jenny Kyle all on target - but Connacht cruised to a 3-0 win over Munster via a Lynsery Trainor double and a goal from skipper Jessica McMickan that put them back in front on nine points.
All, then, hinged on the outcome of Leinster’s clash with Ulster. The permutations were simple - a win over any sort for Leinster would give them victory, while Ulster needed a two-goal winning margin to take the title, and they duly obliged.
In the final game of the day, Munster avoided taking the wooden spoon on home turf by defeating South-East 3-1. Lauragh O’Neill’s early drag put the hosts ahead, before deflections from Mary Kate Burke and Aoife Roisin Burke amde it safe. South East skipper Aine Curran grabbed a late consolation.
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 9:40 AM
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Connacht put themselves in pole position to win their first ever girls U-18 interprovincial title after a fascinating opening day at Garryduff.
A comprehensive 3-0 rout of Ulster was followed up by a slightly sloppier 3-2 defeat of South East, to ensure the westerners were the only side to take maximum points from their opening encounters.
A win over Leinster on Sunday morning will likely see them crowned champions, unless Ulster can win both their remaining clashes and fire a slew of goals in the process.
Munster hopes for the title seem to be gone, having taken just a point from two games, though David Egner was pleased with his side's response to their loss to Ulster with a pulsating 2-2 draw against Leinster.
Jenny Kyle got two for the northerners in that game, while Anna Mae Morton and Natalie Barr were also on the scoresheet in a poor encounter.
Olivia Roycroft hit a consolation for an out-of-sorts Munster, but the hosts were far more clued in for their afternoon clash with Leinster, which predictably attracted the biggest crowd of the day.
Mount Mercy’s Yvonne O’Byrne set the tone, putting in some robust challenges in the opening exchanges, before Munster got off to the best possible start on six minutes, when captain Jennifer Lytle scored the kind of goal a player can usually only dream about.
The Villiers starlet’s deft first touch took her past last defender Orla Fox near halfway, but the chance appeared to have evaporated as Lytle looked to have over-ran the ball.
But as the ball looked headed for the endline, Lytle dived at it and fired a stunning reverse into the far top corner from an acute angle - an unbelievable finish that will hardly be bettered anywhere else this season.
Leinster sorely missed the guile of Chloe Watkins in midfield - the Hermes prodigy was ruled out through illness - but they were stung into action and forced five corners in succession, starting in the 13th minute.
Rosie Shanahan did superbly to get a block on Leinster skipper Fox’s raised shot on one occasion, but the goal finally came when Fox worked the ball to Sinead McGirr at the far post, who finished with the aid of a deflection off Munster netminder Aoife Lehane.
While chances were at a premium for Munster thereafter, Naomi Carroll’s pace ensured the Leinster centre-backs endured an uncomfortable afternoon, and Lett had to be off her line fast to force the Catholic Institute to fire wide after a hopeful long ball had come all the way thorough to her in the 27th minute.
But it was Leinster who came out stronger after the break, and they took a deserved lead on 45 minutes when Fox slammed the ball home from the top of the circle off a straightforward corner.
Lett had to be alert to save Lytle’s sweep with six minutes to go, but Leinster looked like they would hold out until a bizarre sequence of events in the final 90 seconds that may come to define their tournament.
There seemed to be little harm when Lauragh O’Neill fired a ball across the Leinster circle in the 59th minute, but the ball took a deflection off a defender’s stick, wrong-footing keeper Lett, who did well to prevent an own goal.
But Carroll was on hand to tap in for an equaliser and send Garryduff into raptures, but the drama wasn’t finished there.
Gillian Pinder, easily Leinster’s best offensive weapon, set off on a run with 20 seconds to the hooter that bamboozled four Munster defenders and gave her a chance to steal victory at the death. Her shot beat Lehane, but careered off the post to leave Leinster wondering what might have been.
Watkins is reportedly due to return for them tomorrow, and while they laboured to a 2-0 win over South East, with Marie Goulding getting both goals, they are still in the shake-up. Tomorrow morning’s pivotal clash with Connacht will give things a clearer picture going into the final round of games.
Leinster go into that clash on four points, while Connacht have six. While many of the Cork crowd seemed surprised at the westerners’ rise to prominence, it should come as no shock given they boast ten underage internationals and annexed their first interpro crown at U16 level last term.
It’s not often an Ulster U18 side gets so comprehensibly beaten in any competition, but Connacht’s 3-0 defeat of them in their opening encounter oozed class.
The centre-back partnership of Freddie Timmins and Tara Melvin were equally impressive in their ability to break up play and distribute the ball intelligently, but it was Deirdre Hatton who struck early on to put them in front.
With Brenda Flannery controlling midfield and Jessica McMickan and Katie Codyre making nuisances of themselves up front, Connacht eventually made the game safe with two goals in as many minutes after half-time.
First, Orla Callanan’s run up the right and some quickfire passing from Flannery and Timmins set up Lynsey Trainor, who wrong-footed Sammy Jo Greer and found the bottom corner from six yards on 38 minutes.
They made sure of the result two minutes later, Hatton latching on to a through ball and rounding Greer before squaring for Codyre to finish. Despite forcing a slew of short corners late on, Ulster couldn’t find a way through.
Connacht did make heavy work of their next outing against the South East, however; goals from Codyre and Brenda Flannery had them two up and cruising inside eight minutes, with Hatton adding a third later on, but Jean Devoy and Zoe Codd ensured a nervy finale as it finished 3-2.
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 5:02 PM
Ireland's women fell to a second defeat to Scotland in a cagey encounter at Banbridge. Hermes' Emma Grey - earning just her second cap - was the busier keeper in the first half, a half which saw Scotland edge the corner count 3-2.
A bright start to the second period by the Irish, though, was rocked by the concession of a penalty stroke which Emma Rochlin converted in the 55th minute for the game's only goal.
Ireland pushed on in the latter stages but could not break the Scot's defensive line but Gene Muller was pleased with the step up in performance.
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 4:55 PM
Mitch Darling returned to form in spectacular fashion as he netted a hat-trick as Ireland racked up a second win over Scotland - this time in much more impressive fashion.
Chris Nelson put the Scots in front after just three minutes, touching in a crash ball, but the Irish were back on terms two minutes later when John Jermyn fired home a penalty corner - the third in two games for the C of I man.
Ireland hit the front in the 20th minute when Darling guided home Graham Shaw's reverse shot and the Three rock hitman scored a cracker to make it 3-1 into the second half. After fine work from Timmy Cockram and Alan Sothern, Darling made the most of the Irish dominance, finishing with aplomb.
Local boy Eugene Magee gave the keeper no chance when he fired home Irelands fourth before Darling completed the rout before Cockram shaved the crossbar to end an impressive performance all round.
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 4:46 PM
Kilkenny 1 (Peter Yeates) UCD 1 (Ronan Motyer)
UCD got their first point of the campaign down in Kilkenny and while they will be pleased to have broke their duck, the result probably suits neither side. Peter Yeates opened the scoring 15 minutes in before ex-Corinthian player Ronan Motyer levelled matters before half-time.
The second half was a lively affair, going end to end, but neither side could grab the winner. Kilkenny move up to eight spot but will be wary the two sides below them have two games in hand.
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 4:41 PM
Ulster claimed the boys’ U18 interprovincial title with a day to spare after a topsy-turvy set of encounters at Shaw’s Bridge today.
The northern province have built an unassailable six-point lead over nearest rivals Munster, while pre-tournament favourites Leinster are, amazingly, still pointless following another shock defeat.
That came this afternoon against Ulster, when the events of a controversial final few minutes scuppered Leinster’s hopes.
They remonstrated forcefully with the umpires, in turn leaving themselves wide open at the back, and Ulster gleefully took advantage, with Peter Purcell finishing off a breakaway goal to give his side a 2-1 win.
Meanwhile, Munster’s hopes faded in the last game of the day, as Ulster soaked up a ton of pressure before Niall Kelly hit the winner that sealed the championship for them.
There was better news for Leinster in the U16 tournament, which they have all but wrapped up following a 4-0 demolition of Ulster yesterday, with a brace from Fingal’s Mark Ryan taking his tally to three in two games.
Ulster and Munster later fought out a 2-2 draw, with Richard Lynch and Darren Sweetnam’s goals ensuring the southern province shared the spoils after going 2-0 down to strikes from Matthew Rollins and Matthew Lecky.
That result means Ulster cannot catch Leinster, while Munster must better the 5-0 defeat Leinster inflicted on them on Friday night in the return fixture tomorrow - and hope Ulster sneak a win over Leinster in the final game of the day - to stand any chance of taking the title.
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 4:30 PM