Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

As 2008 comes to a close, I'd like to wish everyone best wishes for the New Year. Personally, the year gone by was an incredible year for The Hook. Readership numbers have gone through the roof in recent months and the number of comments ballooning.

The interest in The Hook and Southern Fried show that there is a huge public interest in the game and is worthy of more coverage.

The site, though, could not exist without the support from a huge number of people with a large network of volunteers contributing information. Such efforts are necessary to make our sport thrive across the board and keep the interest going and are much appreciated.

As such, please keep contributing your ideas, photos, stories, videos and queries to and I'll try and deal with as many as time allows.

Best wishes for 2009,


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Men's Divisional Round-Up

Outside divisions one and two, the established order is being put to the test with the all-conquering Pembroke IIs and Glenanne IIIs of the past few seasons not currently involved in their respective title battles. Plenty of fascinating duels look set for the New Year. Here's a brief rundown on the current state of play:

Men’s Division Three

Pembroke seconds stranglehold on division three looks to be on the wane after a few incredible years of success as they lie back in sixth place over the Christmas period. Each of YMCA, Corinthian, Monkstown and Three Rock have had their chances to make the lead their own in the build-up to Christmas but none took their opportunity and now all four are covered by just one point. Glenanne, meanwhile, have worked their way into contention with four successive wins and have games in hand. This league looks set to go down to the wire.

Men’s Division Four

In a similar manner to division three, div four’s pace-setters from recent years are nowhere to be seen as Glenanne III’s struggle without the talismanic Keith Fishburne – who moved to Corinthian. Pembroke lead the way by four points, though Corinthian have two games in hand. They got off to a flyer this term with five successive wins but a 2-1 loss to Three Rock (though credited as a CHC win in the official tables) reigned in their advantage. In the largest men’s league in the country, those two look to be cutting themselves adrift of a league where every team is capable of beating each other.

Men’s Division Five

Pembroke IVs lead the way in another big league but St Brendan’s/Phoenix Park are in the mix with Dublin All-Ireland winning footballer Dessie Farrell still banging in the goals. They chose to enter this division since splitting from Portrane and are making a good fist of their efforts. Suttonians II and South East Wanderers are also in the hunt for promotion of the eligible teams. Holders Three Rock are nine points off the pace with four games in hands.

Men’s Division Six

YMCA V and Dublin Uni III lead the way with the latter looking for their fourth promotion since languishing in division nine back in 2001/02. They both lie three points clear of Fingal III and Avoca III – who have a game in hand. Avoca’s side mixes the very young products from the rebuilt underage set-up in Newpark and some intelligent old pros like Nigel Kingston, Trevor Dagg and, on one rare occasion, Johnny Watterson. The title looks to be between these four with ten games remaining.

Men’s Division Seven

Navan IIs 2-0 win over Corinthian V just before the Winter break means the two sides are deadlocked on 22 points and well clear of the chasing pack with Mullingar II, Nass II and Skerries II over eight points adrift. The top two can both gain promotion with Navan’s home form likely to prove pivotal. Both the reds and the Badgers are 100pc so far on home ground.

Men’s Division Eight

UCD III lead Kilkenny III by two points with their meeting on February 28, 2009 looking to be the key match-up in the race for the title. After claiming a number of Minor Cups, Kilkenny entered a third team into league action for the first time this year and could well add to their trophy cabinet.

Men’s Division Nine

Glenanne V have taken the initiative at the early stages of division nine with three wins from four, three points clear of Navan IIIs and Pembroke VIIs. Dublin Uni IVs and YMCA VIs continue their long-standing rivalry in mid-table, inseparable on three points.

Women's Divisional Round-Up

While the women's division one title-race has taken on a little bit of a one-sided look in recent weeks, there are plenty of close-run battles right the way down the women's leagues. Here's a brief synopsis of whats going on in divisions two to thirteen. Division 14 is being headed by Monkstown who are unbeaten but due to a lack of other results, I'm unsure of what the full state of play is in that one.

Women’s Division Two

An ultra-competitive division two has been beset by all manner of postponements due to the weather and the newly formed Irish Hockey Trophy leaving it hard to read much into the mid-season table with Genesis, for example, left with 13 games to play after Christmas. They are unbeaten after five games but will have to play a lot of double-weekends to catch up. Three Rock Ladies are another unbeaten side with three games in hand over table-topping Loreto II and two on Alec Barrett’s Railway Union IIs. All are still involved in a fascinating battle.

Women’s Division Three

The top seven are all within three points of each other while the whole division has just a six-point stretch meaning its not inconceivable for bottom trio, Avoca UCD II and Genesis II could make a charge for the title. They enjoy games in hand on their rivals and could well threaten Suttonians and Corinthian II. The latter have bounced back well from a horror season last time around to hold onto second place.

Women’s Division Four

Muckross lead the way in division four thanks to their win over Weston before Christmas in the top of the table battle while the club also is on a high after a decent cup run in the IHT. Rowland Rixon-Fuller’s side is top of the division by three points ahead of the Lucanites with the rest of the table just out of striking distance. Newbridge could yet break from the pack and have been buoyed by the news that plans are in place for them to build an Astroturf pitch in their area.

Women’s Division Five

Naas’ impressive away form has seen them zoom clear of the table after eight games. Four wins from four on the road has helped build a five point lead over Old Alex III with Guinness a point further back. Railway Union’s IIIs could get back into the race as they have yet to play on home turf and have two games in hand.

Women’s Division Six

Another tight league with four points covering the top six and the postponements due to the cold snap meaning lots of teams are still involved. Navan lead the way but have played only once away from home this term, North Kildare II are second equal with Genesis III and UCD III all one point off the Meath-side.

Women’s Division Seven

Botanic IIs will hope their new pitch can work wonders for them when it opens for business early in the New Year. The Glasnevin outfit has played just once at home this season and will hope to use that to their advantage to reel in the seven points gap to leaders Bray III. The Wicklow women have played two games more. Skerries II are also in contention though have been hampered by a one point suspension for an incorrectly registered player.

Women’s Division Eight

Dalkey’s first team lead the way but a recent defeat to second placed Suttonians II means their Christmas advantage was reduced to just a point. Clontarf IIIs have also closed the gap while Phoenix Park will be looking to continue their rapid ascent through the leagues in recent years.

Women’s Division Nine

A titanic battle is in store on January 10 as two of the five remaining unbeaten records in Leinster women’s hockey meet head to head in Claremont Road as YMCA host Malahide. Both were promoted from division ten last year and look on course to do so again this term. Malahide also welcomed a new astro at Broomfield in the lead up to Christmas and have gone seven from seven. YM, who have been promoted in every year since they began a female section, have six wins from six.

Women’s Division Ten

Old Alex V, Genesis VI and Trinity IV look set to slug it out in the second half of the season as just two points covers the leading trio after seven games. Swords II and Bray IV could also narrow the gap were they to win their back matches.

Women’s Division Eleven

Unbeaten Avoca IIs have built up a healthy six point lead in this eight-team league thus making them favourites to take the divisional crown. Just two goals conceded in seven games so far have seen them ease clear of the pack at the half-way stage.

Women’s Division Twelve

Naas IIIs 100pc record sees them tie for top spot with Mullingar on 15 points, though the former have an extra-game to play in the second half of the season that could prove crucial. Naas won 2-0 when the sides played at Forenaughts back in November but a reverse in Westmeath would open the race up completely.

Women’s Division Thirteen

Newbridge IVs hold a commanding ten-point gap over the rest of the field after 100pc start after eight games. Old Alex VI and Trinity V are dueling for the second promotion place.

News in Brief

* Pegasus retained the Winemark Shield with a hard-fought 2-0 win over the Ulster Elks last Saturday. Goals in either half from Michelle Harvey and Suzanne Beaney ensured Ulster kingpings Pegasus claimed their 27th title.

* Cookstown added the Kirk Cup to their recent successes, beating Lisnagarvey 4-3 after extra-time thanks to Thomas Hutchinson's goal two minutes from time.

Earlier, Tim Cockram's double for Garvey was cancelled out by Gareth Cuddy and Ivan Steen in normal time. Veteran Mark Raphael gave Garvey an extra-time lead but Cookstown were level inside 30 seconds thanks to Colin Donaldson, before Hutchinson rifled the winner.

* Suttonians' Mukhtar Ahmed and Yasir Islam returned to their native Pakistan just before Christmas citing the economic downturn among their reasons for leaving these shores. They will not be returning to the club for the forseeable future.

* Loreto's Louisa Healy (pictured) was honoured in the build-up to Christmas with a Garda Sports Award for her acheivements as national goalkeeper.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Neville Cup final: Glenanne 3 YMCA 1

Glenanne survived being reduced to nine-men to claim their eighth Neville Cup success, beating YMCA 3-1 at Serpentine Avenue thanks to late goals from Shane O’Donoghue and Joe Brennan.

The Glens held the majority of possession throughout but took their time before killing off the Sandymount side – which was in search of a first piece of silverware since 2003.

Glenanne triumphed, in spite of the absence of Irish international duo Stephen Butler and Graham Shaw while Paul Fitzpatrick and coach Arul Anthoni were also unavailable. Their task was was made even harder when Richie Shaw succumbed to a knee injury in the ninth minute.

However, captain Brennan managed to open the scoring in the 26th minute when his scrappy drag-push wriggled its way past Iain Walker via a defender’s stick.

Early in the second half, Stephen Barry leveled for YM with a cracking reverse strike, lifting the ball over Steven Doran’s left hand at high speed.

Glenanne, though, stayed composed and enjoyed large tracts of possession while their counterparts appeared to panic with the ball, looking to get forward too quickly rather than building their attacks. Both sides had chances but the Tallaght-outfit looked more assured.

Their breakthrough came with ten minutes left. The ball broke to Johnny Goulding – playing in just his third game since returning from his travels – on the right wing. He worked his way down the end-line before teeing up the unmarked O’Donoghue on the back post.

It was the 16-year-old’s sixth goal in four rounds of the competition and provided the Neville Cup with a success story in the face of adversity.

This term, the “14-game ruling” combined with Pembroke’s expulsion from the competition in the first round has left some wondering what future there is for the competition with many top clubs opting to rest players.

O’Donoghue, though, along with David Keogh got his chance to impress in the early rounds and has since become a fully fledged member of the Glenanne first-team squad.

His goal preceded some late shenanigans that saw a frustrated Jacob Webber see red for YMCA for having a swipe at Gary Shaw. Shaw was sin-binned for his reaction before Alan Browne joined him in the bin for an over-zealous tackle.

There was still time for Glenanne to bag a third and clinching goal. Johnny Kane was fouled by Iain Walker and Brennan buried the ensuing penalty stroke for 3-1 in the dying moments.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Peard Cup final: Harlequins 1 Bandon 0

Cork Harlequins kept the Peard Cup within the confines of the Quins/C of I axis for a 25th year thanks to a 68th minute strike from Dan Hobbs to seal the tie at Farmer's Cross.

Bandon went into the tie slightly understrength and given little hope of glory but, thanks to incredible defensive work from Nigel Martin and fine goalkeeping from Ian Hosford, managed to stay with Quins and eking out a couple of half-chances that might have swung it their way.

Harlequins did enjoy huge tracts of possession, as evidenced by their 13 penalty corners, but could not get their routines in gear. John Hobbs did hit the post from one but for the most part the flying Ali Smith was able to close down the corners quickly.

In the 20th minute, Ali Smith and Darren Sweetnam combined well, creating a decent opening for David Smith but Chris Daunt saved well while eight minutes from time Sweetnam robbed Jason Black to play in Ali Smith but Rob Hobbs did enough to spoil the chance.

That proved pivotal as the youngest of the four Hobbs' brothers, Dan, was sprung from the bench - he was suffering with injury during the week - to fire in a low drag-flick and prevent the title going into the hands of an outsider for the first time since Belvedere in 1985.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Jacqui Potter draw

Bray's reward for their famous victory, which can be seen below, over Loreto in the Jacqui Potter Cup is a game with reigning champions Hermes. Railway Union, meanwhile, face UCD in a repeat of the 2006 final in which two Roisin Flinn goals were the difference.

Semi-final draw (set to be played, March 1 2009):
Railway Union v UCD
Bray v Hermes

Loreto v. Bray from JWay on Vimeo.

Leinster School's Cup draws

The draw was made this week for the Leinster schoolboy cup competitions to take place in the New Year.

For the first time, the senior cup was seeded in response to it being nominated as the qualifying competition for the inaugural John Waring tournament.

The two finalists from the senior cup qualify as Leinster's representatives. The other cups are not seeded.

To see the full draw in a larger format, click on the images on the left.

In the senior league, St Andrew's and Wesley look set for a playoff in the New Year after the sides drew earlier this term. Andrew's won all their remaining league fixtures while the Ballinteer school looks on course to repeat the feat.

They have league ties with Sutton Park and King's Hospital left.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Neville Cup final Preview

For many of YMCA’s young squad, this weekend’s Neville Cup final will be their first senior final but their management team brings a decent amount of pedigree to the table.

Coach Trevor Dagg and manager Stewart Taylor took the field in their last cup final, beating Three Rock in the annual St Stephen’s Day clash back in 2003.

David Johnston scored a golden goal from a short corner that day and while he has moved on, Mikey Fry, Iain Walker, Andy Walker, Will Powderly, Keith Benson and Stephen Barry are still involved and looking to repeat the feat.

Patrick Good has the most recent cup final experience, though it may be one he hopes to erase from memory – it being Pembroke’s ill-fated effort in last season’s final. Ger Butler was the head coach back in 2003 and is part of the current YM set-up who are excited to make it to the final.

Arguably, the final pits the two sides that showed the most desire to make it to the final two – with the Y overcoming an under-strength Rovers’ side with ease in the semi-final.

In the build-up, Butler said to The Hook “For everyone around the club, it’s a big event. There are a lot of guys who’ve never been in a [senior] cup final before.” He does lament, though, the fact that Glenanne will be without international duo Stephen Butler and Graham Shaw.

They will be once again rested as the Glens give the league precedence, due to the 14-game ruling curtailing their domestic involvement, but Butler is aware that Glenanne always rise to the occasion, especially in adversity.

For them, Paul Fitzpatrick is also unavailable while Frank Byrne will be the head man on the coaching bench as Arul Anthoni will be away in London.

The Malaysian, though, has overseen a recent upturn in form in the past few weeks with his side moving into top spot over Christmas as they look to win back the trophy after their 2006 triumph.

In their league battle, YM took an early lead but were pegged back before half-time with the Glens running away with the game in the second half, 4-1.

Admission is free as the competition is run as a fundraiser for charity. Collection buckets will be in circulation on the day.

Elsewhere, Lisnagarvey and Cookstown lock horns for the second time in a week in the Kirk Cup final after last week's 2-2 league draw and in Munster Bandon will hope to cause a major upset against a full-strength Cork Harlequins.

Fixtures(December 26):
YMCA vs Glenanne, 3pm, Serpentine Avenue - Neville Cup final;
Lisnagarvey vs Cookstown, Hillsborough, Kirk Cup final;
Bandon vs Cork Harlequins, 2pm, Farmers Cross - Peard Cup final

Annadale's IHL appeal pending...

The Irish Hockey League's Appeals Commission met on Monday, December 22 to hear the appeal by Annadale with regard to their match against Cookstown in the Irish Hockey League held on November 29.

The Appeal Commission has reserved their decision pending professional legal opinion.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Jacqui Potter Cup: Round Three results

Trinity 0 Hermes 5 (Chloe Watkins 2, Linda Caulfield 2, Anna O'Flanagan)

In a repeat of last year's final, Hermes took a little while to break down Trinity's defences - with former Hermes junior member Jessica Elliott pulling off a couple of fine saves - before pulling away.

Chloe Watkins (pictured, left) scored from the flick spot after 20 minutes to get the ball rolling. Her side led 2-0 by the break and eased away in the second half with Linda Caulfield and Anna O'Flanagan getting on the score sheet.

Glenanne 0 Railway Union 2 (Cecelia Joyce, Emma Smyth)
Railway kept the bouyant mood going into the winter break with a solid win over Glenanne in St Mark's thanks to goals from Cecelia Joyce and Emma Smyth, both via deflections. Joyce's came from free-in on the edge of the circle while Smyth's was of a more spectacular variety - diving to get a touch on Kate McKenna's cross.

Glenanne were unfortunate not to pull one back with Nikki Daly and Mary Waldron showing some impressive turns while defender Hannah de Burgh-Whyte was Railway's stand-out presence.

UCD 4 (Holly Jenkinson, Lisa Jacob, Catriona McGlip 2) Corinthian 2 (Aimee Williams, Susie Geoffroy)
Corinthian started brightly against the students, forcing four corners despite being short a few players due to injury and illness, but could not take advantage, the closest effort saved off the line by Laura Wilson.

UCD responded with a couple of corners of their own from which Holly Jenkinson drilled home for the lead, doubled within 10 minutes - during the Belfielders best period of the game - when Lisa Jacob reacted quickest to a rebound to make it 2-0.

Corinthian, though, were back in the game at the break after another corner rebound was swept in by Aimee Williams. Spurred on by Amanda Walker, Susie Geoffroy and Carol McGowan, the reds kept the momentum going with the hope of an equaliser.

Catriona McGlip (pictured), though, turned the game UCD's way with two goals to stretch the lead to 4-1, the first after a weaving run, the second with assistance from Fiona Braddish. Corinthian added a second from a corner with ten minutes to go through Geoffroy.

Bray 1 Loreto 1 (Bray won 3-2 on penalty strokes)
Bray produced the result of the round to beat Loreto's firsts for the first time in the club's history and complete a nightmare weekend for the Beaufort-side. Colleen Bayliss got the vital stroke while Irish international keeper Mary Goode was in incredible form throughout.

Janet Murphy gave Bray the lead 20 minutes in before Nikki Symmons leveled matters with five to go before half-time. The second half saw Bray endure a huge amount of pressure with Goode pulling off a number of saves while Cathy Brock, Mairead Mahon, Grainne Howe and Baylis stood firm in the face of an onslaught from Loreto's international stars.

The visitors racked up over ten corners but Murphy almost stole the win in normal time for the seasiders with a late chance. Extra-time was a more even affair, preluding strokes. It gave Bray probably their biggest scalp since the club's inception.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Men's Division One: Week Eleven results

Three Rock Rovers 1 (Peter McConnell) Pembroke 1 (Alan Sothern)

Three Rock and Pembroke probably got the result their performances deserved but the real winner from this tie was Glenanne, who jump above the pair into top spot.

Like their previous league match-up this term, Rovers had the guts of the possession while Pembroke had the clearer chances. From Pembroke's fourth corner, Alan Sothern quite brilliantly opened the deadlock. He dummied a drag, pulled the ball onto his reverse and banged in from 12 yards.

David Harte pulled off a fine double-save from Peter Blakeney and Michael Maguire in the second half while Neil Lyons took Paddy Conlon's weak effort off the line. Mitch Darling and Blakeney should have done better with a two-on-one but Tim Lewis got back with a sliding interception while Rovers seemed to fire a lot of aimless crash-balls into the circle with no one around to deflect in.
Sothern was a constant thorn, one reverse cross going untouched and almost rounding Charlie Henderson. That chance saw the ball bounce off Lyons' foot but advantage was played and two Pembroke forwards got in each others way.

Darling won a contested corner eight minutes from the end and Peter McConnell slid in a corner that squirmed through David Harte via a slight deflection for 1-1. Rovers had the better chances to win, especially as Pembroke lost discipline.

Their complaints saw a free overturned, a free-in upgraded to a late corner - the aftermath seeing Tim Lewis sin-binned. Justin Sherriff also saw yellow in the last minute for a foul on Andy McConnell.

Glenanne 6 (Eddie O'Malley, Shane O'Donoghue, David Keogh, Gary Shaw, Joe Brennan, Stephen Butler) Railway Union 0
The Glens made it to the top of division one with an easy win over Railway, with the midfield of Stephen Butler, Graham Shaw and Brendan Parsons overwhelming the visitors.

Kevin O'Brien went off early with a facial injury and his side could not reproduce their prior efforts in pushing the Glens close earlier this season. Butler played in neither of those games but his return sparked the win in a low-key game.

YMCA 2 (Andy Walker, Jacob Webber) Corinthian 5 (Brian Doherty, John McInroy, Miles Warren, Andrew Sutton, Glen Holmes)
A lively encounter was sealed by Corinthian's three goals in the last ten minutes - with one in response from YM - as they pulled away in the latter stages. YM took the lead early from the penalty spot but the reds countered to take a 2-1 lead.

They forged further ahead to 4-1 late on with YM pulling one back from a stroke once again before Corinthian completed the scoring. Will Powderly was sin-binned while Alan Blennerhassett picked up a nasty looking head injury.

* Pictures from Three Rock vs Pembroke courtesy of Adrian Boehm, Rob O'Connor and Emer Keogh are available here, here and here

Women's Division One: Railway move nine clear

Railway Union 3 (Kate McKenna, Jean McDonnell, Emma Smyth) Hermes 1 (Christine Quinlan)

Railway took advantage of Loreto's loss to Pembroke to build up a nine-point lead in division one and make the title theirs to lose after impressing once again in a 3-1 win over reigning champions Hermes.

Jean McDonnell's pace opened up the first serious chance inside 15 minutes but her fierce drive when one-on-one with Emma Grey flashed wide. Her side did not have long to wait for the lead, though, as Kate McKenna batted in a rebound a few minutes later for a 1-0 half-time lead.

McKenna drew an outstanding diving glove save out of Grey early in the second half before McDonnell made it 2-0. She capitalised on Aoife McCarthy's mistake on half-way to race onto the loose ball. She seemed to have been forced too far wide by the Hermes goalkeeper but, on her knees on the endline, swept a reverse into the net.

Hermes, though, got back into the game after Chloe Watkins virtuoso run down the left baseline. Her pass drifted across goal, over Helen Stevenson, where Anna O'Flanagan - who was the Booterstown side's leading light - retrieved the ball. Her initial strike was blocked down but rebounded to Christine Quinlan to batter home off the inside of the post.

It came with 16 minutes remaining, at a time when Hermes were the dominant side. O'Flanagan saw Stevenson make a double save while a couple of chances fell Jenny Burke's way.

But Emma Smyth scored a cracker to seal the tie. She played a huge part in its creation too, combining with left-back Isobel Joyce - another who was outstanding throughout. Joyce stole the ball near the halfway, beat a couple of players and exchanged a pass with Smyth.

Her searching ball to the endline was returned in kind by Cecelia Joyce and the midfielder slammed home from a tight angle to complete a league double over Hermes.

Loreto 1 (Nikki Keegan) Pembroke 2 (Louisa Moore 2)
Two Louisa Moore goals against the run of play in the first half saw Loreto lose vital ground on Railway and possibly end their chances of the title. The Beaufort hosts held most of the possession and had the majority of chances but could not break Pembroke down for whom Jane Coyne pulled off some top saves and Orla Fox was also impressive.

Both of Moore's goals came in the second phase, driving cricket-style for the first in the eighth minute and getting the second toward the end of the first half. Cathy McKean nearly reduced the deficit early in the second half, flashing wide while Loreto also failed to score from several corners.

Nikki Keegan did pull one back in a particularly rocky patch for Pembroke, after McKean's left-wing incision. Niamh Small went close to another stunning effort, beating two before unleashing an aerial but Coyne dived with her stick to deflect around the post.

The Broke had sporadic breaks led by Moore and Hilda Maguire - the former almost stealing in for a hat-trick - but Loreto closed stronger but could not force a leveller.

* Pictures from Railway v Hermes courtesy of Deryck Vincent, click here

Friday, December 19, 2008

IHA announce U-16 Provincial blitz

The IHA today announced that an ESB U16 Provincial Blitz will take place on Sunday, January 4 at Alexandra College, Milltown.

The original ESB U16 Interprovincial tournament which was scheduled for December 6 and 7 was cancelled due to adverse weather conditions and in consultation with the branches a blitz tournament is now being run.

The blitz will see each province playing each other once in a 30 minute match, with all 18 players in each squad eligible for each match.

Commenting on the blitz Chief Executive Angus Kirkland said “It is great that these underage players will have an opportunity to compete representing their provinces which is a huge honour. They will also now have the chance to showcase their talents in front of the Irish U16’s Head Coach, Una McCarthy and her management team who will be in attendance.”

Match Schedule (Sunday, January 4)
11am South East v Leinster; Connacht v Ulster
12pm Munster v South East; Connacht v Leinster
1.30pm Ulster v Munster; South East v Connacht
2.30pm Leinster v Ulster; Munster v Connacht
3.30pm South East v Ulster; Leinster v Munster

Women's weekend preview

Top three Railway, Loreto and Hermes all face a busy weekend to finish off the first half of the season on what could prove a crucial weekend in the division one title race. Railway were that bit more savvy against a young Hermes side finding their way in the first game of the season to win 1-0.

The Park Avenue side had their first player called up to a national squad this week with Helen Stevenson included in the Ireland A panel though they may wonder how a couple more have not made it into the extended panel. For Hermes, there was call-ups to Gene Muller's 31-player panel for Emma Grey, Chloe Watkins, Nicola Evans, Anna O'Flanagan and Niamh Atchelor.

A win for Mick McKinnon's charges would rule Hermes out of the running, potentially 10 points off the pace. Loreto, meanwhile, could prosper if Railway slip up as they welcome Pembroke to Beaufort. Zara Delany got her call to the Irish panel off the back of five goals in two IHL games to be their sixth player involved and one lof 16 Leinster-based players.

The women can then finally focus on Christmas time on Sunday as the Jacqui Potter Cup third round sees tricky trips to Glenanne and Trinity for Railway and Hermes respectively while UCD face Corinthian. Loreto are down to play Bray.

Division One (Saturday)
Loreto v Pembroke Wanderers, 11.45, Beaufort; Railway Union v Hermes, 3pm, Park Ave

Jacqui Potter Cup (Sunday)
Glenanne vs Railway Union, 12.30pm, Glenanne Park; Dublin University vs Hermes, 1pm, Santry; UCD v Corinthian, 3.45pm, Belfield; Loreto vs Bray, TBC

Men's Weekend Preview

Three Rock face a huge test of their mettle this Saturday as Pembroke travel up the mountain looking to reproduce the 4-1 result of October 2007. At that stage in the season, Pembroke looked unstoppable as they peaked early in the season due to the EHL but dropped a few points to draws as the season developed.

Rovers could well be enduring the strain of fighting on so many fronts but do have players back in action with Phelie Maguire back from Belgium for Christmas and Andy McConnell getting back into action. The loss against Railway last week can be absorbed if the Grange Road outfit bounces back but if any mental scars remain, Pembroke could carve out a significant advantage over the Winter break.

Justin Sherriff could grace Grange Road, having played a couple of seconds games in recent weeks, albeit just in the seconds game at 3pm.

Elsewhere, YM will hope to avenge their 3-1 defeat at the hands of Corinthian earlier this term. The two sides are on the up with YM getting to full strength after a spate of injuries and have players fighting for cup final spots. Corinthian, meanwhile, have added South African internationals Darren Kimfley and Andrew Cronje and produced some high-quality, entertaining hockey against Fingal.

The only other match sees Glenanne hosting Railway - the two sides having already played two closely fought matches this term. The Glens have rested their international duo of Stephen Butler and Graham Shaw in recent weeks due to the 14-game rule but will be wary of doing so again after Railway's shock win over Rovers. Their third Irish player, Joe Brennan, falls outside those regulations but his job meant he missed last weekend's games too.

Fingal's match with Kilkenny and Monkstown's short trip to UCD are both off.

Division 1
Glenanne vs Railway Union, 1pm, Glenanne Park; YMCA vs Corinthian, 2pm, Claremont Road; Three Rock Rovers vs Pembroke Wanderers, 1pm, Grange Road
Postponed: Fingal vs Kilkenny, UCD vs Monkstown

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Muller names squads for Canada series

Gene Muller has named 31 players to play in the five game series with Canada in January in two A internationals and three fully capped games with the world number 20-side.

The last time Ireland faced the Canucks was last May at the Olympic Qualifiers in Victoria where the Irish secured two wins, 2-0 and 2-1.

Speaking about the series, Muller said “The matches against Canada are great chance for us to play an extended group of 31 players against international opposition.

"It is especially a great opportunity for many of the young players in the Ireland "A" team to play against an international team. These matches give us the chance to further our tactical development across the extended squad and allows for us to compare players competing for positions."

In essence, these matches will act as a trial run for a number of players ahead of the Champions Challenge II and the EuroHockey Nations Championship taking place in 2009 with Muller adding: "We will be settling on both the senior national and the Ireland "A" squads after these matches.”

Ireland A v Canada (January 12, 2pm, UCD)
Niamh Atcheler (Hermes), Lizzie Colvin (Loreto), Zara Delany (Loreto), Nicola Evans (Hermes), Roisin Flinn (UCD), Megan Frazer (Ballymoney), Emma Gray (Hermes), Michelle Harvey (Pegasus), Anna O' Flanagan (Hemres), Audrey O'Flynn (UCC), Julia O'Halloran (UCC), Melanie Ryan (C of I), Cliodhna Sargent (Cork Harlequins), Niamh Small (Loreto), Helen Stevenson (Railway Union), Chloe Watkins (Hermes)

Ireland A v Canada (January 13, 2pm, UCD)
Niamh Atcheler, Lauren Barr (Ballymoney), Lizzie Colvin, Zara Delaney, Katherine Elkin (Randalstown), Nicola Evans, Emma Gray, Liz McInerney (UCD), Rachel Mulligan (Armagh), Anna O' Flanagan, Audrey O'Flynn, Julia O'Halloran, Melanie Ryan, Cliodhna Sargent, Helen Stevenson, Chloe Watkins

Ireland v Canada, January 16, 2pm, UCD
Emma Clarke (Ulster Elks), Lizzie Colvin, Katherine Elkin, Roisin Flinn, Mary Goode (Bray), Michelle Harvey, Louisa Healy (Loreto), Lisa Jacob (UCD), Shirley McCay (Ulster Elks),
Jenny McDonough (Belfast Harlequins), Cathy McKean (Loreto), Hollie Moffett (UCC), Niamh Small, Cliodhna Sargent, Nikki Symmons

Ireland v Canada, January 17, 2.30pm, UCD
Lauren Barr, Emma Clarke, Lizzie Colvin, Megan Frazer, Mary Goode, Michelle Harvey, Louisa Healy, Lisa Jacob, Shirley McCay, Jenny McDonough, Cathy McKean, Bridget McKeever (Ballymoney), Rachel Mulligan, Ciara O'Brien (Chelmsford), Alex Speers (Pegasus), Nikki Symmons

Ireland v Canada, January 18, 2pm, UCD
Emma Clarke, Roisin Flinn, Mary Goode, Michelle Harvey, Louisa Healy, Lisa Jacob, Shirley McCay, Jenny McDonough, Cathy McKean, Bridget McKeever, Hollie Moffett, Ciara O'Brien, Niamh Small, Alex Speers, Nikki Symmons

Unavailable for selection:
Emma Stewart (Armagh), Eimear Cregan (Cork Harlequins), Stephanie Quinn (Armagh)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Women's Division One: Monday results

Corinthian 0 Old Alex 3 (Aoife Budd 2, Laura McCoy)
Old Alex move back into the top four in division one with a 3-0 win last night over Corinthian as both sides completed their pre-Christmas programme at Whitechurch Park.

Alex won thanks to goals from former Trinity players Aoife Budd (pictured right) and Laura McCoy and will have the benefit from being able to focus on the league after the short Winter break as they receive a bye to round two of the ISC and have no IHL concerns this time around.

Corinthian, meanwhile, remain in the midst of a relegation scrap with Trinity and Bray.

Hermes 1 (Linda Caulfield) Bray 0
Linda Caulfield's 20th minute goal was enough to seal all three points as Hermes were well-tested by Bray. She latched onto a rebound from Jenny Burke's initial strike from a corner for the only goal.

Hermes were on top for long periods but good goalkeeping by Mary Goode combined with poor finishing kept the score down. Bray, however, almost capitalised from their only corner, the ball deflecting onto the roof of the net. Linda O'Neill, Elaine Bromell and Catherine Murray were to the fore.

For Hermes Niamh Atcheler and Jenny Kinch were solid in defence whilst the midfield of Caulfield, Harte and Watkins created a number openings for the forwards.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Irish Cup draws - Junior, Trophy and Challenge dates named

Men’s Irish Junior Cup ROUND 2 (January 17, 2009)
Bandon II v Corinthian II
Cookstown II v Lisnagarvey II
Three Rock Rovers II v YMCA II
Glenanne II v Bangor II
Monkstown II v NICS II
Pembroke II v Railway Union II
Weston II v Cork C of I II
Instonians II v Raphoe II

ESB Irish Junior Cup Round 2 (January 17, 2009)
UCC II v Railway Union II
Three Rock Ladies II v Old Alex II
Galway II v UCD II
Pegasus II v Cork Harlequins II
Armagh II v QUB II
Cork C of I II v Ashton II
Randalstown II v Hermes II
Loreto II v Dublin University II

ESB Irish Hockey Trophy – Postponed matches from December 13
Round 3 – January 10, 2009
Newbridge v Priorians
Cookstown v Wexford
Genesis v Dromore
Ashton v QUB
Three Rock Ladies v Bandon

Round 4 – January 17, 2009
Ulster Elks v Ashton / QUB
Cookstown/Wexford v Newbridge/Priorians
TRL/Bandon v Catholic Institute
Ballymena v Genesis/Dromore

Men’s Irish Hockey Trophy - Postponed matches from December 13
Round 3 – January 10, 2009
Suttonians v Catholic Institute

Men’s Irish Hockey Challenge – Postponed matches from December 13
Round 1 – January 17, 2009
Mullingar v PSNI
Limerick v Down
East Antrim v St James Gate
Omagh v St Brendan’s Phoenix Park

Men’s Irish Hockey Challenge
Round 2 – January 31, 2009
Limerick/Down v Portrane
Omagh/SBPP v Mullingar/PSNI
Campbellians v Portrush
Saintfield v East Antrim/St James Gate

ESB Irish Hockey Challenge – Postponed matches from December 13
Round 1 – January 17, 2009

Dungarvan v Gorey
Kilkenny II v Mallow
Newry v Naas
Grosvenor v Phoenix Park
Clonmel v Enniscorthy
Tipperary v Mullingar
Athlone v Enniskillen

ESB Irish Hockey Challenge
Round 2 – January 31, 2009
Wexford II v Dungarvan/Gorey
Clonmel/Enniscorthy v Kilkenny/Mallow
Fermoy v Tipperary/Mullingar
Athlone/Enniskillen v Renmore
Raphoe v Greenfields II
Athy v Newry/Naas
YMCA v Newcastle
Monkstown v Grosvenor/Phoenix Park

Irish Senior Cup draws

The draw for the Irish Senior Cup was made earlier today with Monkstown against Cookstown looking the pick of the bunch. Instonians will host Cork Harlequins in another decent looking tie. YM face Pembroke in the Sandymount derby while Suttonians could earn a second pop at Glenanne if they beat Catholic Institute.

On the women's side, Hermes play UCD once again having already duelled in league and IHL action this term. Harlequins face a second trip to Ballymoney having drawn there in the first round of IHL matches while UCC represent a serious test to Railway Union at the Mardyke. The students are threatening to break Quins' stranglehold on Munster, inflicting their first defeat in several years of domestic action recently.

Men’s Irish Senior Cup Draw ROUND 1 (January 24, 2009)
YMCA v Pembroke Wanderers
Kilkenny v Three Rock Rovers
Fingal v Bandon
Glenanne v Suttonians / Catholic Institute
Monkstown v Cookstown
Instonians v Cork Harlequins
UCD v Bangor
Raphoe v Banbridge
Antrim v Cork C of I
Byes to Round 2: Lisnagarvey, Corinthian, Mossley, Annadale, Railway Union, NICS or UCC, North Down

ESB Irish Senior Cup Draw ROUND 1 (January 24, 2009)
Ballymoney v Cork Harlequins
Armagh v D
Knock v Pembroke Wanderers
Lisnagarvey v Bray
Dublin Uni v Loreto
Corinthian v Victorians
Randalstown v B
Ards v A
C v Lurgan
Hermes v UCD
UCC v Railway Union
Byes to Round 2: Belfast Harlequins; Glenanne; Old Alex; Pegasus; Cork C of I.

A, B, C and D are qualifiers from the ESB Irish Hockey Trophy (the four semi-finalists)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Women's IHL: Round Two

Pool A
Loreto 3 (Zara Delany 2, Nikki Symmons) Pegasus 2 (Alex Speers 2)
Loreto moved into pole-position in pool A after they claimed a vital win over Ulster kingpins Pegasus in what was billed as one of the group stages stand-out games. It did not disappoint as the visitors made the best of the opening stages, Arlene Boyles seeing her early strike saved off the line by Nikki Symmons before Alex Speers guided in a corner in the 10th minute.

But for heroics from Louisa Healy and Clodagh Grealy (pictured, right) it could have been more before the Beaufort-side got a foothold in the game. They won two corners by quarter-time, the second of which was dragged home by Symmons. She, subsequently, created her side's second. The Ireland midfielder won the ball on halfway before supplying a pin-point ball to Nikki Keegan. Keegan slipped the ball past Sharon Moffett to Zara Delany for 2-1.

Delany grabbed her second - and fifth of the tournament so far - in the second half, finishing from Cathy McKean's assist. It left both sides within a goal of a bonus point with 20 minutes left. The Irish Senior Cup holders bagged it, Speers slamming home with the clock winding down though there was almost a late equaliser but Loreto held out a corner to take a vital three points.

Pool B

UCD 2 (Catriona McGlip, Rosie Carrigan) Ballymoney 0
UCD got right back into the mix in Pool B, thanks to second half goals from Catriona McGlip and Rosie Carrigan, a result which cuts Armagh and Belfield visitors Ballymoney adrift at the bottom of the group.

Both sides had chances in the first half with UCD keeper Grace O'Flanagan producing some fine saves. The students, though, took the initiative soon after the big break as Rachel Burke and Lisa Jacob combined beautifully to set up Catriona McGlip to crash the ball home.

Jacob went close to a second but her drag-flick was well-tended to by Sammy Jo Greer before Ballymoney had their chances with two corners of their own. Rosie Carrigan, though, got the killer goal, coolly slotting home at the end of a jinking run with 11 minutes left to claim the points.

Men's IHL: Round Two results

Pool A
Cookstown v Annadale
Instonians v Pembroke Wanderers
No movement in the standings in pool A as Pembroke's trip to Instonians was scuppered by the frost while Annadale's double-header with Cookstown at Coolnafranky did not go ahead.

Pool B
Monkstown 4 (Gareth Watkins 2, Stephen Cole, Filip Jaros) Lisnagarvey 5 (Timmy Cockram 3, Stuart McNiece, Jason Lynch)
Lisnagarvey stole an incredible victory with the odd goal in nine, with Monkstown taking scant consolation from their bonus point having twice led by three clear goals. The Town rode an early storm that saw Garvey spurn two corners before skipper Gareth Watkins looped in a reverse to open the scoring.

Stephen Cole's deflection made it 2-0 inside the first quarter before Filip Jaros' strike from an improvised corner saw the Town in command at half-time. But Garvey showed in last year's Club Championship semi-final they are never beaten - that time scoring four in eight minutes to scare the life out of Three Rock.

Timmy Cockram netted his side's third corner of the second half in the 38th minute after Richie Beere was sin-binned. Watkins replied almost immediately - again from a corner variation - but Stuart McNiece's low drive and Cockram's second meant it was game on going into the final quarter at 4-3.

Cockram's third knocked the stuffing out of Monkstown, inside a minute of the restart, and the hosts struggled to create much as time progressed. Garvey, meanwhile, took their major chance as Jason Lynch took in a cross and scored with four minutes to go to nick a remarkable win.

Fingal 2 (Mick McGuinness 2) Three Rock Rovers 0
Fingal picked up their first points of the IHL as Three Rock's weekend from hell went from bad to worse as they took heavy blows to their hopes of silverware on two fronts in two days.

Mick McGuinness' drag-flicks have come good of late and he added another pair, one very early on, the other very late, from the two corners his side were awarded. In between times, Nigel Grothier was in top form between the posts, pulling off some excellent saves with the pick of them coming from Kyle Good's effort.

Rovers won four corners but found no way through the Eamon Bane marsahlled defence. The results mean Banbridge and Cork C of I now hold the trump cards in the group on six and five points respectively while Garvey, Fingal and Three Rock are on three.
* Monkstown vs Lisnagarvey pictures courtesy of Adrian Boehm. Fingal and Three Rock picture courtesy of Emer Keogh.

Leinster Senior Mills Cup: Round Two

Clontarf 4 (Richard Forrest 2, Gareth Borland, Ciaran McNamara) Railway Union 2 (Kevin O'Brien, Mark English) Fresh from ending Three Rock's long unbeaten run, Railway fell to defeat to an impressive Clontarf side who have now set up a tie with either Pembroke or Skerries. Kevin O'Brien opened the scoring early on but Ciaran McNamara had the game level by half-time.

And the division two side showed why they are looking prime contenders for promotion after the break as Gareth Borland and Richie Forrest made it 3-1 before Mark English pulled one back for the visitors to the bullring.

But Forrest grabbed his second to complete the win to make it back-to-back wins over division one sides in the competition.

Corinthian 7 (Chris Pelow 2, Darren Kimfley, Rowland Rixon-Fuller, John McInroy, Carl Eggert, Glen Holmes) Dublin Uni 1 (Ben Hewitt)
Dublin University started brightly against Corinthian, taking the lead through Ben Hewitt - the former Leinster U-21 from Bangor finding his scoring form with four in three games this week. But the reds, spurred on by their new South African pair Andrew Cronje and Darren Kimfley soon got on top of the game, especially when Trinity's Daire Coady picked up a knock.

They took a 2-1 lead into the break and surged clear in the second half, Kimfley picking up his second of the weekend. The man from Eastern Province made his debut for South Africa in 2007 and joins the club while currently on summer vacation. Cronje, meanwhile, could well be here for a longer period and is a veteran of the 2006 World Cup in Monchengladbach and the 2008 Olympics.

Glenanne 4 (Gary Shaw 2, Eddie O'Malley, own goal) Suttonians 1 (Mukhtar Ahmed)
There was no fairytale return to Glenanne Park for Nasir Munir as the hosts eased into the last eight where they will face Corinthian. They went 4-0 up before Suttonians got a late consolation on the final whsitle. Munir - the former quadruple winning coach with the Glens - played for a short while against his old charges who again rested Stephen Butler and Graham Shaw with Richie Shaw and Alan Browne also sitting this one out.

Naas 2 (M Blake, L Connolly) Avoca 5 (Carl Breaden 2, Stephen Day, Scott Wilkie, Fergal McGuinness)
Avoca bagged a home quarter-final against the winner of Fingal and YMCA.

*Pictures courtesy of Deryck Vincent, for more click here

Leinster Hockey on Youtube

With most Leinster clubs becoming more technologically-minded, The Hook is hoping to use the fact that most division one side's record their game to help promote our game further. To this end, The Hook invites you and your clubs to send in your video links so that we can start getting regular live action from domestic matches onto the internet.

The first such clip comes Three Rock's first goal in their 3-1 win, with Lucas Piccioli providing the assist for Kyle Good.

If you have any clips or videos you would like to share with The Hook, please email me at

Women's Division One: Week Ten results

Railway Union 2 (Jean McDonnell 2) Trinity 0

Jean McDonnell cracked home two penalty corners to maintain Railway's six point lead, though they were slightly underpar against an energetic Trinity side. Rachel Scott showed some good touches as Trinity hoped to add a shock to their recent revival.

Having said that, the Park Avenue hosts only gave up one corner and not many circle penetrations and still only have one goal in the conceded column this term.

Glenanne 0 Loreto 4 (Claire O'Meara, Alison Meeke, Nikki Keegan, Cathy McKean)
Loreto eased to victory in St Mark's to remain unbeaten in the first half of the season and pull clear of the rest of the chasing pack in their bid to catch Railway. The goals came from Claire O'Meara, former Corinthian Ali Meeke, Nikki Keegan and Cathy McKean.

Bray 1 (Catherine Brock) Old Alex 1 (Leanne Costello)
Alex missed a chance to grab a place in the top three as they were held by eighth placed Bray. For the hosts, the point edges them slightly further away from the drop zone in their first season in the top flight.

Corinthian 2 (Eva Caulwell, Sarah Walker) Hermes 7 (Anna O'Flanagan 4, G Tindall, Aoife Harte, Jenny Burke)
Hermes led from start to finish against Corinthian to claim an emphatic 7-2 win. Anna O'Flanagan netted four times while there was a first goal since returning to the fray from Jenny Burke.

Hermes move into the top three, ten points behind Railway but with a game in hand. They get the chance to reduce the gap on Monday night when they face Bray in the rearranged fixture from December 6.
* Pictures courtesy of Adrian Boehm and Emer Keogh, for more click here

Men's Division Two: Week Seven Results

Skerries 3 (Alan Early 2, Felix Nacken) Bray 0

Skerries and north-side rivals Clontarf have set up a key game in the first round of league matches in the New Year with a 3-0 win over the other side in the mix, Bray. Alan Early bagged another pair - deflecting home Ronan Gannon's shot for his second - while German exchange student Felix Nacken was also on the mark.

Weston 2 Clontarf 6 (Andrew Poynter 3, Tom Noonan 3)
After a strange week for Clontarf, they notch up three points against Weston but find they may yet have to replay from scratch their tie with Navan as a review will take place of last week's events.

Andrew Poynter (pictured) got Tarf's first two, linking well with Tom Noonan before Weston got one back. Derek Ledwidge assisted for Noonan's first to restore the advantage but Weston got back in it soon after.

Noonan's deft touch from Luke Hayden's cross, though, was the clincher. Poynter made it 5-2 with three minutes left and Noonan got the last Tarf touch before the ball went onto the post and bounced out only to be unfortunately knocked back into the goal by the Weston keeper.

Dublin Uni 2 (Jason Bryan, Ben Hewitt) Avoca 1 (Stephen Brownlow)
The students picked up their second win of the season with goals coming from the pair whose strikes last week against Naas may just be consigned to academia, former Trinity captains Jason Bryan and Ben Hewitt.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Men's Division One: Week Ten results

Railway Union 2 (Paul O'Brien, Eoin McArthur) TRR 1 (Michael Maguire)

Railway Union produced the surprise result of the season so far as their developing side handed Three Rock their first league defeat since the 4-1 turnover by Pembroke in October 2007.

Paul O'Brien opened the scoring with a deflection before Rovers' defence was caught cold as O'Brien took a quick sideline ball through to Eoin McArthur who slipped the ball under Shane Davey.

Kevin O'Brien then hit the bar and also spurned a one-on-one chance before Rovers came back in the second half - Michael Maguire getting one back from a corner variation - but missed a chance for a point when Garry Ringwood put a stroke wide, ruining Andy McConnell's return to first team action.

Monkstown 1 (Alec Barrett) YMCA 1 (Will Powderly)
Will Powderly's late goal from a slipped short corner secured a point for YM, their first on the road this term. Alec Barrett opened the scoring in the first half, finishing off a counter-attack afte exchanging a one-two with Gareth Watkins.

The improving YM, though, fought back and scored from a third of a series of corners - the first blocked down, the second saved by Dave Fitzgerald but the third was slipped to pusher-out Powderly who made no mistake to take a deserved draw. Monkstown were the only one of the three IHL teams due to play on Sunday to get a point.

Corinthian 5 (Brian Doherty, Sam Lopsey, David Carson, Miles Warren, D Kimfley) Fingal 3 (Mick McGuinness 2, David Bane)
Corinthian reversed their opening day 5-3 defeat with Fingal with one of their own in a thriller at Whitechurch Park.

Mick McGuinness scored a drag-flick for 1-0 but Corinthian fought back for a 2-1 and 3-2 lead thanks to Brian Doherty, Sam Lopsey and David Carson before Fingal pegged them back by half-time to 3-3. But the reds got the decisive second half goals and, with a couple of results going their way, take a big chunk out of the difference between themselves and the top five.

Kilkenny 3 (Tom Manning 2, Gary Sharman) Glenanne 4 (Shane O'Donoghue 2, David Keogh, David Shaw)
Glenanne raced into a 3-0 lead but found themselves subject to a second-half fightback from the Cats. The Glens, though, survived and move into the top two for the first time since early October despite the absence of Stephen Butler and Graham Shaw, rested due to the 14-game rule as well as Joe Brennan for work reasons.

The Leinster branch earlier this week raised the 14-game issue with the IHA, citing the fact that clubs have to rest players for their domestic league which acts as a qualifier for the IHL. The ruling, though, still stands meaning Pembroke, Three Rock and Glenanne will have to rest their stars for at least four league games and some or all of the cups. The rule, though, has been relaxed for goalkeepers.

It is the second time this season Kilkenny have provided a scare for the Glens but youngsters Shane O'Donoghue and David Keogh stepped into the breach.
*Pictures of Railway and Three Rock courtesy of Adrian Boehm and Emer Keogh can be seen here

Irish Hockey Trophy and Challenge Results

With a large section of the draw ruled out due to concerns over the weather, there was only a few results in the Irish Hockey Trophy and Irish Hockey Challenge. The only Leinster team in action, Muckross bowed out at the last 16 stage of the Trophy.

In the same competition, the Ulster Elks - spurred on by internationals Emma Clarke and Shirley McCay - were the big winners, hitting ten past Carrickfergus.

ESB Irish Hockey Trophy – ROUND 3
Ulster Elks 10 Carrickfergus 0; Waterford 3 Cath Institute 4; Ballymena 2 Muckross 1

Men’s Irish Hockey Trophy – ROUND 3
South Antrim 1 North Down 3; Antrim 3 Kilkeel 0

ESB Irish Hockey Challenge – ROUND 1
Renmore 4 Derg Valley 2; Limerick 2 Greenfields II 3; Monkstown w/o Bangor scr; Midleton scr Wexford II w/o
Sunday: Clonmel v Enniscorthy, 2.30pm, Tipperary; Tipperary v Mullingar, 2.30pm,Tipp Sports Complex

Men’s Irish Hockey Challenge – ROUND 1
Campbellians 2 Parkview 1; Ballymena 0 Saintfield 2

Friday, December 12, 2008

IHA calls off Saturday inter-branch matches

The weather warnings have caused the IHA to call off all inter-branch games this weekend to save clubs unnecessary travel and the costs caused as a result.

In a statement issued today, the IHA said "with the primary consideration of player safety in terms of travel, and the probability of unplayable pitches resulting in costs due to unnecessary travel, the following decision has been taken.

"IHA Matches (ie. Trophy and Challenge) scheduled for tomorrow Saturday 13th December which involve teams travelling out of their Branch to another Branch have been postponed.

"IHA Matches (ie. Trophy and Challenge) scheduled for tomorrow which involve teams playing within their"local branch" to be played subject to pitches being playable.

"A decision regarding IHA Matches (ie. Trophy and Challenge and IHL) scheduled for Sunday will be made tomorrow and Clubs will be notified accordingly. Dates for the rescheduling of all postponed matches will be notified to the respective clubs in due course."

Alexandra College take Premier League

Alexandra College 3 (Karen Hinkson 2, Kate Macken) Muckross 0

A complete performance from Alexandra College saw them become the sixth name in six years onto the Premier League trophy since it was first presented in 2004, deservedly taking the spoils against Muckross in front of a packed Grange Road.

Karen Hinkson opened the scoring inside five minutes, getting a neat deflection from Alice Ward's through-ball after a well-worked free-in. Ward was the liveliest performer of the first half, the Pembroke starlet causing all sorts of problems down the Alex right. Deirdre Duke was also a constant threat

Kate Tynan was in superb form, minding the Muckross net, as Alex won four corners to one in the first half, though Muckross created the odd bit of danger themselves on the break.

The second half, though, spurred on by Hayley O'Donnell and Hannah de Burgh-Whyte was one-way traffic in the red and white direction. Hinkson got her second with eight minutes remaining after Tynan made a series of saves, to roll in the second. Kate Macken added the third late on, again from a rebound.

* For more pictures, click here and here

Women's IHL: Round Two refixes

Loreto v Pegasus, 3pm, Loreto Beaufort (Catriona Hassey, Gail Taylor)

Billed as one of the ties last time out, this fixture now has added zest after Railway's bonus point win over Randalstown in the race for Pool A qualification. A win for either side will see them top the group with the Park Avenue side in second while a draw sees Loreto move to six points with Pegs and Railway on five.

Star quality is in abundance as Loreto's pacy Niamh Small, Nikki Keegan and Nikki Symmons combined with the wily Cathy McKean and Zara Delany will test the Pegasus back three of Nadine Brown and former internationals Arlene Boyles and Jill Orbinson.

Belfast girl Lizzie Colvin has made an impressive start to her Loreto career at the heart of midfield while Pegasus' forward efforts have amassed 39 league goals in seven games so far. Claire McMahon leads the line, aided by Suzanne Beaney and Alex Speers.

UCD v Ballymoney, 3pm, Belfield (Gerry Kotze, J.P. Whyte)A heavy loss for either side could well end hopes of progression. Lyndsey McVicker remains one of the one to watch despite missing Ballymoney's first IHL due to her honeymoon and she will hope to take advantage of UCD's mini-slump in recent weeks. The students started the season brightly but dropped five points in two games to Alex and Trinity.

They bounced back against Glenanne last week and are currently slotted in third place in Leinster. Indeed, UCD are very tough to break down with just six conceded in nine outings. Ballymoney are less consistent with three wins and three losses and lie well off the pace in their domestic league.

Men's IHL: Round Two refixes

All on Sunday

Cookstown v Annadale, 2.30pm, Coolnafranky (Colin Hutchinson, Kieran Bolger)The most contorversial of the refixes, Annadale will hope to recreate the form that saw them lead 4-1 in the third quarter and on course for a bonus point. Cookstown are without Thomas Hutchinson with a broken finger as well as Stuart Smyth. Keith Black and Andy Barbour are back, though. For Annadale, Ulster U-18 Peter Purcell and Irish international Jonny Quigley are both out. In an odd twist of fate, the sides play each other twice in 24 hours at the same venue at the same tip-off time as the pair meet in Ulster league action on Saturday.

Instonians v Pembroke Wanderers, 3.15pm, Shawsbridge (Graham Caulwell, C Beattie)

Pembroke's postponed match against UCD means they can rest up on Saturday or take in Inst's match with Lisnagarvey in Shawsbridge a day before their tie. The big team news is the return of Mark Gleghorne after a lengthy injury though this is offset by Julian Lewis and Mark Wainwright not being available. Pembroke, meanwhile, suffered a blip in midweek against Corinthian but Alan Sothern continues to rattle in the goals. A rematch of last year's ISC quarter-final 4-3 nail-biter. There is also an outside chance of a return for Justin Sherriff who played seconds last weekend in a 3-3 draw with Monkstown.

Fingal v Three Rock Rovers, 1pm, ALSAA (Simon MacAllister, Dan Clarke)Fingal will hope injuries to Paddy Gahan and - once again - David Bane clear up in time for the visit of Rovers while Ben Chillingworth is a long-term absentee. They face a Rovers' side with a few problems of their own but Peter Blakeney, Neil Lyons and Mick Maguire have all been included in an initial squad of 19 for this weekend after missing out recently. The list also includes three goalkeepers - Charlie Henderson, Wendel Armstrong and the Apprentice fifth place finisher, Shane Davey.

Monkstown v Lisnagarvey, 3pm, Rathdown (Andrew Groves, Kris Cholewa)Monkstown face a full-strength Lisnagarvey side at Rathdown on Sunday in a fixture gaining in history and intrigue. Last season's cup semi-final was one of the most famous in the Town's history and they started brightly in the IHL match before players started sliding all over the place. The Town also laid on a good spread last time, sponsored by KBC Asset Management with an impromptu covered stand, hot food and a 20-page colour programme.

Women's Division One Preview

Railway go into this weekend knowing a win over bottom-placed Trinity will guarantee a six-point buffer at the halfway stage in the season. Their regular fluid attacking game, though, was knocked slightly off rhythm by Corinthian last night and Trinity have shown a lot more bite in recent weeks, leading this to be a potential banana-skin.

Loreto's trip to Glenanne has a similar feel as the Tallaght-women look to make a charge for IHL qualification. Hermes, meanwhile, desperately need a win to keep any title hopes alive. Last season they came from a similar position from way back in the pack to claim the title.

The mixture of young and old has taken a little while to gel but showed signs of coming together in last weekend's cracker with Loreto. Last season, though, with a huge amount of draws between the top sides, Hermes had not given the others so much of a headstart. They need a win to make their match on December 20 a meaningful one.

Alex, meanwhile, have two away trips in three days which could see them well in contention. Wins over Corinthian - themselves set to play three in five days - and Bray would assure them of third at the least by Monday night.

Women's Division One
Saturday: Railway v Trinity, 12.30pm, Park Avenue; Corinthian v Hermes, 12.45pm, Whitechurch Park; Glenanne v Loreto, 1pm, St Mark’s; Bray v Old Alex, 2.15pm, Loreto, Bray
Monday: Corinthian v Old Alex, 8.15pm, Whitechurch Park

Leinster Men's weekend preview

While many other sports are winding down for the year, the majority of men's senior hockey teams have double weekends coming up. In divison one, Corinthian and Fingal looks the most enticing prospect - especially considering the airport-side's amazing recovery from a 3-1 half-time deficit earlier this term to win 5-3.

Corinthian look a decent side under John McInroy but have not picked up points against their would-be rivals for IHL places so this game takes on added significance. YM would be another believing their current position is not a true reflection of ability and have shown decent form since their spate of injuries cleared up.

Glenanne and Three Rock will hope to avoid slip ups on their travels to Kilkenny and Railway respectively while UCD and Pembroke's game is off due to exam pressures.

Probably the most interesting story of the weekend, though, comes from division two where Trinity have had an innovative proposal agreed to by both the Leinster disciplinary committee and the Umpires Association.
The club gave Barry Glavey (pictured below right) an internal one-match ban for his red card against Weston but have added to that by offering his services as an umpire for two games in Leinster as a sort of 'community service'.

The matches will be of a level of the umpire association's chosing to make sure it is of the right level and Glavey will umpire in conjunction with Keith Lewis - the umpire who issued the red card. As a result of this initiative, the disciplinary committee saw fit not to impose any further sanction on this occasion.

His club face Avoca this weekend while Clontarf hope to put a controversial weekend behind them in Esker as they face Weston. Skerries and Bray tussle in a crucial top-of-the-table clash.

Sunday sees four of the Mills Cup second round ties in action. Clontarf host Railway Union at the bullring as the division two high-flyers will hope to provide another shock after they eliminated UCD in round one.

Trinity coach Ronan Pelow got his first sight of his original club Corinthian in midweek and was impressed with what he saw and so is hoping for a big performance from his charges. His squad includes Aengus Stanley, Stu Cinnamond, Barry Glavey and Nick Odlum - all of CHC extraction.

Glenanne come up against former maestro Nasir Munir as Suttonians visit while Naas and Avoca vye for a quarter-final berth.

Division 1 (Saturday)
Railway Union vs Three Rock Rovers, 2pm, Park Avenue; Kilkenny vs Glenanne, 1pm, Kilkenny College; Corinthian vs Fingal, 2.15pm, Whitechurch Park; Monkstown vs YMCA, 3pm, Rathdown

Division 2 (Saturday)
Dublin University vs Avoca, 1.30pm, Santry; Weston vs Clontarf, 2.30pm, Esker; Skerries vs Bray, 1.45pm, Skerries

Leinster Senior Mills Cup (Sunday)
Glenanne vs Suttonians, 2pm, Glenanne Park; Naas vs Avoca, 1.30pm, Caragh Road; Clontarf vs Railway Union, 2.45pm, Mount Temple; Corinthian vs Dublin University, 2pm, Whitechurch Park
Postponed: Monkstown vs Kilkenny, TRR v Bray; Skerries v Pembroke; Fingal v YMCA