Mick McKinnon today announced his resignation as Coach Development Manager for the IHA as he will be taking up the position of a special needs teacher and hockey coach at The King’s Hospital School in Palmerstown.
McKinnon was appointed as Irish Hockey’s first Coach Development Manager in January 2007 and led the development of the ‘Coaching Pathway’ including the introduction of numerous coaching awards and the expansion of the sport ’s tutor base. He will finish in his present role on Friday 19th September.
“Mick McKinnon has had a huge impact on Coach Education during his time at Irish Hockey. His determination and hard work has developed our coaching pathway to an exciting point and he is responsible for Irish Hockey’s extensive coach education programme.” said National Development Officer Fiona Mills today.
“Whilst we are sorry to see Mick leave Irish Hockey, we look forward to continuing our relationship with him in his capacity as a hockey coach and tutor. I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the Association to wish Mick the very best for all of his future endeavours.”
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in the association and I feel we have made great strides in the coach education field in the past 20 months, including the significant increase in our tutor pool and the establishment of a Level Three Award.” said McKinnon.
“I would like to wish everybody at the IHA all the best for the future; they have been a pleasure to work with. I still intend to work within Irish hockey circles continuing my work with the national U15’s and in a voluntary capacity.”
Mills revealed that the IHA will be seeking an immediate replacement for McKinnon, as the Association continues its drive to develop Hockey Coaching in Ireland .
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Mick McKinnon today announced his resignation as Coach Development Manager for the IHA as he will be taking up the position of a special needs teacher and hockey coach at The King’s Hospital School in Palmerstown.
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 10:38 AM
Monday, August 25, 2008
Southern Fried was setup earlier this month ahead of what is one of the most pivotal seasons in Irish hockey, with the advent of the IHL.
Check out his article on the Setanta Sports Trophy, featuring interviews with Pakistan's Shakeel Abbassi and South Africa's Marsha Marescia on the state of Irish hockey or his interviews with John Jermyn and Iain Lewers.
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 10:07 PM
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 9:41 PM
Gene Muller (pictured with Dennis Pritchard) will once again go in search of, as yet, unseen talent on October 3 and 4 as the IHA hold their second open try-out for the Irish Senior women's squad in UCD.
The concept of an open try-out was first tried in December 2006 to allow possible national squad players who had been over-looked for selection to national training camps to have their potential assessed.
Players interested need to complete the registration form which they can request by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Monday 15 September 2008. Those attending need to arrange their own travel and accommodation.
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 9:26 PM
Irish U-15 coach Mick McKinnon (right) announced a 32 girl panel earlier today. Players have been selected following a talent identification programme run earlier this year and will continue into a training programme which will run for the next ten months.
McKinnon has helped to produce a number of outstanding players during his time at Armagh, overseeing their transition from a junior club up to senior level and last season took Railway to the Club Championships.
Speaking about the selection, McKinnon said "We had an extended panel of 65 and the level throughout was very encouraging. Those players not in this list will naturally be disappointed but can be proud of their efforts and are of an age where they will get plenty of opportunities to make other Irish panels. Each player not selected will receive individual feedback from the coaches."
U-15 Girls Panel:
Poppy Ashmore, Chloe Brown, Elaine Carey, Siobhan Cloake, Amy Cooke, Nessa Cooper-Millet, Rebecca Dillon, Emma Dobson, Jill Edgar, Amber Gleeson, Sarah Hennessy, Kate Holland, Jodie Kee, Gemma Kingston, Kate Lloyd, Orla Macken, Chloe McCann, Kerri McDonald, Antonia McGrath, Saoirse McGrath, Katie McQuillan, Katie Morris, Grainne Mulkerrin, Leanne Mullins, Ailish Naughton, Kirby O'Donnell, Rachel Owens, Orla Patton, Sarah Rennick, Anna Roopnaroesingh, Lucy Sherwin, Roisin Upton
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 9:11 PM
Sunday, August 24, 2008
The title never looked in danger as Rovers would have needed to win by eight goals to claim the trophy for themselves or beat Kelburne by three to give Cork C of I the trophy.
In a testy encounter, eight men were sent to the sin-bin, with the game reduced to nine versus nine for five minutes in the final quarter.
Josh Cairns gave the Paisley-side the advantage – his fifth of the tournament – after six minutes in by far the fastest game of the weekend with the Scots looking much more comfortable at the higher tempo.
Kelburne were reduced to nine men when Ali Forsyth and Michael Christie received two-minute suspensions for green-card offences.
Rovers looked to force the pace too much with the numerical advantage but Ali Haughton had a great chance to level – his shot was saved off the line by Chris Nelson.
Peter McConnell was sent to the bin early in the second half before Cork Harlequins’ recruit Patrick Shanahan saw another shot saved off the line.
Another newcomer, Lucas Piccioli made it 1-1 in the third quarter, volleying home after a great thrust from Haughton.
That preceded four yellows in two minutes as Gavin Bourke (dangerous play), Michael Bremner (deliberate stick foul), Andy McConnell (dissent) and Jonny Christie (deliberate stick foul) filled up the TD’s box.
Piccioli had the ball in the net, only to be awarded a penalty corner before Hall’s late winner was rapturously received in a game full of needle.
Earlier, Cork C of I gave themselves a chance of glory with an 8-2 thrashing of YMCA. John Jermyn scored four times with Alec Moffett hitting two and Karl Lynch – younger brother of international player, Jason – and Philip Smith completed the scoring.
For YM, Richie Margetson and coach, Ger Butler had put the game in the balance with first half goals.
C of I guest-keeper, Stephen O’Keeffe picked up the €500 bounty for the player of the tournament title and in the women’s competition, Old Alex sealed the title with a 5-2 win over Ards.
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 6:09 PM
An early penalty corner goal from Christopher Zeller was enough to take the German men to a 1-0 win over Spain and add the gold medal to their world title in the final match of the Olympic hockey tournament in Beijing.
Both teams started by playing low intensity hockey, Germany knocking the ball around on risk-free trajectories while Spain was happy to leave them to it, patiently waiting for their opportunities.
A 16th minute penalty corner changed all that however, as Christopher Zeller powered a cracking flick under the crossbar to give his team the lead, putting all the pressure on Spain.
Spain shifted up the gears and began to look more threatening but failed to break the rock solid German defences and as time wore on, the efforts became more desperate as Sergi Enrique was sent to the bin.
Germany held on in what was not a classic battle, going against the grain of what proceeded this encounter.
For German striker Florian Keller it was a particularly special moment: he adds his Gold to the four that are already in the family, with his grandfather, father, brother and sister all having been Olympic Gold medalists.
In the bronze medal match, Australia thrilled the crowd in a 6-2 win over the Netherlands with Eddie Ockenden starring. In another whirlwind start, the youngster scored two close range goals in a 30-second period and Des Abbott made it 3-0 with just nine minutes gone.
Teun de Nooijer won a corner for Taeke Taekema to convert in the 12th minute before the veteran made it 2-3 to make the game close but Ockenden’s cross-shot found a smart deflection from Eli Matheson to re-establish the two goal cushion.
Rob Hammond cracked in a second-half reverse and Luke Doerner nailed a ferocious drag-flick to close out the game 6-2 and win the bronze medal.
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 2:52 AM
China finished 11th, meanwhile, beating South Africa after extra-time. South Africa were first on the scoreboard with an opportunistic goal by Lungile Tsolekile, picking up the rebound.
Yubo Na’s close-range effort leveled matters by the break and captain Yi Song added two corners in quick succession to put the hosts in the box-seat.
But the South Africans summoned some great effort in a bid to end their disappointing campaign on a high note, fighting back through Ian Symons stroke and a corner strike from Austin Smith with a handful of seconds left on the clock, pushing the game into sudden death overtime.
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 2:34 AM
In the women's three-team competition, Old Alex and Ards are dead level having both beaten TRL 3-0 and drawn their meeting today, 1-1.
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 1:44 AM
Saturday, August 23, 2008
The Netherlands laid down one more formidable performance to reclaim the Olympic title with a 2-0 against China.
The Dutch produced a dominant performance and fully deserved the title, winning seven in-a-row with Maartje Paumen creating a scoring-record for the tournament with 11 goals.
They took firm charge of the proceedings from the very start, pushing forward aggressively and creating scores of chances in a cracking contest.They were unable to score in the first half with penalty corner superstar Paumen denied on three occasions.
China had to thank goalkeeper Zhang Yimeng to thank, who pulled a number of top class saves to maintain a half time shutout.China did a fantastic job at blocking the Dutch efforts, counter-attacking at great pace, but halfway through the second half, Naomi van As finally scored for the Netherlands, to the great relief of her team mates. From corner confusion, Minke Smabers shot was well saved but found injector van As free to slap into the empty goal.
China pushed forward but the Dutch sucked it up, holding the ball for long periods and made the title theirs when Maartje Goderie goal reverse took them to the finishing line.
The Dutch women are thus World and Olympic Champions, while China have won their first ever Olympic hockey medal. Having won seven of their seven matches in Beijing with a goal difference of 21:5, the title is undoubtedly deserved - Holland have been the best women's team in Beijing.
In the match for third place, Las Leonas defeated the Olympic Champions of 2004, Germany, to take bronze in what will in all likelihood have been the last Olympic Games for a number of their great players such as Magdalena Aicega, Alejandra Gulla, Mechi Margalot and quite possibly also La Maga - Luciana Aymar.
Aymar celebrated her 250th cap in style as her side came out blazing against an exhausted opposition.
They had an early string of chances including a handful of penalty corners, one of which yielded an early lead when Rosario Luchetti deflected a penalty corner rebound shot past German goalkeeper Kristina Reynolds.
The Germans were still taking their time getting their feet on the ground, and fell further behind when Carla Rebecchi extended the lead with a smart goal as an Alejandra Gulla shot was warded off to see the ball head for the out, but Rebecchi intervened to navigate it across the line and into the goal.
Twelve minutes into the second half, Germany got one back through Anke Kuehn but Noel Barrionuevo converted a penalty corner with a hard flick with a little more than 5 minutes on the clock, taking her team out of reach.
The Argentine women celebrated their bronze medal with genuine elation, despite quite possibly having come to Beijing with higher aspirations, and they were congratulated by Diego Maradona on their effort, while the German girls were lying on the field exhausted and crying tears of despair.
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 12:01 AM
Friday, August 22, 2008
Australia completed their disappointing Olympic campaign with a 2-0 win over Great Britain to claim fifth place.
The game struggled to gain any rhythm throughout the first half but Australia were able to take the lead late in the period through Madonna Bltyh during one of their rare spells of acceleration.
The second half carried on in much the same vein, with both teams suffering from the heat and a lack of motivation after a long and exhausting tournament.
Sarah Thomas got the ball in the net but the Brits' celebrations were cut short by the video umpire - a fate shared by the Hockeyroos who had a goal from Hope Munro called back in a similar fashion.
With less than three minutes on the clock, the British took goalkeeper Beth Storry off the field with Crista Cullen playing kicking-back in a last ditch effort but the effort backfired and Munro sealed the win.
South Africa won the 11th place playoff, beating New Zealand 4-1, playing the match with much more purpose. Marsha Marescia picked up a rebound from Kate Hector’s flick.
New Zealand promptly leveled through Gemma Flynn deflecting the ball in from close range but SA’s Jennifer Wilson put her team back into the lead one minute before half-time.
Vida Ryan and Cindy Brown moved the score to 4-1 and South Africa’s first win of the competition, upsetting the odds somewhat as 8th in the world New Zealand will have some serious questions about what went wrong, failing to garner a win all tournament.
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 11:06 PM
Kelburne got the Tempest Trophy off to a stylish start as they showed their EHL credentials with a 10-1 over YMCA. With seven full internationals and every single member of their starting level having played some form of national level hockey, Kelburne were always likely to be a handful and proved it when Michael Christie fired in a reverse in the sixth minute.
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 10:45 PM
Two of Ireland ’s wandering stars return to their homeland this weekend as the hockey season kicks back into gear with the Tempest Cup in Grange Road .
Peter Blakeney makes his return to his home club after nine months abroad; Three Rock Rovers for the high-level preseason tournament which sees Ireland ’s club champions take on Scottish side Azzurri Kelburne , Munster double-winners Cork C of I and Dublin ’s YMCA.
John Jermyn, meanwhile, makes a welcome return to the Cork C of I line-up after a year playing with Dutch side HGC. The Irish international reached the final of the inaugural Euro Hockey League – hockey’s equivalent to the Champion’s League – last season but returns to Ireland to bolster an already formidable club side.
For Three Rock, the Tempest Cup begins their preparations for their EHL campaign with visitors Kelburne also involved at the highest level of European hockey.
Saturday 23rd (14.00) Kelburne vs. Cork C of I, (16.00) TRR vs. YMCA
Sunday 24th (12.30) YMCA vs. Cork C of I, (14.30) Kelburne vs. TRR HC
Sunday 24th (10.30) TRL vs Ards, (12.30) TRL vs Alex, (14.30) Ards vs Old Alex
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 3:24 PM
Germany and Spain will meet in the men’s final of the 2008 Olympic hockey tournament following two marvellous semi-finals.
In the first semi-final, World Champions Germany defeated the Netherlands on penalty strokes, with tournament top scorer Taeke Taekema missing the vital effort. The match was full of tension, drama and hockey of the highest quality.
The Netherlands looked as though they had won it when Timme Hoyng gave his side a 1-0 lead four minutes from time, but Germany were level two minutes later defender Philipp Zeller grabbed an equaliser. Extra time finished goal-less, and Taekema’s sudden death penalty miss proved decisive.
The second semi started with a bang. Australia’s Des Abbott netted after 30 seconds before his side scored arguably the finest goal of the tournament. A seven pass move ripped open the Spain defence and eliminated the keeper only for Eddie Ockenden to tap into an open goal.
It looked all over for Spain, but two quick scores set the match alight, with an Eddie Tubau brace levelling the scores. With two minutes left to play, Santi Freixa completed the comeback when he slammed home a penalty corner to defeat the reigning Olympic champions. Spain now have the chance to avenge their pool match defeat to Germany in the best way possible – winning Olympic Gold.
Earlier in the day, New Zealand took seventh place with a 4-2 win over Pakistan, while Canada were beaten 3-0 by Belgium in the 9th/10th play-off match.
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 12:10 PM
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Peter Blakeney makes his return to the men’s senior international squad as David Passmore chose to rest a number of the big-hitter for their two-match series with Wales in September.
The maverick striker returned from Australia two weeks ago, having just finished the Australian league season with Freemantle. During the season, Blakeney was called up to the West Australia Thundersticks and won the national championship (pictured) – playing in the same team as Olympians Kiel Brown and Bevan George.
Passmore helped Blakeney secure the club place down under and has been kept well-informed of the player’s progression.
Elsewhere, there is interesting recalls after a couple of years off the scene for Joe Brennan and Steven Redpath while uncapped Cookstown pair Keith Black and David Ames are also included. Iain Walker is the only goalkeeper and Johnny Jackson is vice-captain with Graham Shaw taking the armband.
Speaking about the men’s squad Coach Passmore’s explains his selection, saying “this squad has been selected for development and assessment giving a broader group of players the opportunity to impress before a panel is chosen for next year's important season which includes the European Trophy and world cup qualification tournaments.”
Squad: Iain Walker (YMCA), Conor Harte (Pembroke Wanderers), Tim Lewis (Pembroke Wanderers), Keith Black (Cookstown), Joe Brennan (Glenanne), John Jackson (Loughborough Students), Graham Shaw (Glenanne), Andy McConnell (Three Rock Rovers), David Ames (Cookstown), Steven Redpath (Annadale), Johnny Quigley (Annadale), Geoff McCabe (Banbridge), Alan Sothern (Pembroke Wanderers), Jason Lynch (Lisnagarvey), Michael Watt (Grange HC), Mitch Darling (Three Rock Rovers), Peter Blakeney (Three Rock Rovers)
On that same weekend, Ireland women’s A side goes to Cardiff to plat the Welsh national side with Trinity’s Belgian-bound Ciara Murphy getting a call-up to the squad for the first time along with Railway Union’s Emer Lucey.
Armagh’s Amy Stewart and Stephanie Quinn have both been given time to let injuries heal fully and so have been rested.
Ireland ‘A’ Coach Guy Garrett is happy with the competition for his squad, and is delighted to have international opposition. “These competitions are very important for the development of our Ireland ‘A’ players. An opportunity to play a senior team is always welcome and we have a strong squad to compete against Wales.”
Squad: Aine Connery (UCC), Chloe Watkins (Hermes), Ciara Murphy (Dublin University), Emer Lucey (Railway Union), Helen Stevenson (Belfast Harlequins), Kate McConnell (Pegasus), Katherine Elkin (Randalstown), Katie Saunderson (Sheffield University), Lizzie Colvin (Armagh), Megan Frazer (Ballymoney), Michelle Harvey (Victorians), Niamh Small (Loreto), Rachel Mulligan (Armagh), Rebecca Dallas (Randalstown), Victoria Green (Victorians), Zara Delaney (Loreto)
Welsh Institute of Sport, Sophia Gardens , Cardiff
14.00 Ireland A v Wales (Women)
16.00 Ireland v Wales (Men)
13.00 Ireland A v Wales (Women)
15.00 Ireland v Wales (Men)
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 11:35 PM
In one of the great games of this Olympiad, China reached their first ever final, gaining revenge for defeat in the Athens semi-final as they beat Germany 3-2 despite trailing on two occasions in front of a partisan crowd.
Natascha Keller opened the scoring inside four minutes at the second attempt, following a goal-mouth scramble as both teams began in nervous fashion. China progressively gained the upper hand with German keeper Kristina Reynolds in top form.
She could not keep out Lihua Gao, though, who delicately chipped over Reynolds after being left unmarked in the centre of the circle from a break out of defence, leaving the sides level at the break.
Janine Beermann restores the advantage, pushing in Maike Stoeckel’s cross but Yibo Ma responded quickly from a penalty corner – incredibly, the Chinese side’s first of the tournament after 20 efforts.
The hosts dominated the play for the final 20 minutes, drawing multiple saves from Reynolds before the Chinese star-player Baorong Fu dribbled through the circle. Her cross bounced up into the path of Yudiao Zhao to bat in the decider. Germany had a late corner but could not convert, sending the local crowd into wild celebrations.
The second semi-final proved a more one-sided affair, with the Netherlands triumphing Argentina 5-2. Maartje Paumen scored a hat-trick to break the record for the most goals at a single Olympic tournament, with 11 to her name with Marilyn Agliotti and the graceful Ellen Hoog netting one apiece.
In a devastating first-half, Paumen was on the mark twice as the Dutch rammed home their territorial advantage. Agliotti scrambled another in after Hoog’s brilliant run to effectively kill the game by half-time.
Paumen completed her hat-trick in the 47th minute before Maria Russo pulled a goal back from an excellent right wing move.
Hoog, though, scored an absolute peach to make it 5-1, burning the defence from the left touch-line and then on the back-line before adroitly rounding the keeper and slamming into the goal.
Gulla tapped in with a minute to go but the Dutch were deserving winners and look to be the favourites.
Their ferocious strike-rate at penalty-corners (35%) could prove key and was all that separated the sides in the group stage while China will hope
Baorong Fu can inspire them. They have already guaranteed the country’s first-ever hockey medal. Can they make it gold?
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 11:26 PM
In the classification matches for world ranking points, Spain claimed seventh place on golden goal, beating one of the Games surprise performers, USA 3-2. Esther Termons opener was leveled by America’s Dana Sensenig in the first half.
Inside the last ten minutes, the action heated up with Termons, Carrie Lingo and Nuria Camon all picking up yellow cards in a ten minute span. A goal apiece came during that time with Angie Loy volleying in Kelli Smith’s hit but Raquel Huertas’ reverse forced extra-time.
The Spanish finished stronger to once again score in the final minute when Rocio Ybarra scored from a set-piece past the excellent Amy Train – who must be a candidate for keeper of the tournament – to confirm seventh.
The ninth place tie went the way of Korea, beating their oriental neighbours Japan. Jeong Sook Park deflected Seon Ok Lee’s crash ball for the only meaningful action in a slow first-halfJapan came out stronger after the break and Rima Komazawa got the equaliser.
Parity was short-lived, though, as Park’s diving deflection gave Korea the lead back inside a minute to take the 2-1 win.
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 11:21 PM
On a day that began with scope for a big name casualty, the big-four showed just why they are where they are as the Netherlands, Germany, Spain and Australia did what they had to secure semi-final spots.
The Netherlands were the first to go through, but not without a little waver. Muhammad Imran’s thunderbolt had Pakistan in the lead by the break but Mathijs Brouwer nurdled home in the 41st minute and Taeke Taekema’s double made the run in comfortable. Adnan Maqsood’s beautiful deflection provided a brief scare but Jeroen Hertzberger produced something a bit special to seal top spot in Pool A with a 4-2 win.
Germany were next to qualify, ending New Zealand’s outside hopes. Timo Wess dragged in early on before Matthias Witthaus got a second contender for the goal of the tournament for the day with an outrageous deflection from the top of the D. Witthaus was brilliant all game and this was a just reward.
The Kiwis created some great chances through Simon Child and Hayden Shaw pulled one back but an inventive corner from Florian Keller killed off the New Zealand challenge.
It meant Spain needed to avoid defeat against the lively Koreans to reach the last four. The Asians, though, seemed paralysed by the pressure and Santi Freixa used it to his advantage to put away another cracker.
In the second half, Freixa got his second and Korea’s realistic chances were done despite getting a foothold in the game. Quico Cortes pulled off spectacular saves, keeping his net intact until Sung Hoon Yoon sank a consolation goal with less than two minutes to go.
The final place was taken up by Australia in a thriller against GB. The place was never in doubt as the underdogs needed an eight-goal advantage to advance.
They made as good a fist of it as could be expected, leading twice and only conceding in the final minute to give up a 3-3 draw, due to Eddie Ockenden’s late strike.
Barry Middleton touched in Jonty Clarke’s cross. Experienced duo Bevan George and Jamie Dwyer swung the game the Aussies way but Richie Mantell flicked in before Rob Moore blasted in a third before Ockenden’s late heart-breaker ended hopes of a memorable win.
With the major positions decided, there was some other great drama on offer. Canada got their first win, beating South Africa 5-3, with both sides playing the game short-handed for long periods with five yellows and a red-card dished out.
Austin Smith got two goals in the game to go with two yellows for South Africa, his first in the fifth minute. Veteran Rob Short equalised, Smith spent his first time in the bin with Canada’s Anthony Wright following him soon after.
Lungile Tsolelile got SA ahead again, Wayne Fernandes netted twice along with Conor Grimes building a 4-2 Canadian lead. Smith got his second before Clyde Abrahams saw red, lashing out. Bindi Kullar and Smith followed leaving huge spaces in the last ten minutes, giving Grimes all the time in the world for an easy fifth in the last minute.
In the last game of the day, Belgium recovered from a 1-0 deficit to beat China with Eckinger, Truyens and Dohmen to win 3-1.
It sees the play-off matches looking like this:
Thursday, August 21 (All Irish time)
9/10 place (1.30am) Belgium vs Canada
7/8 place (4am) New Zealand vs Pakistan
Semi-final (11am) Netherlands vs Germany
Semi-final (1.30pm) Spain vs Australia
Saturday August 23
11/12 (1.30am) China vs South Africa
5/6 (4am) Korea vs Great Britain
Bronze medal match (11am)Gold medal match (1.30pm)
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 12:33 AM
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Botanic Hockey Club are waving a fond farewell to their grit pitch as they, in conjunction with St Mary’s Secondary School in Glasnevin, have just started work to transform their 33 year-old shale pitch into a state of the art, Tigerturf Evolution pitch.
To follow the pitch’s progress, click here…
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 12:07 AM
Monday, August 18, 2008
All six matches will be on www.eurovisionsports.tv/olympics/ live and you can also find some highlight reels on the site. The channel stream is stated below:
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 10:03 PM
China needed just a draw to secure qualification to the semis on goal difference but went 2-0 from a pair of Hong Xia Li goals to lead early in the second half.
With their backs against the wall, the Hockeyroos pressed hard to fire in a corner from Casey Eastham and a Sarah Young field goal. It left them with eight minutes to sink a qualifying goal but they were unable to force the ball home as the hosts completed a major shock in front of a massive home crowd.
Already qualified Holland put together a functional performance to beat Spain 2-0 with Maartje Paumen nailing her eighth corner of the tournament to become the equal top goalscorer in an Olympic women’s tournament. She joins Alyson Annan (AUS), Lisanne Lejeune (NED), Beth Anders (USA) and Eun Jung Chang (KOR) on that ,mark with two games still to play.
Marlilyn Agliotti missed a few chances but Ellen Hoog’s bouncing effort sealed the win with two minutes left.
Korea, meanwhile, avoided the wooden spoon. They took a 4-0 half-time lead over South Africa before being pegged back as Kate Hector and Vida Ryan got the African side’s first goals of the competition but lost 5-2 in the end.
Pool A final standings: 1. Netherlands (15 points, +11) 2. China (10, +10), 3. Australia (10, +8), 4. Spain (6, -8), 5. Korea (3, -5), 6. South Africa (0, -16)
Germany and Argentina completed their qualification for the semi-finals. The Germans were the first to confirm their place with a 1-0 win over Japan after a tight battle. World young player of the year, Maike Stoeckel set up the only goal of the game, taking a free hit swiftly for Janine Beermann to get a touch on which looped up over the hapless keeper.
In a game of few chances, they held onto the win and top spot in the table and will now face China on Wednesday.
Great Britain were next up, needing a win over USA to put the pressure on Argentina for second place in the group. They did not fulfill their end of the bargain in a game that inexplicably stayed scoreless despite a litany of goalmouth action.In the first half, the USA had clear advantages, including seven penalty corners and plenty of goal-line scrambles, including hitting the inside of the post and an agonising roll along the goal-line.GB had their chances too in the final five minutes but found Amy Tran unbeatable between the sticks.
The pressure was off Argentina as they faced New Zealand needing to avoid defeat by seven goals to progress.
An easy enough task, especially against a team that was still without points in the competition and Las Leonas confirmed that assumption with an early goal from Carla Rebecchi who made good use of a Marine Russo pass.
But they seemed intent to turn that logic on its head with a patchy performance and Niniwa Roberts deflected in for a 1-1 tie at the break.
It appeared to wake up the Argentinians and a double-strike from Soledad Garcia and Marine Russo in three minutes made it 3-1 – Garcia’s a spectacular reverse effort. Lizzie Igasan pulled one back but they could not get the equalizer and were condemned to their fifth defeat – four of which have been by just one goal.
Pool B final standings: 1. Germany (12, +4), 2. Argentina (11, +4), 3. Great Britain (8, -2), 4. USA (6, +1), 5. Japan (4, -2), 6. New Zealand (0, -7)
* It leaves the playoff matches for the medals and world ranking points as follows:
Wednesday, August 20 (all Irish time)
9/10 place play-off (1.30am) Korea vs Japan
7/8 place play-off (4am) Spain vs USA
Semi-final (11am) Germany vs China
Semi-final (1.30pm) Netherlands vs Argentina
Friday, August 22
11/12 place play-off (1.30am) South Africa vs New Zealand
5/6 place play-off (4am) Australia vs Great Britain
Bronze medal match: (11am)
Gold medal match (1.30pm)
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 9:48 PM
Sunday, August 17, 2008
With Olympic hockey reaching the crucial final group matches, you can watch virtually every minute on the interent, if you're willing to stay up through the night.
On www.eurovisionsports.tv/olympics/ four matches will be shown live, the channel stream is stated below:
Germany vs Japan – Live 11 – 1.30am to 3am
Korea vs South Africa – Live 11 – 3.30am to 5am
Great Britain vs USA – Live 10 – 11am to 12.30am
Netherlands vs Spain – Live 12 – 11.30am to 13pm
Elsewhere, if you want to boost the hits for hockey on RTE, www.rte.ie/sport/olympics2008/player.html will have the Holland vs Spain match live online in full.
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 4:55 PM
Another key day in the Olympic tournament sees Pool B look virtually done and dusted barring an unlikely huge win for Britain over Australia. On the other hand, Pool A will have an intriguing finale with Spain, Germany, New Zealand and Korea all in the mix.
In the game’s opening match, Britain threw away their chance of a semi-final shot with a 1-1 draw with Canada in a poor encounter, characterised by individual errors and ill-discipline. Matt Daly and Sukhwinder Singh had both spent time in the bin for first-half indiscretions before James Tindall’s idiotic dump tackle (pictured) on Rob Short reduced the Brits to ten men.
It proved a pivotal moment as Canada gained the upper hand, creating their first real chances – other than in the opening seconds. Veteran Kenny Perreira banged in from the edge of the circle and gave the British a huge uphill battle for the win they needed.
Daly got a neat deflection with three minutes left but there was little way back. Afterwards, Tindall showed little remorse for his actions, saying "It was just one of those things and if he climbs all over me I'm not going to back down. I wasn't trying to hurt him and with hindsight I'd probably do it again."
His coach, Jason Lee, was less than impressed. “I'm sure the international governing body will ban him for the next game. I've told him off and I can't defend it and I expect he'll be punished further”
In the late game, the Netherlands and Australia played out a lively 2-2 draw, to put the Brits on the edge of elimination. The sides have been the two most impressive so far in the tournament, though the Dutch will be worried about their reliance on penalty corner maestro Taeke Taekema for their goals.
He opened the scoring in the 58th minute but two goals in three minutes from Eddie Ockenden and a corner from Luke Doerner swung the tie in the Kookaburra’s direction. Taekema, though, tied the game up with a final-hooter corner. It leaves the pair three points ahead of GB with vastly superior goal differences.
In the other group game, South Africa got their first goal of the tournament through Austin Smith. It equalised Muhammad Javed’s ninth minute strike but star striker Shakeel Abbassi and a stroke from Muhammad Saqlain made the game safe to ensure their spot in the 5th to 8th place playoffs.
Pool A 1. Australia (10, +17), 2. Netherlands (10, +8), 3. Great Britain (7, +3), 4. Pakistan (6, 0), 5. Canada (1, -9), 6. South Africa (0, -19)
Germany battled hard to keep their place in the competition. Indeed, of results had gone against them, they could have been eliminated but a courageous 1-0 win over Spain kept them in the competition.
The Germans outstanding defence within their own circle was a highlight and will probably adorn many a coaching video, with Timo Wess repelling lots of attacks. The Spanish had a huge number of circle penetrations but had scarcely any shots on target while their five corners were repelled easily.
Moritz Furste knocked in a rebound after a cleverly worked free-in for the game’s decisive goal a couple of minutes before the break.
The result moves Germany back into the top two in the group, trailing Spain by a point as New Zealand missed their chance to move onto nine points against China.
China started off all guns blazing, scoring in the third minute through Song Yi. He doubled up with a second penalty corner goal, and New Zealand were gasping for air.
Simon Child got the Blacksticks back involved just before the break and Shea McAleese batted a loose ball into the net halfway through the second half. That was all they could do however, despite frantic last dicth efforts towards the end of the game, and the scoreline remained tied in a fantastic, high-tempo game.
Korea remain in the mix with a brace of goals from Hyo Sik You helped them come from a goal behind to beat Belgium 3-1.
Belgium took a deserved lead through Jerome Dekeyser who blasted in from a tight angle. Jerome Truyens was convinced he scored Belgium’s second goal when he appeared to deflect a shot into the goal from the top of the circle but the video umpire denied the goal.
Korea’s zippy play broke the Belgian’s shackles in the second half, with You deflecting in a cross – also subject to the video umpire – before the European’s feel apart.
Jang netted a corner before You got a third from a superb right-wing move and now face a crucial final game against Spain. A win sees the Koreans through, while New Zealand can also advance if they win against Germany and Korea and Spain draw.
Pool B: 1. Spain (9, +3), 2. Germany (8, +4), 3. Korea (7, +3), 4. New Zealand (7, +3), 5. Belgium (1, -6), 6. China (1, -7)
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 4:48 PM
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Sarah Young’s slap from close range gave Hockeyroos the lead Paumen, roofed the ball to send the teams into halftime at one all.
in the final match of the day, winning 1-0. The goal arrived four minutes before half time, when Maria Romagosa driving a powerful penalty corner beyond South Africa goalkeeper Mariette Rix.
POOL A: 1. Netherlands (12, +9), 2. China (9, +10) 3. Australia (9, +8), 4. Spain (6, -6), 5. Korea (0, -8), 6. South Africa (0, -13)
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 5:24 PM
· Netherlands men’s coach Roelant Oltmans used to coach Olympic rivals Pakistan, while current Spain men’s
coach Maurits Hendriks took The Netherlands to the Olympic Gold medal at Sydney 2000.
Athens 2004 Games.
Olympic medal, winning Bronze at Sydney 2000 with Australia. Former Belgium coach Gilles Bonnet is now an
assistant coach for the Chinese men.
encounter between his countrywomen and Japan.
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 10:09 AM
Spain’s men are all but through to the last four with their third win on the trot but they were made to work incredibly hard by a spirited Chinese side.
An early exchange of corner goals from Na Yubo and Xavi Ribas made the game 1-1 after the first quarter. The Spanish, though, struggled to create many clear-cut chances while the Chinese threatened on the break a number of times.
In such times, one moment of class usually settles matters and Pol Amat supplied it, breaking through three tackles on the right flank and burying his shot with three minutes left, 2-1.
The race for second place is still tense. New Zealand, powered by Ryan Archibald – whose father, Jeff, won gold in 1976 – hold the advantage following a 4-2 win over Belgium, thanks to goals from Simon Child (2), Gareth Brooks and Shea McAleese.
Germany suffered a second successive setback. Korea led the World Champions twice but Matthias Witthaus and Christopher Zeller scored to give Germany a 3-2 lead. The speedy Koreans, though, equalised through captain Jong Ho Seo to settle a thrilling 3-3 draw.
On Sunday, Germany face a crucial match-up with Spain. If they lose and New Zealand beat China then the Germans will be eliminated while Korea will need a win over Belgium to keep their semi-final hopes alive.
Pool A (points/goal diff): 1. Spain (9, +4), 2. New Zealand (6, +3), 3. Germany (5, +3), 4. Korea (4, +1), 5. Belgium (1, -4), 6. China (0, -7)
In Pool B, Australia secured yet another win but had to fight back from a goal down to defeat Pakistan 3:1. The Greenshirts took a shock lead when Shakeel Abbasi brilliantly touched in a cross from the left wing, but a field goal from Grant Schubert leveled the scores just before half time.
Inevitably, Jamie Dwyer tapped in the all-important second goal before a Travis Brooks deflection completed the scoring to make Australia strong favourites for the semi-finals.
The Dutch stay astride Australia due to a 4:2 win over Canada. An efficient performance built on Taeke Taekema’s flicking expertise – two corners and one stroke – with Roderick Weusthof scoring the fourth from a breakdown of yet another corner.
The only side with a reasonable chance to break the top two is Great Britain who beat the hapless South Africa 2-0. James Tindall scored a beautiful one-handed opener, lobbing the on-rushing keeper before Matt Daly got a late deflection.
GB could put the pressure on with a win over Canada in the fourth round of matches with Australia and the Netherlands playing each other. The final game between GB and Australia could prove a key encounter.
Pakistan face South Africa in a battle for the minor placings.
Pool B: 1. Australia (9, +17), 2. Netherlands (9, +8), 3. Great Britain (6, +3), 4. Pakistan (3, -2), 5. Canada (0, -9), 6. South Africa (0, -17)
Posted by Stephen Findlater at 10:04 AM