Saturday, January 31, 2009

Men's IHL: Round Three, Saturday round-up

Blakeney's Goal vs. Garvey from Threerockroversones on Vimeo.

Group A
Cookstown 0 Pembroke 0
Pembroke and Cookstown shared the spoils after a scrappy nil-all at Coolnafranky. Ivan Steen missed the most gilt-edged chance, failing to convert a penalty stroke.

Alan Sothern and Gordon Elliott had the better open play chances in the first quarter before the second and third periods were littered by sin-binnings - Stephen Cuddy, Keith Black and Alan Giles doing time.

Iain Hughes made two good saves from Sothern to keep Cookstown in it, though the Tyrone side dominated possession. Giles added a yellow to his collection in last quarter but Cookstown could not take advantage of the ten man situation despite two penalty corners.

Cork Harlequins 1 (Paul Lombard) Annadale 3 (Paul Jackson, Jonny Quigley, Fraser Mills)
Harlequins lost their third successive game in bizarre circumstances as they dominated possession, winning 12 corners and yet were rarely in the game on the scoreboard.

'Dale were two up inside seven minutes with Paul Jackson netting a stunner (pictured bottom left) after Ian Hamilton's faked pass opened an opportunity on his reverse. Jonny Quigley's was less beautiful, flashing a shot across goal but took a lucky deflection off goalkeeper Chris Daunt to deflect into his own goal.

A litany of chances went abegging before Paul Lombard finally got one back from the spot in the 63rd minute but Fraser Mills sucker-punched with a reverse. The results leaves the winner of Instonians and Glenanne to take spot on Sunday afternoon.

Group B
Lisnagarvey 2 (Mark Raphael, Brian Waring) Three Rock Rovers 5 (Tim Hill, Mitch Darling 2, Peter Blakeney, Michael Maguire)
Three Rock bounced back from their Fingal defeat to nab a last-minute bonus point against Lisnagarvey. Timmy Hill got the only goal of the first half scored a tidy opener in the 31st minute of a low-key half.

The second half proved more exciting, Andy McConnell set up Mitch Darling for a tap-in to make it 2-0 before former international Brian Waring cracked in a superb goal to bring the game back to life.

Alan Bothwell went to the bin soon after but Rovers were not deterred as Darling made it 3-1, despite the player deficit. Mark Raphael livened it up once more from a corner second phase with seven minutes remaining.

But two late strikes from Peter Blakeney (pictured, right) and Maguire stole the win and an invaluable late bonus.

Fingal 3 (Mick McGuinness 2, Derek O'Gorman) Banbridge 5 (Ross McCandless 2, Eugene Magee, Simon Magowan, Dane Ward)
Banbridge kept the only 100pc record in the men's side intact with a 5-3 away win at ALSAA. Like the Three Rock game, only one first half goal went in despite the high final score. Ross McCandless got it from a corner won by Simon Magowan.

Eugene Magee added a drag-flick before Mick McGuinness added to his list of goalkeeping victims. This time, Gareth Lennox found his corner shot unstoppable. He potted two to level the game but a minute into the final quarter Magowan got a freak goal that looped over Nigel Grothier after deflecting off a Fingal knee.

McCandless made the gap two once again, Derek O'Gorman slotted home before Dane Ward netted a controversial late corner to deny a Fingal bonus point in the last minute.

Cork C of I 6 (John Bruton 2, John Jermyn 3, Stephen Parker) Monkstown 3 (Gareth Watkins 3)
Monkstown's unlikely chances of progressing are now over though Cork C of I had to wait until the last nine minutes before pulling away.

Jonny Bruton gave his side a fourth-minute lead, which was doubled by John Jermyn at the end of the first quarter.

But Monkstown had no intention of rolling over as skipper Gareth Watkins converted their only two corners of the second quarter to draw level.

Jermyn re-established C of I’s lead after the break, only for Watkins to complete his hat-trick and cancel it out again. But Jermyn matched that feat to put C of I 4-3 up, and late goals from Bruton and Stephen Parker secured the bonus point.

*More pictures from Eoin Tyrell of Cork Harlequins vs Annadale can be see here

Women's IHL: Round Three, Saturday round-up

Group A
Railway Union 2 (Emer Lucey, Emma Smyth) Belfast Harlequins 0
Two goals in seven, third quarter minutes moved Railway Union into second place in Group A, ahead of Pegasus, completing a 2-0 win over Belfast Harlequins.

They had the best of the first half but found themselves foiled by Harlequins' keeper Jenny Foster. Five minutes into the second, though, Emer Lucey broke the deadlock, cracking home a penalty corner. Emma Smyth (pictured, left) doubled up soon after for a comfortable advantage.

Nicole Morrow was causing problems at the other end, one effort flashing across Helen Stevenson's goal but they could not net a bonus point.

Cork C of I 1 (Amy Roberts) Loreto 4 (Nikki Symmons, Niamh Small, Hannah Matthews 2)
Loreto continued to keep full control of Group A with a bonus point in Garryduff, overturning a first-half deficit with starlet Hannah Matthews marking her return from long-term injury with two goals.

Amy Roberts gave the hosts the lead, finishing adroitly after cutting in from the left in an opening quarter that C of I dominated.

But Nikki Symmons hauled Loreto level just after the break, sparking a superb second-half performance from the seasoned Irish international star.

Niamh Small rattled home a short corner to give Loreto a lead to take into the final quarter, and that advantage was doubled when Matthews exchanged passes with Symmons at corner time before finding the backboard.

Matthews rubbed salt into C of I’s wounds with her side’s fourth in the final minutes, and the bonus point accrued propels them to the head of the table with three wins from three.

Group B
Cork Harlequins 3 (Rachel McSharry, Hilary Chapple, Jane Chapple) UCD 1 (Fiona Braddish)
Harlequins took temporary charge of Group B, ahead of the Hermes-Pembroke match on Sunday, taking control of their tie in the third minute when skipper Rachel McSharry swept home from a neat corner move.

The students were back on terms in the second quarter when Fiona Braddish flung herself at a loose ball after Lisa Jacob's early incision. McSharry, though, instigated a move on the stroke of half-time, keeping the ball alive to feed Rachel Kohler and her nicely angled cross was deflected home by Hilary Chapple.

Jane Chapple added the decider in the third, creating and finishing a breakaway to put UCD on the verge of elimination. Harlequins, meanwhile, are in rude health, especially as their final group game with Armagh will be a dead rubber.

Ballymoney 5 (Lyndsey McVicker 4, Sally Stewart Moore) Armagh 0
A virtuoso performance from Irish legend Lyndsey McVicker (pictured, right) got Ballymoney into an overnight tie for second in Group B though they will drop tomorrow after the group is completed.

They have, however, got right back into the mix with a great five-star performance in the Ulster derby. MBE McVicker netted a first half hat-trick, netting her fourth in the closing ten minutes and Sally Stewart Moore completed the rout.

Men's Division One: Round-Up

Railway Union 0 YMCA 2 (David Robinson, Andy Walker)

Goals within five minutes either side of half-time saw YM move level with Railway Union in seventh after their 2-0 win at Park Avenue.

Railway hit the post inside three minutes but did not create many major chances after that moment. David Robinson opened the scoring from a penalty-corner drag-flick and Andy Walker got the second from play soon after the half-time break before Railway were shown a red card for continued, vehement complaints toward an umpire.

The result, if any doubts remained, dispels any worry of relegation with nine points now separating the pair from UCD and Kilkenny who look certain to fill the relegation and playoff places.

UCD 0 Corinthian 9 (Brian Doherty 2, John McInroy, Darren Kimfley, Rowland Rixon-Fuller, Davy Carson, Andrew Cronje, Sam Lobsey, Miles Warren)
The reds thumped UCD to move into the top four for the first time, leaping over Monkstown and Fingal, taking advantage of their IHL concerns.
Teenager Brian Doherty added a brace to his season's tally while the rest of the goals were spread around the side with St Andrews' student Davy Carson scoring a nice effort while the foreign contingent all getting involved. South Africans Kimfley, Cronje, McInroy and Warren, Zimbabwean Rixon-Fuller and Australian Lobsey were all on the score sheet.

IHC and IJC Results

Division Four side Mullingar took a huge leap forward in the Irish Hockey Challenge with a thumping 3-0 win over Omagh at the Youth Sports ground this afternoon.

They go into Monday's draw to face either on three of Ulster sides: Down - conquerors of Portrane after extra-time - Campbellians or Saintfield, who beat the Gate 2-1.

In the women's equivalent, two of Leinster's newer female sides advanced with Divsion 14's Monkstown, spurred on by Susie Murray, continuing their 100pc record since rejoining the league. Bizarrely, they are going for a tenth successive promotion under the Monkstown banner.

The women's side to the club last turned out in the 1992 season during the move to Rathdown. They could not afford a levy and so reverted to being Glenageary United before folding. Prior to that, the club had won nine successive promotions. They beat Grosvenor 4-0 and are now in the last eight.

YMCA, meanwhile, beat Newcastle 5-0 - similarly they have raced up to division nine with four successive upgrades. Three more Challenge matches take place tomorrow afternoon before the quarter-final draw takes place.

Elsewhere, Glenanne II became the fifth Leinster side through to the Irish Junior Cup semi-finals with an impressive 4-0 win over Bangor II.

Men’s Irish Hockey Challenge - Round 2
Down 4 Portrane 3 on golden goal; Omagh 0 Mullingar 3; Campbellians 3 Potrush 0; Saintfield 2 St James Gate 1

ESB Irish Hockey Challenge - Round 2
Fermoy 5 Tipperary 1; Athlone 1 Renmore 0; Raphoe 1 Greenfields II 1 (Raphoe won 3-2 on strokes); YMCA 5 Newcastle 0; Monkstown 4 Grosvenor 0
To be played, February 1: Athy v Naas; Clonmel v Mallow; Wexford II v Gorey

Men's Irish Junior Cup - Round 2
Glenanne II 4 Bangor II 0

Women's Division One: Round-Up

Trinity 3 (Rachel Scott 3) Glenanne 1 (Nicci Daly)

It was lucky number 13 for Trinity as they finally picked up their first win of the season thanks to a Rachel Scott treble against Glenanne. Her first came from a penalty corner in the 10th minute when she, in the pusher-out position, swept in.

Nicci Daly got a deflection to get the Glens back on terms six minutes later but Scott was the beneficiary of Maebh Horan's driving run. The latter slipped the ball square and the former-Pembroke woman placed the ball into the bottom-left corner.

And the game was sealed five minutes after the break as an intricate corner move eventually found its way to Scott via Katie O'Byrne and Claire Hearnden to make it 3-1.

Glenanne applied plenty of pressure in the final half-hour but could not force the goals to close the gap. It means the students are off the bottom for the first time this season.

Corinthian 0 Bray 3 (J O'Byrne, Jennifer O'Neill, K Lindsay)
Bray move four points clear of the drop-zone with their second league away win of the season and consign the reds to bottom place with four IHL teams to play in the next four series of fixtures. It means their date with Trinity on March 28 could prove a vital fixture.
*For more pictures from the Corinthian v Bray game by John Keogh, click here

Men's Divsion Two: Back match results

Clontarf 14 (Rob Abbott 5, Rob Kelly 3, Tom Noonan 2, John Lennon, Nick Burke, Luke Hayden, Gareth Borland) Navan 0
The Bulls produced the biggest win in their club's history as they got the result they felt they deserved after the previous encounter between the sides was abandoned with the score at 5-0.

They went one better this time by half-time leading by six, building up to double-figures with seven different scorers on the mark - including former Bangor man Nick Burke getting his first for the club - while Rob Abbott led the way with a fantastic five.

Naas 1 Dublin University 3 (Craig Moore 2, Barry Glavey)
In a similar manner, Trinity picked up a two-goal win after their 4-2 lead against Naas last time out was wiped off the slate. Midleton-man Craig Moore made it 1-0 by half-time, Barry Glavey made it two with a drag-flick in the second before Moore completed their goals. Naas scored with two minutes remaining.
*More of Deryck Vincent's pictures from the Clontarf vs Navan game, can be seen here

Friday, January 30, 2009

Women's IHL: Round Three preview

Group A
Cork C of I v Loreto (Saturday), 2pm, Garryduff)
Loreto travel to Garryduff as the only Group A side with two wins and victory over fifth place CI would give them an excellent chance of advancing, though the final group stage against Railway could still prove key in April.

Their Irish quintet jets off the day after for Alicante for warm-weather training but Zara Delany has a slight leg injury to contend with. For the hosts, skipper Sandra Hackett is definitely out while former international Deirdre Casey takes on the captaincy duties.

Railway Union v Belfast Harlequins (Saturday) 6pm, Park Avenue
After an emphatic 6-2 win over Randalstown, Railway find themselves right back in the mix in Group A and the lack of a bonus point for Pegasus on Friday night was a slight boost.

Using their favoured 6pm start-time, they will hope to complete their series of three Ulster games well against a Jenny McDonough inspired Belfast Harlequins while Kelli Thornton has been among the goals.

The hosts, though, have strikers like Cecelia Joyce and Kate McKenna who have shown a relish for this competition while Jean McDonnell and Emma Smyth's pace is perfectly suited to the auto-pass ruling. Indeed, their side's usage of the new rules served up the most spectacular goals of round two.

Group B
Ballymoney v Armagh (Saturday) 3pm, Joey Dunlop Centre
Pure and simple, the loser of this fifth versus sixth clash will be out should they fail to win. Neither side has a win thus far though Ballymoney have shown the better league form thus far, picking up double the points of their opponents.

Armagh seem desperately short on fire-power with only nine goals in league outings and one in this competition though they do have the defensive strength of Emma Stewart as well as the talents of younger sister Amy and Rachel Mulligan.

'Money have an international trio of their own in Lauren Barr, Megan Frazer and Bridget McKeever while Lynsey McVicker remains a class act.

Cork Harlequins v UCD (Saturday) 3pm, Harlequin Park
The form side in 2009, UCD may not have scored many in recent weeks but, then again, they rarely concede and have by a distance the lowest aggregate goals per game in domestic competition.

Strong defence, marshaled by Holly Jenkinson, has been key to their progress under Mary Logue and wins over Hermes and Pembroke have them in top form. They will hope Roisin Flinn does not feel too much pain from the nasty jaw injury sustained last weekend and Liz McInerney and Rosie Carrigan continue to assert themselves in midfield.

Harlequins are a point better off in the table but do without Cliona O'Connor.

Hermes v Pembroke Wanderers (Sunday), 2pm, Belfield
The Sunday game sees a local derby with first playing third though the scarcity of bonus points in the group means its all incredibly tight. Club champions Hermes need to find a more clinical edge after a decent first half performance against UCD yielded just the one goal in the ISC.

They have gamebreakers in their side, though, with Chloe Watkins, Aoife Harte and Jenny Burke able to turn it on while Colin Stewart's side have saved more consistent form for the IHL.

Aoife McCarthy and Sinead McDonnell's marshaling of Louisa Moore, though, could be a key factor. The South-African born striker's power and quick-wittedness in front of goal means the Wanderers always have a chance.

Their set of youngsters - Alice Ward, Orla Fox and Noelle Farrell - are all progressing well, the latter in centre-midfield, making for an intriguing battle.

IHL: Pegasus 3 Randalstown 2

Pegasus 3 (Nadine Brown, Alex Speers, Kirsty McCollum) Randalstown 2 (Laura McAlpine, Sharon Graham)

Randalstown came within five minutes of pulling off a major coup as a goal-rush toward the end of a rain-soaked Banbridge saw Pegasus just about win out against a side they beat 5-1 a little over a month ago.

Pegasus enjoyed the best of the first half, Nadine Brown executing a penalty corner for the only goal of the half.

Alex Speers doubled the advantage in the 56th minute beginning a flood of goals as she deflected in Arlene Boyles corner strike. Randalstown responded with two in five minutes, though as first youngster Laura McAlpine scored from the left of the circle before Sharon Graham knocked home Rebecca Dallas' drag-flick.

But parity lasted just a minute as Kristy McCollum used the auto-pass to great effect on the edge of the circle, playing the ball to herself and penetrating the D to thrust home the crucial goal. Randalstown take a point but three losses from three means they are all but out.

Men's IHL preview - Round Three

Group 1
Cork Harlequins v Annadale (Saturday), 1pm, Farmer's Cross
Two sides without yet in the competition, the hosts prop up the table after a narrow reverse in Pembroke and a chastening turnover at home last time out against Glenanne.

In recent weeks a number of top players returned to the fold, including the Lombard brothers Paul and David while Mark Black is free to focus on his club hockey after his international retirement during the week. Eddie Dore is out, replaced by Colin Ross.

They face an Annadale side smarting after being denied what looked a nailed-on bonus-point win by the elements at Coolnafranky. It means they, too, need a win to keep hopes alive of a final-four slot.

Cookstown v Pembroke Wanderers, (Saturday), 6pm, Coolnafranky
Cookstown will hope they can put a dent in their reputation of not producing against southern rivals as they host Pembroke at Coolnafranky. Given somewhat of a reprieve after a sub-par performance against Annadale, they go into the game in decent health as only Stuart Smyth last week's game with Monkstown.

David Ames looked dangerous throughout at right midfield while Andy Barbour came off the bench to show he can still unlock defences. Ivan Steen, though, is their main man -and only non Cookstown HS graduate - and Pembroke will do well to keep him quiet after a virtuoso run out last week.

The 'Broke, though, have hit goalscoring form recently - 17 in three games. Sothern has scored in nigh-on every game he has played while Gordy and Maurice Elliott are now pocketing a few goals too. A back five which hold of Conor and David Harte, Ronan Gormley and Colin Kelly should also go a long way in this competition making this battle of two league leaders one to watch. Last year, Justin Sherriff was a vital factor in an ISC win, scoring one of the goals of the year.

Glenanne v Instonians (Sunday), 3pm, Glenanne Park

Certainly one of the key talking points this weekend will be the Mark Gleghorne saga as he discussed his intentions this week to look into rules that govern the possibility of playing for Britain.

How he, and Instonians, respond to what could be a hot reception at Glenanne Park could have a crucial bearing on the game. The Old Boys in recent weeks have been resurgent, partly thanks to Gleghorne's return from a long-standing injury while Paddy Brown and Steven Redpath have also lifted the side.

They were stopped in their tracks last week by Quins - a side Glenanne disposed of comfortably. Indeed, of the games attended by The Hook so far this season, the Glens have produced comfortably the best form with Stephen Butler and Graham Shaw top class.

Group 2
Fingal v Banbridge (Saturday), 2.30pm, ALSAA
The value of Derek O'Gorman to Fingal will become more apparent as time goes on but as early statements of intent go, his goal that settled the Bandon tie last week was something special. For a workaholic side, his ability to conjure up something special could see them cause another upset.

Mick McGuinness' drags are coming on strong though David Bane is, once again, hoping to avoid sitting on the sidelines.

For Bann, Geoff McCabe (shin) and Diarmuid Reay (hamstring) are both hoping to be included in Suzanne Evans side on Saturday and they will be spurred on by one of the largest travelling supports for what is not a particularly long away trip.

Eugene Magee and Ross McCandless will always be threats but Fingal's graft could see them turn a few heads.

Cork C of I v Monkstown (Saturday), 4pm, Garryduff
The Town need desperately to learn how to hold onto a lead in the big matches this year after whirlwind starts against the likes of Lisnagarvey and Cookstown. An eminently talented side, they only have a point to show for two games and another reverse at Garryduff will see their challenge done.

John Jermyn has been the CI star this term and two bonus points has them in a healthy position after two games despite a 2-1 defeat to Banbridge.

Lisnagarvey v Three Rock Rovers (Saturday), 5pm, Hillsborough
While last season's Club Championships final was probably instantly forgettable to all bar Rovers and their supporters, their semi-final tussle with Lisnagarvey was one of the great fixtures of recent All-Ireland history.

The 6-5 had almost everything with Mitch Darling coming to public attention with his five-star performance, 'Garvey's Timmy Cockram-inspired comeback which almost culminated with a last-gasp equaliser and some of the best attacking hockey for years.

Neither side is operating at the same level as last May with Rovers looking to peak for European competition and their international contingent slowly easing back into action. Darling plays his second game of 2009 while Charlie Henderson could be back for his first appearance since the turn of the year.

Further good news is Gavin Bourke's back injury is not as bad as first feared and he could be back within two weeks.

'Garvey have dropped to sixth in Ulster but still have the firepower of Cockram and the nous of Brian Waring and Mark Raphael to call upon in what should be an enticing fixture. Both sides need the win to stay in touch with Bann and CI.

Women's Division One preview

Glenanne will look to take advantage of the lack of domestic action of the sides above them to close in on a potential IHL place. Back in September, much of the talk about the two promoted sides centred on Bray and their new arrivals.

The Glens took a much lower profile, however, and have confounded expectations outside of St Mark's, Victor Shaw producing one of the league's hardest-working squads. As confidence has grown, they have added a significant cutting edge, too, with nine goals in two league outings in 2009.

They will hope to build on that, with Nicci Daly, Mary Waldron and Audrey McCormack looking to get on the board against struggling Trinity. David Bane has, at regular times, lamented his young side's naivety when it comes to game play.

Indeed, their past five league games against all of Leinster's IHL entrants, have seen them scarcely hammered but they have given up leads and late goals too often. If they do not get it sorted, Glenanne will move level with Pembroke in sixth place.

They will endure a tough close season, having to play five games against sides above them but a couple of shocks could put them potentially into the highly cluttered IHL chase.

Elsewhere, Corinthian and Bray play a vital relegation six-pointer with the reds looking to pick up their first home points of the season. They stopped the rot of five successive defeats last week with a great ISC win, thanks to Amanda Walker's double and will hope for more of the same.

The Wicklow-side, unlike their opponents, have scarcely been over-run this term - possibly due to the excellent Mary Goode - but need to convert close games into points. An intriguing battle awaits.

Women's Division One (Saturday)
Cornithian v Bray, 2.30pm, Whitechurch Park; Trinity v Glenanne, 11.30pm, Santry Avenue

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Men's Weekend preview

As the IHL takes precedence around the country, domestic action is limited to four back matches in men's division one and two. Corinthian have the most to gain with their match in Belfield as they can break into the top four for the first time this season.

Peter Darley and John McInroy's side have had an added pep in their step in recent times though they face a UCD side fighting for positions for their annual colours game next Tuesday afternoon.

Corinthian face former team-mates Karl Smith, Ronan Motyer and Rob Lynch who are playing for a side in desperate need to close the gap on Kilkenny.

Elsewhere, as with most YM previews, it comes with injury worries. Patrick Good has a niggle while David Robinson's shoulder is still acting up. Their Sandymount derby with Railway sees two sides who look to have distanced themselves from the relegation battle and freed up to give their young charges more division one experience.

In division two, Clontarf can extend their lead to nine points with the rearrangement of the controversial fixture with Navan. Some good has come out of it with what seems to be a standardised ruling for abandoned matches.

Subsequent IHL and Ladies division one games have all led to confirmation that matches abandoned - no matter what score or circumstances - will have to be replayed in their entirety.

Its tough on Clontarf who held a 5-0 lead last time out as it is on Dublin University who had only a quarter of their game with Naas to play with a 4-2 advantage. Both those games are rescheduled for Saturday.

Division One (Saturday):
UCD vs Corinthian, 1pm, Belfield; Railway Union vs YMCA, 2.30pm, Park Avenue

Division Two (Saturday):
Naas vs Dublin University, 1pm, Caragh Road; Clontarf vs Navan, 2pm, Mount Temple

Interpros to use 'auto-pass' rule

The IHA announced they will implement the ‘auto-pass’ rule for the senior interprovincials in March. It follows the recent announcement by the FIH that, from May, the ruling will be introduced for all international hockey.

The Competitions Committee approved the recommendation which came from David Passmore, Gene Muller and Paul Revington following the successful integration in the Irish Hockey Leagues.

Speaking about the move, High Performance Director David Passmore said “The inclusion of the auto pass rule in the Irish Hockey League has been very well received by coaches, players and spectators alike.

"It was of no surprise that the FIH have now introduced the rule at international level from May. The inclusion of this rule at both IHL and now interpro level has been an innovative venture that will help give our players an added edge moving forward, whilst making the game faster, easier to watch and more entertaining.”

Kilkenny within minutes of major cup shock

Kilkenny College 2 (Billy McEnry, Ben Wallace)Wesley College 2 (Kyle Good, Carl Eggert)

Kilkenny College nearly caused the biggest upset in schools hockey when they played out a 2-2 draw with Wesley College.

Captain Billy McEnry put the hosts in front five minutes into the second half, and it stayed that way until the 68th minute when Kyle Good grabbed an equaliser to break the Cats resistance and a famous upset.

Just a couple of minutes into extra time, Carl Eggert netted a drag-flick but Ben Wallace scored with five minutes left in extra time to tie the game up once more. The two teams will now face off again next week in Wesley College, with the winner to play John Scottus school in Serpentine Avenue.

The winner of that tie will face High School in the semi-final, currently set for February 18, after they recovered from a goal deficit against an emerging Mount Temple.

*Thanks to Marcos Blake for the information.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Jenny McDonough retires

Jenny McDonough became the second Irish player this week to retire from international hockey as she stepped down from Gene Muller's squad today, following Mark Black's announcement yesterday.

In eight years with the national side, McDonough amassed 117 caps since her debut against England in 2001 under Riet Kuper.

Speaking on her decision, the Belfast Harlequins forward said “Unfortunately I am unable to give my full commitment to the build-up to the EuroHockey Nations Championship in Holland this August due to my forthcoming wedding, work and other personal commitments.

"There is a clear focus towards the Olympics in London in 2012 and as I am unable to commit to this campaign I feel it is time for me to retire.

"I would like to thank the National Coach Gene Muller; Gene has been an inspiring coach, I have learnt a lot from him and I am only sorry that my time playing under him was so short. I am confident that the team will be extremely successful under his direction. I would also like to thank our previous coach Riet Kuper for giving me the opportunity to play for Ireland."

Muller, in response to the decision, said “Jenny has been an asset to the national team over the past few years and I am sad to see her step down. She has always been a dedicated and professional international player.”

McDonough will continue playing for Belfast Harlequins.

Fight for indoor title gets underway

Indoor hockey returns this Sunday with a 13-game marathon at the National Basketball Arena with the chance to represent Ireland at the European Club Championships in 2010 the prize for the winning side.

The group phases take place this weekend, February 1, as the race to pick up the Tony Byrne title begins in earnest

The tournament this year will take place over the next two Sundays – February 8 sees the closing group games and the playoff stages – with the competition’s increased popularity boosting the number of entrants to ten with Kilkenny making a first appearance.

The Cats will be bolstered by Derek O’Gorman – the former Leinster centre-midfielder joining his former club for the duration of the competition as his outdoor club, Fingal, is not involved on the indoor circuit.

Kilkenny, enter a tough group with reigning national champs Three Rock Rovers one of the sides to watch. For this season, they add Venezuelan international Lucas Piccioli to last year’s squad. He impressed when lining out for Corinthian two seasons back and will bring his excellent close-control to bear.

His introduction, as well as the scramble for places in Rovers squad for the 2009 European championships, has left player-coach Liam Canning with an interesting dilemma.

The highly decorated indoor expert has a squad of 18 to choose from but has only 12 places on the flight to Cambrai and is considering whether he may be one of the players confined to a watching brief.

Corinthian, meanwhile, provides an unknown quantity with South African internationals Andrew Cronje and Darren Kimfley possible starters.

Glenanne, too, have been formidable in recent years reaching the semi-final stages last year but were edged out 6-5 by Monkstown. Dublin Uni complete the group.

Group 2 features regular contenders Railway Union under the tutelage of master of the boards Paul O’Brien. They have shown their intention to reclaim the main prize with an early season training weekend to Prague while Kevin King – a specific indoor coach from England – has been drafted in to man the sideline while Mick O’Connor guests once more on the field.

Monkstown, with Czech international Filip Jaros and coach Trevor Watkins at the helm, improved dramatically last year to be a real contenders too. They have Gavin O’Halloran included in their panel, on loan from UCD.

2007 champs Pembroke Wanderers cannot be written off while Trevor Dagg will hope to use his many successful years as an Avoca indoor player mould his young YM charges into a challenging side.

His former club round out what looks the slightly tougher of the groups.
Indoor hockey has undergone significant growth in the past few years, thanks in the main to the efforts of Paul O’Brien with a number of initiatives for getting youth sides involved inaugurated.

To this end, the IHA introduced a ‘Stepping Stones’ training courses in December to introduce people to indoor coaching – recognizing the importance the game can play in developing young players close skills and quick decision making.

Tony Byrne Cup - Group I
(10:10am) Kilkenny v Corinthian; (1:30pm) Dublin University v Kilkenny; (2:20pm) Three Rock Rovers v Corinthian; (4:50pm) Dublin University v Three Rock Rovers; (6:30pm) Glenanne v Dublin University; (7:20pm) Glenanne v Three Rock Rovers;

Group II
(9:20am) Railway Union v YMCA; (11am) Avoca v Railway Union; (11:50am) Avoca v Monkstown; (12:40pm) YMCA v Pembroke Wanderers; (3:10pm) Pembroke Wanderers v Railway Union; (4pm) Monkstown v YMCA; (5:40pm) Monkstown v Pembroke Wanderers

Monday, January 26, 2009

Women's Division One: UCD 1 Pembroke 0

UCD 1 (Lisa Jacob) Pembroke 0

UCD completed a perfect weekend, adding league victory over Pembroke to their ISC win over Hermes on Saturday. Lisa Jacob got the only goal of the game to narrow the gap on the league's leading quintet and get right back in the race for an IHL-place.

Mark Black retires from international scene

*Words from Alan Good, click here to see the extended story

Veteran Irish international midfielder Mark Black was today hailed as a role model to aspiring players after he announced his retirement from international hockey.

The 29-year-old Cork Harlequins stalwart amassed 113 caps, scoring three times, in ten years in the green jersey, giving him and sibling Jason the distinction of being the only brothers to each chalk up more than a century of caps.

Black’s departure makes him the fifth player - alongside brother Jason, Cookstown’s Andy Barbour and Instonians pair Mark Irwin and Paddy Brown - to call time on his international career in the past 12 months.

“I have had to make the decision to pull out of the international hockey scene primarily due to work commitments, I couldn’t juggle both anymore so I have made the difficult decision to retire,” he said.

He paid tribute to the coaching staff he worked under, insisting they brought Irish hockey on “leaps and bounds”, and the gesture was reciprocated by David Passmore.

Passmore, who coached Black for six years at club and international level, said he will be a loss to the Irish side.

“Not only was Mark a consistent performer, he has always been immensely committed and his experience would have proved vital at this time of transition,” said Passmore. “He was a role model to aspiring players both on and off the pitch.”

Ireland manager Steven Hiles added "Nothing epitomised Mark’s dedication more than returning from a potentially international career-ending cruciate ligament injury in 2003 after which he returned to the squad to play on for several years after.”

He will now focus exclusively on his club hockey, and has little time to dwell on the decision as Quins face a season-defining couple of weeks in the Irish Hockey League and Irish Senior Cup, starting with Saturday’s do-or-die IHL clash with Annadale.

Irish Senior Cup draws announced

A number of IHL sides are guaranteed to fall in the next round of the Irish Senior Cup as the second round draw threw up a number of enticing clashes.

The initial stand-out fixture on the men's side looks to be Pembroke's trip down south to take on Cork C of I though the Ulster derby between Lisnagarvey and Annadale catches the eye too.

Cookstown face another trip to Dublin after last weekend's narrow victory over Monkstown. They now face Fingal in another tough assignment in their pursuit of a first title since 1987 when they claimed the ISC on the grass at Blaris.

Corinthian make their tournament bow at home to Railway while Three Rock will not be happy to be on the road out of Dublin for a fourth successive week - this time travelling to the Ulster coast to play Bangor.

On the women's side, UCD's reward for beating the Club Champions of 2008 is to face the runners-up of that competition, Loreto. The other all-IHL ties see holders Pegasus enter the competition at Randalstown, Pembroke host Belfast Harlequins while Cork C of I face the longest trip - all the way up to Ballymoney.

Railway get another crack at putting one over on Alex while Glenanne will be full of confidence against Corinthian, following their recent 5-0 win.

Men's Irish Senior Cup Draw - ROUND 2 (February 7)
Mossley v NICS; Corinthian v Railway Union; Lisnagarvey v Annadale; Cork Harlequins v Raphoe/Banbridge; Bangor v Three Rock Rovers; North Down v Glenanne; Cork C of I v Pembroke Wanderers; Fingal v Cookstown

ESB Irish Senior Cup - ROUND 2 (February 7)
Loreto v UCD; Ulster Elks v Lisnagarvey; Railway Union v Old Alex; Randalstown v Pegasus; Corinthian v Glenanne; Lurgan v Armagh; Ballymoney v Cork C of I; Pembroke Wanderers v Belfast Harlequins

Women's Division One: Glenanne 4 Old Alex 4

Glenanne 4 (Nicci Daly, Ciara Nugent, Derbhla Kieran, Paula Fitzpatrick) Old Alex 4 (Lucy Cotter, Gillian Garrett, Jan Ovington, Lesle-Ann George)
A real rollercoaster of a game saw Old Alex take an early 2-0 before hosts Glenanne turned the game on its head before half-time to make it 3-2 at the break. Lucy Cotter netted soon after the restart before Lesle-Ann George put Alex in front once more.

But Glenanne showed once more there immense spirit to level in the closing stages to snatch a point. It moves them level with UCD in a tie for sixth-place while Alex missed the chance to go into the top three.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Men Division two: Week Nine results

Avoca 3 (Peter Haughton, Stephen Brownlow, Enda Gallanagh) Skerries 2 (Alan Early, Ali McMahon)

Though Clontarf have moved well clear, the race for the playoff spot has hit top gear with Avoca adding an interesting twist with their 3-2 win over current second-placers Skerries. A scoreless first half was contrasted by an end-to-end second.

Peter Haughton set the ball rolling from a broken down corner before Stephen Brownlow added a great team goal - starting the move himself before Will Aylmer and Ezra Handelman combined to give Brownlow the opportunity to score.

Alan Early pulled one back from a straight corner strike and Ali McMahon capitalised on a defensive error to seemingly salvage a point with three minutes to go but Avoca won a last minute corner which Enda Gallanagh scrambled home for a late win.

Naas 0 Clontarf 7 (Rob Abbott 3, Tom Noonan 2, Gareth Borland, Ciaran McNamara)
Clontarf took full control of the division with a 7-0 win over Naas, going six points clear of the table in the process. Ciaran McNamara opened the scoring before two Tom Noonan strikes made it 3-0 by half-time.

Naas had a couple of chances to get back into the game but a second-half Rob Abbott hat-trick and one from Gareth Borland ensured a comfortable scoreline.

Suttonians 8 (Vikram Singh 3, A Tyrell 2, Ed Hipwell, Darrell Reamsbottom, Richie Wormold) Navan 1 (Alex McKeever)
Suttonians have moved right back into the mix for the playoff position with their third win on the spin - netting 25 goals in the process. Vikram Singh (pictured in recent action against Trinity - courtesy of Jessica Packenham-Money) continued his good recent form with another hat-trick with the rest of the goals shared around the team.

Dublin University 4 (Barry Glavey 2, Andrew Gray, Ben Hewitt) Weston 0
Trinity enjoyed a much improved day out at Santry to beat Weston 4-0, with Barry Glavey getting a double with Andy Gray and former Cliftonville-man Ben Hewitt getting the others.
*You can see a full set of Jessica Pakenham-Money's pictures from the recent Suttonians vs Dublin University game here

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Men's Irish Senior Cup results

A cracking day's action saw 49 goals in eight games played across the country. The highlights came, as expected, at Rathdown and Shawsbridge with two classic cup ties.

In the battle of the Towns, the Cooks edged out the Monks with the odd goal in seven despite trailing 2-0 inside ten minutes. The Coolnafranky side's showed serious nerves with three fluffed passes inside three minutes, the third of which Filip Jaros laid into Gareth Watkins path to spectacularly first time into the roof of Iain Hughes net.

Franny Lee netted, a sweet strike after Watkins reverse got a touch from Stephen Cole into the former Kilkenny man's path.

But they gifted Cookstown two simple opportunities, both tidily gobbled up by the impressive David Ames to make it 2-2 inside 23 minutes. Andy Barbour should have given his side the lead soon after before Andrew Ward aerialled over to complete a lively half.

Barbour did, however, make it 3-2 after the break after a Monkstown howler. They gave the ball up from a free out. Gareth Cuddy's simple centre was rolled into the corner by the former Ireland man. Cuddy was subsequently binned for nigh on 12 minutes by my watch for an off-the-ball incident but when he came back on he saw his side go two clear with seven minutes to go.

Barbour was the provider from the endline, a delightful ball which was eventually scrambled in by David Best. Monkstown threw everything forward in the closing stages, playing three at the back - with Zac Dutton at right back. Jaros scored a corner reminiscent of the winner against Three Rock in last season's competition but it was all last year's finalists could salvage from a series of chances.

At Shawsbridge, Cork Harlequins overcame an Instonians fightback thanks to Lee d'Alton's golden goal winner. Quins led 2-0 at half-time, Mark Black and Eddie Dore on target. Two Mark Gleghorne strikes, though forced overtime before d'Alton popped up with the decider.

UCD gave Bangor a fright, putting in their best performance of the season. Simon Hunter got the only goal ten minutes into the second half, rounding off a counter attack. Ben Grogan and Karl Smith drew incredible saves from the Bangor keeper John Tormey, also keeping out several corners.

Fingal were also winners by the odd goal, Derek O'Gorman getting his first since his return to action. Pembroke had a more sizable victory over YM, Andy Walker scoring the only response late in the game.

Three Rock were grateful for Peter Blakeney's five goals while Phelie Maguire and Mitch Darling got goals in their first run out of 2009, while Charlie Henderson and Lucas Piccioli took the day off.

Glenanne were the biggest winners, 11-0 over Catholic Institute while Cork C of I were rarely troubled by Antrim. John Bruton, Alec Moffett and a John Jermyn drag had them 3-0 up at the break before winning 6-2. Raphoe and Banbridge's game in Donegal was off due to the weather.

Irish Senior Cup Round One
YMCA 1 (Andy Walker) Pembroke Wanderers 5 (Alan Giles, Tim Lewis, Gordon Elliott, Maurice Elliott, Ronan Gormley); Kilkenny 1 (Gary Sharman) Three Rock Rovers 9 (Peter Blakeney 5, Phelie Maguire 2, Michael Maguire, Mitch Darling); Fingal 1 (Derek O'Gorman) Bandon 0; Glenanne 11 (John Goulding 3, Stephen Butler 2, Paul Fitzpatrick 2, Shane O'Donoghue 2, Brendan Parsons, Graham Shaw) Catholic Institute 0; Monkstown 3 (Gareth Watkins, Francis Lee, Filip Jaros) Cookstown 4 (David Ames 2, Andy Barbour, David Best); Instonians 2 (Mark Gleghorne 2) Cork Harlequins 3 (Mark Black, Eddie Dore, Lee d'Alton) after extra-time; UCD 0 Bangor 1 (Simon Hunter); Antrim 2 Cork C of I 6 (John Bruton 2, Alec Moffett, John Jermyn, Peter Catchpole, Adam Pritchard)
OFF: Raphoe vs Banbridge

Byes to round 2: Lisnagarvey, Corinthian, Mossley, Annadale, Railway Union, NICS or UCC, North Down
*Pictures from Adrian Boehm from the Monkstown vs Cookstown game can be seen here, while Rob O'Connor's pics from YMCA vs Pembroke are here

Women's ISC results

UCD pulled off the big result of the round, winning on the eighth round of penalty strokes against Hermes with Roisin Flinn heroically shook off a nasty jaw injury to score the decisive stroke.

Flinn thought she had put UCD on the verge of the second round when she netted with their fifth stroke but her effort was disallowed due to taking the stroke before the whistle was blown.

Jenny Kinch, however, could not capitalise with Grace O'Flanagan producing a great stick-save and Flinn was given her chance at redemption.

Earlier, Hermes had taken a first-half lead after Nikki Evans evaded three tackles to set up Christine Quinlan to slam home. UCD levelled from a slip left with Holly Jenkinson. Both sides had their chances to nab the win while Lisa Jacob picked up her second yellow in the week to add to the tension in extra-time.

Railway had much the better of their tie with UCC in front of the watching Gene Muller at the Mardyke. Kate McKenna gave the Park Avenue side the lead at the second attempt after she missed an initial opportunity, created by Jean McDonnell after she robbed Eibhlin O'Donoghue.

UCC had a golden chance to level when Hollie Moffett fed O'Donoghue. She looked to have rounded Helen Stevenson but went to ground under duress and the chance was gone.

McDonnell soon after added a stunning strike, smashing home Emma Smyth's pass to make it 2-0 and Emer Dillon got the third to seal an impressive win. Joy was doubled up as Kate Dillon got the only goal in the Irish Junior Cup match between the same sides.

Elsewhere, Loreto recovered from a goal deficit to beat Trinity 4-1 after Lucy Small's early opener. Lizzie Colvin had the game equal at half-time before Nikki Symmons bashed in a pair.

Pembroke are one of two other Leinster sides through, Karen Hales getting the only goal up in Knock. In the late game, Corinthian produced an excellent performance to beat Victorians 3-2, thanks to Leinster U-18 starlet Amanda Walker's brace.

Bray lost to Lisnagarvey (3-1) while division two Genesis' ISC venture is over after a tough trip to IHL side Armagh (8-1).

The Dun Laoghaire side can console themselves with an Irish Hockey Trophy semi-final though they will have a tough task to win it due to the continued involvement of Ulster Elks. The Ulster Senior One side beat Ards, currently second in the Ulster Premier 1-0. French national Philipine Berly got the only goal of the game.

In the all-IHL battle, Ballymoney took a nine-goal classic over Cork Harlequins. It was 3-3 at half-time before Ballymoney pulled away with a dominant second half performance. And, on a bad day for Munster, Catholic Institute were knocked out on strokes by Lurgan.

Randalstown and Cookstown managed to get their game played after a day's delay due to the weather, the former winning comfortably 5-1. The second round draw will take place on Monday.

ESB Irish Senior Cup Round 1
Ballymoney 6 (Nikki Parke 2, Julie Alison 2, Aine Kearney, Lynsey McVicker) Cork Harlequins 3 (Rachael Kohler, Cliodhna Sargent, Rachel McSharry); Armagh 8 (K Stephenson, E Stewart, Rachel Muligan 3, Emma Thornbery, Sarah Holsworth, C Reaney) Genesis 1 (Sarah Larkin); Knock 0 Pembroke Wanderers 1 (Karen Hales); Lisnagarvey 3 (Nicola Jess, Diana Topley 2) Bray 1 (Sarah Scott); Dublin Uni 1 (Lucy Small) Loreto 4 (Lizzie Colvin. Nicky Symmons 2, Cathy McKean); Ards 0 Ulster Elks 1 (Philipine Berly); Catholic Inst 1 (Kym Daly) Lurgan 1 (P Wilson) (Lurgan win on Penalty Stokes 6/5); Hermes 1 (Christine Quinlan) UCD 1 (UCD win on Penalty Strokes 5/4); UCC 0 Railway Union 3 (Kate McKenna, Emer Dillon, Emma Smyth), Corinthian 3 (Amanda Walker 2, Susie Geoffroy) Victorians 2 (Cathy Rogers 2), Randalstown 5 Cookstown 1

Byes to round 2: Belfast HQ; Glenanne; Old Alex; Pegasus; Cork C of I

ESB Irish Junior Cup Round 2
UCC II 0 Railway Union II 1 (Kate Dillon)

* Deryck Vincent's pictures from Hermes vs UCD can be seen here, Emer Keogh's set from the same game are here. Eoin Tyrell's photos from the UCC vs Railway game can be seen here

Friday, January 23, 2009

Women's Division One

Arul Anthoni brings his Old Alex side to St Mark's on Saturday afternoon to face Glenanne - the female version of the men's side he currently trains - in an effort to jump back into a tie for third place.

The game has been brought forward two weeks with both sides getting a bye in the Irish Senior Cup. Elsewhere, Pembroke and UCD have a double weekend as they play a back-match from before Christmas on Sunday afternoon.

Division One:
(Saturday) Glenanne vs Old Alex, 12pm, St Mark's
(Sunday) UCD vs Pembroke, 4pm, Belfield

Division Two Weekend preview

Clontarf will hope to maintain their three-point lead at the top of division two as they travel to bottom-placed Naas this weekend. They will hope to have Andrew Poynter available after he missed last week's game with Bray due to a late call-up for Irish cricket training. Rob Kelly could also return.

With Bray out of action this weekend, the chasing pack is led by Skerries who face a trip to Newpark to face Avoca - still reeling after an impressive YM racked up nine last weekend.

One bright spot was the form of Uruguayan goalkeeper Sebastian Percivalle and they will hope he can keep Alan Early at bay. Dublin Uni will hope to get revenge over Weston at Santry for a recent turnover while Navan aim to turn two 2-1 defeats at the start of 2009 to victory on their trip to Suttonians.

Division 2 (Saturday)
Naas vs Clontarf, 1pm, Caragh Road; Avoca vs Skerries, 1.30pm, Newpark; Dublin University vs Weston, 2.45pm, Santry; Suttonians vs Navan, 2pm, Sutton Park School

Women's Irish Senior Cup Preview

Railway Union's double trip to UCC looks the most attractive of the ties on the women's side of the Irish Senior Cup with Mick McKinnon's dashing side taking on Munster's rising upstarts.

The students, driven on by Irish internationals Julia O'Halloran and Hollie Moffett, have shaken a few feathers in Munster this term inflicting a first league defeat on Cork Harlequins in years as well as breaking their recent Cork C of I hoodoo win a cup win.

The innovative Railway side, in the meantime, look set to break the Loreto/Hermes duopoly in Leinster. Cecelia Joyce, Kate McKenna and Jean McDonnell are one of the liveliest strike forces around while there are rumours former Irish development panel player Kate Dillon could be nearing a first team return since returning from her travels.

If not, she may be involved in the second squad who follow the first team onto the Mardyke in the Junior Cup.

Of the Leinster-based sides, the undoubted highlight is Colin Stewart's Hermes facing UCD for the third time this season at St Andrews. The pair played out a lively scoreless draw at the same venue in November, hot on the heals of their IHL encounter which ended 3-2 in Hermes' favour.

Stewart's season has mainly involved nurturing through a lot of the young talent at the Booterstown club, attempting to mesh the young talents of Shelly Sloan, Sarah Greene, Gillian Pinder, Niamh Atcheler and Chloe Watkins - all in their first full season with the first squad - with the experienced heads of Linda Caulfield, and Jenny Burke.

UCD, meanwhile, welcome back international Roisin Flinn to the fray, to work in tandem with Lisa Jacob up front. Liz McInerney is also in following her time with the Ireland A panel.

Loreto travel to Santry for the second time this week - this time with a more spectator friendly tip-off time of 2.45pm. They should expect a slightly easier ride, too, with five internationals back in the fold though Zara Delany may not return in time due to injury.

There are long trips for Genesis (Armagh), Bray (Lisnagarvey) and Pembroke (Knock), while Corinthian will hope to reverse their league form with the visit of Victorians.

Elsewhere, the only other all-IHL clash pits Ballymoney with Cork Harlequins. An interesting test awaits Ards, too. Ulster's second placed side hosts the emerging Ulster Elks - complete with internationals Shirley McCay and Emma Clarke in their number.

They look well on course for promotion and a Winemark Shield final appearance shows they could do some damage to any higher division opposition.

Pegasus bid for a 14th title - and a third in a row - begins in the second round; they have a bye along with Alex, Glenanne, Belfast Harlequins and Cork C of I.

Irish Senior Cup
Round One (Saturday): Ballymoney v Cork Harlequins, 2.30pm, Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre; Armagh v Genesis, 2.30pm, Ardmore; Knock v Pembroke Wanderers, 1pm, Balmoral; Lisnagarvey v Bray, 2.30pm, Hillsborough; Dublin University v Loreto, 2.45pm, Santry; Corinthian v Victorians, 3.45pm, Whitechurch; Randalstown v Cookstown, 2.30pm, Antrim Forum; Ards v Ulster Elks, 1.30pm, Ards; Catholic Institute v Lurgan 12pm, Greenfields; Hermes v UCD, 2.30pm, St Andrews; UCC v Railway Union, 12pm, Mardyke

Byes to round 2: Belfast Harlequins, Glenanne, Old Alex, Pegasus, Cork C of I

ESB Women’s Irish Junior Cup
Round 2 (Saturday): UCC vs Railway Union, 2pm, Mardyke

Irish Senior Cup preview

Bouyed by their midweek Mills Cup win over Three Rock, Monkstown return to the competition that caused them most joy last term, reaching the final. They host Ulster kingpins Cookstown in what looks the most appetising of Saturday's first round fixtures based in Leinster - though they may do so without the services of Alan Lewis who looks set to leave the club.

The hosts, going in search of their first crown since 1912, go into the game as underdogs against a side close to reclaiming the Ulster Senior League especially after their 1-1 draw Instonians, with new Irish coach Paul Revington in attendance.

Speaking of Inst, they play Cork Harlequins at Shaws Bridge in the other all-IHL fixture. The Old Boys are the current form side in the country, recovering from an indifferent start to the season to rock Pembroke last week and hammer Annadale.

It has coincided with the return of Paddy Brown, Steven Redpath and Mark Gleghorne to the fray. Harlequins travel up north, worrying over the fitness of the Lomabrd brothers Paul and David, Dan Hobbs and Sean Nicholson.

On home turf, Pembroke make their second trip of 2009 to Claremont Road, hoping to make life a bit easier than their previous 1-0 win over YM. Patrick Good returns after missing last week's cup win over Avoca to face his old club while Andy Walker showed he is getting back up to pace after injury for an improving Y.

Three Rock travel down to Kilkenny for the second time in a week while Glenanne host IHT qualifiers Catholic Institute. Fingal have a tricky tie with Bandon - a side who enjoy causing the odd upset in this competition. Goalkeeper Nigel Grothier is out, to be replaced by Brian Wright while Derek O'Gorman and Richie Dore are also back in the fold after missing the game with Pembroke.

UCD, meanwhile, host a decent Bangor side - spurred on by former Dublin University and Irish U-21 stalwart Mikey Harte - who recently toppled Lisnagarvey 4-2. Railway and Corinthian both received byes to the second round.

Round One (Saturday): YMCA v Pembroke, 1.30pm Claremont Road; Kilkenny v Three Rock Rovers, 2pm Kilkenny; Fingal v Bandon, 1.30pm, ALSAA; Glenanne v Catholic Inst, 3pm, Glenanne Park; Monkstown v Cookstown, 1.30pm, Rathdown; Instonians v Cork Harlequins, 1pm, Shawsbridge; Raphoe v Banbridge, 1pm, Royal and Prior; Antrim v Cork C of I, 1pm, Antrim; UCD v Bangor, 1pm, Belfield
Second round byes: Lisnagarvey, Corinthian, Mossley, Annadale, Railway Union, NICS, North Down

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Mills Cup: Three Rock Rovers 1 Monkstown 2

Three Rock Rovers 1 (Lucas Piccioli) Monkstown 2 (Zac Dutton, Ian Horsfield)

Monkstown booked a place in the Mills Cup semi-finals showing good value for their 2-1 win over Three Rock Rovers last night at Grange Road.

Gareth Watkins and Ian Allen went close in the early stages before Zac Dutton netted a drag-flick from their second corner. Lucas Piccioli levelled in the second half, exchanging a one-two to round David Fitzgerald after Andy McConnell pinched the ball off Filip Jaros.

But Ian Horsfield ended up being the hero, both winning and converting the Town's third corner - bucking their regular trend with a 66pc success rate from set-pieces . Rovers had a late chance from their first corner but Fitzgerald pulled off an excellent double save whilst Alan Bothwell was sin-binned for deliberately taking the ball down from over shoulder-height.

Brian Mellon, meanwhile, made his first-team comeback for Rovers at right-back after his travels.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Men's Division One: Pembroke 7 UCD 0

Pembroke 7 (Alan Sothern 2, Michael O'Connor 2, Gordon Elliott, Maurice Elliott, Alan Giles) UCD 0

Pembroke eased back to the top of division one with a facile win over bottom-placed UCD. Alan Sothern bagged another brace while both the Elliott brothers were on target.

Top scorer for the evening, though, was Michael O'Connor who netted twice in the firsts game before sticking around to fire four drag-flicks in for the seconds to make it six goals in just a couple of hours against his former club - those coming in another 7-0 win.

UCD stay bottom of division one and ninth in division three.

Corinthian re-instated

Corinthian last night had their appeal to the Leinster Branch Management Committee against their expulsion from the Mills Cup upheld and have therefore been re-instated in the competition.

The club were initially thrown out of the competition due to a registration issue during their 7-1 win over Dublin University but are now in the clear to play Glenanne at the quarter-final stage.

No date has, as yet, been set for the next round.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Annadale and Cookstown to replay full match

In a statement issued this afternoon, the IHL Administration Committee upheld the original decision, made on December 1, 2008, to rearrange the fixture between Cookstown and Annadale in its entirety.

The IHL match between the sides was originally abandoned after the umpires declared the Coolnafranky pitch unsafe to continue, with Annadale leading 4-1 at the time.

IHL organisers subsequently ordered the game to replayed in its entirety. Annadale appealed the decision, with the IHL Appeals Commission receiving both written and oral submissions from representatives of the IHL Administration Committee and Annadale HC on December 22, 2008.

As a result the Administration Commission reached the decision to uphold the original decision, based on the following points:

- Both team Managers signed the Match Report Form on November 29, 2008 accepting the match had been abandoned.
- The IHL Committee did not refer to the match being "interrupted" as defined in Guideline 2.1 of the IHL notes. However the intent was to address the matter based on the Match Report Form received, which indicated “match abandoned".
- The interpretation of Guideline 2.1 by the Appeal Commission is that rearrangement, when impossible to resume on the same day, indicates the match be rescheduled in its entirety.

IHT and IJC draws announced

Genesis reward for their away-day win over Ballymena on penalty strokes sees them on the road once more in March as they travel to Limerick for the semi-finals of the Irish Hockey Trophy, courtesy of this morning's draw.

In the men's Junior Cup, no Leinster team need leave the province after Pembroke II drew division three table-toppers Corinthian II at Serpentine Avenue. Corinthian have the edge on form, having beaten the 'Broke earlier this term 5-3 but the holders showed thair true capacity with Saturday's massive win over Railway Union.

YMCA host Monkstown while Glenanne's reward, should they defeat Bangor, would be another game at St Mark's - this time against the impressive Cork C of I. It guarantees Leinster two semi-final places with Ulster assured on one as Cookstown face Raphoe in the other quarter-final.

A mirror opposite situation occurs on the women's side of the Junior Cup with Hermes and Old Alex forced to travel to Cork Harlequins and Galway respectively. The winner of the rearranged Loreto and Trinity tie must go to Cork C of I while Railway's seconds are the only Leinster team with a potential home tie but must still negotiate a trip to the Mardyke to face UCC.

ESB Irish Hockey Trophy: Semi Finals (Saturday, March 7)
Ulster Elks v Cookstown; Catholic Institute v Genesis

Men's Irish Hockey Trophy: Semi Finals (Saturday, March 7)
North Down v Catholic Institute; NICS v Antrim

ESB Irish Junior Cup: Round 3(Saturday, February 28)
Cork HQ II v Hermes II; Cork C of I II v Loreto II/ Dublin Uni II; UCC II/Railway II v Armagh II; Galway II v Old Alex II

Men's Irish Junior Cup: Round 3(Saturday, February 28)
Pembroke W II v Corinthian II; Glenanne/Bangor II v Cork C of I II; YMCA II v Monkstown II; Cookstown II v Raphoe II