Saturday, February 28, 2009

Irish Senior Cup results

Glenanne produced a dramatic penalty stroke victory at Grange Road to advance to the semi-final stages of the Irish Senior Cup, setting up an enticing last four tie with Pembroke.

They came from behind three times against Three Rock Rovers, showing the greater incisiveness from play to tie the game up at 4-4 in normal time of a cracking, free-flowing cup tie.

And 16-year-old Shane O'Donoghue was on hand on net the crucial penalty stroke - albeit at a controversial second attempt - to complete the win.

Early on, Paul Fitzpatrick gave the Glens the early lead from a corner rebound before Mitch Darling levelled, tapping in from Peter Blakeney's shot-cum-cross. Rovers hit the front with a scrappy Blakeney rebound.

David Keogh got the equaliser for 2-2 but Ali Haughton's surging run down the right precipitated Blakeney's second. Stephen Butler nailed a beautiful drag-flick to end the scoring at 3-3 to conclude an outstanding first half.

Three Rock were holding more possession and creating more forward momentum but not creating danger from their corners while the Glens set-piece was a constant threat.

Patrick Shanahan's rebound off Lucas Piccioli's reverse did give the home side the lead for a third time but Butler nailed a penalty stroke for a fourth period of parity.

Gary Shaw began a series of sin-binnings in the latter stages and, once the seal was broken, he was followed into the bin in extra-time by Brendan Parsons, Graham Shaw -somewhat harshly - and Ali Haughton.

During that time, Darling and Blakeney had sharp chances denied by Steven Doran while the Glens saw a corner effort go awry due to the drying pitch at the Marlay end scuppering Joe Brennan's push-out.

It meant penalties. Stephen Butler, Joe Brennan and Graham Shaw all scored as Rovers missed twice leaving O'Donoghue the chance to seal the win. His first effort was saved by Henderson but a retake was ordered - the keeper adjudged to have broken the line - and the youngster nervelessly flicked high into the right-corner.

Elsewhere, Pembroke scored three in each half to down Mossley 6-0. Alan Giles, Gordon Elliott and Conor Harte had the 'Broke cruising at the break before Justin Sherriff made it four and there was a first goal for Vaughan Erasmus for the club.

Harte concluded the scoring from the penalty spot while Mossley missed one a stroke with the score at 2-0 which may have changed matters.

As a result, the draw made at the Glade saw Pembroke drawn first out of the hat to face Glenanne.

The other half of the draw will see Annadale as the first semi-finalist to be confirmed. They beat Corinthian 3-1 thanks to goals from Ian Hamilton, Paul Jackson and Fraser Mills. Davy Carson got the response for the Reds.

In the last remaining second round tie Cork Harlequins huffed and puffed but once again could not make the most of the chances created against Banbridge. Simon Magowan helped his side hit the front in the seventh minute, getting on the end of Eugene Magee's cracking reverse-stick cross.

Magowan added the second 15 minutes into the second half, assisted by Diarmuid Reay before Dan Hobbs finally got one back for Quins.

In the junior cup, YM won the all-Leinster derby 2-1 despite Rob Mason scoring just his second ever senior goal for Monkstown. Stu Mellon and Graham Harris scored the goals. Cookstown also went through with a facile 7-0 win over Raphoe.

The women's junior cup is already guaranteed to stay in Leinster as all four sides went the way of Dublin teams. Hermes' outclassed Cork Harlequins at Farmer's Cross with a double from Fiona Manning leading to a 6-1 win.

Loreto won 5-2 in Cork too, beating C of I while Alex won 3-1 in Galway. Hazel Agar, Anya Fox and Rebecca Coll scored with Eavan Murphy -younger sister of former Alex player Ciara - got the response. 2008 finalists Railway complete the line-up after their 3-1 win over Armagh.

Men’s Irish Senior Cup
Second Round: Cork Harlequins 1 (Dan Hobbs) Banbridge 2 (Simon McGowan 2)
Quarter finals: Mossley 0 Pembroke Wanderers 6 (Justin Sherriff, Alan Giles, Conor Harte 2, Gordon Elliott, Vaughan Erasmus); Annadale 3 (Ian Hamilton, Paul Jackson, Fraser Mills)Corinthian 1 (David Carson); Three Rock Rovers 4 (Mitch Darling, Peter Blakeney 2, Patrick Shanahan) Glenanne 4 (P.Fitzgerald, D. Keogh, S. Butler 2) Glenanne won on strokes 4 - 1

Men's ISC semi-final draw: Cookstown/Banbridge v Annadale; Pembroke Wanderers v Glenanne

Men's IJC quarter-finals: YMCA II 2 (Stu Mellon, Graham Harris) Monkstown II 1 (Rob Mason); Cookstown II (Ian Sloan 4, Ian Cheevers 3) Raphoe II 0
- Men’s IJC Semi Final Draw will be made on 7th March

ESB Women's IJC quarter-finals: Cork H’quins II 1 (Sue Fingleton) Hermes II 6 (Aimee Jones O’Connor 2, Fiona Manning 2, Shelly Sloan, Gillian Pinder); Cork C of I II 2 Loreto II 5; Railway Union 3 (L McDermott, G Heavy Julie Motherway) Armagh II 1 (D McKinstry); Galway II 1 (Eavan Murphy) Old Alex II 3 (Hazel Agar, Anya Fox, Rebecca Coll)

ESB Women's IJC draw: Railway Union II v Loreto II; Hermes II v Old Alexandra II

* For more pictures from Three Rock Rovers vs Glenanne, click here

Women's Division One results

Trinity 1 (Claire Hearnden) Pembroke 1 (Aoife O'Gorman)

In the 10am start, Trinity needed a last minute goal from skipper Claire Hearnden (pictured) to grab a point at Santry and denying Pembroke full points for the second time this season.

The students had slightly the better of the first half and could have gone one up but Rachel Scott was unlucky from the stroke-spot against her former club in the 15th minute. And Pembroke took advantage to take the lead when Aoife O'Gorman snapped up a corner rebound.

The second half, though, was all Pembroke but they could not pull clear despite a number of goalmouth scrambles and were stung late on. Trinity won a series of corners in the last five minutes and scored from the last of them - Maebh Horan's strike rebounding to Hearnden to score with the last touch of the game.

Corinthian 0 Railway Union 4 (Cecelia Joyce 2, Jean McDonnell, Trish O'Dwyer)
Railway need just a further eight points now after their 4-0 win over Corinthian at Whitechurch Park. All the goals came in the second half after the reds helds strong for the opening period while a series of Railway shots whizzed wide of the right post.

However, they found their scoring form after the break with Trish O'Dwyer getting her first goal for the first team while Cecelia Joyce bagged a pair.

Friday, February 27, 2009

St Andrew's step closer to Kate Russell

St Andrew's went a step closer to having representatives at both of the end of season All-Ireland school competitions as their senior girl's emulated their male counterparts to reach the senior final and be within a win of taking up a place in the Kate Russell Cup.

They left it late against Mount Anville at Grange Road today but Laura Pinder popped up in extra-time to grab the winner after good build-up play from Lauren Kingston and Courtney Watkins.

Their boy's reached their final earlier this week and thus qualified for the John Waring tournament and have already pocketed the All-Ireland schollboy's tournament.

In other schoolboy action, Wesley's juniors reached the semi-finals today as they got by High School, St Andrew's minors won 2-0 against Sutton Park while Wesley took another step along the way in the senior game with their win over John Scottus.

Monday schedule:
Under 13 semi-final: Wesley v Sutton Park, 2pm, Wesley
Junior semi-final: St Andrews v Mount Temple, 2.30pm, St Andrew's
Senior semi-final: Wesley v High School, TBC

* More of Lindie Naughton's pictures from today's semi-final can be found here

Three Rock to host Lollipop day

Aptly coinciding with Three Rock Rovers and Glenanne's Irish Senior Cup, Grange Road will host a Lollipop Day on Saturday to raise funds for oesophageal cancer.

Eight years ago, Anthony 'Wishes' O'Neill died eight years from this cancer and was a much loved member of both clubs. He was a stalwart between the posts for Rovers - with a spell at YMCA in between - and gained one international cap in 1986 before moving into a coaching role at Glenanne after his retirement.

It is therefore fitting that the two clubs face off tomorrow while volunteers for the Lollipop Day charity will be present to raise money at the ground.

Former team-mate Liam Canning is part of the organisers of the event at the club and is hoping the hockey community will come along to support the event:

"The young people going around the ground with lollipops are raising money for a very worthy cause. In a more personal way, we all knew Wishes or of him, and some were very touched by the way his life was cut short so early and am sure we will do our very best to support the cause.

"Even if you did not intend to attend the match, this may provide the extra stimulus to come and lend your support to what should be a very exciting game. I look forward to seeing you all, even if it is just to call in and drop some money into a bucket."

For more information on the charity, click here

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Irish Cup previews

The majority of eyes in Leinster are likely to look toward Grange Road this Saturday for the tasty local derby between Three Rock and Glenanne. Rovers, going in search of their first ISC title in the open era after last claiming the title in 1974, face a Glenanne side bang in form and with the full services of Arul Anthoni on the touchline.

Anthoni was not present for the Glens 3-1 win in North Down, a frustrating day for the Tallaght-side in which manager Jerry Shaw was sent from the ground. However, the coach returns to full involvement as his other side Old Alex had their game moved forward to Wednesday night.

His side probably have the balance of form of late, producing some memorable performances against Instonians, Corinthian and the comeback against Pembroke however their recent games with Rovers have been extremely nip and tuck.

An understrength Three Rock were happier to take a 2-2 draw at Glenanne Park while extra-time was needed to separate the sides in last season's Mills Cup semi-finals in Whitechurch.

Corinthian, meanwhile, travel up to Annadale - celebrating their 40th year - in rude health with Andrew Cronje possibly making his return from an ankle injury sustained in the indoor. Neither side have ever won the title but up until a few months ago Annadale might have been considered favourites.

However, John McInroy and Pete Darley have shaped a hard-pressing side, similar in manner to the impressive outfit Colin Stewart put together in the late 90s and early noughties and they have improved immeasurably after an uncertain autumn. They cannot be discounted from causing an upset.

Pembroke travel to the Glade to face Mossley, coached by former Irish boss John Clarke and bolstered by young stars Simon Todd, Ryan McCrea and Ross Beattie. The holders, though, go into the tie as favourites, especially if Maurice Elliott and Alan Sothern continue their developing partnership.

In Cork, Harlequins host Banbridge in the last remaining second round tie with a quarter-final against Cookstown at Coolnafranky the prize for the victor.

In the Junior Cup, top Leinster pairing YMCA and Monkstown face off at Claremont Road. YM line up with an experience outfit, full of former division one talent that draws largely on UCD and Trinity past pupils. Keeper Graham Woods could make it into many a first team and is joined by former Belfielders Gary Ryan, Mark Jenkinson and Marcus Miller.

Richie Miles provides the pace up top while Jacob Webber's lethal drag-flick could be a factor.

For the Town, Zac Dutton has been banging in the goals this term, aided and abetted by Andrew Ward and Allen Evans. The game is likely to be fast-paced and open, two sides who look to play with a zippy passing style.

Cookstown and Raphoe is the other men's junior cup game to go ahead this weekend. The women's side has a full set of quarter-finals on offer.

2008 finalists Railway Union are the only side playing on home soil while Loreto, Hermes and Old Alex are all on the road out of Dublin.
* Additional team news: Alan Sothern will be given until the last minute to prove his fitness for Pembroke with an injury picked up against Railway in midweek. Phelie Maguire, meanwhile, will not be in the Three Rock squad against Glenanne as he is currently in Palestine.

Men’s Irish Senior Cup (Saturday)
Second round: Cork Harlequins v Banbridge, 2pm, Harlequin Park
Quarter-finals: Mossley v Pembroke Wanderers, 2.30pm, The Glade; Annadale v Corinthian, 2.30, UUJ; Three Rock Rovers v Glenanne, 3pm, Grange Road

Men’s Irish Junior Cup (Saturday)
Quarter-finals: YMCA II v Monkstown II, 1.15pm, Claremont Rd; Cookstown II v Raphoe II, 2.30pm, Coolnafranky

Women's Irish Junior Cup (Saturday)
Cork Harlequins II v Hermes II, 12pm, Harlequin Park; Cork C of I II v Loreto II, 1pm, Garryduff; Railway Union II v Armagh II, 1pm, Park Avenue; Galway II v Old Alex II, 12pm, Dangan

Women's Leinster weekend preview

Railway Union have a chance to progress both their league and cup ambitions with a double weekend, a trip to Corinthian on Saturday followed by a home cup tie with UCD.

Their game with Corinthian will be their first away league match since November, though in the early stages of the season away trips proved their forte with four wins from four and all with clean-sheets.

They have started playing a more expansive game in more recent times but with the same net affect and are one of the country's form sides with Jean McDonnell slamming in five goals in her last two games while the quiet centre-midfield work of Sinead Walsh perfectly offsets the attacking verve of Emma Smyth.

Their Sunday cup game gets underway at 4.45pm due to the involvement of UCD duo Lisa Jacob and Roisin Flinn in the Irish training camp - the same reason which saw Loreto's fixture with Old Alex brought forward to Wednesday night. The Belfielders are hopeful of having Megan Tenant-Humphreys back in their line-up for the game.

The other cup semi-final sees surprise package Bray hoping to get into a first-ever Jacqui Potter Cup final against Hermes. Their stunning penalty win over Loreto in the quarter-finals will obviously provide belief while Mary Goode will hope to repeat some of her fine work from last week's game against Hermes.

The Booterstown raced into a 4-0 half-time lead that day but Cheryl O'Toole's effort mean the Wicklow-side won the second half and will hope to reproduce that form.

Trinity, meanwhile, will hope to wake up the fresher for their 11am tip-off in Santry against Pembroke. The students drew plenty of positives from their 2-2 draw at Serpentine Avenue earlier in the season with Rachel Scott starring against her former club.

The early start was arranged to make sure David Bane could double-up his coaching responsiblities with playing for Fingal's men. His side are at full strength bar former High School student Christine Boyle whose ankle injury keeps her out.

Division One (Saturday): Corinthian v Railway Union, 2.30pm, Whitechurch; Trinity v Pembroke, 11am, Santry

Jacqui Potter Cup (Sunday) - semi-finals: Railway Union v UCD, 4.45pm, Park Ave; Bray v Hermes, 4pm, Bray

Men's Leinster weekend preview

Mills cup semi-finals take top-billing on the local scene this weekend with Pembroke, Monkstown, Corinthian and YMCA vying for a place in the St Patrick's Day final.

All four will be coming off the back of a Saturday match and how they use their respective squads could be a key factor.

Pembroke are unlikely to take the option of maintaining Tim Lewis and Ronan Gormley in their side and sacrifice the pair for a league game later this term, under the 14-game ruling. Their long trip to Mossley on Saturday could be still in their legs, though, especially with the early 12pm start.

Monkstown, too, have a short time between games. Their league game with Kilkenny tips off at 3.30pm on Saturday, pushed back slightly due to their second team's Irish Junior Cup against YMCA.

YM indeed have given precedence to their seconds on Saturday by placing them on first at Claremont Road with Fingal visiting later in the afternoon. Stephen Barry is out for the weekend while Fingal are waiting on the fitness of Conor Connolly who picked up an injury in the warm-up for the ISC tie with Cookstown.

They follow up with Sunday's cup game with Corinthian - the second of the double-header at Grange Road. The reds could have Andrew Cronje back in time. His ankle-injury has healed slightly quicker than expected. Other than that, the squad is at full strength.

In division two, Clontarf can go a step closer to sealing promotion with a win at resurgent Dublin University. The Bulls need just eight more points from the last six games after results went their way in week eleven.

Bray will hope to maintain second with a win in Naas while at least one of Suttonians and Skerries will lose ground in the playoff chase at Sutton Park. Weston, meanwhile, go to Sportslink to face Navan.

Division One (Saturday): Monkstown v Kilkenny, 3.30pm, Rathdown; YMCA v Fingal, 3.15pm, Claremont Road

Mills Cup (Sunday) - semi-finals: Pembroke v Monkstown. 12pm, Grange Rd; Corinthian v YMCA, 2pm, Grange Road

Men's Division Two (Saturday): Dublin University v Clontarf, 2:45pm, Santry; Naas vs Bray, 1.15pm, Caragh Road; Navan v Weston, 2.30pm, Sportslink; Suttonians v Skerries, 1pm, Sutton Park School

Leinster Schoolboy cups reach business end

Wesley seniors finally managed to overcome Kilkenny yesterday afternoon in Ballinteer in their first round replay, a match originally due to be completed on January 14. The initial tie went to extra-time and a replay before the cold snap saw pitches snowed under.

It means Wesley have to now cram in four games in a week to retain their title to complete the cup on time. The final is due to be played on March 4 in Grange Road.

Three goals inside 20 minutes sealed the tie. Striker Carl Eggert netted a drag-flick in the second minute and Kyle Good made it 2-0 just a few minutes later.

It was followed by a goal of real class with Eggert and Good combining in the circle – after a flowing team move up the pitch – to set up Jamie Tobin on the flick spot who finished well into the bottom corner.

Kilkenny did pull one back through Billy Campbell with ten minutes to go but Luke Chadwick restored the advantage in the closing stages.

Wesley now play John Scottus in the quarter-final. The winner of that tie faces High School – powered by Glenanne ace Shane O’Donoghue and classy midfielder Josh Purcell – who ousted Mount Temple in the quarters.

St Andrew’s await the winners in the final. If Wesley were to negotiate the top half of the draw, it would confirm a third final showdown between the sides this year – with the All-Ireland’s already negotiated and a league final still to come.

In the Junior semis, the emerging Mount Temple play hot favourites St Andrew’s in the bottom half of the draw. The top half is less clear-cut with Wesley still to play High School in the quarter-finals. Sutton Park lie in wait. The small North Dublin school has reached three out of four schoolboy semis this year, testament to the development work put in by Colin Stewart.

The minor section sees Stewart’s Sutton play Andrew’s – the Booterstown school illuminated by the famous surnames of Cole and Loughrey at this level – on Friday. Wesley’s U-14s play St Killian’s in a quarter-final replay this afternoon with a rejuvenated Newpark – under Peter Murphy’s tutelage – the prize in the semi-finals.

In the U-13 cup, St Andrew’s beat Kilkenny 1-0 to reach the final and are hoping their unbeaten run in the league will carry through. Sutton Park plays Wesley next Monday in the other semi-final. The Ballinteer school holds the aces in this one, having taking the honours in league action.

In a further initiative by the Leinster School’s Committee, the two cup final days – March 4 and 11 – will see the developing schools of Skerries, St Mark’s, Drogheda Grammar and Sandford Park play in a blitz tournament.

The top two from these games will go forward to a final on the eleventh as the curtain-raiser to the junior and U-13 finals.

Finals Schedule (All at Grange Road):
March 4:
12pm: Developing school's blitz
2pm: Minor final - Wesley College/Newpark vs St Andrew's (Umpires: Scott Crombie, Dean Maguire)
3.45pm: Senior final - St Andrew's vs Wesley/High School (Umpires: Kieran Bolger, Andrew Groves)

March 11:
12pm: Developing School's final
1.45pm: U-13 final - St Andrew's vs Sutton Park/Wesley
3.30pm: Junior final - Wesley/High School/Sutton Park vs St Andrew's/Mount Temple

Women's Division One: Loreto 1 Old Alex 0

Loreto 1 (Niamh Small) Old Alex 0

Loreto won by a single goal in the first half to exert yet more pressure on league leaders Railway union. Niamh Small (Pictured in Ireland action) bagged the solitary strike to move the Beaufort club to within a point of top spot, though they have played two games extra, to add psychological pressure to a side going in search of a first ever division one title.

The game was also notable as probably the last appearance, for the time-being at least, of Lesle-Ann George. She returns to South Africa to resume her studies after three months with Alex.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ask Ray O'Connor... week two

After a great response to last week's 'Ask Ray O'Connor' piece, Ray is back, this time to deal with shots raised at goal:

The Query
“There was a powerfully struck shot on the penalty spot which went over the logged [I assume this means, a GK lying on the ground] keeper and was clearly goalward bound when it hit a defender, who was slightly over a foot off the goal line, in the chest.

“A free out was given for dangerous play. Now, I was of the impression that if a shot is clearly goalward bound it doesn't matter how high/hard/where it hits an opposing player, it's always a penalty stroke?”

Ray's response

An interesting question and never an easy one to deal with. First, I need to point out some very important points that an umpire must think about:

- The rules are written for all levels of capability (good and bad).
- When a ball leaves the ground the first thing an umpire must think off is danger.
- The next thing to think of is skill… never penalise skill!
- Players go into the goal by choice.
- The goals are 2.14 metres in height.
- The defending players are allowed to lift their stick to any height to defend a shot at goal.

What do I do to help me through all the above and be fair to all?

I use the guidance in Rule 13.3 (i): “if a defender is within five metres of the first shot at goal during the taking of a penalty corner and is struck by the ball below the knee, another penalty corner must be awarded or is struck above the knee in a normal stance, the shot is judged to be dangerous and a free hit must be awarded to the defending team.”

I hope this is of some help to players and umpires alike, to help all to deal with danger and shots at goal.

Men's Division One: Pembroke 6 Railway Union 0

Pembroke 6 (Alan Sothern 4, Alan Giles, Maurice Elliott) Railway Union 0

Pembroke moved into a four-point lead at the top of division one as they take a strong psychological advantage in the Leinster title race. Alan Giles opened the scoring before the league's leading scorer, Alan Sothern, produced a four-star effort to bulk up the scoreline.

It leaves a fascinating set or permutations in the league's endgame, especially due to the amount of refixes.

If Rovers win all their remaining games, they will retain the title but Pembroke's win extends the difference between the sides to eight points. Glenanne also lie in wait, currently in second, but need to beat Rovers and Pembroke to drop points in their games against Monkstown, Corinthian and Kilkenny.

Indeed, Corinthian could have much to say on the final destination of the title. Having already drawn with the Glens and Pembroke before the arrival of Andrew Cronje and Darren Kimfley, they will provide serious challenges to both Pembroke and Rovers in the run-in.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Women's Irish Cup draws

All three Leinster sides face trips up north, following the Irish Senior Cup draw this morning. Domestic pace-setters Railway face the longest trip as they travel up to Ballymoney, 4-0 conquerors of the last remaining Munster outfit, Cork C of I.

Corinthian face second-tier side Ulster Elks but the Whitechurch team will go into the game at Jordanstown as underdogs as the students have a side laden with international talent.

UCD, meanwhile, have drawn Belfast Harlequins - a third IHL side in three rounds after overcoming Hermes and Loreto. Holders Pegasus have the easiest draw on paper, facing the side currently eighth in their division whom they earlier trouned 8-0 this season.

In the Challenge, YMCA have drawn Munster division three side Clonmel while Naas travel down to Fermoy.

ESB Women's Irish Senior Cup - Quarter Final draw (March 21)
Lurgan v Pegasus; Ballymoney v Railway Union; Ulster Elks v Corinthian; Belfast Harlequins v UCD

ESB Women's Irish Hockey Challenge - Semi-Final draw (March 7)
Fermoy v Naas; YMCA v Clonmel

Women's Division One: Back Matches

Hermes took full advantage of their lack of ISC commitments to take six more points to maintain their, albeit slim, chance at retaining the division one title. More significantly, they virtually got rid of any lingering possibility of missing out on an IHL place.

They did it by first beating Bray - next week's cup semi-final opponents - on Saturday 4-1 with Jenny Burke bagging a pair before scoring the only goal of the game to oust Pembroke.

Meanwhile, the side best placed to nick top spot off Railway, Loreto, had a comfortable 7-2 win over Corinthian with Irish international duo Cathy McKean and Niamh Small both picking up hat-tricks.

Saturday: Hermes 4 (Jenny Burke 2, Nikki Evans, Chloe Watkins) Bray 1 (S O'Toole)
Sunday: Loreto 7 (Cathy McKean 3, Niamh Small 3, Eilis Smith) Corinthian 2; Hermes 1 Pembroke Wanderers 0

* For Deryck Vincent's pictures from the Hermes vs Pembroke game, click here

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Corinthian and Pembroke take semi-final places

In a match reminiscent of Corinthian's epic Mills Cup win in 2005, the reds survived a stunning quarter-final against Glenanne to advance to a semi-final date with YMCA.

Never ahead in the game, they eventually prevailed after a marathon penalty stroke competition with Rowland Rixon-Fuller potting the vital goal to complete an incredible 8-7 tally after nine rounds of flicks.

The Glens, in the antithesis of their game with Pembroke last week, will rue not being able to hold onto a lead as Stephen Butler's corner and Graham Shaw's controlled reverse after a nice move had them 2-0 up.

Rixon-Fuller picked off a mistake in the Tallaght-side's defence to give his side a chance but it was not until the 67th minute that player-coach John McInroy (pictured) bagged the equaliser - created and finished by the South African, he cracked the ball right into the top corner, forcing extra-time.

Johnny Kane rebounded after Graham Shaw's shot was well saved by Ross Murray to once again give Glenanne the advantage in the extra period but Darren Kimfley struck a peach a mere minute later to ensure strokes.

The first series of five ended 4-4 and three rounds of sudden-death still could not spilt the teams before Alan Browne was denied by Murray and Rixon-Fuller took the chance.

On the other side of the draw, Pembroke, resting a number of their international stars from the past and present, completed the semi-final line-up with a comfortable 9-0 win over Clontarf.

Alan Sothern did play and netted a hat-trick while Maurice Elliott continued his good form with a brace.

Saturday afternoon, meanwhile, saw Monkstown solidify their place in the top four with a comfortable 3-0 win over UCD. Gareth Watkins got a pair with Ian Allen on target, too.

Mills Cup (quarter-final): Glenanne 3 (Stephen Butler, Graham Shaw, Jonathon Kane) Corinthian 3 (Rowland Rixon-Fuller, John McInroy, Darren Kimfley) Corinthian win 8-7 on strokes; Clontarf 0 Pembroke 9 (Alan Sothern 3, Maurice Elliott 2, Paddy Conlon, Florian Richter, Conor Harte, AN Other)

Divison One: UCD 0 Monkstown 3 (Gareth Watkins 2, Ian Allen)

Galway finish respectable fourth

Given the paucity of women's indoor hockey in Ireland, Galway's fourth place finish in the Euro Hockey Indoor Club Champion's Challenge can be viewed as a success of sorts, recovering from two opening day defeats to pick up a win and a draw.

Moreover, the tournament gave Richie Malone's young charges a first taste of European competition and an experience they can use as the club seeks to progress further.

They bounced back from losses to Danish favourites - and eventual winners - Slagelse and Serbia's HK Bask on Friday to beat Welsh outfit, Howardian LHC 3-1. Eavan Murphy opened the scoring in the third minute with Lynsey Trainor adding the second on the stroke of half-time.

The Welsh side fought back, making it 2-1 through Michelle Daltry but former Pembroke player Emma Glanville whipped in a corner with 12 minutes to go, giving Galway a first ever European win.

They followed that with a 3-1 defeat to the Portuguese host side AD Lousada, Murphy getting the only Galway goal before rounding out the tournament on Sunday morning with a 1-1 draw with Cankaya Bld SC from Turkey. Elaine Newell scored the equaliser seven minutes from time from a corner to end the tournament on a high.

Final standings (points/goal difference):
1. Slagelse 15pts (+23), 2. AD Lousada 12pts (+7), 3. Cankaya Bld SC 5pts (-6), 4. Galway 4pts (-5) 5. Howardian LHC 4pts (-7) 6. HK Bask 3pts (-15)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Men's Irish Senior Cup: Round Two

No major surprises but the manner in which each of the favoured sides got through added to the excitement of the day with a glut of games decided by a single goal when large margins might have been predicted.

Corinthian were the only side to buck the trend, once again hitting Railway for six, though this time they managed to open the scoring through Mark Egner. Brian Doherty's hat-trick of corners in response had the game thoroughly in the reds favour before Kenny Carroll pulled back one at 5-2. It was scant consolation, Miles Warren grabbed another to complete the rout.

Fingal nearly produced an epic comeback at the airport against Ulster champions-elect Cookstown, recovering from a 4-1 half-time deficit to push all the way to 5-4 but were unable to grab the crucial goal to force extra-time.

Andy Barbour, Andy Smyth and David Ames had put the Town into a comfortable lead but such advantages are becoming more and more perilous on recent week's experience.

David Bane, Adrian Sweeney and Trevor Parsons made it tight but no cigar and Fingal will be concerned at the number of goals conceded in recent weeks.

Three Rock had a tough one up in Bangor, scraping a 3-2 while Glenanne managed 3-1 against second-tier side North Down - Johnny Kane to the fore with a brace. The two winners there will now play each other in the quarters.

Banbridge finally got their first round tie played, enduring a tough day in Donegal before emerging thanks to Eugene Magee's brace in a 3-2 win. They play Cork Harlequins next week in the second round. Mossley needed the same score to dispose of NICS.

Round 1: Raphoe 2 (James Corry, Richard Patterson) Banbridge (Eugene Magee 2, Bruce McCandless)
Round 2: Mossley 3 (Simon Todd 2, Andy Coulter) NICS 2 (Aaron Gill, Ricky Shiels); Corinthian 6 (Brian Doherty 3, David Carson 2, Miles Warren) Railway Union (Kenny Caroll, Mark Egner); Lisnagarvey 2 (Johnny Gray, Timmy Cockram) Annadale 3 (Peter Caruth 2, Neil Hamilton); Bangor 2 (Jamie McAuley, Simon Hunter) Three Rock Rovers 3 (Peter McConnell, Peter Blakeney, Patrick Shanahan); North Down 1 (Mark Forrest) Glenanne 3 (Jonathan Kane 2, Stpehen Butler); Fingal 4 (Mark Ryan, David Bane, Adrian Sweeney, Trevor Parsons) Cookstown 5 (Andy Barbour, Andy Smyth 2, David Ames, Ian Hutchinson)

* Adrian Boehm's pcitures from Fingal vs Cookstown can be seen here

Women's ISC: Second round results

UCD completed their first round trick to pick up a famous victory over Loreto, winning on strokes just as they did against Hermes in January. Their ability from the dead-ball shoot-out is in marked contrast to their Beaufort hosts who have now twice succumbed this term in such a manner - the other to Bray in the Jacqui Potter Cup.

Railway took the spoils against Old Alex, though Mick McKinnon will not be pleased with the way his side let the Milltown club back into the game. Emma Smyth's corner shot had an open game poised at 1-0 at half-time.

Jean McDonnell eased a few nerves with a squeeze-shot from a tight angle high over the Alex keeper before Kate McKenna's deflection from McDonnell's smashed long corner to see Railway 3-0 up and cruising with 15 to go.

Aoife Budd dug a rebound out of Helen Stevenson's pads a minute later for a lifeline but McDonnell's second, after Smyth's tenacious tackling and first-up shot, appeared to end the fight-back.

Budd, though, snapped up another rebound with a tidy reverse push and Laura McCoy redirected through her own legs with six minutes to go and set up a nervy ending. Leanne Ryan, a driving force throughout, pushed her side forward but the vital chance never quite came.

Just down the road, Pembroke had an equally exciting encounter with Belfast Harlequins but, from a Leinster perspective, could not get the right result and were left to rue a number of missed chances.

Julie Getty's smart hat-trick was their undoing, scoring for 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2. In between, Louisa Moore's strike and Mount Sackville student Noelle Farrell's excellently placed shot - in the wake of being denied a certain stroke - had them on terms at different points in the game.

Corinthian were the other Leinster side to progress, causing a slight upset against Glenanne with a 2-1 win, vanquishing memories of January's 5-0 loss. Susie Geoffroy and Jemima Bartlett got the goals.

Elsewhere, Lurgan progressed with a surprise win over neighbours Armagh while Ballymoney thrashed Cork C of I 4-0.

Loreto 0 UCD 0, UCD win on Penalty Strokes 3-1; Railway Union 4 (Jean McDonnell 2, Emma Smyth, Kate McKenna) Old Alex 3 (Aoife Budd 2, Laura McCoy); Corinthian 2 (Susie Geoffroy, Jemima Bartlett) Glenanne 1 (Audrey McCormack) AET; Lurgan 2 (Jenny Harvey, Gill Edgar) Armagh 1 (Christine Russell); Ballymoney 4(Julie Alison, Bridge Cleland. Nikki Park, Lynsey McVicker) Cork C of I 0; Pembroke Wanderers 2 (Louisa Moore, Noelle Farrell) Belfast Harlequins 3 (Julie Getty 3)

* More of John Keogh's pictures from Loreto vs UCD can be seen here, Railway Union vs Old Alex are here, while Pembroke vs Belfast Harlequins will be posted tomorrow.

Men's Division Two: Week Eleven Results

Clontarf 3 (Rob Abbott, Luke Hayden, Richie Forrest) Avoca 1 (Stephen Brownlow)
Two constants exist in division two. The first is that Clontarf will win, the second is the unpredictability of everything below them. The two dovetailed perfectly this afternoon for the Dublin 3 side to move 11 games clear of the pack with a maximum of 18 points left to play for.

Three corner goals - a drag from Rob Abbott (pictured celebrating with Tom Noonan), one from Luke Hayden and a second phase strike from Richie Forrest - did the damage with Stephen Brownlow getting one in return but he could not prevent the Blackrock side's winning run from ending.

Skerries 1 (Ali McMahon) Dublin University 5 (Ben Hewitt 2, Craig Moore, Andy Gray, Daire Coady)
Dublin Uni moved into a share of third spot - the highest they have been all season - after another good win, this time having too much for an understrength Skerries.

Former skipper Ben Hewitt bagged two early with Midleton-man Craig Moore making it 3-0 by half-time. Andy Gray added the fourth before Skerries got one back but Daire Coady ensured a fourth successive win. Skerries play-off hopes, however, take a major hit.

Weston 4 (Paul Kennedy, Shane O'Hare, Simon Pearson, Mark Benzies) Suttonians 1 (Vikram Singh)
Weston pulled off a minor surprise to end Suttonians recent good run, ultimately handing Clontarf even more points to play with at the top of the table - points they scarcely need.

Player-coach Paul Kennedy's corner strike was cancelled out by Vikram Singh's reverse five minutes into the second half but from then on the Lucan side picked off their scores.

Shane O'Hare got a deflection from a free-hit near the edge of the circle for 2-1 before Mark Benzies was credited with a bizarre goal. His effort hit the post before rebounding onto a defender's head and back into the net.

Simon Pearson added the fourth to, once again, make the play-off spot anyone's guess.

Bray 5 (Jamie Crawford 2, Rob Pearson, Simon Cox, Phil Davis) Navan o -
Bray move back into second place, thanks to their comfortable win over Navan. Former Three Rock colt Jamie Crawford banged in a pair while Rob Pearson - back with the club after half a season with YMCA - was also on the scoresheet. They take the hot potato of the play-off place for the next week and should prevail for an extra seven days after a trip to Naas.

At least one of Suttonians and Skerries will drop points next week while Trinity face Clontarf and Avoca have a bye, meaning Bray could have a chance to make the place their own in round twelve.

* For more pictures from the Clontarf vs Avoca game by Deryck Vincent, click here

Irish Hockey Challenge results

Leinster duo Naas and YMCA entered their names into the hat for the IHC semi-final draw today, joining Clonmel who qualified last week with a 4-0 win over Athlone.

YM ousted division 14-side Monkstown 4-1, though both sides showed ability well above their current league status in an open free-flowing contest in Sandymount. Sarah Bradshaw opened the scoring for Y but Katie Hutch's penalty corner brought the game level.

Helen Keane restored the advantage before Fiona McCormick made it 3-1 by half-time. Monkstown - in their return year to women's hockey - pressed on after the break but could not force their way back into the game and Emily Bradshaw settled matters for YM.

Naas, meanwhile, won by the odd goal in seven in a thriller at Caragh Road, beating Greenfields - Orla Brennan, Bebhin Carey, Amy Young and Reacy Dunlop got the scores.

They will be joined in the last four by either Fermoy or Wexford II who play on Sunday.

Results: Naas 4 (Orla Brennan, Bebhin Carey, Amy Young and Reacy Dunlop) Greenfields 3 (Alma Whelan, Mary Healy, Ali Ryan); YMCA 4 (Sarah Bradshaw, Helen Keane, Fiona McCormick, Emily Bradshaw) Monkstown 1 (Katie Hutch)

Fixture (Sunday): Fermoy v Wexford II
*For more pictures from the YMCA vs Monkstown game, click here

Galway suffer tough baptism

Galway endured a tough opening day at the EuroHockey Indoor Club Champion's Challenge as they fell to two defeats - the first in heartbreaking circumstances to Serbia's HK Bask.

The Tribeswomen were within just two minutes of picking up a draw in their first ever European outing but Javanna Prodanovic popped up to nick the 2-1 win. Earlier, Elaine Newell had tied the game up at 1-1 just after half-time to raise hopes of a famous result.

The afternoon game saw Galway face tournament favourites, Denmark's Slagelse, and took a first minute lead courtesy of Lynsey Trainor. The Danes, however, and steamed clear to win 5-1, thanks to Nielsen sisters Janne and Marianne who netted all the goals between them.

Results: Galway 1 (Elaine Newell) HK Bask 2; Galway 1 (Lynsey Trainor) Slagelse 5

Standings after two games (points/goal diff):
1. Slagelse (6pts/+10) 2. Howardian (4pts/+2) 3. HK Bask (3pts/-1) 4. AD Lousada (3pts/-3) 5. Cankaya Bld Sc (1pt/-3) 6. Galway (0pts/-5)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Men's Irish Senior Cup preview

Six more ISC quarter-finalists and one second round place will be confirmed on Saturday afternoon as this season's stop/start competition will hope to tidy up the draw made last Monday.

A potentially tasty local derby could occur should Three Rock and Glenanne win their respective ties against Northern opposition. The Glens will have to do it without Alan Lewis (pictured) who was informed this week he is cup-tied despite not playing for Monkstown in the cup before the transfer went through.

In any case, it may prove academic as he has a back injury though he yet may be fit by February 28, the date of the next round. The Glens travel to North Down - Ulster's Podium Senior One leaders - who are coming off the back of a rousing 13-1 win over Armagh.

Rovers, meanwhile, head to the seaside town of Bangor. The Ulster side has an impressive home record but a crushing 3-1 defeat to lowly Mossley last weekend has majorly dented their IHL hopes. They will hope Simon Hunter and Gareth Morton can break down Alan Bothwell's defence while Mikey Harte pulls the strings in midfield.

His brother, Johnny, meanwhile will be hoping to mastermind a Fingal win over Cookstown, the Ulster champions in waiting as they need a single point for their domestic title. Harte does so without the services of Andy Marshall while Mick McGuinness' shoulder injury is a concern.

Brian Gray missed out last week against Kilkenny too due to work reasons but could be back in time. Ian Hutchinson returns for Cookstown after missing last week's game with Raphoe.

Corinthian and Railway finally get their ISC involvement underway at Whitechurch Park. The reds have the form thanks to a 6-0 win last month while Mark English still has an internal club ban for his recent red card to see out.

Up north, there are three local derbies, the most eye-catching of which pits Lisnagarvey against Annadale. NICS will hope for a Premier scalp at the Glade against Mossley while in the remaining round one fixture, Cork Harlequins will be looking out for the result of Raphoe against Banbridge in Donegal.

Men’s Irish Senior Cup
Round 1: Raphoe v Banbridge, 2.30pm, Royal & Prior
Round 2: Mossley v NICS, 2.30pm, The Glade; Corinthian v Railway Union, 1pm, Whitechurch; Lisnagarvey v Annadale, 2.30, Hillsborough; Bangor v Three Rock Rovers, 2.30pm, Bangor; North Down v Glenanne, 2.30pm, Comber Road; Fingal v Cookstown, 1pm, ALSAA

Women's ESB Irish Senior Cup preview

Into the breach once more as the IHA pray for a mild weekend to avoid further disruptions to the Irish Senior Cup programmes. Three Leinster sides are guaranteed to go through to the last eight while three will definitely go out as Leinster sides all lock horns in their home province.

The only cross-border tie sees Belfast Harlequins visit Pembroke in what could be the tie of the round. The IHL pair both have their respective sharp-shooters - Louisa Moore for Wanderers, Kelli Thornton for Quins.

Jenny McDonough (pictured in action against Loreto) is also free to focus on her club hockey after her retirment from the international scene and could be a major threat, too.

UCD will aim to add the scalp of Loreto - the 2003 champions - to their first round defeat of Hermes, though the form guide would suggest a home win.

The Beaufort side won in early January 2-0 but the scarcity of matches since the turn of the year - and the snow that has disrupted training along the Grange Road may have taken the momentum out of Loreto's sails.

They do possess the more potent match-winners in Nikki Symmons and Cathy McKean but the students have one of the sternest defences around and if they can nick an early goal it could make for an interesting afternoon.

Railway face another tricky test, playing the only side to take points off them in the Leinster league, Old Alex. Kate Dillon, though, looks to be regaining form after her long time away in Australia and impressed on Thursday night as a marauding centre-back against Glenanne.

For the Glens, they will hope to emulate their 5-0 win over Corinthian a month ago with the Geoffroy sisters (Ali is pictured, right) coming face to face. This time, they do it without home advantage though both sides have struggled to get out to training in the past few weeks.

Elsewhere, Cork C of I face the big trip of the day, going all the way up to Ballymoney while local rivals Lurgan and Armagh face off at Craigavon.

ESB Irish Senior Cup – Round 2

Loreto v UCD, 2.45pm, Beaufort; Railway Union v Old Alex, 2.30pm, Park Avenue; Corinthian v Glenanne, 3pm, Whitechurch; Lurgan v Armagh, 2.30pm, Brownlow; Ballymoney v Cork C of I, 2.30pm, Joey Dunlop; Pembroke v Belfast HQ, 3.30pm, Serpentine Ave

Men's Leinster league preview

With Irish Senior Cup taking centre-stage this weekend, only Monkstown and UCD are drawn into battle this Saturday with Gavin O'Halloran, Alastair Nolan and Ross Watkins facing their old club.

The students have an injury concern over Rob Lynch while Karl Smith is away but, realistically, the main focus for UCD is likely to fall on March 28 - their showdown with Kilkenny - and, to a lesser extent Railway Union.

Points at Belfield will be a bonus against a 'Town side with a full bill of health and looking to cement fourth place.

Pembroke, meanwhile, could extend their lead to four points in the table next Tuesday night against Railway - a match has been brought forward due as Wanderers are the only side guaranteed to be in ISC action on February 28.

A win would add to the psychological pressure on Rovers and Glenanne. Railway, for their part, will be without Kevin O'Brien for the rest of the season due to his Irish cricket commitments with the impending World Cup qualifiers.

Pembroke are in Mills cup action two days prior to that, facing the only 100pc record in the men's game - Clontarf. The bulls will go into it as underdogs but have added USA international Nate Franks to the squad for the rest of the season.

The other cup quarter-final sees the hotly anticipated battle between Glenanne and Corinthian. The St Mark's based side provided one of the most complete performance the last time the sides met in the league but the Reds are on the up and will aim to take advantage of their reinstatement to the competition after initially being thrown out.

There is a full schedule of division two games with plenty of interest in the play-off race. Second placed Skerries could end Trinity's mini-revival but they could be short of Sean Lawlor, Brian McMahon and Felix Nacken for the game and are a little short on match practice in 2009.

Trinity, meanwhile, have looked slightly more secure at the back with 6'4'' Jack Hegarty bossing his circle since breaking into the team. Suttonians and Bray need all three points to stay involved against Weston (away) and Navan (home) respectively while Clontarf host a form team in Avoca.

Division 1: UCD vs Monkstown 1pm, Belfield
Division 2: Bray v Navan, 1pm, Loreto Bray; Clontarf vs Avoca, 3.15pm, Mount Temple; Skerries vs Dublin University, 1pm, Skerries; Weston vs Suttonians, 1pm, Esker

Mills Cup Quarter Finals: Glenanne v Corinthian, 1.30pm, Glenanne Park; Clontarf v Pembroke Wanderers, 4pm, Mount Temple

Division 1: Pembroke Wanderers vs Railway Union, 7.15pm, Serpentine Avenue

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Women's Division One: Railway Union 4 Glenanne 1

Railway Union 4 (Jean McDonnell 3, Kate O'Flynn) Glenanne 1 (Ciara Nugent)
Railway shook off the cobwebs to emphatically confirm their title credentials with Jean McDonnell giving three more reasons why she is the most feared attacker in the league.

She opened the scoring with a reverse-flick after Emma Smyth's left-wing incision. Ciara Nugent levelled from the spot after a crude Railway tackle but from then on the flow of the game was predominantly in the direction of the Glen's goal.

McDonnell made it 2-1 after spectacular first-time turn with the ball in the circle in the 22nd minute. Her shot was slightly fortunate, clipping a defender on its way in, but she deserved the goal for her initial control that sent two defenders completely the wrong way.

From there, Railway had a wealth of chances, McDonnell hitting the post early in the second half and drawing a top save from Susan Byrne after another sublime piece of skill down the left wing.

Glenanne still had a threat on the break, Helen Stevenson required on one occasion to race off her line to deny Nicci Daly and were still in with a chance as Railway spurned opportunities.

Smyth went close while six second half corners went a begging before McDonnell made the game safe, needing just two touches from Isobel Joyce's sideline hit from the left to spin clear of the defence and clip home before Kate O'Flynn swept in a fourth.

The win sees Railway move seven points clear with six games to go. It means they need four wins from their last six games to pick up the title. For Glenanne, it makes their outside chance at an IHL spot more remote.

* For more pictures, click here

Women's Division One Preview

After a stop/start beginning to 2009, Railway Union finally get a chance to put their Leinster league back on course tonight after postponements on separate occasions due to wind, rain and snow since the turn of the year.

Indeed, they have played just one league match in that time - a draw with Old Alex - and, along with visitors Glenanne, have been without a competitive game in three weeks.

Railway will hope the severe weather conditions will not dent their pre-Christmas momentum domestically while for the Glens it means Mary Waldron, Louise Kennedy and Marie Goulding have had time to recover from injury.

At least two from those three should be involved tonight as the Tallaght-side aim to keep their outside hopes of an IHL-berth alive.

Railway did sweep aside Glenanne with an early four-goal blitz in the first meeting of the sides this season but Victor Shaw's team pushed the Sandymoutn-side much harder in a Jacqui Potter cup fixture and have shown they can push the top teams since returning to the top flight.

Saturday sees Bray and Hermes' game brought forward from February 28 to avoid a double-header between the two sides - they are set to meet the following Sunday in the Jacqui Potter Cup while the Booterstown club will double-up with a back match against Pembroke on Sunday.

They do so with the core 14 players that Colin Stewart's side have used this term all fit and ready to go.

Thursday: Railway Union vs Glenanne, 8.10pm, Park Avenue
Saturday: Bray vs Hermes, 2.30pm, Loreto, Bray
Sunday: Hermes vs Pembroke, 4.15pm, Belfield

Merger committee to brief Leinster clubs

With the upcoming merger of the three Leinster Branches of the IHA into one body, the Joint Merger Committee of the LLHU, LBIHA and the South East will next week present how they propose to do so and create "Leinster Hockey".

All club members from across the province are welcome to attend these presentations - followed by a questions and answers session. Indeed, it is especially important your club is well briefed as later in the year your club will be asked to vote on the creation of this new Branch.

Issues that will be of interest are the continuity of hockey administration, finance and the new body's organisational structure.

The times and dates of the presentations are as follows:
Wednesday, February 25, 8pm, Talbot Hotel, Carlow
Thursday, February 26, 8pm, Montrose Hotel, Dublin

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Galway hope to find perfect blend for European Indoors

Galway’s ladies travel to Lousada, Portugal for this weekend’s European Indoor Club Champion’s Challenge with a squad which coach Richard Malone describes as “the ideal blend of youth and experience”.

His squad will be led by former outdoor international Tara Browne – adding another chapter to an incredible career which saw her previously take on Europe with Hermes in the outdoor game.

Speaking of her inclusion Malone said " I'm delighted Tara has decided to take on this challenge, its another unique achievement for her in her career and its great us the other players in the club who can draw on her previous European experience."

Browne was one of the key members of the squad that won the ladies Indoor Cup in 2008 with a 3-2 win over Railway in the final.

That day Evan Murphy netted twice early on with Grainne Black making it 3-0 in jig time. Emer Lucey pulled two back but Browne (pictured, below left) was instrumental at halting the onslaught to claim the title at the very first attempt.

Her presence is augmented by the experienced former Pembroke player Emma Glanville while the club’s impressive youth structure is also well represented in Malone’s initial 18-player panel.

Irish underage players Freddie Timmins, Tara Melvin, Lynsey Trainor, Emily Molloy and Jessica McNickan have been named.

Belgium-based Ciara Murphy could yet link up with the side but probably the most surprising inclusions are the two youngest members of the squad Michelle and Elaine Carey, Michelle who was part of the team that claimed the national championship last year is now joined by her younger sibling Elaine who will just turn 14 prior to the tournament.

They begin their six-team group, looking for a top two placing, with a double-header on Friday, facing Serbia’s HK Bask and Denmark’s Slagelse. Saturday sees games against Wales’ Howardian LHC and the hosts AD Lousada. The final group, early on Sunday, is against the Turksih side, Cankaya Bld SC.

You can follow the club’s progress and send on your best wishes during the tournament at Galway club’s excellent microsite, click here

Galway Squad: Tara Browne, Michelle Carey, Grainne Black, Emma Glanville, Freddie Timmins, Grace Melvin, Tara Melvin, Lynsey Trainor, Jessica Mc Nickan, Eavan Murphy, Ciara Murphy, Deirdre Joyce, Emiliy Molloy, Maeve Faherty, Claire Heskin, Alison Hynes, Elaine Newell, Elaine Carey
Manager: Kathleen Melvin
Stand-in manager: Gillian Trainor
Coach: Richard Malone
Assistant Coach: Maeve Faherty

Friday, February 20
12pm: HK Bask vs Galway,
4pm: Slagelse vs Galway
Saturday, Febraury 21
1pm Howardian LHC vs Galway
4pm AD Lousada vs Galway
Sunday, February 22
11am: Galway vs Cankaya Bld SC

Monday, February 16, 2009

Ask Ray O'Connor...

As regular readers and commenters may know, The Hook barely entertains comments complaining about umpires and their decisions. However, in an effort to aid players and spectators to get a better understanding of the game, The Hook has enlisted the help of one of the world's great hockey umpires, Ray O'Connor, to answer your queries.

The idea for this feature comes from Skerries man Alan Early and, as a result, he gets the first shot will, hopefully, become a regular on the blog... this time, the murky area of overheads dropping out of the sky:

The Query:
“We queried a decision on a high ball that was played from our midfield into our forward line our striker clearly called for the ball and was given at least five yards by the Navan defender but the referee blew for a free to Navan as according to the ref the striker must give way to the defender in high ball situation.

"As I am sure you are aware this is incorrect and who ever calls for ball first must be given the space to get ball under control."

Ray's response:
"There are two issues here. First of all, there is no such thing as calling for the ball in the hockey rule book. Next up, "according to the ref the striker must give way to the defender in high ball situation." This is not the case.

The Umpire must try to get the ball down safely - this is the most important point. This can only be done if there is no competition for the ball.

So the umpire must decide very quickly who is in the dropping area first. That player should be allowed to have the ball and the other team must stay five metres away.

If the case arises that the umpire can't decide who was there first, the umpire will give the free against the team that put the ball up in the air. The free should be taken from where the dangerous situation would occur - in this case at the dropping point of the ball.

Men's ISC quarter-final draw announced

Clubs going into this weekend's refixed ISC second-round matches will have a vague idea of what lies in store for them in the quarter-finals the following week February 28, should they win after the draw was announced this morning.

The IHA explained the reasoning for announcing the draw today: "It has been released early in order to give clubs as much notice as possible of potential away games should they progress through after this weekend.

"There is only now one week between the remaining round two matches and the quarter-final matches, as dates had to be reset due to the adverse weather conditions experienced over the last few weeks."

For one club side, the draw offers respite if they make it through. Three Rock's mystery tour has taken in two trips to Kilkenny, one to Lisnagarvey, making it as far as the border before having their match against Bangor postponed and finally last weekend's trip to Cambrai since the turn of the New Year.

Should they beat Bangor - unbeaten at home this season - they will host the winner of North Down and Glenanne. The draw, though, has many variables which will not become apparent until after this weekend.

Pembroke, as the only side already through, can get a bit of reconnaissance in on Ulster sides Mossley and NICS this weekend at the Glade.

Quarter Finals – Men’s Irish Senior Cup (Saturday, February 28)
Mossley / NICS v Pembroke Wanderers;
Bangor / Three Rock Rovers v North Down / Glenanne;
Lisnagarvey / Annadale v Corinthian / Railway Union;
Fingal / Cookstown v Cork Harlequins / (Raphoe OR Banbridge)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Men's Division Two: Avoca 6 Naas 0

Avoca 6 (Karl Chapple 2, Dave Fanning, Will Aylmer, Peter Haughton, Scott Wilkie) Naas 0
Avoca picked up their second win of the weekend and tighten up the playoff battle still further. Their win means there is now just three points covering second to sixth in the division two table with most sides still with seven league games to play.

Former Leinster U-18 Karl Chapple bagged a brace while there were single strikes for Dave Fanning, Will Aylmer, Peter Haughton and Scott Wilkie.

Three Rock avoid indoor relegation

Three Rock Rovers produced a stirring 8-1 win over Swansea Bay this morning at EuroHockey Indoor Club Champions Challenge in Cambrai to avoid relegation without having to rely on a further result going their way.

Like Railway two years ago and Pembroke in 2008, victory was imperative in their final game and they got off to a decent start as Neil Lyons opened the scoring early on. Liam Canning added a stroke in the 12th minute before Lucas Piccioli netted the third from a switch left.

Indeed, Piccioli was in top form, described by the French commentator in parts as "le technicien exceptionnel" and "magnifique" at various points in the commentary. His second, and Rovers fourth, before half-time was top drawer, beating two men, exchanging a one-two with Andy McConnell and flicking in.

Neil Lyons neat exchange with Garry Ringwood produced a fifth before Canning's corner in the 26th minute put Rovers within a goal of safety against a hapless Swans, already relegated to the fourth level of European indoor hockey.

However, Rovers found scoring the crucial seventh much tougher with numerous chances going abegging and the control previously exhibited lost its form. Piccioli, though, ket his calm to assist Mitch Darling 175 seconds from the end to make it 7-0. With the pressure off, Andy McConnell netted 20 seconds later before Canning's slip allowed Swansea back in for a consolation goal in the final minute.

It meant Rosco Budapest's result SK Senkvice was immaterial to the Dublin side, as goal difference would fall in Rovers' favour, guaranteeing they would be in the top two of the relegation pool. As it happened, goal difference would not have mattered as Rosco overcame a 2-0 deficit to win 6-4.

Three Rock Rovers 8 (Neil Lyons 2, Liam Canning 2, Lucas Piccioli 2, Mitch Darling, Andy McConnell) Swansea Bay 1; Rosco Budapest 6 SK Senkvice 4
Group D standings (points/goal diff): 1. Rosco Budapest 9pts (+9) 2. TRR 6pts (+7) 3. SK Senkvice 3pts (+6) 4. Swansea Bay 0pts (-22)

Three Rock Rovers - SK Senkvice Indoor 14.2.2008 from Backcast Live on Vimeo.

Men's Division Two: Week Ten results

Weston 2 (Shane O'Hare, Peter Barron) Avoca 3 (Enda Gallanagh, Fergal McGuinness, Stephen Brownlow)

In the absence of a Clontarf game this weekend, the race for the playoff spot took centre-stage and looks like it could go right down to the wire. A third successive single-goal win for Avoca has moved them into the mix.

They lie sixth but with games in hand over each of the sides above them but could make a late season charge. Enda Gallanagh - one of the last remaining ISC winners from 1996 - was on target along with Fergal McGuinness and Stephen Brownlow with Shane O'Hare and Peter Barron getting Weston's goals.

Navan 0 Dublin Uni 4 (Barry Glavey, Craig Moore, Aengus Stanley, Stu Cinnamond)
Trinity are another side closing in on the top of the table and their second 4-0 win in five days shows they have the capacity to challenge too. Barry Glavey scored from the spot before Aengus Stanley got his second in a week after four years without a single goal. He profited from Ben Hewitt's excellent spadework to clip in diving reverse shot.

Midleton-man Craig Moore added the third in the second half before Stu Cinnamond made it a four-star performance.

Bray 2 (Phil Davis 2) Suttonians 3 (Richie Wormold 2, Conor Gillett)
The key result of the weekend, Suttonians picked up a crucial away 3-2 win over Bray in Loreto on Saturday to move into second place on goal difference. In the process they leapfrogged Bray and are now level with Skerries who were left without a game after their fixture with Naas was called off.

Richie Wormold bagged a brace while young - but already well-travelled - Conor Gillett picked off another. Bray's Australian skipper Phil Davis scored a double too from set-pieces but in vain while Belgian David Bronner - here on a two-month stay - made his debut.

Skerries vs Naas OFF

Rovers bounce back

Three Rock bounced back from the morning's disappointment to record their first win of the EuroHockey Indoor Club Champion's Challenge I, beating Slovakia's SK Senkvice 3-2.

It gives them a real chance now of avoiding relegation to the Champion's Challenge II. They were in slight trouble as they carried no points through to the relegation pool - group D - as their draw with HAHK Mladost was stricken from the tallies due to the Croatians advancing.

The Slovaks carried three points through with a hammering of Swansea, as did Rosco Budapest by virtue of their win over Rovers. Rosco beat the Swans 9-3 in the day's other group D game, meaning Three Rock lie level with Senkvice on points but the Slovakians have a better goal difference.

The Dubliners did fall behind to Lubos Misovic's field goal in the 14th minute but two Lucas Piccioli strikes - his sixth and seventh of the tournament - within a minute flipped the game on its head to make it 2-1 by the break.

Indeed, it was the first time Rovers had hit the front in the tournament to date. They lost the advantage in the 25th minute when Matej Jelacic pounced but Graham Dowling - an experienced European campaigner from his Avoca days - nabbed the victory in a much improved performance.

They now face Swansea at 9.30am Irish time hoping for victory and a big scoreline to put the pressure on Senkvice.

* For more pictures from La Salle Jean Marie Vanpoulle, click here and for live streaming of Three Rock's games, click go to the top right corner of this webpage

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Men's Division One: Week 14 results

Glenanne 3 (Stephen Butler 2, Joe Brennan) Pembroke 3 (Alan Sothern 2, Alan Giles)
An absolute cracker in Glenanne Park, the Glens produced a famous comeback to add to the incredible recent history between these two clubs.

Pembroke went 3-0 up inside ten minutes, Alan Sothern bagging a short corner in the first minute and getting his second from another drag-flick. Skipper Alan Giles got the third and the Sandymount side looked to be cruising clear at the top of division one.

They dominated the first period, however, Glenanne changed their tactics to play a much higher press and got a foothold in the game when Joe Brennan slid in to deflect home a corner with ten minutes to go to the break.

Stephen Butler reduced the deficit in the second half with a drag-flick of his own as they game flowed from end to end while Alan Browne saw yellow before Justin Sherriff followed him into the sin-bin.

Butler's personal match-up with David Harte was a big feature of the game with the goalkeeper producing some excellent saves. The midfielder though had the last laugh with the leveller from another corner in a half that Glenanne enjoyed the best of.

Fingal 4 (Dave Bane, Adrian Sweeney, Keith Crawford, Glen Shekleton) Kilkenny 2 (Gary Sharman, Tom Manning)
Fingal kept pace with Monkstown and Corinthian in the IHL race with a vital win over Kilkenny despite trailing until 14 minutes from time. They opened up strongly, Dave Bane dragging in a corner in the seventh minute and creating numerous other chances.

However, the Cats sporadic attacks saw them hit the front with Gary Sharman banging in a reverse and Tom Manning get the go-ahead goal from an improvised corner after the first phase broke down.

And try as Fingal might, they were held at bay until Adrian Sweeney got a crucial goal inside the last quarter. Keith Crawford's rising reverse saw the greens hit the front before Glen Shekleton got a late stroke.

Railway Union 1 (Eoin MacArthur) Monkstown 3 (Alec Barrett, Brian Groves, Gareth Watkins)
Like Fingal, Monkstown keep their IHL hopes intact but were made to work at Park Avenue, coming from a goal down while Railway came away with nothing to show for a good performance.

Eoin MacArthur took one of a series of chances in the first half for the lead but Alec Barrett made it 1-1 by the break from a corner second phase. Davd Holmes and Paul O'Brien spurned decent chances with David Fitzgerald keeping the Town on terms.

And they took advantage in the second period. Brian Groves volleyed home after a cross-cum-shot broke his way and Gareth Watkins roofed a corner for 3-1. O'Brien had a further one-on-one chance but could not pull one back.

* For 50 more pictures of the Glenanne and Pembroke game from Adrian Boehm and Emer Keogh, click here

Three Rock consigned to relegation playoffs

Three Rock fell this morning to a 7-2 defeat to Slovenia's Pliva Lipovci to finish fourth in group B of the EuroHockey Indoor Club Champions Challenge, with just one point from their three games to date.

Despite tying 1-1 at half-time, a half-dozen of second half goals put paid to their outside chances of advancing from the group stages.

It means they will play off this afternoon at 3pm (GMT) against the third place side from group A before completing their tournament tomorrow at 9.30am (GMT) against their rival fourth place side. Those opponents will be confirmed in the coming hours.

Rovers started the tournament on Friday afternoon with a 6-5 reverse at the hands of Rosco Budapest. They were chasing the game throughout after falling behind in the second minute when Imre Farkas broke the deadlock. Goals from Lucas Piccioli and Garry Ringwood kept the Irish side in the game, 3-2 at half-time, but they never managed to get back on terms.

Further goals from Liam Canning and Andy McConnell brought the game back to 5-4 but Ferenc Ficzura netted a corner with four minutes to go for the decisive advantage before Piccioli reduced the margin in the last minute.

The second pool match produced Three Rock's first point in European indoor competition when they drew 5-5 with Croatia's HAHK Mladost.

Once again, they trailed early falling two behind in the 13th minute but Piccioli's strike from play and Peter McConnell's stroke 60 seconds later levelled matters. Domagoj Cefko and Piccioli exchanged goals for 3-3 before Zdravko Lipovcic had the Croatians in front with three minutes remaining.

A flurry of goals in a 90-second period saw Mitch Darling and Peter McConnell flash in a pair but Tomislav Hanzek responded with one of his own denying Rovers a maiden victory in the last minute.

TRR 5 (Lucas Piccioli 2, Liam Canning, Garry Ringwood, Andy McConnell) Rosco Budapest 6 (Imre Farkas 3, Norbert Kosarzsky 2, Zsombor Ficzere); TRR 5 (Lucas Piccioli 2, Peter McConnell 2, Mitch Darling) HAHK Mladost 5 (Tomislav Hanzek 2, Manjen Rucevic, Domagoj Cefko, Zdravko Lipovcic); TRR 2 (Mitch Darling, Lucas Piccioli) Pliva Lipovci 7 (Peter Forjan, Franc Maucec, Martin Mesaric 3, Uros Stanko, Dominik Mesaric)

* For more pictures from La Salle Jean Marie Vanpoulle, click here and for live streaming of Three Rock's games, click go to the top right corner of this webpage

Friday, February 13, 2009

St Andrews retain Junior league

St Andrew's junior girls retained their league crown this afternoon at Belfield with an impressive win over Alexandra College, denying the Milltown school a senior/junior double.

Andrew's were the stronger throughout, though Alex created the odd nervous moment from the skills of Emily Beatty and a zinging reverse from Erica Hinkson. Those chances were sporadic, though, as Laura Pinder and Sadhbh Hynes marshalled their defensive line brilliantly.

The Booterstown school's first chance came after barely 40 seconds with Hayley Sarratt found in space at the back post but her first-time effort cleared the bar. Julie Murphy's persistence down the right flank forced a pair of corners as her side camped in the Alex half but their defence held firm.

And they gradually grew into the game. Hanna McDermott led the first break-out. Her cross found a foot before deflecting into the net, winning a corner but agonisingly missed an attacker's stick. Andrew's continued to press but could not find a crucial opener.

Early in the second half, McDermott almost had a one-on-one chance but Siobhan Cummins came off her line quickly to clear the danger while Kate O'Malley needed to be alert in defence to nick in ahead of Hinkson.

But, as Alex confidence grew, they were stung by Pinder's penalty corner strike. The stop was intially missed but the ball was cleverly played back into the defender who found the left corner from 12 yards.

Hinkson flashed a brilliant reverse off the side netting within 30 seconds of the restart coming close to a leveller but Andrew's were in no mood for second chances. Murphy made the decisive run down the left side of the circle. There looked little on but an upright reverse cross was clipped goalward and Sarah Smith darted in to get the crucial touch and take the title with a 2-0 win.

* For more pictures from the game, click here while Lindie Naughton's pics can be seen here

Men's weekend preview

The cancelled interpros mean Glenanne can have full usage of Jonathon Kane and Leinster U-21 captain Richie Shaw for what could be a pivotal weekend in the race for domestic honours.

The pair are back in the squad with the match confirmed as a Saturday game after thoughts earlier this week of moving the game to Sunday to give the grounds an extra day to thaw.

Pembroke won last time out in spite of Craig Fulton's first half red card but the Glens have become a much tougher prospect in recent weeks. Pembroke are not in bad form either and are the only side in Leinster to stretch their legs outdoors last weekend with an impressive win in Garryduff.

Elsewhere, Kilkenny face a number of their alumni at ALSAA this weekend as they play Fingal. Derek O'Gorman, Nigel Grothier, Emmet Hughes and Brian Gray are among former Cats now plying their trade at the airport. The current crop need a win to clear themselves of bottom-placed UCD, who have the weekend off.

Fingal, along with Monkstown, have the chance to bounce back into the top five ahead of Corinthian. They have the weekend off due to their four players due to play for Leinster U-21s.

The final game up for decision is Railway's hosting of Monkstown. The Town are at full strength while Railway continue to be without Kevin O'Brien due to Irish cricket commitments.

In division two, the chasing pack have a chance to close the gap on Clontarf. Suttonians, though, will hope not to carry their midweek form into their game at Bray. Nasir Munir's side lost 4-0 to his former charges Trinity in the Neville Davin Cup - with Aengus Stanley scoring his first ever goal on the night (picture, left, by Jessica Pakenham-Money).

A win for Suttonians would continue their great response to losing Yasir Islam and Mukhtar Ahmed and have them right in contention for the playoff place. Skerries will maintain that position, though, should they beat Naas.

Trinity travel to play Navan to Sportlink - though their Santry home is just down the road means the students face probably the shorter trip to the game. Avoca, meanwhile, make their way to Griffeen to face Weston.

Division 1:
Fingal vs Kilkenny, 1pm, ALSAA; Glenanne vs Pembroke Wanderers, 1.30pm, Glenanne Park; Railway Union vs Monkstown, 2pm, Park Avenue

Division 2:
Weston v Avoca, 3pm, Esker; Skerries vs Naas, 2pm, Skerries; Navan vs Dublin University, 2.30pm, Sportslink; Bray vs Suttonians, 1.15pm, Loreto Bray