Sunday, June 14, 2009

Irish clubs remain in European second-tier

Ireland will not receive a place in the enlarged EuroHockey Club Champion's Cup, announced on Friday afternoon, meaning Loreto and UCD will take on the second and third tier of European competition in 2009/10.

With a view to building toward a women's EuroHockey League, the EHF has increased the entries from eight to 12 teams in the Club Champion's Cup with the Cup Winner's Cup discontinued.

For 2009/10, clubs will be split into five divisions with, based on European club results over the past three years, with Europe's top four clubs receiving two entries to the top competition and the remaining four places going to the continent's fifth to eighth ranked teams.

As such, with Ireland currently rated the twelfth best performing country at club level, Loreto will play in the EuroHockey Club Champion's Trophy with UCD in the third-tier Challenge I event in much the same structure as previous years.

The top teams will play in a condensed version of the men's EHL, beginning with four groups of three next April 2, 2010. The KO8 round will be played on April 5 and the subsequent finals weekend dates will be confirmed at a later date.

* For more information on the new competition structure, click here (needs Adobe Acrobat)


Queso said...

Actually Steve the title is a bit misleading... In previous years we had two teams competing at the second-tier level.... due to repeated poor club performances in european competitions next season we'll have one team holding on by the skin of their teeth (bottom ranked side in the EuroTrophy) and the other club down in Tier 3.... mid-ranked in EuroChallenge I

When you consider that Ireland is ranked 5th in Europe, this is a poor showing by our ladies club sides. The IHL has arrived just in time!!!

Stephen Findlater said...

* Additional info:

I queried the EHF today about promotion and relegation. It is quite complex but here is the word from Steve Catton, the EHF's competition's manager.

"The promotion and relegation system will be similar to that used in Euro Hockey League for Men and will be as follows:

The top 8 postions will be determined entirely by ranking points gained over the past three seasons by a Nation's clubs.

Participating clubs will be allocated ranking points based on their finishing position in the Trophy. These ranking points, together with any obtained from a Nation's club in the Cup, and points from previous years, will be used to determine where the Nation sits in the following year's ranking table. Any Nation whose points place them in the top 8 will play in the Cup the following year.

The two lowest ranked nations will be relegated to the Challenge I tournament the following year. This does not necessarily mean the two who finished bottom in the Trophy, as their other club (in the Cup) may earn sufficient points to keep them in the following year's trophy - as has been seen in the Men's competition.

Challenge (all)
Two up and two down based entirely on finishing positions in the previous year's tournament. The top two in Challenge I will be promoted into the following year's Trophy.

I hope I have explained this clearly and that it answers your question, but please feel free to contact me if you need further clarification!"

Anonymous said...

Queso I think your analysis is a little simplistic. Whilst it is probably fair to say the Irish womens teams have underperformed it is worth reviewing the stats to get a better picture.

I believe there are a number of reasons for the difference.

The eastern bloc countries are a much more significant force in the womens competitions. Lithuania,Belarus,Russia,Ukraine and Azerbaijan all feature regularly in A division competition despite not being at that level in National competition with the exception of the AZE and their Korean imports. Ukraine have slipped in recent years.

The timing of the champions event in late May and sometimes early June means the irish reps have no decent competition for a couple of weeks before the event. (Not sure what other countries do)

As regards the men the performance levels have been very volatile with the Irish men dropping to C on one occasion.

The change in structure has been good for the men as the EHL has 24 teams and we have essentially won 3 tournaments on the bounce as there is no longer an A event on the cup side.

There is also no doubt that the mens euro reps in recent years PW GLenanne and TRR have very professional setups that dont come cheap and the womens clubs have yet to match this level of investment and it is questionable if they will be able to without a significant mindset change.

The stats are below but it is a complex debate. The change will hopefully focus the minds of the womens clubs

Champions Club

2002 Pegasus lost 2-0 Scotland B A
2003 Pegasus lost 2-0 Scotland A B
2004 Hermes lost 3-2 Russia B B
2005 Hermes bt Belgium 3-2 B A
2006 Pegasus lost ps Scotland A B
2007 Hermes lost Lithuania 2-1 B B
2008 Pegasus lost Belgium 4-2 B B
2009 Hermes lost 2-0 Italy B B

2002 Pembroke lost to Fra 3-1 B A
2003 Harlequins lost to Bel 2-0 A B
2004 CofI lost to Russia 3-1 B C
2005 Instonians beat Italy 2-1 C B
2006 Garvey lost 2-1 france B B
2007 Pembroke bt Chf PS B A

Cup Winners Cup

2002 Ballymoney lost 3-1 Russia A B
2003 Loreto beat Italy PS B A
2004 Loreto lost PS Spain A B
2005 Pegasus lost to Spain 4-1 B B
2006 Hermes beat CZK 2-0 B A
2007 Alex lost to BLR 1-0 A B
2008 Pembroke lost to Italy PS B B
2009 Pegasus lost 1-0 Russia B B

2002 Glenanne lost to ESP 4-0 B A
2003 Instonians lost to FRA PS A B
2004 Garvey lost 3-2 Russia B B
2005 Harlequins lost PS Bel B B
2006 Instonians beat Croatia 8-2 B B
2007 Harlequins beat UKR 4.2 PS B A

2008 Glenanne beat Fra 5-4
2009 Pembroke beat Russia 4-0