Saturday, October 31, 2009

Loreto and Railway continue to set pace

Saturday round-up
UCD 2 (Fiona Bradish, Catriona McGilp) Hermes 3 (Anna O'Flanagan, Chloe Watkins ps, Elaine O'Neill)
Hermes picked up their first win of the league season as they recovered a first half deficit to beat UCD with Elaine O'Neill scoring the vital goal against her former club. Anna O'Flanagan scored inside the first minute but in-form Fiona Bradish nipped in with a corner deflection to cancel out that strike and Catriona McGilp scrambled a goal on the stroke of half-time for 2-1 in the student's favour. Chloe Watkins' penalty stroke levelled with 20 minutes to go before O'Neill scored the winner with 11 minutes left.

Railway Union 8 (Jean McDonnell 3, Emma Smyth 2, Kate Dillon 2, Nikki Evans) Glenanne 0
Railway continued their perfect start to their first league title defence as they notched up six second half goals to pull clear of Glenanne who remain pointless from their four outings to date. Jean McDonnell hit her second hat-trick of the season so far, bringing her seasonal tally to nine as seven goals came from play for the Park Avenue hosts.

Corinthian 4 (Susie Geoffroy, Aisling Naughton, Lyndsey Watson, Carol Magowan) Pembroke 3 (Gill Collins, Hayley O'Donnell, Alice Ward)
Corinthian picked off their second win of their ever-improving campaign with victory over Pembroke which moves them into a tie for third place in the early season standings. They stretched out a 4-1 lead with goals from Susie Geoffroy, Aisling Naughton, Lyndsey Watson and Carol Magowan's penalty stroke before Pembroke scored two corner rebounds to tighten the game up. But the Whitechurch side held on to move into a tie with Trinity on six points.

Loreto 3 (Catriona Tipping, Niamh Small, Lizzie Colvin) Trinity 0
Loreto continue to set the pace in division one as they took the points from a defiant Trinity in spite of Nikki Symmons' absence. Niamh Small, though, did return and marked her comeback with a stylish reverse-stick effort on the volley to make it 2-0 before rain delayed the ending. But, on the resumption, Lizzie Colvin wrapped up the win against her current place of study.

Old Alex 0 Bray 0
Alex claimed their first point of the season as Bray moved back onto the three-point after their recent point deduction. Mary Goode pulled off a couple of fine saves in the second half to maintain the blank totals column  in another fixture that included a rain-break as the heavens opened amid thunder and lightning in South Dublin.

Sunday round-up:
Hermes 1 (Anna O'Flanagan) Pembroke 1 (Karen Hales ps)

Pembroke snatched a point from their refixed tie with Hermes to bounce back from Saturday's disappointment with Karen Hales scoring from the stroke spot. Pembroke had just netted before one of the visiting Umpire's Development Programme officials - one came from Portugal, the other from Italy - called play back for an earlier infringement. Hales held her nerve to score and cancel out Anna O'Flanagan's first half strike. She bashed in a shot from the circle's edge as a combination of Chloe Watkins' through-ball and Deirdre Duke's off-the-ball running created the chance. O'Flanagan was in good form throughout. Hermes, though, were left to rue a corner count approaching double figures.

Glenanne 1 (Christine Barretto) Old Alex 2 (Nicola Gray, Rachel Griffith)
Rachel Griffith netted the winner to give Alex their first win of the season and secure four points from their two fixtures over the weekend and moves them into a three-way tie for fifth place.

ESB Women's Irish Junior Cup:
Cork C of I II 0 Galway II 1 (Niamh Codyre); Pegasus II Randalstown II - abandoned

* For Deryck Vincent's photos from Hermes vs Pembroke, click here

Top five claim wins over bottom five

Pembroke 4 (Alan Sothern 2, Alan Giles, Gordon Elliott) Fingal 1 (Paddy Gahan)
Pembroke maintained their perfect record with a 4-1 win over Fingal after Alan Sothern fired them into a 2-0 lead with a pair of drag-flicks. Paddy Gahan squeezed one under David Harte to pull one back but Alan Giles' diving deflection on his reverse re-established the two-goal margin with six minutes to go before Gordon Elliott completed the win with a well-placed reverse.

Railway Union 3 (Paul O'Brien, Peter English, Mark English) Monkstown 5 (Andy Ewington, Andrew Ward, Brian Groves, Gareth Watkins, Frank Ryan)
Monkstown made it two wins of the spin while passing the 40 goal mark in games involving the Rathdown club in yet another lively encounter. They led throughout but an quick burst from Railway almost allowed them a way back into the game from a 3-0 deficit. Andy Ewington's drag and Andrew Ward's goal made it 2-0 at the break - courtesy of a fine David Fitzgerald stroke save from Mark English on the hooter - before Brian Groves pounced to make it three early in the second half. But Paul O'Brien swooped to deflect in a lifeline and Peter English banged in a corner to rein in the lead to 3-2. Gareth Watkins, though, responded to restore a cushion at 4-2 before Mark English whacked in a reverse-stick shot to make it tight once more. Frank Ryan, though, wrapped up the scoring to pull Monkstown clear.

Clontarf 4 (Ben Hewitt 2, Brendan Dempsey, Andrew Poynter) Glenanne 9 (Eddie O'Malley 3, Alan Lewis, Shane O'Donoghue, Stephen Butler 2, Mick McGuinness 2)

Glenanne had their hands full at Mount Temple for the early stages this afternoon before dispatching Clontarf with Eddie O'Malley (above left, tackling Andrew Poynter) bagging a hat-trick. He opened the scoring with a corner rebound before Mick McGuinness' (right) solo effort made it 2-0. Andrew Poynter deflected in a corner to bring the game back into the balance as Tarf enjoyed a purple patch. But Butler's pair of drag-flicks and O'Malley's second stretched the lead to 5-1. Brendan Dempsey pulled one back from a broken corner move before McGuinness and Ben Hewitt (below, left) traded goals to make it 6-3. Alan Lewis' pair made it 8-3 before Hewitt pulled another back but O'Malley had the last laught with his third.

TRR 3 (Sven Galjaardt, Patrick Shanahan, Pierre de Voux) UCD 1 (Rob Lynch)
A fiesty affair, UCD will see this as an opportunity missed to get off the mark as they more than matched Rovers in the first half but an over anxious second half, saw them struggle to gain much fluidity and, for all their decent play, remain pointless with seven games gone. Sven Glajaardt and Rob Lynch exchanged drag-flicks to make it 1-1 before Michael Maguire, rightly after an umpire's consultation, had a reverse-stick effort ruled out for dangerous play. Patrick Shanahan made it 2-1 from the top of the D while UCD created plenty of chances on the counter but struggled for incision in front of Stephen West's goal. The second half was much scrappier with Maguire, Shane O'Donnell, Ben Grogan and Patrick Shanahan all given an enforced rest but Pierre de Voux got the only goal of the second half to seal the win.

Corinthian 3 (Darren Kimfley, Brian Doherty, Rowland Rixon-Fuller) YMCA 1 (Mikey Fry)
Corinthian bossed their tie with YMCA to cause the first major split between the top and bottom halves of the table as they eased past YM at a sodden Whitechurch Park today. Darren Kimfley and Brian Doherty had the hosts 2-0 up before YM started to show some bite, aided by a rain-break to get their heads in gear. But Rowland Rixon-Fuller made it 3-0 in the second half to kill off the tie before Mikey Fry got a late consolation.

* For Deryck Vincent's pictures from Clontarf vs Glenanne, click here. For a couple of photos from Three Rock vs UCD before the rains came, click here.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Connery and O'Neill back in the navy

A weekend of seven IHL vs non-IHL awaits as the Leinster women’s division one finally has a full schedule of Saturday fixtures for the first time this season. This anomaly means the league is very much still to work itself out but the major highlight is at Belfield where UCD host Hermes.

The visitors include Aine Connery (right) in their league panel for the first time since she rejoined the club from UCC. She transferred just in time for the IHL deadline and lined out against Pegasus

Connery previously lined out with the club in 2004, playing in the European B division in Baku with Elaine O’Neill and Lisa Jacob.All three went on to university hockey but O’Neill returned to the Booterstown fold in September while Jacob lines out in opposition colours on Saturday.

UCD will hope to bounce back from their intervarsity turnover by the Ulster Elks. Despite six matches in three days, they have just one injury concern with Rachel Burke’s knee badly bruised. Jenny Kinch is out for Hermes while Jenny Burke is on the recovery road after illness kept her out of the Pegs’ game.

They double up on Sunday against Pembroke – another side to have played just a sole league game by late October – in another vital fixture. Pembroke face an improving Corinthian on Saturday afternoon, hoping to keep their 100pc record in tact prior to the trip to Hermes.

Elsewhere, Bray find themselves needing to recover a one-point deduction following for a registration issue from the opening day of the season. Nicky Dignam is battling to recover from injury to take her place in the squad that travels to Milltown to face Old Alex.

Alex are still very much a work in progress but Ivan Ovington’s side did produce a huge performance against Loreto in the IHL. A similar work-rate from his young charges will make them difficult to beat in the coming months.

Trinity travel to Beaufort this Saturday with the strange sensation that a win would guarantee them a tie for top spot on Sunday evening. It’s an uphill struggle against the IHL champions, though, as it will be for Glenanne when they travel to Park Avenue where they face the Leinster champions.

Women’s Division One:
(Saturday): UCD vs Hermes, 1pm, Belfield; Railway Union vs Glenanne, 1pm, Park Avenue; Corinthian vs Pembroke, 1.30pm, Whitechurch Park; Loreto vs Trinity, 2.30pm, Beaufort; Old Alex vs Bray, 2.30pm, Alexandra College
(Sunday): Glenanne vs Old Alex, 12.30pm, St Mark’s; Hermes vs Pembroke, 2pm, St Andrew’s

YMCA face week of IHL-reckoning

YMCA face a week of reckoning as their top five credentials are put to the test when they play Corinthian and Three Rock Rovers within seven days.

It’s a challenge Trevor Dagg is excited about and admits his side will need to get at least four points from if they are to really challenge for an IHL place this season. Pushing Pembroke close last weekend was an eye-opening scoreline but was the first set-back in six outings so far this term for the Sandymount club.

But earning wins against their nearest rivals will be key to stepping up a notch in the standings. They attempt to do so without Todd Gill who faces a lay-off of up to eight weeks. The Australian is made of stern stuff, incredibly playing over a half of the Pembroke game last week with a broken jaw before being taken to hospital and undergoing surgery the next day.

Luke Chadwick returns, though, following his All-Ireland winning exploits with Wesley and could line up in direct opposition to his school’s captain Conor Motyer.

Corinthian, meanwhile, have made the inroads already against Monkstown and Fingal to lie two points off top place and, while the Glenanne result was a setback, the interplay of Darren Kimfley, Glenn Holmes, Lucas Piccioli and Davy Carson has caught the imagination making for a lively tussle.

Monkstown will look to take advantage of dropped points on either side but trips to Railway Union are scarcely easy encounters, especially with the growing threat from Peter English at set-pieces.

Gareth Watkins has already banged in eight goals in October alone so with the Town’s defensive difficulties this could again be a high-scoring encounter – their five league fixtures have yielded 32 goals.

Stephen O’Keefe returns to Railway colours after a week with UCD who will hope they do not endure an Intervarsity’s hangover at Grange Road. Three Rock have injury concerns over Ali Haughton and Peter Blakeney but Stephen West is back in contention for the number one jersey after school’s commitments ruled him out of the Glenanne game last week.

Pembroke are set to be without Ronan Gormley for another weekend due to tonsillitis for the visit of Fingal who face a tough task to continue their recent revival. Andrew Shekleton, meanwhile, could show off some of the skills he learned from Iain Lewers from a recent trip to Holland with his school, Dundalk GS.

Joe Brennan is another international star still waiting to return to action. The cast on his broken thumb comes off early next week from which his availability for the WCQ will become clearer.

Paul Fitzpatrick is another absentee for their tie with Clontarf at the bull-ring on Saturday against Clontarf due to an ankle injury.

Men's Division One (all Saturday):
Pembroke Wanderers vs Fingal, 2pm, Serpentine Avenue; Railway Union vs Monkstown, 2.45pm, Park Avenue; Clontarf vs Glenanne, 2.15pm, Mount Temple; Three Rock Rovers vs UCD, 3pm, Grange Road; Corinthian vs YMCA, 3.30pm, Whitechurch Park

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

National Indoor Trophy draw and schedule confirmed

The draw for the new National Indoor Trophy was released today with 11 women’s and 16 men’s teams battle it out to be national champions and represent Ireland in the European club championships in 2011.

Paul O’Brien, chair of the IHA's National Indoor Working Group, said of the enlarged competition: "We've been delighted that the expansion of the indoor game witnessed in recent years in Leinster has continued. To have 27 teams from all around the country competing in this year’s event means we have a truly all Ireland competition for the first time in over a decade.

“Indoor hockey is a fast moving and exciting version of the sport with much to offer the player and spectator alike with the development of technical skills, plenty of goals and end to end action."

Both the men’s and women’s sides of the competition are structured to include a qualification tournament from which six women’s and eight men’s teams will emerge to qualify for the finals weekend on February 6-7, 2010 at the National Basketball Arena in Dublin.

With the creation of the National Indoor Trophy competition, there will not be a separate Leinster men's indoor league competition this season, however the Tony Byrne Cup will be awarded to the winner of the National Indoor Trophy Competition.

The women’s qualification tournament is structured as three groups (one group of three teams and two groups of four) playing in a round robin format, the top two of each group qualifying for the finals day.

The men’s qualification stages has four groups of four with the top two teams in each pool will qualify for the finals day.

The tournament shall be conducted in accordance with the rules of indoor hockey and the regulations of the FIH. Further information can be found here.

Women’s Qualification Stages
Group A (Saturday, January 23, 2010; NBA): Corinthian, Galway, Loreto
Group B (Saturday, January 23, 2010; NBA): Avoca, Glenanne, Hermes, Old Alexandra
Group C (Saturday, January 24, 2010; NBA): Bray, Pembroke Wanderers, Railway Union, UCD

Men’s Qualification Stages
Group A (Sunday, December 20; Dublin City Uni): Trinity, Galway, Pembroke Wanderers, Three Rock Rovers
Group B (Sunday, December 20; DCU): Clontarf, Corinthian, UCD, YMCA
Group C (Sunday, January 24, 2010; NBA): Glenanne 2, Monkstown, Railway Union, Suttonians
Group D (Sunday, January 31, 2010; DCU): Annadale, Avoca, Belfast Harlequins, Glenanne 1

* To get a feel for the action, here's one of Paul O'Brien's YouTube clips from the 2007 World Cup:

Suttonians coach; Conn promoted: News in brief

* Suttonians, due to a large increase in the club’s ladies membership, are currently looking for an assistant coach for the ladies section for the 2009/10 season.

The right candidate would need to be available for training on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and for matches on Saturdays. A suitable package and support is available. All enquires to Tom Hipwell (086-8543224) or

* Geoff Conn was recently honoured as one of the first graduates of the EuroHockey Umpire’s Development Poject (UDP). Under an intense programme of mentoring and tutoring, he was part of a small group of young, potential umpires to be developed under the UDP. Conn has since improved his grading from ‘Outdoor National’ to ‘Outdoor Promising’.

At a ceremony this week, EHF President Martin Gotheridge said of the first graduates to progress through the system: “We believe in the importance of ensuring that our umpires are as prepared as the players for the ever increasing speed of the game. This means that we need young, fit, technically educated umpires.

“In this group, we have it all and they and their mentors have worked tirelessly over the past three years to improve all aspects of their game."

* Ireland has moved up a ranking place in the EHL provisional qualifier list for 2010/11, released yesterday, as a result of Pembroke and Glenanne’s results in Barcelona. Ireland are now rated sixth in the list which, if maintained by season’s end, would see two EHL places for the country once again - currently one from the IHL, one from the Irish Senior Cup.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Elks claim Intervarsity double

University of Ulster Elks completed the Chilean and Mauritius Cup double in Jordanstown this afternoon as both their men's and women's teams overcame UCD in the finals.

On the men's side of the draw, UU trounced UCC 8-0 in the semi-final to set up a repeat of last year's final showdown with UCD. They beat city rivals DCU 3-1 thanks to Rob Lynch's drag-flick and Paddy O'Connor's goal in the first half while Tim Hill completed the win before Stephen Brownlow pulled one back for the Glasnevin outfit.

It set up a fiesty final in which little quarter was given and six yellow cards - three a piece - were doled out. Chris O'Flaherty scored a corner in each half to separate the teams 2-0, the first of the standard variety; the second past John McInroy in the role of kicking full-back after Stephen O'Keefe had been sent to the line for a rash tackle outside his circle.

McInroy would also spend time in the bin along with Ronan Flannery as would David Ames and two UU team-mates but the northern side dealt better with the absentees and held out to retain the Mauritius Cup.

On the women's side, the Elks qualified for the final with a 3-1 win over UCC to set up a rematch of the thrilling group phase encounter with UCD who had disposed of DCU in the morning.

And the Chilean decider certainly matched the first battle. Rachel Burke gave the Belfielders a very early lead when she deflected Lisa Jacob's superb cross but UU drew level in the second half from a well-worked corner.

UCD saw a similar set-piece saved and cleared within inches of the goal-line while Grace O'Flanagan was called on to make a string of saves as pressure fluctuated from end to end. Laura Wilson was sin-binned for a sliding tackle for what looked a well-judged defensive effort while no more goals in normal time meant the recourse to extra-time.

The Dublin side had the first shot in anger, deflecting a corner over the bar, but UU pounced from a set piece to secure the title and a rare Mauritius and Chilean Cup double.

Trinity, meanwhile, won the Mauritius Plate on penalty strokes ahead of CIT. They let a 2-0 lead slip in normal time as John Hobbs dragged his team back into the fray but the Dubliners won the stroke competition 5-3.

Mauritius Cup:
Semi-finals: UCC 0 UU Elks 8; DCU 1 UCD 3
Final: UU Elks 2 UCD 0

Chilean Cup:
Semi-finals: UU Elks 3 UCC 1; UCD 4 DCU 0
Final: UU Elks 2 UCD 1 after extra-time

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pembroke to learn EHL fate in November

Pembroke will find out their EHL destiny in November as the organisers have confirmed they will announce which Dutch venue will be used for the KO16 and KO8 rounds on November 12. The full draw for these matches will subsequently be announced on November 19.

Pembroke will be drawn in pot two with the other group runners-up and face a veritable shark-pool of potential opponents.

Dutch trio Bloemendaal, Rotterdam and Amsterdam; Spain’s Atletic Terrassa and Polo de Barcelona; Germany’s UHC Hamburg and Rot-Weiss Koln and England’s Beeston could be the opposition following the completion of round one.

Those same prospects face Reading’s Chris Cargo and KHC Leuven’s Irish duo, Phelie Maguire and Mitch Darling as their sides ended second place in their respective groups.

Varsities produced identical semi-finals

The Mauritius and Chilean Cups produced identikit semi-finalists as DCU and UCC squeezed into the men's intervarsity last four on goal difference while UU's women put paid to Trinity's hopes in the women's competition.

As a result, both UCC teams will face UU in the semi-finals today while UCD and DCU face off on the other side of the draw in the men’s and women’s events.

In the men's Mauritius competition, UU Elks comfortably took top spot in Pool A with a 6-0 win over DCU, in which Mark Moreland got the only first-half goal before the floodgates opened, and a 6-2 win over Trinity.

The Dubliners led that tie 2-1 before the Jordanstown outfit clicked into gear with David Ames at the heart of much of their forward momentum. It left 2002 champions DCU the task of scoring eleven times to progress and had two goals to spare when they tonked RCSI 13-0.

DCU will now face UCD who had a rest day while the rest of Pool B fought for second place. Single goal wins for CIT (2-1) and UCC (3-2) meant the tie between the southern rivals was a direct qualifier for the last four.

Andy Gray's bullet corner gave UCC the lead but Chris Scanlon turned in Ronan Moran's square ball with minutes to go to tie the decider at 1-1. With both sides equal on points and goal difference, the deal-breaker was UCC's extra goals scored.

On the women’s side, UCC had few irritations in completing their group with a perfect record, beating RCSI 6-0 and then trouncing DCU 7-0 in what was a direct play-off for top place in the pool.

Pool A proved a much tougher arena. UCD qualified for the semis with a hard-fought win over Queens before the Ulster women ended Trinity's interest in the main prize with a 3-2 win. It left UU and UCD free to contest a repeat of last year's ISC semi-final safe in the knowledge qualification was assured.

It proved the highest quality offering of the week to date with Roxy Turner opening the scoring early in the second half from the flick spot after Suman Bala was adjudged to be impeded while lining up a shot. But the Belfielders fought back and levelled two minutes from time with Lisa Jacob finishing off a nice move to seal top spot in the group and what looks a much friendlier semi-final against DCU. UU play UCC.

Chilean Cup:
Pool A: UU Elks 1 UCD 1; Trinity 2 Queens 3; UCD 4 Queens 2; Trinty 8 CIT 0; UU Elks 13 CIT 1
Pool B: UCC 6 RCSI 0; UCC 7 DCU 0; DCU 1 NUI Galway 0; NUI Galway 3 RCSI 1; NUI Galway 1 UL 1

Pool A: 1. UCD 11pts (+14) 2. UU Elks 10pts (+13) 3. Queens 6pts (+1) 4. Trinity 4pts (+5) 5. CIT 0pts (-33)
Pool B: 1. UCC 12pts (+20) 2. DCU 9pts (-2) 3. NUI Galway 5pts (-3) 4. UL 3pts (-4) 5. RCSI 1pt (-11)

Chilean Cup Semi-finals (both at 11am): UCD vs DCU; UU Elks vs UCC
Final: 2pm

Chilean Plate semi-finals (both at 8.30am): Queens vs UL; NUI Galway vs Trinity

Mauritius Cup:
Pool A: DCU 13 RCSI 0; DCU 0 UU 6; Trinity 2 UU 6
Pool B: CIT 1 UCC 1; CIT 2 Queens 1; UCC 3 Queens 2

Pool A: 1. UU Elks 9pts (+27) 2. DCU 5pts (+7) 3. Trinity 5pts (+5) 4. RCSI 0pts (-39)
Pool B: 1. UCD 9pts (+25) 2. UCC 5pts (-6) 3. CIT 5pts (-6) 4. Queens 0pts (-13)

Mauritius Cup Semi-finals (both at 12.15pm): UU Elks vs UCC; DCU vs UCD
Final: 4pm

Mauritius Plate semi-finals (both at 8.30am): RCSI vs CIT; Queens vs Trinity

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Varsity goal-fest puts UCD in pole position

UCD’s men became the first side to qualify for the semi-finals of the Intervasities and can enjoy a good night tonight as – in light of UL’s late withdrawal – their three wins today completed their group stage with a 100pc record.

They fired 26 goals in their three games, beating Queens (10-0), UCC (8-1) and CIT (8-0) with 15 player from their 18 man panel on target. Those three will battle for the second semi-final place from Pool B tomorrow.

In the other group, the Ulster Elks look the most intimidating prospect. They smashed RCSI 18-0 in their only game. Trinity top the group, though, by virtue of an 8-0 win over the Surgeons and a 2-2 draw with DCU.

DCU, with the Harte twins in tow, recovered from two goals down to take a point from that tie; Fingal’s Chris Neville and Pembroke's Conor Harte’s penalty stroke tying the game up which saw Three Rock third’s sharp-shooter Philly Shearer causing all manner of havoc. It makes goal difference a possibly decisive factor in tomorrow’s fixtures.

In the Chilean Cup, UCD’s women had a similarly productive day and are the sole side left with a 100pc record in Pool A. Two neatly worked corner routines did for Trinity in a 2-0 result while a 10-0 thrashing of CIT means they lead the pack.

Trinity and UU head the chase following their 3-3 tie in the game of the day. The Dubliners led three time with Irene Gorman and Kylie Deverall on the mark.

But they were pegged back each time, first by Suman Bala then Caroline Smith and Roxy Turner; each time mere minutes after the Trin had nicked the lead.

Should UU beat UCD tomorrow in a repeat of last year’s ISC semi-final, the Ulster side will more than likely take up the second qualifying place but a loss could once again see goal difference brought into play.
In Pool B, UCC look set to yet again make the semi-finals with two wins from the tournament’s opening throes.

Ali O’Regan’s double underpinned a 3-0 win over UL while Miriam Crowley struck twice in a 5-1 win over NUI Galway. DCU also have two wins from two, beating UL (1-0) and RCSI (5-2).

Intervarsity results:
Chilean Cup:
Pool A: UU Elks 1 Queens 0; UCD 2 Trinity 0; UU Elks 3 Trinity 3; UCD 10 CIT 0; Queens 3 CIT 0
Pool B: UCC 3 UL 0; DCU 5 RCSI 2; UCC 5 NUI Galway 1; UL 0 DCU 1; UL 0 RCSI 0

Mauritius Cup:
Pool B: UCD 10 QUB 0; UCD 8 UCC 1; UCD 8 CIT 0
Pool A: UU Elks 18 RCSI 0; Trinity 2 DCU 2; Trinity 8 RCSI 0

* Photos courtesy of David Foster

Hosts Elks hoping for Varsity double

The annual intervarsities gets underway this morning with 20 teams duking it out for the Mauritius and Chilean Cups with NUI Maynooth making their tournament debut in the men’s competition.

In the men’s competition, defending champions University of Ulster – under the moniker of the Ulster Elks – will hope that a combination of home advantage and a large Cookstown contingent will propel them to the Mauritius title.

Stuart Smyth, Colin Donaldson, Ian Hughes and Greg Allen provide serious top level experience while, if freed from international constraints, David Ames provides the star quality.

Their group A looks a reasonable proposition though DCU always provide the unknown quantity. The northside university draws players from Clontarf, Glenanne, Avoca and Three Rock though Monkstown’s Gareth Watkins will sit this tournament out.

Pembroke international trio David and Conor Harte and Alan Sothern may have their availability curtailed though the latter picked up a dead leg in yesterday’s league match with YMCA.

Dublin University will hope their higher level of cohesion due to regular league action as a team will see them sneak a semi-final berth. UL and RCSI make up the rest of the group.

Pool B looks to be a competitive one. UCD’s lively start to the season has seen much praise but few point accrued but will hope their division one status is brought to bear.

Ross Gribben is ineligible so Stephen O’Keefe makes a guest appearance for the Belfielders. Their group stage battles will most likely come from CIT and a rejuvenated UCC.

On the women’s side, the Elks, UCD and UCC dominate the landscape with an array of international talent.

As Irish Senior Cup holders, UCD will most likely advance with the Elks – who feature Commonwealth gold medal winner Suman Bala and French international Philipine Berly - from group A.

Trinity could throw a cat amongst the pigeons if they continue their decent start to division one. They will be coached by Andy McConnell for the weekend, looking to add to his Friday success with Wesley College. CIT, led by Cliodhna Sargent, will also have eyes set on an upset.

Group B could see a major scrap develop for the second semi-final place. UCC are clear favourites with Julia O’Halloran and Audrey O’Flynn spear-heading their ascendancy.

DCU have some decent talent pulled together with IHL champions Ali Meeke and Hannah Matthews joined by Corinthian’s Eva Caulwell and Doireann Bregazzi-Nevin. Battles with UL and DCU could be key in this section.

Chilean Cup
Group A: Ulster Elks, UCD, CIT, Queens, Trinity
Group B: UCC, UL, NUI Galway, DCU, Royal College of Surgeons

Mauritius Cup
Group A: Ulster Elks, UL, Trinity, DCU, Royal College of Surgeons
Group B: CIT, UCD, UCC, Queens, NUI Maynooth

Sunday and Monday: Pool matches
Tuesday: Cup semi-finals and finals, Plate semi-finals and finals

* For the full fixture list, go to

Glens and Pembroke emerge with records intact

Men's Division One round-up:
Monkstown 5 (Andy Ewington 2, Gareth Watkins 2, Andrew Ward) Clontarf 2 (Tom Noonan, Andrew Poynter)
Another hugh scoring affair for the Town but this time they came out on the right end of the result as four second half goals took the points at Rathdown. The Bulls made the perfect start when Mukhtar Ahmed drove into the circle and teed up Tom Noonan’s deflection. But an Andy Ewington pearler of a drag-flick soon after levelled the game. Ewington doubled the dose early in the second half and Gareth Watkins made it 3-1 soon after.

But Clontarf were back in the game when Andrew Poynter applied a deft touch to a beautifully worked corner to put the game in the balance at 3-2. Andrew Ward, however, rebounded almost instantly to kill the tie off and Watkins completed the victory.

Three Rock Rovers 0 Glenanne 2 (Stephen Butler 2)
A goal in each half from Stephen Butler gave Glenanne deserved victory at Grange Road as Three Rock’s 100pc record was broken. It leaves pre-league favourites the sole sides left with perfect records, an ominous sign for the rest of the table.

Butler scored a deflected corner in the first half before shooting home from the penalty spot in the second as Rovers’ discipline cost them, reduced three times to ten men for yellow card offences. They also have concerns to the fitness of Peter Blakeney who went off after five minutes and Ali Haughton was forced off with an ailment in the second half.

YMCA 1 (Jacob Webber) Pembroke 2 (Tim Lewis, Alan Giles)
YM broke Pembroke’s clean-sheet for the season and almost went one better late on by salvaging a point but Jacob Webber’s drag-flick was saved in supreme fashion by David Harte in the endgame of a scrappy affair. Webber had given the Y the lead from a corner but Tim Lewis’ reverse-stick effort and Alan Giles’ turnover goal, assisted by Alan Sothern turned the lead around, deflecting home in mid-air.

Iain Walker and Harte both had impressive games, the former keeping out several corner efforts while Gordon Elliott (dissent) and Geoff Walker (bad tackle) were both sin-binned. Ronan Gormley sat out the game with a bug.

UCD 3 (Tim Hill, Ben Grogan, Robbie McFarlane) Corinthian 6 (Davy Carson 2, Brian Doherty, Glenn Holmes, Rowland Rixon-Fuller, Dan Williams)
Corinthian bounced back from last week’s home defeat to pick up all three points at the National Hockey Stadium, scoring two thirds of the nine goals of a lively affair. Tim Hill cancelled out an early lead from a slick right-wing move for the students but from there, the reds never looked back.

They extended the lead to 4-1 before Ben Grogan pulled one back on the stroke of half-time but two further goals extended the led to 6-2 before a late Robbie McFarlane effort reined in the margin.

Rowland Rixon-Fuller’s goal was the pick of the bunch, deflecting in Glenn Holmes’ cross while Brian Doherty struck a fine drag-flick to add to his ever-growing collection. Davy Carson netted twice.

Fingal 4 (Chris Neville 2, Paddy Gahan, Adrian Sweeney) Railway Union 0
Fingal cruised to victory at ALSAA to continue their mini-revival since two losses on the spin began the campaign. Chris Neville was the architect in chief. He was on hand to score the first after Stephen O’Keefe’s innovative efforts at clearing the ball went awry. Tom Manning stole the ball, played in Lloyd Pearson who assisted Neville for the only goal of the first half. Paddy Gahan slipped the second one home after the interval before a great Adrian Sweeney spin and shot at the top of the D all but killed the game. Neville’s smart second on the spin completed the rout.

* For Adrian Boehm's pics from TRR vs Glenanne, click here

Pembroke join ESB ISC last 16

ESB Irish Senior Cup - Round One
Pembroke 1 (Rachel McKeon) Lurgan 1 (Jill Edgar) - Pembroke win 3-2 on penalty strokes
Pembroke advanced to the last 16 of the ESB Senior Cup as they nicked a dramatic tie on penalty strokes ahead of Lurgan to bring Leinster's tally to eight in the second round where they will face Glenanne. Jane Coyne (pictured, left, in IHL action last year) proved the hero with a brilliant save in the shoot-out while Karen Hales, Hayley O'Donnell and captain Rachel McKeon were all on target.

In the early stages, Pembroke had the better of play and took the lead when McKeon squeezed home her shot after good assist play from Hilda Maguire. Lurgan were living on Pembroke errors at this point but grew into the second half, levelling the tie and hitting the post late on. A couple of corners were also defended by Pembroke in extra-time but the deadlock remained, leaving strokes the deciding option.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Maguire smashes EHL hat-trick

Phelie Maguire once again saved his best form for the EHL as he smashed a first half hat-trick for KHC Leuven in their 7-1 win over Round 1.2 hosts Paris St Germain.

Maguire – one of Three Rock Rovers’ stand-out performers against Leuven and Atletic Terrassa last year – cracked in a fine opener with a spin and forehand hit before hitting two reverses from the left edge of the circle.

Former Wesley schoolmate Mitch Darling (pictured left) was also on target with a close range goal from Edu Quemada’s cross for his fifth goal in two outings this week and a superb cross also set up the Belgian club’s second goal.

* You can see highlights here. Photo is thanks to Frank Uijlenbroek.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Chadwick's silver goal strikes gold for Wesley

All-Ireland Schoolboy's Hockey Championships final:
Wesley College 3 (Peter English, Rob Burke, Luke Chadwick) Wallace HS 2 (Stephen Hunter 2) after silver-goal extra-time.

Luke Chadwick was the silver-goal hero as Wesley College claimed their third All-Ireland Schoolboy’s Championship crown of the decade as they edge out Wallace HS 3-2 in extra-time.

The YM midfielder snapped up a rebound from Peter English’s corner two minutes from the end of the first period of extra-time – the fifth time in seven years the title has been decided in over-time.

It helped erase the painful memories for much of the Wesley squad who were denied 12 months ago in Limerick by Stephen Cole’s late winner for St Andrews.

This time out they went into the final with a heavy favourites tag against tournament surprise-package Wallace, who emerged from the Ulster qualifiers ahead of Methody.

But, inspired by Stephen Hunter, Peter MacDonnell and Matthew Murphy’s semi-final hat-trick, they progressed untroubled through the tournament, emerging from the so-called group of death ahead of Cookstown and St Andrew’s.

And they enjoyed the better of a stodgy first half which failed to truly catch a fire.

It took fully 16 minutes for the first shot in anger and only three other efforts on goal were forthcoming before the break. That went into the net from a Wallace corner rebound but was ruled out after an umpire's consultation, a foot in the circle the reasoning.

Another of those chances, though, fell to Stephen Hunter who swept in a switch-left from the Lisburn school’s second corner for 1-0 at half-time. But, for all the cagey first half intrigue, the second half was played at a blistering pace.

Wesley’s ball speed was key to their hugely impressive win over Banbridge, prompting some well-placed observers to declare it one of the best school’s performances ever.

Such effort was lacking pre-break but the zip returned following Andy McConnell’s team-talk and made for an excellent spectacle.

Alan White and Tom Samuel did the probing down the right to win a key Wesley corner and English slung in his eighth goal of the tournament, levelling the tie three minutes after the break.

And when Rob Burke’s heavily deflected effort beat Luke Williams it looked like the Ballinteer school may have the tie settled.

Burke was found by Kyle Good’s peach of a pass, dissecting three sticks and while his strike was not the truest, combined with Glenn Reid’s block, it had the power to rattle the backboard.

But any notions of comfort were dispelled within a minute when Chadwick was sin-binned for his third indiscretion to warrant a talking to and Wallace took full advantage.

With the fiery left-mid on the sideline, Hunter flew down the vacant right channel to win a 51st minute corner. The same switch gave him the opportunity to level and he planted his shot low by Rob Fitzgerald.

Both sides had late chances to nick the title in normal time, Good’s lay-off across goal was well-retrieved by Shane Madeley on the endline but Reid came from nowhere to block his shot.

Extra-time beckoned. Wallace had first dig with Murphy aiming a high drag-flick but Fitzgerald saved it along with the follow-up.

At the far end, Madeley found the defender’s foot for Wesley’s fifth corner. Williams saved well from English but Chadwick made no mistake with his shot at redemption to squeeze home.

Wesley played out the final 90 seconds on the back foot but no further chances and the title was theirs for a third time.

Wesley College: Rob Fitzgerald, David McCrea, Scott Margetson, Rob Burke, Conor Motyer (co-capt), Peter English, Kyle Good (co-capt), Alan White, Luke Chadwick, Neal Megarity, Shane Madeley, Tom Samuel, Stephen Doherty, David Sturley, Jonathon Lewis, Conor Quinn

Wallace HS: Luke Williams, Glenn Reid, Stephen Murray, Jonathon Crean, Adam McCann, Richard Arneill, Peter MacDonnell (co-capt), Chris Rowland, Michael Keary, Matthew Murphy, Timothy Crean, Stephen Hood, Conor Kelly, Jonathon Dunn, Stephen Hunter (co-capt), Sebastian Buser

* Photos from the final can be seen here

** Loads of people helped me out with covering this tournament so just want to say a big thanks especially to Ronan Walsh as well as Andy McConnell, Gareth Borland, Peter Caruth and Katie Roche.

Wesley to face Wallace in All-Ireland final

Wesley got the better of Banbridge Academy in this morning's semi-final to reach the deciding match of the All-Ireland Schoolboy's Championships for the ninth time. They won 3-1 and will face Wallace HS who beat Ashton 4-1.

The Ballinteer school produced one of the all-time performances in the competition as the game at times resembled a senior division one game given the array of talent on display.

Shane Madeley scored against his father's alma mater with a reverse-stick effort at the top of the circle before Alan White added a Jamie Dwyer-esque baseline pop over Andrew Mooney's head for 2-0.

Stephen Dowds cracked in a drag-flick to pull one back but Peter English returned the favour to make it 3-1 at half-time of a spectacular affair. No further goals followed for Wesley to take their place in the final.

Wallace, meanwhile, were indebted to Matthew Murphy's hat-trick as they scored four times for the fourth game in succession. He made it 2-0 before Ashton got one back early in the second half but a superb run and score from the 25 from Murphy and Peter MacDonnell's strike made it 4-1.

Elsewhere, Mount Temple finished their week on a high when they beat Raphoe 5-2 in the friendly series of fixtures which always accompanies finals day with 13-year-old Kevin Mullins scoring his first senior goal.

St Andrew's also finished with a win as they beat Campbell College for their second win of the week. With five players missing the tournament through injury, coach Ivan Ovington was pleased with how his young side responded to the challenges thrown at them.
Results: Ashton 1 Wallace HS 4 (Matthew Murphy 3, Peter MacDonnell); Banbridge Academy 1 (Stephen Dowds) Wesley College 3 (Shane Madeley, Alan White, Peter English)

Quartet aim to keep unbeaten records intact

Four unbeaten records remain but the true strength of Three Rock and YMCA’s credentials as challengers will be tested to the hilt tomorrow as they host last season’s standard-bearers, Glenanne and Pembroke.

If last season’s Irish senior cup fixture is anything to go by, Rovers battle with the Glens looks set to be an absolute belter.

For the Grange Road hosts – switched due to repairs taking place at Glenanne Park – there has been plenty of personnel changes in the interim with five out and three in. The speed with which Tom Samuel has emerged as a first team prospect has also helped ease the transition though he is unlikely to take part, along with Kyle Good, due to their exploits with Wesley in the All-Ireland Schoolboys. Mick Maguire also picked up a knock against Monkstown last week but should recover in time.

For the Glens’ part, Joe Brennan’s thumb injury was the sole remnant of discomfort transferred from their EHL trip as they bounced back well against a game Corinthian at Whitechurch Park last weekend.

Stephen Butler may well be deployed at sweeper again with Graham Shaw in midfield but Filip Jaros, however, continues to be frustrated by injury as his complex recovery hit another snag.
There is a sense this fixture will give a major indicator of how serious a threat Maarten Bos’ side are this season.

YMCA are in a similar spot. They have done all that has been asked of them to date with two wins over UCD and a draw against Monkstown. Pembroke’s blitzing of all before them suggests even a point is unlikely but performance will be central to Trevor Dagg’s plans.

They will be less affected than recent years by the All-Ireland school’s fatigue though Luke Chadwick is one star who may feel the burn.

Marshalling Pembroke’s attacking multitude of attacking threats will be paramount. No other side has managed to stem the tide as yet, though YM would like to place themselves this season as a cut above Railway, Clontarf and UCD.

John McInroy’s student team, however, will be aiming to reduce the gaps between the teams. Tuesday’s Pembroke loss aside, UCD have been more competitive this term but still find themselves pointless with five games gone.

The South African will not want for motivation as he lines up against the side he led to the Mills Cup last season. Corinthian are another side looking to find their natural level but if Darren Kimfley can recreate the incredible skills that set up their goal last weekend on a regular basis, their prospects will improve.

Fingal’s correction of a stumbling start to the 2009/10 season faces a tricky tie against Railway Union at ALSAA. The imposing flicking of Peter English has caused many schools cause for concern this week and if he lines out, Railway have a very significant corner threat.

The northside club’s appetite for the battle can never be doubted and they produced the fight required to dig their way out of a hole last week against Clontarf. Gerry Wheeler’s men will hope such a sticky situation is avoided this time out.

Finally, Monkstown will hope their ability to score will not be counter-acted by a defensive record which has seen 13 conceded in four outings. Gareth Watkins has been in scintillating form and was at the heart of much of the Town’s invention last week.

But reaction-time at the turnover is a concern. Clontarf showed a willingness to play on the counter against Fingal that yielded the lead twice. If the Bulls can post a high conversion rate from their chances, they might make it an arduous afternoon for the Rathdown faithful.

On the women’s side, just one game survives the Bank Holiday weekend. Pembroke get their ESB Senior Cup campaign up and running when they play last season's quarter-finalists Lurgan in the first round.

Men's Division 1
Fingal vs Railway Union, 2.15pm, ALSAA (C Deane, S O'Connor); Monkstown vs Clontarf, 1.30pm, Rathdown (G Walsh, P Henchy); Three Rock Rovers vs Glenanne, 3pm, Grange Road (A Groves, K Bolger); UCD vs Corinthian, 1pm, Belfield (M Keane, B George); YMCA vs Pembroke Wanderers, 2.15pm, Alexandra College (N Mackay, K Cholewa)

ESB Senior Cup - round one:
Pembroke vs Lurgan, 2.30pm, Serpentine Avenue (N Brislane, S-A Fanagan)

Wesley and Mt Sackville tie at top of Group A

Senior School's Premier League: Week four results

Section A

Wesley College 2-2 Mount Sackville
The clash of two teams with a 100pc record lived up to expectations, as the lead exchanged hands and both sides came away with their unbeaten record intact. After a scoreless first half, Wesley took the lead when Niamh Sweeney broke the deadlock five minutes into the second period. However, they could not hold onto the lead for long, as S O’Connell got Mount Sackville level less than two minutes later. With just seven minutes left, Siun McLoughlin scored from a corner to put the visitors in front. Just like Wesley earlier, however, they could not hold onto their lead, and within two minutes Katie Warren finished off a fine team move to grab a share of the spoils.

Section A (played-points; goal difference in brackets)
1. Wesley 4-10 (+9), 2. St Andrew’s 3-9 (+15) 3. Mt Sackville 3-7 (+4) 4. Muckross Park 3-3 (0) 5. Loreto, Bray 2-3 (0) 6. Our Lady’s, Terenure 3-3 (-4) 7. Mt Temple 3-3 (-5) 8. Rathdown 3-0 (-9) 9. Loreto, Dalkey 2-0 (-10)

Section B
King's Hospital 0-4 Loreto, Beaufort
A one-sided game in Palmerstown ensured that Beaufort got back on winning ways. An early goal knocked the stuffing out of the hosts, and they never fully recovered. The visitors goal was never threatened, and were it not for the performance of the Kings Hospital goalkeeper the scoreline could have been heavier.

St Gerard's 3-0 High School
At the midterm break, St Gerard's put themselves nicely at the summit of Section B, with a comfortable win over High School. Goals from Hayley Mulcahy, Sarah Fitzgerald, and Katie Burgess gave them maximum points against High School. Section B looks to be very close, with 4 points separating 5 teams, many of whom have a game in hand.

Alexandra College 0-0 Mount Anville

Section B
1. St Gerard’s 4-10 (+9) 2. Mount Anville 4-10 (+4) 3. Alexandra College 3-7 (+8) 4. Loreto, Beaufort 3-6 (+9) 5. High School 3-6 (-2) 6. Loreto, Foxrock 3-3 (0) 7. Holy Child, Killiney 2-1 (-1) 8. King’s Hospital 3-0 (-8) 9. Sutton Park 3-0 (-14)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Gleghorne the surprise inclusion in WCQ squad

Loughborough’s Paul Gleghorne is the surprise inclusion in Paul Revington’s 18-strong panel for the World Cup qualifiers, which take place from November 14-22.

The rangy defender has impressed since making his senior Irish debut in the summer and receives his first call-up to a major tournament.

Revington said of Gleghorne’s inclusion: “Paul brings good personal form into the team and provides a good balance to the team across the different playing lines.”

His inclusion is one of two changes to the European squad with Mikey Watt, as expected, returning the panel. The Ulster natives replace Peter Caruth and Alan Giles. Joe Brennan and David Hobbs, though, are injury doubts and will both have to pass fitness tests before traveling to Argentina.

Commenting further on the selection, Revington said: “There is a great deal of consistency to this team, highlighted in the fact that 16 of the 18 selected for Argentina were part of both the Champions Challenge II and Euro Nations Event in the summer of 2009.

“The final round of qualification for the World Cup is not for the faint-hearted and I believe this team has the strength and depth of quality to do justice to themselves and to Irish hockey by putting together a run of consistent performances in Argentina.”

Prior to Ireland’s departure for South Amercia, they will take in two warm-up games against European champions England in Lilleshall on November 4 and 5

Fourteen of the panel will be involved in those fixtures, though Brennan, Stephen Butler, Timmy Cockram and John Jermyn are unable to attend due to work commitments.

David Ames, Chris Cargo, Caruth and Andy McConnell step in to replace them for the two-game series with Revington adding there is a “small window of opportunity for late selection” for these players in light of the injury concerns.

“It is unfortunate that the full World Cup Qualifying Team cannot attend these games due to work commitments, however we are pleased that 80pc of the team will get another two high quality games under their belts against the current European Champions before traveling to Argentina.

David Ames, Chris Cargo, Peter Caruth and Andy McConnell are selected as replacements for the unavailable players knowing that there is still a small window of opportunity for late selection as various players prove their fitness before departing for Argentina.”

Ireland World Cup Qualifying Squad (November 14-21)
Joe Brennan (Glenanne); Stephen Butler (Glenanne); Timmy Cockram (Lisnagarvey); Mitch Darling (Leuven); Paul Gleghorne (Loughborough); Ronan Gormley Captain (Pembroke Wanderers); Conor Harte (Pembroke Wanderers); David Harte GK (Pembroke Wanderers); David Hobbs (Cork C of I); John Jackson (Loughborough Uni); John Jermyn (Cork C of I); Tim Lewis (Pembroke Wanderers); Eugene Magee (Dragons); Geoff McCabe (Dragons); Graham Shaw (Glenanne); Alan Sothern (Pembroke Wanderers); Iain Walker (YMCA); Michael Watt (Dragons HC)

Wesley cruise into semi-finals

Wesley became the first confirmed semi-finalist of the All-Ireland schoolboy's as they got the better of Sullivan Upper 5-1 to round out an impressive opening series of Group D games.

Kyle Good (right) and Peter English brought their respective goal totals up to sixth as both players scored twice while Shane Madeley was also on target for his third strike in three games as the Ballinteer outfit march to the last four.

They will play Banbridge Academy in the semi-finals after the Co Down school struck twice in the last ten minutes in their crunch game against Bandon GS to top Group C with a 100pc record, winning 4-2. Darren Sweetnam and Fionn O'Leary had earlier tied the game up at 2-2.  Mount Temple finished what was a major learning curve for their young side with a 5-0 defeat to Campbell College. They hit the post three times in the first half before tiring in the second half.

Sutton Park, meanwhile, completed their group D matches with a 1-0 defeat to Raphoe. St Andrew's relinquished their hold on the title when they went down 3-1 to Wallace in their third group B game to finish third in their group while their opponents progress to the semi-finals. Midleton lost out to Cookstown 2-1 to round out the group.

Ashton completed the semi-final line-up when Peter Daunt scored the only goal of the game to beat Friends in Group A and they will now face Wallace HS in the semi-finals. Kilkenny picked up their first win of the competition with a 4-2 triumph over Kilkeel.

Round three results:
Group A: Ashton 1 Friends 0; Kilkenny 4 Kilkeel 2
Group B: St Andrew's 0 Wallace 4; Midleton 1 Cookstown 2
Group C: Banbridge 4 Bandon GS 2; Mount Temple 0 Campbell 5
Group D: Raphoe 1 Sutton Park 0; Wesley 5 Sullivan Upper 1

Final group standings:
Group A: 1. Ashton 9pts (+6) 2. 6pts (+6) 3. Kilkenny 3pts (-1) 4. Kilkeel 0pts (-11)
Group B: 1. Wallace 9pts (+8) 2. Midleton 3pts (-3) 3. St Andrews 3pts (-4) 4. Cookstown 3pts (-5)
Group C: 1. Banbridge 9pts (+17) 2. Bandon 6pts (+5) 3. Mount Temple 3pts (-10) 4. Campbell 0pts (-12)
Group D: 1. Wesley 9pts (+16) 2. Sullivan Upper 6pts (0) 3. Raphoe 3pts (-3) 4. Sutton Park 0pts (-13)

Semi-final draw (both to be played at 9.30am at Campbell College):
Wesley College vs Banbridge Academy; Ashton vs Wallace HS

* Northern Irish photography agency, Presseye, has been taking quite a few pics at the All-Ireland Schoolboy's competition. Pictures from Mount Temple vs Banbridge and Wallace vs Midleton can be found here; pics from Campbell vs Banbridge can be seen here and Sullivan vs Royal and Prior are here.

Cathy McKean retires from international hockey

Cathy McKean today announced her retirement from international hockey after nine years playing at the highest level. The Loreto striker amassed 130 caps throughout her Irish career since first pulling on the green jersey in June 2000 against Scotland and was to become an integral part of the Irish set-up.

She earned her 50th cap against the USA in Argentina in 2006 and two year’s later she became a centurion at the 2008 Olympic Qualifiers in Victoria when she lined out against Canada.

McKean marked both occasions in style, netting a goal in each fixture. Speaking about her international career, she said “The experience has given me moments of heart bursting pride, stomach tingling excitement, and crushing disappointment. “But yes it has absolutely been worth it. I have no regrets, I loved it.

“Irish hockey has been a fantastic experience for me and I would like to thank the Coaches, Supporters, our Sponsors ESB, the Irish Sports Council, OCI and Sport NI and especially my team mates over the last ten years.

“Although I am sad to be leaving it all behind I have no regrets. The future is bright for Irish hockey and I look forward to supporting the girls in green from the sidelines”

Gene Muller, her Ireland coach of three years, said of McKean’s decision: "Cathy has been a powerful presence on and off the field for Ireland. Over the course of her international career, she has always been a brave and intensely committed hockey player. There is nothing ambivalent about her as a player or as a person.

“She will leave a powerful legacy especially to the younger forwards who were fortunate enough to play with her. She is a true character and will be missed in our team".

She will continue to play for Loreto for the foreseeable future as the Beaufort club bid to retain the ESB Irish Hockey League title.

Good's four set up Sullivan skirmish

Wesley and Sullivan Upper set up a direct battle for the one semi-final place in Group D as they both picked up wins in their ties against Sutton Park and Raphoe's Royal and Prior this morning.

Kyle Good struck four times in Wesley's 8-0 win over Sutton, while Peter English netted one to bring his tournament tally to four, too. Shane Madeley's (pictured, left, in Leinster action) double and a Rob Fitzgerald strike made up the end total. Their hopes of progression, though, will be decided this afternoon when they play Sullivan. The Holywood school beat Raphoe 1-0 to match Wesley's two wins from two games.

Elsewhere, St Andrew's hopes of making the semi-finals was dealt a massive blow when they were beaten 3-1 by Midleton. Wallace look the side most likely to emerge from Group B following their 4-0 win over Cookstown this morning and are the only side with two wins from the two rounds to date. St Andrew's need a big win this afternoon to have any chance of progressing ahead of the Lisburn school.

In Group C, Banbridge and Bandon have set up one of the most enticing fixtures of the group phases following their second wins of the tournament. Bann beat Campbell College 7-3 in a lively encounter while Mount Temple were ousted 5-1 by Bandon GS. Mark Ryan got the goal for Temple in response to Darren Sweetnam's double and other strikes from Malcolm Coombes, Fionn O'Leary and Aiden Walsh. Banbridge's better goal difference means they need just a draw from this afternoon's fixture with Bandon.

In Group A, Ashton are in pole-position with two wins as they beat Kilkenny 2-1 thanks to goals from Richard Lynch and Richard Sweetnam.

Day Two Results:
Group A: Ashton 2 Kilkenny 1; Kilkeel 0 Friends 5
Group B: St Andrew's 1 Midleton 3; Cookstown 0 Wallace 4
Group C: Banbridge 7 Campbell 3; Bandon 5 Mount Temple 1
Group D: Wesley 8 Sutton Park 0; Sullivan Upper 1 Raphoe 0

Standings after two rounds:
Group A: 1. Ashton 6pts (+5) 2. Friends 6pts (+7) 3. Kilkenny 0pts (-3) 4. Kilkeel 0pts (-9)
Group B: 1. Wallace 6pts (+8) 2. St Andrews 3pts (0) 3. Midleton 3pts (-2) 4. Cookstown 0pts (-6)
Group C: 1. Banbridge 6pts (+15) 2. Bandon 6pts (+7) 3. Campbell 0pts (-7) 4. Mount Temple 0pts (-15)
Group D: 1. Wesley College 6pts (+12) 2. Sullivan Upper 6pts (+4) 3. Raphoe 0pts (-4) 4. Sutton Park 0pts (-12)

Loreto maintain 100pc Leinster record

Women's Division One:
Loreto 6 (Cathy McKean, Nikki Symmons, Lizzie Colvin, Nikki Keegan, Rachel Keegan, Ali Meeke) Corinthian 1 (Lyndsey Watson)
Loreto notched up a half-dozen goals at Beaufort to move to the top of division one for the first time this season as they put local rivals Corinthian to the sword. The goals were shared between international trio Cathy McKean, Nikki Symmons and Lizzie Colvin along with the Keegan sisters Nikki and Rachel while Ireland U-18 starlet Ali Meeke was also on target. Former Trinity player Lyndsey Watson got the sole response for the reds. The win was their third from three outings in Leinster this term.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wesley and Andrews get off to All-Ireland flyer

Peter English's (right) hat-trick gave Wesley the perfect start to the All-Ireland Schoolboy's as they beat Donegal's Raphoe 5-1 at Roughfort this afternoon. The Railway Union man was on target three times while Alan White and Conor Motyer also got on the scoresheet.

St Andrew's, meanwhile, took a major step forward in the pursuit of their fourth All-Ireland school's title as they beat regular rivals Cookstown HS. A Richard Sykes penalty stroke and James Donnellan's goal within a seven minute period after half-time proved the difference as St Andrew's did enough to earn the points. Wallace look their main rivals for progression as a result. They beat Midleton 4-0. The current top two meet at 1.30pm tomorrow.

Sutton Park, however, endured a tough opening as they fell 3-0 to Sullivan Upper who take second place in the overnight Pool D placings behind Wesley on goal difference. The battle between those two sides takes place tomorrow at 1.30pm.

Meanwhile, in Group C, Banbridge gave a statement of intent as their side laden with Ulster underage talent had too much for Mount Temple. The Malahide road school used the tie as a major learning experience as they fielded a young panel, with just six of whom were out of junior grade. Bann won 11-0 to start in fine style. Bandon confirmed their status as Bann's major contenders in the group with a 4-1 win over hosts Campbell College.

Ashton, meanwhile, got off to a winning start in Group A with Gary Wilkinson bagging the first two goals with Peter Catchpole and Nathan Gokul also on the mark. Kilkenny will have to pull a pair of results out of the bag tomorrow and hope results go their way if they are to progress from this section of the draw. They lost 2-0 to Friends in the last game of the day.

Group A: Ashton 4 Kilkeel 0; Kilkenny 0 Friends 2
Group B: Midleton 0 Wallace 4; St Andrew's 2 Cookstown 0
Group C: Mount Temple 0 Banbridge Academy 11; Bandon 4 Campbell College 1
Group D: Wesley 5 Royal & Prior, Raphoe 1; Sullivan Upper 3 Sutton Park 0

* Results to be added as I get them. If you have any additional info, please email

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pembroke dish out third thrashing

Men's Division One:
UCD 0 Pembroke 8 (Conor Harte 3, Alan Sothern 2, Alan Giles, Maurice Elliott, Justin Sherriff)
Pembroke continued their blistering start to the domestic season with UCD this time feeling the brunt of their array of fire-power. Alan Sothern started the rout and Conor Harte added another couple to his tally from the top of the circle at corner-time and the students, though they matched Pembroke at times for ball pace and had a couple of chances, found the 'Broke just too good and already have a goal difference of plus 29.

Irish cup draws announced

The draws for all the national competitions bar the men's Irish Senior Cup were recently released, for more information go to

Men's Irish Junior Cup
First round (November 28): Weston II vs Mossley II; Portadown II vs Newry II; Kilkeel II vs South Antrim II; Banbridge II vs Cork C of I II; Clontarf II vs Cookstown II; Instonians II vs TRR II; Bandon II vs NICS II; Belfast HQ II vs Cork HQ II; North Down II vs YMCA II; Pembroke II vs Corinthian II; Fingal II vs Catholic Inst II; Bangor II vs Raphoe II; Glenanne II vs Annadale II; Monkstown II vs UCD II; Railway Union II vs Antrim II; Lisnagarvey II vs Dublin Uni II

ESB Women's Irish Junior Cup
Round One (October 31): Cork C of I II vs Galway II; Hermes II vs NICS II; Pegasus II vs Randalstown II
Round Two (November 14): Clontarf II vs TRL II; Priorians II vs Loreto II; Lurgan II vs Ashton II; Coleraine II vs Catholic Institute II; Greenisland II vs Dromore II; Corinthian II vs Lisnagarvey II; Cork HQ II vs UCC II; Cork C of I II/Galway II vs UCD II; Bray II vs Armagh II; Pembroke W II vs Railway Union II; Bandon II vs Ards II; Belfast HQ II vs Dublin University II; Pegasus II/Randalstown II vs Ulster Elks II; UL II vs Genesis II; Hermes II/NICS II vs Glenanne II; Portadown II vs Old Alex II

Men's Irish Hockey Trophy
Round One (November 7): Armagh vs Weston; Down vs South Antrim
Round Two (November 21): Queens vs Portadown; Suttonians vs South Antrim/Down; Belfast HQ vs UCC; Antrim vs Dublin University; Catholic Inst vs Newry; NICS vs Avoca; Navan vs Cliftonville; Armagh/Weston vs Galway

ESB Women's Irish Hockey Trophy

Round One (November 7): Banbridge vs Weston; Queens vs Genesis; NUIG vs Clontarf; Avoca vs Ashton; Kilkenny vs Galway; Parkview vs Coleraine; North Kildare vs Kilkeel; Newbridge vs Carrickfergus; Knock vs Botanic
Byes to round two (November 21): Naas, Dromore, Diocesan, Muckross, Waterford, Wexford, Ballymena, TRL, Yeats County, Omagh, NICS, Cookstown, Fingal, Greenisland, Bandon, North Down, Suttonians, Portadown, Greenfields, Our Ladys Terenure, Cath Institute, Skerries, Priorians

Men's Irish Hockey Challenge:
Round One (January 23): Skerries vs Portrane; Mullingar vs St James Gate
Round Two (February 13): Omagh vs Limerick; Saintfield vs Ballymena; Portrush vs PSNI; Naas vs Ballynahinch; St Brendans/PP vs Kilkenny; Parkview vs Larne; Mullingar/St James Gate vs Skerries/Portrane; Campbellians vs Ashton

ESB Women's Irish Hockey Challenge:
Round One (November 28): Dungarvan vs Monkstown; Derg Valley vs Greenfields
Round Two (January 23): Athlone vs Clonmel; Mallow vs Kilkenny; Enniscorthy vs Tipperary; Fermoy vs Wexford; Raphoe vs Mullingar; Renmore vs Limerick; Dungarvan/Monkstown vs Derg Valley/Greenfields; Gorey vs YMCA

All-Ireland School's schedule and Irish U-16 panel named

The All-Ireland Schools competition gets underway tomorrow afternoon in four venues across Belfast with the undoubted highlight of day one being St Andrew’s tussle with Cookstown at 3pm at Campbell College’s pitch two.

Wesley begin their campaign against Raphoe at the Roughfort venue with Kyle Good available after the back injury which kept him out of Three Rock Rovers’ game with Monkstown on Saturday is not as bad as first feared. Kilkenny face Friends at 3pm at Campbell while Mount Temple have a daunting opener against Banbridge Academy.

October 21:
Campbell College, pitch one: Wallace vs Midleton (12pm); Ashton vs Kilkeel (1.30pm); Friends vs Kilkenny (3pm)
Campbell College, pitch two: Campbell vs Bandon GS (12pm); Banbridge Academy vs Mount Temple (1.30pm); St Andrew’s vs Cookstown (3pm)
Queen’s: Sutton Park vs Sullivan Upper (1.30pm)
Roughfort: Wesley College vs Raphoe (1.30pm)

October 22:
Campbell College, pitch one: Sutton Pk vs Wesley (9.30am); Campbell vs Banbridge (11am); Sullivan vs Wesley (1.30pm); Kilkenny vs Kilkeel (3pm)
Campbell College, pitch two: Raphoe vs Sullivan Upper (9.30am); Bandon GS vs Mount Temple (11am); Raphoe vs Sutton Pk (1.30pm); Friends vs Ashton (3pm)
Queen’s: Cookstown HS vs Wallace (9.30am); Ashton vs Kilkenny (11am); St Andrews vs Wallace (1.30pm); Mount Temple vs Campbell (3pm)
Roughfort: Midleton vs St Andrews (9.30am); Kilkeel vs Friends (11am); Midleton vs Cookstown (1.30pm); Banbridge vs Bandon (3pm)

October 23:
Campbell College: semi-finals (9.30am); final (2.30pm)

* Elsewhere, Miles Warren has named a 34-player panel for the Irish U-16 boys to work with ahead of next summer’s European championships.

Six players retain their place from last year’s side: Banbridge’s Michael Anderson and Josh Moffett TRR’s Ross Canning, Monkstown’s David Cole, Railway’s Jeremy Duncan and Bandon GS’ Scott Sullivan.

Ireland U-16 Boys training panel (school/club)

Matthew Allistair (Sullivan Upper/Annadale); Michael Anderson (Banbridge Academy/Banbridge); Peter Brown (Banbridge Academy/Banbridge); Ben Campbell (St Andrews/YMCA); Ross Canning (St Columbas/Three Rock Rovers); Ben Chadwick (Wesley/YMCA); Robbie Clarke (Wesley/Corinthian); David Cole (St Andrews/Monkstown); Lee Cole (St Andrews/Monkstown); Ben Cosgrove (Banbridge Academy/Banbridge); James Cox (Campbell College/Annadale); George Dagg (Sanford Park/Pembroke Wanderers); Michael Duggan (Banbridge Academy/Banbridge); Jeremy Duncan (Kilkenny/Railway Union); Adam Fallis (RBAI/Lisnagarvey); Stefan Gallager (Newpark/Avoca); Justin Hool (Campbell College/Annadale); James Lorimer (RBAI/Mossley); Richard Lynch (Ashton/Cork C of I); Andrew McWhirter (Cookstown HS/Cookstown); Joshua Moffett (Banbrdige Academy/Banbridge); Ravin Nair (St Andrews/Railway Union); Neil Pelow (Wesley College/Corinthian); Michael Robson (Sullivan Upper/Annadale); Matthew Rollins (Cookstown HS/Cookstown); Ben Scott (Bandon Grammar/Bandon); Kirk Shimmins (Wesley College/Pembroke Wanderers); Scott Sullivan (Bandon Grammar/Bandon); Jordan Sutton (Wesley College/Corinthian); Peter Swanton (Ashton/Cork C of I); Richard Sweetnam (Ashton/Cork C of I); David Treacy (Ashton/Cork C of I); Gary Wilkinson (Ashton/Cork C of I); Simon Wolfe (Ashton/Cork C of I)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Railway on track but Hermes and Loreto drop points

Women's IHL Week One round-up:
Leinster champions Railway Union gave notice of their intent in this year's IHL in Saturday's evening game at Park Avenue with a resounding 4-1 win over competition newcomers Ards. A goal in each quarter was the order of the day as Mick McKinnon's side continued their perfect start to the season.

Cecelia Joyce's brilliant turn and reverse broke the deadlock in the 13th minute and once she netted her second from a close-range tap-in the result rarely looked in doubt. Kate Dillon flicked in a corner rebound to make it 3-0 in the second half before Eimear Horan pulled one back.

But Emer Lucey bagged the fourth of the day to seal the bonus point with two minutes to go to ensure a perfect start to the campaign for Railway. It sets up an early Pool A showdown on November 21 when the Sandymount club hosts Cork Harlequins, the other side on maximum points after round one.

Sunday's two fixtures, meanwhile, saw 2008/09 IHL finalists Hermes and Loreto both drop points on home territory in their opening game of the competition.

Pegasus gained a modicum of revenge for their semi-final exit at the hands of Hermes last time round as they plundered a 1-0 win from UCD. Former international Claire McMahon scored the only goal of the game in the 19th minute when she finished off good work by Kate McConnell and Suzanne Beaney by sliding the ball under Emma Gray. It was one of a rare few chances in the first half.

And that pattern continued after the break though Deirdre Duke's one on one chance was well saved by Sharon Moffett while Gray did well to keep four Pegs' corners. It left Hermes with a losing bonus point while the Ulster club return North with three to their name from round one.

For the second week running, Loreto got a late goal but unlike their win against Bray, Cathy McKean's late strike salvaged a draw against Old Alex as the Milltown club were denied a first win in the competition.

An end-to-end game with plenty of goalmouth action saw Louisa Healy and Pamela Smithwick produce top notch performances between the posts at either end. The former saved well from Lucy Cotter's corner strike early on before the latter matched her efforts to deny Nikki Keegan's reverse-stick effort.

And so it continued with each side trading chances. Rachel Griffith and Ann-Marie Cullen pulled off huge tackles to keep the scoreboard blank until the final quarter when Nicola Gray converted a well-worked corner, won by Barbara Fitzgerald.

But Loreto had the final say when Catriona Tipping's run gave the Beaufort club good field position, eventually earning a corner. Hannah Matthews struck crisply and McKean deflected for the leveller and two points for both sides to conclude a lively opening IHL weekend.

Irish Hockey League results:
Pool A: Ballymoney 2 (D McNeill, L Mullen) Pembroke 2 (A Sherriff, S Doyle); Cork Harlequins 4 (K Bateman 2, L-A Daunt, J Bourke) Cork C of I 1 (C Kenefick); Railway Union 4 (C Joyce 2, K Dillon, E Lucey) Ards 1 (E Horan)
Pool B: UCC 4 (A O'Flynn 3, F O'Connell) Randalstown 0; Loreto 1 (C McKean) Old Alex 1 (N Gray); Hermes 0 Pegasus 1 (C McMahon)

Standings (points/goal difference):
Pool A: 1. Cork Harlequins 4pts (+3) 2. Railway Union 4pts (+3) 3. Ballymoney 2pts (0) 4. Pembroke 2pts (0) 5. Ards 0pts (-3) 6. Cork C of I 0pts (-3)
Pool B: 1. UCC 4pts (+4) 2. Pegasus 3pts (+1) 3. Loreto 2pts (0) 4. Old Alex 2pts (0) 5. Hermes 1pt (-1) 6. Randalstown 0pts (-4)

* For Deryck Vincent's photos from Railway Union vs Ards, click here and his shots from Hermes vs Pegasus, click here. For Adrian Boehm's photos of Loreto vs Old Alex, click here

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Pembroke produce sublime IHL comeback

Women's IHL Round One (Saturday fixtures):
Pembroke scored twice in the closing quarter to succeed where many have come away empty-handed as they snatched a draw against Ballymoney at the Joey Dunlop Centre, a more than useful two points to begin this year's IHL campaign.

The hosts had bossed the opening stages and built up a 2-0 lead by three-quarter time from Diane McNeill's deflection and Laura Mullan's tap-in following a fine advanatge played by the umpire.

But Aoife Sherriff cracked in Pembroke's third corner of the day to give Pembroke a lifeline and, straight from the restart, the Ballsbridge club went straight up the pitch to win anothe corner. This time round, Shona Doyle was the striker to tie the game up at 2-2 to guarantee two points for each side.

Cork Harlequins, though, seized the early initiative in Pool A as they took a bonus point win from their home tie with city rivals Cork C of I. Karen Bateman's corner and goals from Leslie Ann Daunt and Jane Bourke had the Farmer's Cross hosts cruising before Cathy Kenefick's deflection gave CI a glimmer of hope. Bateman extinguished any such hopes, however, with Quins' fourth, four minutes from time.

In Pool B, UCC had a debut day to remember as they put Randalstown to the sword with a 4-0 wipe-out of Randalstown. Audrey O'Flynn's corner triple was the catalyst before Fiona O'Connell added the icing in the last five minutes.

Pool A: Ballymoney 2 (Diane McNeill, Laura Mullen) Pembroke 2 (Aoife Sherriff, Shona Doyle); Cork Harlequins 4 (Karen Bateman 2, Leslie-Ann Daunt, Jane Bourke) Cork C of I 1 (Cathy Kenefick)
Pool B: UCC 4 (Audrey O'Flynn 3, Fiona O'Connell) Randalstown 0