Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mt Sackville, Wesley and Andrews lead the way

Section A
Our Lady’ Terenure 1-5 Wesley College
Wesley College made it two wins from two with a comfortable victory over Our Lady’s, Terenure. A single goal from Hannah Honner separated the sides at the break. Wesley extended their lead courtesy of strikes from Anna-May Whelan and Sarah Robinson. Terenure managed to pull a goal back, but Wesley made sure with further goals from Amy Stewart and Sarah Robinson.
St Andrew’s College 6-0 Mount Temple
St Andrews, as expected, eased past Mount Temple to join Wesley at the summit of Section A. Goals from Chloe Watkins, Gillian Pinder, Harriet Kinsman, Sophie Marshall, and two from Joanne Lavery made the scorline emphatic but Mount Temple were resilient all the way through, particularly in the first period.
Muckross Park 1-3 Mount Sackville
Mount Sackville became the third side to maintain a 100pc record in Section A. Emma Sweeney drove through midfield to set up the opening goal for Siun McLoughlin in the first half – a half which Muckross shaded on short corners three to one. In the second half, Orla Fox was alert to set up a goal for Garrihy, who netted her second when she finished off a counter attack. Muckross got a consolation with five minutes to go, but the result was never in doubt.
Rathdown 0-2 Loreto, Bray
Bray took advantage of a one on one in the first half, and finished off from a cross in the second period to take the spoils against Rathdown.
Section B
Sutton Park 0-4 Alexandra College
Sutton Park produced a vastly improved performance against last-year winners who were having their first outing in this season’s campaign. For long periods, Sutton managed to keep Alex away from their circle but, with the away side dominating possession, two goals each from Jessa Graham and Deirdre Duke ensured that the result was never in doubt.
St Gerards 6-1 The Kings Hospital
An excellent performance from St Gerards sees them well positioned having won both their opening fixtures. Goals from Danni Maher, Katie Burgess, Brigit McKeown, Stephanie Lowe, captain Meadhbh Delahunt, and Hayley Mulcahy ensured the result against a Kings Hospital side whose strike came from Levina Callow.
Mount Anville 2 (Sophie Moore, Anna O'Connell) Loreto, Beaufort 1 (Pheobe Lyons)


Round One results (Section B):
Kings Hospital 1-2 Mount Anville
A very late goal gave Mount Anville the spoils against Kings Hospital. A team comprising of many interprovincial players may have been expected to win more comfortably, but Kings Hospital are noting if not resiliant, particularly at home. Their young side pushed Mount Anville all the way, and the away side were grateful to leave with all three points.
Holy Child, Killiney 1-2 The High School
Goals from Amiee Jones O'Connor and Susan McRann - also an Irish tennis international - gave The High School a narrow opening victory against Holy Child, Killiney, whose goal came courtesy of Emma Russell.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

News in brief: General meeting agenda

* The agenda of the Leinster Branch’s September General Meeting, to be held on September 30 at 7.30pm in Three Rock Rovers Hockey Club Grange Road, Rathfarnham, Dublin 16, will be as follows:

• Minutes of previous General Meeting
• Matters arising from minutes of previous General Meeting
• Report of the Honorary Treasurer
• Presentation and adoption of Statement of Accounts
• Fixing of rates for fees, subscriptions etc for the following season
• Report of the Fixtures Committee
• Report of the Indoor Committee
• Report of the Youth Committee
• *Report of the Branch Development Committee
• *Report of the Branch Grounds Management Committee
• *Report of the Umpires Association
• Report of the Irish Hockey Association
• Proposed Rule Changes
• Report on Merger between Leinster Ladies, South East and Leinster Branch
• General Business


* The IHA’s indoor social hockey league gets underway on Thursday in Wesley College. This league is aimed at ladies that have played hockey before and want to get back into the sport.

The league is played indoor in a 5 a-side format with the emphasis on having fun whilst playing hockey and staying fit. For more information and to register contact us on 01-7163265 or email indoorsocialhockey@gmail.com.

* Pembroke and Glenanne will play a high quality, EHL warm-up game tonight at Serpentine Avenue as the pair seek to emulate tournament conditions. A full TD box, scoreboard and quarters will be employed for the game which tips off at 7.30pm and a good turn out of supporters would help add to the atmosphere ahead of their trip to Barcelona.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Men's Division One: Week One round-up

Corinthian 3 (Brian Doherty 2, Glen Holmes) Fingal 1 (Paddy Gahan)

A tight, cagey match; Corinthian's greater conversion rate from corners proved the difference as his 100pc record earned the points at Whitechurch Park. Glen Holmes opened the scoring but Paddy Gahan levelled matters.

But Doherty zinged in a high flick on the hooter for a half-time lead and got his second late on to take the points. Fingal earned more corners on the day but struggled without Mick McGuinness.

TRR 3 (David Storey, Peter McConnell, Peter Blakeney) Railway Union 1 (Mark English ps)
Three Rock made slightly hard work of their opening day win against Railway Union, building a 2-0 lead before Mark English's stroke midway through the second half gave the visitors a chance to nick a point. Blakeney scrambled one in late on to confirm the three points for Maarten Bos' side.

UCD 0 Glenanne 7 (Stephen Butler 2, Jonathan Kane, Graham Shaw, John Goulding, Shane O'Donoghue, Eddie O'Malley)

A five goal first-half blitz put paid to any notion of an opening day surprise as the Glens comfortably held off the challenge of UCD at Belfield this afternoon. 5-0 at half-time was extended to seven by the final whistle with the goals fairly evenly shared out, Stephen Butler the only player to grab a double.
Pembroke 11 (Mick O'Connor 2, Justin Sherriff 2, Gordon Elliott 2, Maurice Elliott, Alan Giles, Conor Harte, Al Sothern, Craig Fulton) Clontarf 0
For Clontarf, the upside is that the toughest trip of the season is out of the way and they can focus on the challenges ahead. The IHL champions had five of their strike unit in scoring form as Andy McConnell and Adam Pritchard both made their debuts. The performance was marked by the battle for places with Craig Fulton likely to name the 18 for the EHL in the coming week.

YMCA 2 (Mikey Fry, Jacob Webber) Monkstown 2 (Gareth Watkins, Andy Ewington)
Major drama at Alexandra College as a massive seven players were sin-binned as YM and Monkstown tied their opening game of the season. A spectacular first minute Town goal from Gareth Wakins' reverse-stick was levelled by Mikey Fry's tap-in after good work by birthday boy Richie Pedreschi. Andy Ewington restored the lead with a drag-flick for a 2-1 at half-time.
Jacob Webber hit home a corner in the second half, though, to take a point. YM played much of the second half with reduced numbers as they received five yellow cards. They went to Pedreschi, Webber, Cliff Bailey, Rob Whelan and Will Powderly. Nick Dee and Alec Barrett were the Town players to take an enforced rest.

* For Adrian Boehm's photos from Pembroke vs Clontarf, click here; for Deryck Vincent's se from the game, click here and for Emer Keogh's photo's of Three Rock Rovers vs Railway Union, click here

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Men's Division Two Round-up: Week One

Dublin Uni 2 (Daire Coady, Steven Roberts) Avoca 1 (Scott Wilkie)

Steven Roberts proved the hero on debut for Niall Denham's Dublin University at Santry as he scored the odd goal in three against promotion hopefuls Avoca. Daire Coady began his year of grace in style, too, with a corner goal after five minutes. Roberts netted a scrappy goal-mouth scramble before Avoca turned up the heat, winning seven corners before Scott Wilkie finally beat Jack Hegarty.

Suttonians 3 (Ed Hipwell 3) Navan 3 (Simon Clarke 2, Keith Howell)
Game of the day at Sutton Park as Navan fought back on numerous occasions to earn an opening day point against Suttonians in spite of Ed Hipwell's hat-trick. He made it 2-0 inside 20 minutes before Simon Clarke's double levelled matters but Hipwell netted his third in the 45th minute to give Sutton the advantage. Keith Howell, though, equalised once more with 12 minutes to go and the Badgers came close to a fourth late on but left with a point, nonetheless.

Weston 4 (Daryl Carey, Vikram Singh, Dean Maguire, Phil Barron) Bray 1
Weston's greater strength in depth, allied to the quicker pace of auto-pass hockey saw them finish stronger against Bray at Griffeen Valley Park on Saturday. Daryl Carey dispatched a fine goal on his return to the club while there were corner strikes from Vikram Singh, Dean Maguire and a Phil Barron drag-flick saw the Lucanites pull away in the second half.

Women's Division One Round-up: Week One

Loreto 1 (Nikki Keegan ps) Hermes 0

A penalty was once again needed to separate last season's IHL finalists as Nikki Keegan slotted the stroke to give Loreto a win against the run of play against old rivals Hermes. The Booterstown club let eight corners slip by - the hosts did not win a single set-piece - and had much of the play but lacked the killer instinct in the final third.

Railway Union 3 (Jean McDonnell 2, Trish O'Dwyer) Old Alex 0
Railway started their first ever title defence with a comfortable victory over fellow-IHL side Old Alex. Indeed, the Park Avenue hosts dominated for long periods and could have extended the margin with more clinical finishing. Their defence, however, held firm and gave next to no clear opportunities to the Alex forward line.

Pembroke 2 (Natalie Fulton, Sinead Loughran) Bray 1 (Erin O'Sullivan)
Pembroke opened their campaign with a hard-fought win over Bray. Natalie Fulton scored on her return to the team from a year out of playing while teenager Sinead Loughran scored on her first team debut since joining Pembroke. Erin O'Sullivan got the sole response in her first game since returning from a year in Perth, Australia. She equalised with a straight corner shot to make it 1-1 midway through the first half but Pemnroke retook the lead before the break.

Corinthian 2 (Susie Geoffroy, Lynsey Watson) Glenanne 1 (Kate O'Connor)
Susie Geoffroy struck a key goal against her sister Ali's club to help Corinthian take first blood in what is likely to be a closely fought battle at the bottom end of the table. Former Trinity player Lynsey Watson got the other goal for the reds to give Stewart Walker the perfect start to his tenure as coach.

*For Adrian Boehm's pictures from the Pembroke vs Bray match, click here

Bray

Last Season: 8th

Coach: Johnny Harte (second spell, 1st season)
Players In: Sarah Coleman (Genesis), Katie Burgess (St Gerard’s), Erin O’Sullivan (Perth, Australia)

Players Out: Elaine Brommell (Catholic Institute), Sarah Scott

Summary: Johnny Harte returns to the club he helped promote two seasons ago after a year with Fingal’s men, this time to be assisted by Richard Rellis. He inherits a squad which has changed dramatically with Janet Murphy and Sheryl O’Toole both taking a year out while Sarah Scott and Elaine Bromell move on after a year with the club.

Katie Burgess is a talented teenager to add to the squad; Nicky Dignam returns as does Erin O’Sullivan while former Irish internationals Catherine Little and Linda O’Neill provide the midfield strength.

How they cope with all the to-ing and fro-ing is their biggest task, especially in the first three weeks when they face a trip to Trinity and a home tie with Glenanne.

First three league games: Sept 26 Pembroke (h); Oct 3 Trinity (a); Oct 17 Glenanne (h)

Corinthian

Last Season: 10th

Coach: Stewart Walker (1st season), assisted by Andrew Cronje and Lucas Piccioli
Captain: Siobhan Burke

Players In: Jenny Heggie (London)
Players Out: none

Summary: After a number of years of movement, Corinthian enjoyed a summer of reasonable stability and can approach 2009/10 with a more settled panel.

Youngsters Laura Delany and Aisling Naughton join the squad, coached this year by former Irish international Stewart Walker and assisted by Lucas Piccioli and Andrew Cronje.

Holly Warren will return from Australia in November. The first game may well be their most important of the season against a Glenanne side coming to grips with life without Nicci Daly and could have a big bearing on who finishes where in the bottom four mini-league.

First three league games: Sept 26 Glenanne (h); Oct 3 Loreto (h); Oct 10 Pegasus (ISC) (h)

Glenanne

Last Season: 7th

Coach: Guy Garrett (1st season)

Players In: Lauren Coffey (Our Lady’s), Rachel Maunsell (Loreto Beaufort)
Players Out: Nicci Daly (Loreto), Valerie Sexton (UCD), Elaine O’Riordan (UCD)

Summary: The hardest-working team in division one last year, Glenanne were a surprise package of sorts and were in with an outside chance of an IHL place at times last season.

With Nicci Daly moving on, a repeat performance will be tougher but Guy Garrett has a good track record and has an enlarged panel to work with. Avril Brennan, Kate O’Connor and Marie Goulding continue to progress; Mary Waldron and Louise Corrigan have fewer football commitments this year and Paula Fitzpatrick is available after injury.

Lauren Coffey and Rachel Maunsell come into the squad too. Their short trip to Corinthian on Saturday is key, as is their second scheduled league fixture on October 17 against Bray.

First three games: Sept 26 Corinthian (a); Oct 3 Ulster Elks (ISC); Oct 17 Bray (a)

Hermes

Last Season: 3rd

Coach: Simon Filgas (1st season)

Players In: Elaine O’Neill (UCD)
Players Out: Nikki Evans (Railway Union), Shelley Sloan (Pegasus)

Summary: Following a stunning spell of nine titles under Colin Stewart, Simon Filgas has a hard act to follow and the unavailability of Jill Hodgins (November) and Linda Caulfield (January) for most of the first half of the season means another rebuilding year could be in the pipeline.

Fiona Connery’s return is as good as a new signing and gives the back-line a boost, helping replace Sinead McDonnell who is another on a year out.

But the likelihood is schoolgirls Sarah Greene, Niamh Atchelor, Gillian Pinder, Chloe Watkins and Deirdre Duke will become ever more central players.

Retaining a top three place will be the primary target in the Leinster league with Yvonne Kenny likely to see a lot of game-time given Emma Gray’s international status.

First three games: Sept 26 Loreto (h); Oct 10 Trinity (ISC) (h); Oct 17 Pegasus (IHL) (h)

Loreto

Last Season: 2nd

Coach: Orla Bell (2nd season)

Players In: Nicci Daly (Glenanne), Sarah Cooney (Scotland)
Players Out: Zara Delany (Railway Union)

Summary: International player availability will be a huge factor for the IHL champions this term and, indeed, retaining that competition looks a more likely outcome than regaining the Leinster league.

Catriona Tipping is back in full flow but extended absences of Nikki Symmons, Cathy McKean and Lizzie Colvin are likely while Louisa Healy and Niamh Small may also be called out.

The former trio miss the trip to Hermes while Zara Delany was one of the stars of the inaugural IHL and her predatory instincts will be missed.

Sarah Cooney is back in the line-up following three years in Scotland while Sarah Barnwell also returns after a Leaving Cert-based year out.

Nicci Daly is a high-quality acquisition, though, and Loreto should be there or thereabouts in the league shake-up.

First three games: Sept 26 Hermes (a); Oct 3 Corinthian (a); Oct 17 Old Alex (h) (IHL)

Old Alex

Last Season: 5th

Coach: Ivan Ovington/Miles Warren (1st season)

Players In: Roisin Flinn (UCD), Danielle Costigan (Trinity), Pamela Smithwick (UCD), Fyona Flinn (UCD)
Players Out: Liane Ryan (England), Suzanne O’Connor (Cork C of I), Jan Ovington, Anya Bowers (both retired)

Summary: A reasonable of store will be placed in youth as Alex face up to life without the experienced quartet of Liane Ryan, Sue O’Connor, Jan Ovington and Anya Bowers.

To that end, Leah Lenehan, Emily Beatty, Nicola Gray and Vera Taaffe have all been training with the first team and involved in preseason challenge matches.

Roisin Flinn is the biggest name signing for their maiden IHL season and maintaining their place at that level would constitute a good domestic season.

First three games: Sept 26 Railway (a); Oct 3 Glenanne (a); Oct 17 Old Loreto (a) (IHL)

Pembroke

Last Season: 4th; IHL group stages

Player-coach: Natalie Fulton (3rd season)
Captain: Rachel McKeon

Players In: Sinead Loughran (Mount Anville)
Players Out: Louisa Moore (England)

Summary: How to replace Louisa Moore is Pembroke’s most pressing concern as the forward’s move to London sees a large chunk of goals to be filled from other sources.

Natalie Fulton is back to lend her South African international experience to the squad while Elaine Hall, Hannah Ring, Jill Collins and Sinead Loughran are all added to the roster.

Sarah Clarke and Katherine Duff, though, are out of action for the foreseeable future, making this a tough season to call for the Serpentine Avenue club. They look set to vye with Alex and UCD for the fourth and fifth IHL places.

First three games: Sept 26 Bray (h); Oct 17 Ballymoney (a) (IHL); Oct 24 Lurgan (h) (ISC)

Railway Union

Last Season: 1st; IHL group stages

Coach: Mick McKinnon
Captain: Isobel Joyce

Players In: Holly Jenkinson (UCD), Zara Delany (Loreto), Nikki Evans (Hermes)
Players Out: none

Summary: A very decent squad has been improved further with Holly Jenkinson, Zara Delany and Nikki Evans all moving to Park Avenue while Sinead Dooley’s increased availability is another bonus for Mick McKinnon.

Competition for places will be further still though Emma Smyth’s potential absence is one hurdle to overcome. However, having secured a maiden Leinster league win, sights may well be on the bigger prizes in the form of either the IHL or ISC.

The side has made huge strides in recent years and the air of positivity which emanates from the ground means they could well challenge in that arena though a first round ISC trip to Victorians is certainly a stern tester of those credentials.

First three games: Sept 26 Old Alex (h); Oct 3 UCD (h); Oct 10 Victorians (a)

Trinity College

Last Season: 9th

Coach: David Bane
Captain: Caroline Murphy

Players In: Eanna Horan (Wexford), Deirdre Hatton (Galway), Katie Grehan (Loreto), Laura O’Connor (Erasmus), Orla Callanan (Col Iognaid), Kylie Deverall (Kilkenny), Laura Carey (UCC)
Players Out: Danielle Costigan (Old Alex), Vanessa Buckley, Claire Hearnden

Summary: Of the bottom four, Trinity were always likely to make the biggest signings and if they can keep some of the belief and momentum of early 2009 going, this could be a decent year at Santry Aveue.

Orla Callanan – Colaiste Iognaid’s skipper for the Kate Russell cup – is a notable import as is Connacht U-18 Deirdre Hatton while there are also new arrivals from Cork, Wexford and Kilkenny to give Dave Bane a squad of 20 to trim back.

Stalwarts Danielle Costigan and Vanessa Buckley have moved on as has last year’s captain Claire Hearnden but Bane appears move upbeat by his chances than previous times and a couple of moves up the ladder will be the target.

First three games: Oct 3 Bray (h); Oct 7 UCD (h); Oct 10 Hermes (a) (ISC)

UCD

Last Season: 6th; ISC Winners

Coach: Mary Logue (2nd season)
Players In: Valerie Sexton (Glenanne), Kerry McComish (Randalstown), Rachel O’Reilly (Genesis), Elaine O’Riordan (Glenanne), Emily Menzies (Alexandra College), Criona Levins

Players Out: Holly Jenkinson (Railway Union), Roisin Flinn (Old Alex), Pamela Smithwick (Old Alex), Ciara McNestry (Armagh), Elaine O’Neill (Hermes), Marie O’Connell (New Zealand)

Summary: A large tract of the ISC winning panel will not be around for Europe but UCD have made the notable addition of Ulster senior Kerry McComish who joins from Randalstown via New Zealand to add decent experience to the students.

Lisa Jacob takes a year of grace since completing her degree though, again, international call-ups will take their toll.

Their thrilling ISC run last time out was done the hard way and it looks like a similar route as they begin their defence against Cork C of I.

A much-changed panel, they will hope to regain an IHL place but the perennial readjustments make this a tricky task.

First three games: Oct 3 Railway Union (a); Oct 7 Trinity (a); Oct 10 Cork C of I (h) (ISC)

The season starts here... year three

The Hook takes its annual look at the runners and riders for the 2009/10 season with the Leinster league division one set for tip off on Saturday afternoon.

Last time out, preseason predictions showed a marked interest from The Hook's first efforts back in 2007 when just one prediction came in. Six placings were predicted correctly for 2008/09 meaning this year is ripe for improvement.

It promises to be an intriguing year on the field with clubs upping their training efforts as IHL and potential EHL places become a reality.

Managing this increasingly professional outlook is one major challenge for the IHA and the Leinster Branch as the need to keep games at a competitive level is a major concern.

Recent times has seen the development of leagues within leagues. Perhaps further reorganisation of the divisions is needed to keep the elite clubs moving forward while keeping competition available for those unable to commit to such training.

The teething problems of professionalism blew apart the club structures in rugby with participation levels dropping through the floor. It took nearly 15 years to recover and massive work at juvenile level to begin the recovery. It is a salutary lesson and one which should be addressed to help move our sport forward at both elite and social levels.

For now, you can find the Hook's rundown on the club's ahead of the new season below...

Clontarf

Last Season: 1st (Division Two)

Coach: Harold de Jong (2nd season)
Players In: Ben Hewitt (Dublin Uni)
Players Out: Ross McMullen (retired), Gordon Lindsay (retired)

Summary: A tough return to division one for Clontarf with many of the sides that would previously have been targeted for points strengthening significantly. Last week’s 5-0 loss to YM shows the uphill struggle though walking to division two will provide confidence as will a 6-0 friendly win over Weston.

But it is difficult to see anything but a relegation dog-fight in the offing - depending on how the division two situation pans out.

They will need Rob Abbott to fire – once his hand injury clears up – and Stephen Cairns to continue to show up well between the posts as former Leinster U-21 Ben Hewitt is the only major signing.

Andrew Poynter is set to miss much of the season to cricket commitments while Ross McMullen and Gordon Lindsay have retired but there’s still a decent amount of division one know-how. Whether it is enough to escape the bottom rung is another matter, especially with a tough opening pair of fixtures.

First three games: Pembroke (a); TRR (h); Railway Union (a)
Prediction: 10th

Corinthian

Last Season: 5th, Mills Cup winners, ISC quarter-finals

Player/coach: Andrew Cronje (1st season)
Players In: Barry Glavey (Dublin Uni), Lucas Piccioli (TRR)
Players Out: John McInroy (UCD), Ross Gribben (UCD)

Summary: Corinthian were a side transformed since the arrival of Andrew Cronje and Darren Kimfley and both enjoyed their time enough to give it another crack with the former taking on the coaching role and the latter returning when his visa is sorted.

Glavey and Piccioli are both more than decent returnees, too, and two eye-catching Neville Cup wins show they mean business.

Matches against Fingal and Monkstown will give good, early markers of how far they can go and, Pembroke aside, a favourable IHL group could yield a semi-final place – especially with Banbridge losing two internationals. Plenty of reasons for optimism at Whitechurch Park.

First three games: Fingal (h); Railway Union (a); Monkstown (a)
Prediction: 3rd
IHL Prediction: Semi-finals

Fingal

Last Season: 6th; IHL group stages

Coach: Gerry Wheeler (1st season, second spell)
Captain: David Bane

Players In: Gary Sharman, Tom Manning, Stephen Thompson, Hugh Kelly, Mark Sandell (all Kilkenny)
Players Out: Mick McGuinness (Glenanne), Brian Scully (Weston), Keith Crawford

Summary: Like Corinthian, the first three games should paint the picture of what lies in store for 2009/10, facing the reds, YM and Rovers all of whom are likely to be jockeying for IHL positions.

The quintet of new faces brings the Kilkenny contingent at the club up to ten though Tom Manning and Derek O’Gorman are currently tied up in the county’s inter hurling championship with Dicksboro which could run to early October.

Mark Ryan will continue to progress in his second year of senior hockey but the losses of Scully and McGuinness are significant ones. The former’s terrier-like tackling and the latter’s drag-flicks are hard to replace and they might find themselves slip a notch further down the standings.

First three games: Corinthian (a); YMCA (h); TRR (h)
Prediction: 7th

Glenanne

Last Season: 2nd; IHL runners-up, Mills Cup semi-finals, ISC semis

Coach: Arul Anthoni (2nd season)
Captain: Joe Brennan

Players In: Mick McGuinness (Fingal), Filip Jaros (Monkstown), Robbie Hanna (Bray), Gareth Carragher (Weston)
Players Out: Alan Browne (Weston), Daryl Carey (YMCA)

Summary: Early season has not lent itself to ideal preparation for the EHL with just competitive games against Suttonians and UCD to test their mettle given the postponement of the Pembroke tie on October 3 – they play a friendly on October 6 instead.

The back-log of fixtures will also provide a nuisance factor but the Glens will still be formidable proposition with Filip Jaros, when fully fit, a more than decent replacement for Alan Browne. Mick McGuinness adds to the forward options while Gareth Carragher and Robbie Hanna supply goalkeeper cover.

First three games: UCD (a); Pembroke (date TBC); Corinthian (date TBC)
Prediction: 2nd
IHL Prediction: Semi-finals at least

Monkstown

Last Season: 4th; IHL Group stages; Mills semi-final

Coach: Rory O’Donoghue (2nd season)
Captain: Gareth Watkins

Players In: Runar O’Moore (UCD), Ali Nolan (UCD), Andy Ewington (New Zealand)
Players Out: Filip Jaros (Glenanne), Fran Lee (travelling), Ian Horsfield (Kelburne, Scotland), Richie Beere (emigrated), Rob Burke (moved to Cork)

Summary: A summer of relocations has seen Monkstown lose four players of note with the midfield engine room of Franny Lee and Filip Jaros a big gap to fill. Kiwi Andy Ewington has already made an impact with his five goals against Dublin University and he will be joined by a compatriot in late October.

Those changes aside, there’s still plenty of quality around. Stephen Cole is maturing all the time while Brian Groves’ powerful running and Gareth Watkins increased involvement at national level mean that matching last year is more than likely with a favourable Mills cup draw also on the cards.

First three games: YMCA (a); UCD (h); Corinthian (h)
Prediction: 4th
IHL Prediction: Group stages

Pembroke Wanderers

Last Season: 1st; IHL, ISC, EuroHockey Club Trophy Winners, Mills Cup final

Player/coach: Craig Fulton (5th season)
Captain: Alan Giles

Players In: Andy McConnell (TRR), Patrick Good (YMCA), Adam Pritchard (Cork C of I), David Molloy (Waterford)
Players Out: Ronan Flannery (UCD), Scott Lowrie (Scotland), Stu Loughrey (Loughborough Uni)

Summary: The unprecedented success of 2008/09 has helped attract big name signings in Andy McConnell and Adam Pritchard, helping Pembroke to continue to push the boundaries of what is possible in Irish club hockey.

The biggest acquisition, though, could be the inclusion of Colin Stewart on the management ticket. His arrival as a specialist forward’s coach can also double as a very keen extra set of eyes on the sideline to help player-coach Craig Fulton.

Like Glenanne, their build-up to the EHL is far from ideal and UCD on Saturday represents the first and only chance for the full 2009/10 panel to get to grips with each other in a competitive environment ahead of Barcelona. Their group in that competition does offer a good opportunity to advance with Kelburne the obvious target.

On paper, the strength in depth should see Pembroke start the season as favourites for pretty much everything domestically but EHL campaigns have tended to disrupt league form as injury takes its toll in the long run. But Pembroke now have a large extended panel and will be better equipped than any other to deal with such eventualities.

First three games: Clontarf (h); Glenanne (date TBC); UCD (date TBC)
Prediction: 1st
IHL Prediction: Winners

Railway Union

Last Season: 8th

Coach: Paul Cooke (2nd season)
Players In: Stephen O’Keefe (UCD), Karl Chapple (Avoca), Andrew Holmes (Russia), Greg O’Driscoll (Cork Harlequins)
Players Out: David Jenkins (Monkstown), Brendan O’Connor (Galway)

Summary: Youth development continues to be the by-word on Park Avenue as Railway’s preseason saw several teenagers get increasing pitch-time. Jeffrey Spillane broke into the side last year and can expect more of the same while Stephen O’Keefe and Karl Chapple are good, young acquisitions.

Paul O’Brien continues to be the guide and, should he play in 2010, will have appeared in four decades in division one after 25 consecutive years registered with the first team.

Paul Cooke did a good job to keep Railway in division one with plenty to spare last time out and have the smarts to get the necessary results when it matters. UCD’s improvement, though, could make a similar outcome that bit tougher.

Kevin O’Brien, though, is likely to miss the season with cricket commitments while Kenny Carroll only joined the squad last week when similar responsibilities came to an end.

First three games: TRR (a); Corinthian (h); Clontarf (h)
Prediction: 9th

Three Rock Rovers

Last Season: 3rd, IHL semi-finals, EHL last 16

Coach: Maarten Bos (1st season)

Players In: Sven Gjaalardt (Netherlands), Pieter Steins-Bisschop (Netherlands)
Players Out: Tim Hill (UCD), Lucas Piccioli (Corinthian), Andy McConnell (Pembroke), Phelie Maguire (KHC Leuven), Mitch Darling (KHC Leuven)

Summary: How Rovers will fare is one of the big unknowns as the loss of three Irish internationals panellists has hit hard. How hard remains to be seen and injury to Dutch import Sven Gjaalardt is not ideal.

Preseason wins over Cork Harlequins and Fingal before defeat to YMCA show some erratic tendencies while Mikey Maguire and Peter Blakeney will need to step up to the mark.

Plenty of youngsters are pushing for first team places with Tom Samuel one who might see a decent amount of pitch-time. A smaller panel but a shortened calendar of fixtures may well lead to an IHL-playoff place.

First three games: Railway Union (h); Clontarf (a); Fingal (a)
Prediction: 5th
IHL Prediction: Group stages

UCD

Last Season: 9th

Player/coach: John McInroy (1st season)
Captain: Tim Hill

Players In: Tim Hill (UCD), John McInroy (Corinthian), Ronan Flannery (Pembroke), Ross Gribben (Corinthian), Rob Anderson (YMCA), Jamie Tobin (YMCA), Shane O’Donnell (YMCA)
Players Out: Stephen O’Keefe (Railway Union), Runar O’Moore (Monkstown), Ali Nolan (Monkstown)

Summary: Good recruitment and some highly motivated preseason work sees UCD enter the season with higher hopes than usual. Indeed, they have brought in decent forwards to help alter the stat from last season that the students only scored when Robbie McFarlane was in the squad.

Given his injury problems, bagels proved regular occurrences but Jamie Tobin and Tim Hill have both struck four times in preseason while McInroy is always good for a goal or two.

Ronan Flannery is a key acquisition and UCD will put up more of a fight this year but may not have enough in the tank for a sustained top five push just yet.

First three league games: Glenanne (h); Monkstown (a); Pembroke (date TBC)
League prediction: 8th

YMCA

Last Season: 7th, Mills Cup semi-final

Coach: Trevor Dagg (3rd season)
Captain: Iain Walker

Players In: Cliff Bailey (Bray), Simon Mills (Brisbane), Todd Gill (Cairns)
Players Out: Patrick Good (Pembroke), Rob Anderson (UCD), Jamie Tobin (UCD)

Summary: Much to their own surprise, almost all YM’s summer player chases ended up working out to leave them with three Australians in their squad.

Jacob Webber and his scoring instincts turned YM’s season last time out as they reached the Mills’ semi-final and climbed a few notches on the league ladder.

Ultimately, they may be edged out of the IHL places but they should definitely be in the shake-up. Monkstown and Fingal in the first week will indicate how central they are to that dust-up.

First three games: Monkstown (h); Fingal (a); Glenanne (date TBC)
League Prediction: 6th

Friday, September 25, 2009

Instonians to play Ireland for 50th anniversary

Instonians will celebrate their 50th anniversary this year, kicking off with the Old Boys playing an Ireland XI at Shawsbridge this Sunday at 2pm.

Paul Revington has named a high quality side for the tie with seven faces coming into the squad that played in France in midweek.Michael Maguire, Keith Black, Alan Giles, Timmy Cockram, Gareth Watkins, Peter Blakeney and Bruce McCandless are all in with the Belgian quintet making way as does Johnny Jackson, Graham Shaw and David Hobbs.

They will face up against former Ireland international stars Mark Irwin and Paddy Brown. Admission to the game is free.

Ireland squad (versus Instonians)
David Harte (Pembroke Wanderers), Iain Walker (Dublin YMCA), Ronan Gormley (Capt, Pembroke Wanderers), Tim Lewis (Pembroke Wanderers), Joe Brennan (Glenanne), Michael Maguire (Three Rock Rovers), Conor Harte (Pembroke Wanderers), Keith Black (Cookstown), Alan Giles (Pembroke Wanderers), Timmy Cockram (Lisnagarvey), David Ames (Cookstown), Andy McConnell (Pembroke Wanderers), Gareth Watkins (Monkstown), Peter Blakeney (Three Rock Rovers), Bruce McCandless (Banbridge), Peter Caruth (Annadale), Alan Sothern (Pembroke Wanderers)

Coach: Paul Revington
Manager: Paddy Grimes

Reds look to break into top tier

With the early Neville Cup sparring providing an easing back into the season, Leinster league division one gets underway in earnest tomorrow afternoon.

Corinthian, YMCA and UCD all have significant tests of how far they can go this season as they face Fingal, Monkstown and Glenanne respectively.

The reds impressed in their two ties to date, smashing Avoca and easily dealing with an under-strength Pembroke line-up with Lucas Piccioli scoring five times since returning to Whitechurch from Three Rock.

They face the side they pipped to fifth place last time out but, with a full season of Andrew Cronje at the heart of their defence and the prospect of Darren Kimfley returning in the near future, will be aiming to push on.

Both fixtures last season ended 5-3 with a win a piece so a ding-dong battle could well be in prospect.

YM, meanwhile, will hope to push their claims for an IHL place against Monkstown in what could be one of the key fixtures this season in this race. Both progressed to the Neville Cup semi-finals and will be aiming to build on that early season optimism.

They have both picked up antipodean recruits with Todd Gill and Simon Mills for the Y and Andy Ewington for the Town while Cliff Bailey will face his schoolboy club.

John McInroy’s UCD face Glenanne with a series of new recruits in tow with Shane O’Donnell adding to the influx in the last fortnight.

He joins new skipper Tim Hill (TRR), Ross Gribben (Corinthian) and Ronan Flannery (Pembroke) as central to their new outlook. They lost to an understrength Glens team in their last warm-up match in midweek, for whom Eddie O’Malley was in top form.

With the Glens international trio returning, the Tallaght side are favourites to overturn the surprise draw in the corresponding fixture last term.

Elsewhere, Three Rock host Railway Union in what will be their first official outing of the season though a youthful selection has lined out in preseason games against Mossley, Banbridge, Clontarf, YM and Monkstown.

Stephen O’Keefe and Karl Chapple come in while Mark Jenkins returns to Monkstown and Brendan O’Connor has relocated to Galway.

Former Munster U-21 Greg O’Driscoll returns to the sport with Railway, too.
Rovers, meanwhile, have Mikey Maguire and Peter Blakeney back in the fold, returning from Australia earlier this week.

Pembroke, meanwhile, will expect a win from their opening league game against Clontarf with Andy McConnell and Adam Pritchard in line for debuts against the division one new-boys.

* A team-by-team preview will be posted this evening

Men's Division One (Saturday)
Pembroke Wanderers vs Clontarf, 2.45pm, Serpentine Ave; Three Rock Rovers vs Railway Union, 3pm, Grange Road; Corinthian vs Fingal, 2.30pm, Whitechurch Park; YMCA vs Monkstown, 2pm, Alexandra College; UCD vs Glenanne, 1.30pm, Belfield

Avoca and Trinity raise curtain on slimline division two

The withdrawals of Skerries and Naas, combined with Kilkenny’s decision to drop their first side down to division four leaves division two with a bare look for the opening weekend of the season.

The six remaining teams will play each other three times with the side due to have a bye according to the ‘Blue books’ fixture list replacing Skerries.

Quite what to make of the future of the division is unclear though the trend is very worrying. In the early 1990s, Leinster hockey had three divisions of ten teams devoted solely to first teams.

Many of those clubs have since fallen by the wayside and it is difficult to see division two remaining in its current format in 2010/11 unless the current trend is reversed.

As for this weekend’s games, Dublin Uni’s game with Avoca looks the pick of the three with both giving league debuts to a number of new faces.

Trinity have Wesley senior cup winning skipper Kristian Fitzgerald as an option between the posts while Steven Roberts moves from Three Rock, Niall Noonan from YMCA and Freddie Hill from Pembroke.

Munster U-18 Roger Clarke has also signed up while the potential of a number of English arrivals remains to be seen but initial signs are Sean Flynn, a West of England representative, could be handy. Peter Hyde returns after stints with Suttonians and Clontarf.

On the way out are key club men Barry Glavey and Ben Hewitt while Brian Cleere looks set to continue his studies beyond College Park. Aengus Stanley and Jonny Orr could return in the New Year.

Avoca, meanwhile, have swooped for Bray trio Jamie Crawford, Greg Keeley and Rob Pearson in their bid to return back to division one though Karl Chapple has moved to Railway Union.

Weston look to be the other side in contention for promotion under the coaching of Alan Browne. The talismanic midfielder has got his side playing high-tempo stuff and the additions of Vikram Singh and Brian Scully are notable ones.

A Bray side short of the afore-mentioned trio, Cliff Bailey and Andy Macken combined with Ian Murphy returning to New Zealand and James Hardiman to Australia means last season’s runners-up have a tough season of rebuilding ahead of them.

Suttonians, under Frank Byrne, have added Alan Crawford (Fingal) and Simon Walsh (Pembroke) to their squad and are close to full strength for Stephen McGrath’s Navan Badger’s visit on Saturday.

Richie Wormald is the only player missing having recently got engaged but will return next week.

Men's Division Two Saturday fixtures: Suttonians vs Navan, Sutton Park; Dublin University vs Avoca, 1pm, Santry Avenue; Weston vs Bray 2pm, Griffeen Valley Park

Railway well-set for favourites tag

Railway Union look well-placed to retain their Leinster senior league title following a busy summer of transfers across division one.

They begin their title defence against an Alex side who have brought in Roisin Flinn and Pamela Smithwick from UCD but are dealing with the retirements of Jan Ovington and Anya Bowers while Liane Ryan has emigrated to England.

Their squad, therefore, takes on a youthful look with four teenagers added to the panel.

Given the influx of high quality newcomers Holly Jenkinson, Nikki Evans and Zara Delany and the likelihood their main title rivals will be weakened at various points in the season, Railway look a formidable proposition.

Emma Smyth is likely to be absent for some portion of the season due to international commitments – they are currently on an enforced rest until October 10’s first round of the Irish Senior Cup and the World Cup qualifiers could see clubs stripped of star players for a large tract of January to March.

Delany, though, has resumed light training following a lengthy lay-off due to a cartilage injury and Emer Lucey is out for about three weeks but, other than that, McKinnon’s squad appears the strongest on show.

Sinead Dooley is another big boon following a season off due to a gaelic football injury. Fully focused on hockey now, the former Ireland panelist has been showing signs of regaining her touch.

In previous years, the IHL final pairing of Loreto and Hermes would be the marquee game but it takes on a slightly different profile this time around with many top players unavailable.

The game is likely to be a key one nonetheless but Nikki Symmons, Cathy McKean and Lizzie Colvin sit out the game for Loreto but former Irish international Catriona Tipping is back in full-training.

Yvonne Kenny steps in for Emma Gray between the posts for Hermes and Simon Fligas' side will also be without Linda Caulfield until Christmas and Jill Hodgins until late November as she takes on the New York marathon. Shelley Sloan has returned to Ulster to play with Pegasus.

Pembroke will hope their youth stars Alice Ward, Noelle Farrell and Orla Fox continue their rise as they come to terms with Louisa Moore’s departure to London. They will not face former team-mate Elaine Bromell, however, as she left Bray after a one-year stint to move back to Catholic Institute.

The Wicklow club are likely, once again, to be involved in a four-team mini-league at the bottom end of the table with Corinthian, Glenanne and Trinity.

The students have the weekend off – along with UCD – but have strengthened to a reasonable extent. Corinthian and Glenanne – both under new coaches – have a key tie at Whitechurch Park.

Corinthian keep a fairly settled side from last season for Stewart Walker and assistants Andrew Cronje and Lucas Piccioli to work with but Guy Garrett starts the year without forward duo Valerie Sexton and Nicci Daly who have moved to UCD and Loreto respectively.

* A team by team preview will be posted this evening, detailing all the ins and outs over the summer.

Saturday Division One schedule:
Pembroke vs Bray, 1pm, Serpentine Avenue; Corinthian vs Glenanne, 1.45pm, Whitechurch Park; Loreto vs Hermes, 2.30pm, Beaufort; Railway Union vs Old Alex, 2.30pm, Park Avenue

Ireland bounce back to take draw

International Friendly:
France 1 (Nicolas Monnier) Ireland 1 (Mikey Watt)

In a vastly improved performance, the Irish team shared the spoils in the second of their two-match series with France in Paris.

Mikey Watt’s (left) 51st minute goal cancelled out Nicolas Monnier’s penalty stroke early in the second half to secure the draw, bouncing back well from Wednesday’s 6-1 loss – Ireland’s biggest ever turnover by the French.

A lively first half ended scoreless with Ronan Gormley and Alan Sothern both going close, the latter with a deft touch to Eugene Magee’s reverse-stick cross that was expertly saved.

Monnier broke the dead-lock in the 41st minute from the spot after David Harte had infringed in the circle.

Ireland had the upper hand for the most part, thereafter, and got their reward when Mikey Watt was the benefactor from a flowing move involving Peter Caruth and Geoff McCabe.

David Hobbs and Joe Brennan both picked up knocks soon after as Ireland continued to press for a winner but it never came, leaving the Irish to settle for a 1-1 draw. They are next in action on October 2 against Scotland in Banbridge.

Ireland: David Harte, Johnny Jackson, Ronan Gormley, Michael Watt, Joe Brennan, Eugene Magee, Peter Caruth, Andy McConnell, Graham Shaw, David Hobbs, Mitch Darling, Alan Sothern, Geoff McCabe, David Ames, Conor Harte, Tim Lewis

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Harry Cahill: 1930- 2009

Irish hockey Hall of Famer Harry Cahill passed away last Friday at the age of 79. Widely regarded as the best goalkeeper to ever don the pads for Ireland, he earned 72 Irish caps during a 20-year period stretching from 1953 to 1973.

During that period, he was selected for three Olympic Games for Great Britain – finishing in fourth in Rome in 1960, ninth Tokyo in 1964 and 12th in Mexico in 1968 where he was Britain’s oldest Olympian at those Games.

He also played with the Irish side for the first European Nations Cup in 1970, aged 40.

In a time of minimal protective gear, Cahill was revered for his fearless approach to the game allied with razor-sharp reflexes and athleticism.

He played his initial club hockey with Pembroke Wanderers before moving across channel to play with the Coventry and North Warwickshire club.

He was inducted into the IHA Hall of Fame in 2006.

Ireland hit for six by France

International friendly: France 6 (Jean-Baptiste Pauchet 2, Yannick Schambert, Olivier Sanchez, Mathieu Durchon 2) Ireland 1 (Eugene Magee)
Ireland received a reality check from France in their first warm-up game for November’s World Cup qualifiers as they were hammered 6-1 in Paris this evening.

Three French goals between the 19th and 23rd minute undid a decent Irish start with Olivier Sanchez scoring the third to mark his debut in style.


Eugene Magee got Ireland’s only goal of the game - his 21st in the Irish jersey - from a 25th minute drag-flick.

Iain Walker pulled off a series of saves but France offered little mercy as Mathieu Durchon cracked in a goal either side of half-time and Jean-Baptiste Pauchet scored his second goal of the game in the 43rd minute to round out the scoring.

It proved a chastening experience for Belgian-based Phelie Maguire and Mikey Watt who made returns to the panel after lengthy absences - the former due to his time in Palestine, the latter returning from injury.

France, for their part, fielded a much changed side from their European championship squad with eight new faces into the squad and five stepping out including veteran Freddie Soyez and Maxine Lanos due to injury.

Ireland: Iain Walker, Tim Lewis Ronan Gormley (capt), Joe Brennan, Johnny Jackson, Geoff McCabe, Graham Shaw, David Hobbs, Eugene Magee, Mikey Watt, Alan Sothern
Subs: Mitch Darling, Andy McConnell, Phelie Maguire, Conor Harte, Peter Caruth

Fixture (Thursday): France vs Ireland, Paris, 1.30pm Irish time

Irish internationals on the move

As a hectic pre-season comes to a close, the high profile transfers keep coming with four women's internationals departing these shores to play hockey elsewhere.


Megan Frazer's scholarship to the University of Maryland was confirmed in the Spring but has been joined in wild geese camp by Shirley McCay (left), Alex Speers and Emma Clarke.

McCay and Speers have become part of the growing Ulster contingent at Dragons in Belgium - three Irish male internationals are already in residence - with Speers on target in a recent fixture against Leuven.

Emma Clarke, meanwhile, has joined English Premier side Leicester as her work takes her over to England.

In Leinster circles, Railway Union have picked up a trio of eye-catching signings in Holly Jenkinson (UCD), Zara Delany (Loreto) and Nikki Evans (Hermes) - all three being involved in Irish or Leinster panels in the past season.

Loreto have a ready-made replacement, though, with Ireland A panelist Nicci Daly moving from Glenanne.

Meanwhile, on the men's side, Pembroke Wanderers completed the transfer of nine-times Irish capped Adam Pritchard (right). The Cork C of I vice-captain makes the move to Serpentine Avenue following his acceptance to a course in Trinity College.

His defensive prowess will come in handy for the Serpentine Avenue club with Colin Kelly likely to be out for three months and Stu Loughrey moving to Loughborough.

* Full season preview detailing all the transfers to hand for the men's division one and two and women's division one will be released on Friday

Leinster Schoolboy leagues announced

With the first series of schoolboy's hockey fixtures getting underway this week, the Leinster school's have released the divisions for 2009/10 and the format each respective league will take.


Senior A involves the five All-Ireland qualifiers playing on a home and away basis. Senior B sees each team play each
other once with the top two qualifying for a final.

The addition of Newpark to Junior A means each side plays each other once with a league final with Junior B working on the same basis.

The minor leagues work on the same basis while the U-13 A league works on a home and away basis. The B league produces four semi-finalists for a play-off series while C league pits the top two from the North and South sections against each other in semi-finals. This league features Donabate for the first time while junior schools Whitechurch, Rathgar, Taney and the returning Headfort.

* If you have any results from these competitions, please pass them on to The Hook at stevie_findlats@yahoo.com or in the comment form (these will be unpublished in the comments section and verified with the Leinster Branch but will help collating results).

Senior A (home and away): St Andrews, Wesley College, Kilkenny College, Mount Temple, Sutton Park
Senior B (top two qualify for league final): Dundalk GS, St Columba’s, John Scottus, St Andrews B, Wesley B, Sandford Park, St Mark’s, High School, King’s Hospital, Newpark


Junior A (straight league): St Andrews, Wesley College, Kilkenny College, Mount Temple, Sutton Park, St Columba’s, Newpark
Junior B (top two to league final): Dundalk GS, St Columba’s, John Scottus, Wesley B, Sandford Park, St Andrews B, Mount Temple, High School, King’s Hospital, St Killians


Minor A (straight league): Wesley, King’s Hospital, St Andrews, Sutton Park, Mount Temple, St Columba’s, Newpark
Minor B (top four to semi-finals and final): Kilkenny, Dundalk GS, Drogheda GS, Sandford Park, Wesley B, Mount Temple, St Andrews B, King’s Hospital, High School, St Killians


U-13 A (home and away): St Andrews, Wesley College, Sutton Park, King’s Hospital
U-13 B (top four play-off with semi-final and final): St Columba’s, Dundalk GS, Sandford Park, Drogheda GS, Wesley B, Mount Temple, St Andrew’s, King’s Hospital, High School, St Killians, Newpark
U-13 C North (top two qualify for semis): Drogheda GS, Dundalk GS B, Mount Temple B, Donabate CS, King’s Hospital B, Headfort
U-13 C South (top two qualify for semis): Taney, Rathgar, St Andrews C, Wesley C, St Killians, Whitechurch

Revington names revised panel

Paul Revington named his revised Irish Squad this morning for the Scotland series, taking place October 2-4 in Banbridge in the wake of Argentina pulling out of a scheduled triple header at the end of September.

The significant changes has seen the need for Revington to revert to a more established squad for the Saturday fixture with five Pembroke and three Glenanne players now included.

As such, the league match between the clubs, scheduled for October 3, has been postponed.

As such, the squad for the first two games is the guts of the European panel with Phelie Maguire and Mikey Watt coming in for Alan Giles and Peter Caruth.

The panel for the Sunday game sees much of the extended panel named with only David Harte, John Jermyn, Conor Harte, Johnny Jackson, David Hobbs and Timmy Cockram retaining their place for the third game.

Ireland play the first of two matches with France this evening in Paris at 6pm.

Ireland men vs Scotland (October 2&3)
David Harte (Pembroke); Iain Walker (YMCA); Ronan Gormley Capt (Pembroke); Tim Lewis (Pembroke); Joe Brennan (Glenanne); John Jackson (Loughborough); Conor Harte (Pembroke); John Jermyn (Cork C of I); David Hobbs (Cork C of I); Stephen Butler (Glenanne); Graham Shaw (Glenanne); Geoff McCabe (Dragons); Eugene Magee (Dragons); Michael Watt (Dragons); Timmy Cockram (Lisnagarvey); Alan Sothern (Pembroke); Mitch Darling (Leuven); Phelie Maguire (Leuven)

Ireland men vs Scotland (October 4)
David Harte (Pembroke); Mark Ruddle (Cork C of I); John Jackson (Loughborough); Paul Gleghorne (Loughborough); Karl Burns (Cork C of I); Michael Maguire (Three Rock Rovers); Conor Harte (Pembroke) John Jermyn (Cork C of I); David Hobbs (Cork C of I); David Ames (Cookstown); Timmy Cockram (Lisnagarvey); Andy McConnell (Pembroke); Peter Caruth (Annadale); Chris Cargo (Reading); Peter Blakeney (Three Rock Rovers); Alan Giles (Pembroke); Gareth Watkins (Monkstown); Bruce McCandless (Banbridge)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Blues U-16 and U-18 panels named

Gareth Borland and Rory O’Donoghue have announced their respective U-16 and U-18 panels for the upcoming interprovincial series which will be played in UCD on October 2-4.

Borland includes the first player from famed GAA academy St Declan’s, Cabra, Shane Dempsey, in the panel. Dempsey is a product of the St Brendan’s/PP youth system and is currently training with the Clontarf men's team.

Ireland U-16 internationals David Cole, Ross Canning and Jeremy Duncan return for another year at this level.

The U-18 side has plenty of international experience too with Ireland A panellist Shane O’Donoghue captaining the side. Dundalk’s Andrew Shekleton is another of last year’s European champions to be involved once again as are Neal Megarity and Richard Sykes.

Rob Burke, David McCrea, Shane Madeley, Jeffrey Spillane, Mark Ryan, Tom Samuel and 15-year-old goalkeeper Mark Ingram move up from the Irish U-16s.

Leinster U-18 Boy's panel
Mark Ingram (GK, Oatlands, Railway Union), Robert Fitzgerald (GK, Wesley College/YMCA), Robert Burke (Wesley College/Corinthian), David McCrea (Wesley College/Three Rock Rovers), Luke Chadwick (Wesley College/YMCA), Neil Megarity (Wesley College/Three Rock Rovers), Shane Madeley (Wesley College/Three Rock Rovers), Jeffrey Spillane (Blackrock College/Railway Union), Conor Stevens (St Andrews/Monkstown), Alan White (Wesley College/Three Rock Rovers), Stephen Nolan (St Andrews/Monkstown), Mark Ryan (VC, Mount Temple/Fingal), Shane O’Donoghue (Capt, High School/Glenanne), Tom Samuel (Wesley College/Three Rock Rovers), Andrew Shekleton (Dundalk Grammar/Fingal), Scott Margetson (Wesley College/YMCA), Richard Sykes (St Andrews /Monkstown), David Watkins (St Andrews/Monkstown)

Manager: Tony Barry
Coach: Rory O’Donoghue
Asst Coach: Frank Byrne
GK Coach: Stephen Doran

Leinster U-16 Boy's panel
Shane Bourke (GK, St Killians/YMCA), Stefan Gallagher (GK, Newpark/Avoca ), David Cole (Capt, St Andrews /Monkstown), Ben Campbell (St Andrews/YMCA), David Winn (Wesley College/YMCA), George Dagg (Sandford Park/Pembroke), Ian Stewart (Wesley College/Corinthian), Jeremy Duncan (Kilkenny College/Railway Union), Jonathan Roberts (Wesley College/Three Rock Rovers), Jordan Sutton (Wesley College/Corinthian), Kirk Shimmins (VC, Wesley College/Pembroke), Lee Cole (St Andrews/Monkstown), Neil Pelow (Wesley College/Corinthian), Ravin Nair (St Andrews College/Railway Union), Robbie Clarke (Wesley College/Corinthian), Shane Dempsey (St Declans), Ross Canning (St Columbas/Three Rock Rovers), Ben Chadwick (Wesley College/YMCA)
Manager: Peter Chadwick
Coach: Gareth Borland
GK Coach: Iain Walker
Asst Coach: Brian Winn

Symmons releases Leinster U-16 girl's panel

Nikki Symmons named her Leinster U-16 panel, hoping to bring the girl’s interprovincial title back to the province for the first time since 2005.

Kate Lloyd, Anna Roopnarinesingh, Orla Macken, Anna May Whelan and Ailish Naughton are all included for the second year running for the tournament which takes place at Grange Road on October 3 and 4 in Grange Road.

Ciara Vincent is the one player not from an established hockey school, developing her skills within the Loreto youth set-up.

Leinster U-16 Girls
Suzy Kenna (GK, St Gerards), Nicola Walsh (Mt Anville/Railway Union), Jane Fennelly (Mt Anville/Hermes), Laura Gallagher (St Gerards/Pembroke), Kate Lloyd (Loreto Dalkey/Railway Union), Anna Roopnarinesingh (Alexandra College/Old Alex), Orla Macken (Rathdown/Railway Union), Anna May Whelan (Wesley College/Old Alex), Emma Russell (Holy Child Kiliney/Hermes), Hannah McDermott (Alexandra College/Old Alex), Ailish Naughton (Holy Child Kiliney/Railway Union), Laura Gray (St Andrews College/Hermes), Orla Patton (Loreto Dalkey/Hermes), Aine McCrann (Muckross Park/Loreto), Lauren Haughton (Wesley College/Three Rock Ladies), Rachel Owens (Loreto Beaufort/Loreto), Kate Lenehan (Alexandra College/Old Alex), Ciara Vincent (St Colmcilles/Loreto)

Coach: Nikki Symmons
Manager: Kate Hurley
Asst Coach: Sarah Scott
GK Coach: Ian Clarke

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Corinthian sweep past threadbare 'Broke

Neville Cup quarter-finals
Corinthian 4 (Lucas Piccioli 2, Davy Carson, Glenn Holmes) Pembroke 2 (Justin Sherriff 2)
Corinthian comfortably got past Pembroke to reach the Neville Cup semi-finals, building up a 4-1 lead by half-time, inspired once again by Lucas Piccioli's trickery.

Davy Carson scored against his former club inside two minutes, tapping in after a virtuoso run from Glenn Holmes who used his pace to burn past Peter Priestly and Ken Treacy on half-way and square for the Irish U-18 international.

Justin Sherriff nailed a corner to level but Piccioli's double swung the tie irreversibly. He stole off a hesitant Stu Garrett to bounce over David Harte for 2-1 and he put some distance between the sides when he turned Priestly in the circle from Alan Blennerhassett's simple ball in and found the bottom right corner.

He turned provider for Holmes' goal, the only player to react when a corner might have been awarded, flipping over Harte to leave the simplest of tasks for the striker; a just reward for a pitch length move. Sherriff pulled one back late on with a drag-flick but it was a tough stint for Pembroke with just two subs available.

Fingal 1 (Gary Sharman) Monkstown 2 (Alec Barrett ps, Stephen Cole) on golden goal
Stephen Cole's stunning golden goal put Monkstown into the semi-final of the Neville Cup, guaranteeing Rory O'Donoghue a semi-final date against his former club, Glenanne, in late November.

Alec Barrett scored a penalty stroke in the second half after Ben Chillingworth took one to the body on the line for 1-0. But Gary Sharman scored a rebounded corner goal - his first since joining from Kilkenny - to force extra-time.

Cole, though, spanked in a brilliant reverse-stick effort in the second period of extra-time to take the win.

YMCA 5 (Andy Walker 2, Mikey Fry, Cliff Bailey, Jacob Webber) Clontarf 0
Clontarf got a harsh lesson of what to expect in the season to come in division one as they conceded five and, were it not for goalkeeper Stephen Kearns' form, it could have been more.

Jacob Webber scored three days after returning from Australia while Cliff Bailey got his first goal for the club to add to strikes from more established YM players Mikey Fry and Andy Walker.

Skerries scr Glenanne w/o

Semi-final draw: Monkstown vs Glenanne; Corinthian vs YMCA

* For more of Adrian Boehm's pics from the Corinthian vs Pembroke game, click here

Friday, September 18, 2009

'Broke's Kelly out of Neville panel

Pembroke have been rocked by what looks a serious Achilles tendon injury to veteran defender Colin Kelly (pictured, left) ahead of their Neville Cup second round tie against Corinthian at Whitechurch Park.

His unavailability comes in addition to the players in the Irish panel though David Harte is entitled to return, given the exemptions for goalkeepers.

That game looks to be the tie of the round, especially in light of the reds performance in mid-week.

They proved the most impressive of first round winners with Lucas Piccioli, Glenn Holmes and Davy Carson in devastating form.

Combined with their Mills Cup win last March, they are a side justified in having some confidence going into this tie against the guts of a panel who struggled to show a ruthless streak against Weston on Tuesday.

The winner there will play either Clontarf or YMCA with the former holding the aces. YM won 6-0 in a pre-season tie before the arrival of Aussie trio Mills, Gill and Webber as well as Walker’s Andy and Iain.

The Bulls have a couple of injury worries, too, with Rob Abbott nursing a hand problem while Richie Forrest is also out. Stephen Ludgate could return, though, and Ben Hewitt is likely to make his debut. Gordon Lindsay and Ross McMullen have both retired.

On the other side of the draw, Fingal face the new corner threat of Kiwi Andy Ewington at ALSAA in the other all-division one tie. Glenanne will hope for a fruitful day at the seaside as they visit a Skerries side missing Ronan Gannon – among others – due to long-term travels.

Neville Cup Round 2 (all Saturday)
Fingal v Monkstown, 2pm, ALSAA; Skerries v Glenanne, 2pm, Skerries; Corinthians v Pembroke Wanderers, 1.30pm,Whitechurch Park; YMCA v Clontarf, 3pm, Alexandra College

News in Brief: AGM date announced

* The Leinster Branch have served notice of their September General Meeting. It will be held on Wednesday, September 30 2009 in Three Rock hockey club at 7.30pm.

An Agenda will follow closer to date and all clubs are asked to ensure that they are represented.

* St Brendan’s Phoenix Park will celebrate their 80th anniversary on Saturday with a pre-season, 7-a-side tournament at their club home on the grass in the Phoenix Park.

Refreshments and food will be available throughout the day and entertainment will be provided that night in the clubhouse.

* Galway hockey club have launched an excellent micro-site for next February’s EuroHockey Indoor Club Champion’s Challeng. Check it out at http://www.galwayindoor2010.com/


* There are still a couple of places left for the umpires seminar which gets underway tomorrow morning. If you would like to sign up at this late stage, contact Crozier Deane on 086 828 1393.

* Due to the volume of stories over the past couple of days, to make sure you haven’t missed anything, here is a couple of links to all the new additions in the past two days:

- Corinthian reach Neville Cup quarter-finals

- Boyne and Athy hockey clubs are born

- Leinster schoolgirl's Premier League tips off

- Argentina pull out of Dublin series

- Ewington dream debut for the Town

- Tom O'Donoghue names Leinster U-18 panel

O'Donoghue names U-18 girl's panel

Tom O'Donoghue has named a high quality Leinster U-18 squad, packed with division one talent for what promises to be a high quality tournament at Grange Road on October 3 and 4.

Ireland A pair Chloe Watkins and Gillian Pinder (as captain) are among five returnees from the 2008 panel. They are joined by Deirdre Duke, Patricia O'Dwyer and Sinead McGirr who all picked up division one experience in the 2008/09 season with Hermes, Railway and Loreto respectively.

They are joined in the panel by a quartet of Old Alex youngsters - Emily Beatty, Vera Taaffe, Nicola Gray and Leah Lenehan - who have been added to the club's first team panel. Aisling Naughton and Lisa McCarthy step up from the Irish U-16s. Loreto, Beaufort is the school with the biggest representation with six players involved.

Connacht have named a similarly impressive squad with a large contingent from the Colaiste Iognaid side who won last year's Kate Russell Cup inlcuding the trio of Tara Melvin, Katie Codyre, Michelle Carey and Lynsey Trainor and will be a force to reckoned with.

Ulster have yet to release their panel but have won the competition in eight of the last nine years.

Leinster U-18 panel: Rachel Barnett (GK, Holy Faith Clontarf/Railway Union), Ruth Murphy (GK, Loreto Beaufort/Loreto), Carly Baker (Loreto Beaufort/Loreto), Ailsing Burke (Alexandra College/Hermes), Laura Delany (Loreto Beaufort/Corinthian), Deirdre Duke (Alexandra College/Hermes), Nicola Gray (VC, Alexandra College/Old Alex), Juliette King Hall (Newpark School/Hermes), Leah Lenehan (Alexandra College/Old Alex), Lisa McCarthy (Mount Anville/Railway Union), Sinead McGirr (Loreto Beaufort/Loreto), Aisling Naughton (Alexandra College/Corinthian), Patricia O'Dwyer (Loreto Beaufort/Railway Union), Niamh O'Reilly (Loreto Beaufort/Loreto), Gillian Pinder (Capt, St Andrews College/Hermes), Vera Taaffe (St Andrews College/Old Alex), Chloe Watkins (St Andrews College/Hermes), Emily Beatty (Alexandra College/Old Alex)

Manager: Wendy Byrne
Coach: Tom O'Donoghue
Asst Coach: Eimear Campion
GK Coach: Jane Coyne

Monkstown complete Neville quarters line-up

Neville Cup Round One:
Dublin Uni 1 (Tolley Humphries) Monkstown 7 (Andy Ewington 5, Frank Ryan 2)
Andy Ewington made a dream debut for Monkstown as the New Zealand showed his penalty corner menace at Santry this evening, crashing in four drag-flicks as well as rebounding another penalty corner.

Trinity kept the visitors to just a single first half but the Town cut loose in the second period as Ewington found his range while teenager Frank Ryan weighed in with a pair. Tolley Humphries got the sole response with the score at 4-0.

Gareth Watkins sat the game out but Monkstown easily progress to set up another visit to the Santry area on Saturday, this time to face a stiffer test in Fingal.

Neville Cup Round 2 (all Saturday)
Fingal v Monkstown, 2pm, ALSAA; Skerries vs. Glenanne, 2pm, Skerries; Corinthians v Pembroke Wanderers, 1.30pm,Whitechurch Park; YMCA v Clontarf, 3pm, Alexandra College

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Argentina pull out of Dublin series

Argentina, who were due to play Ireland in a triple header, on September 28 and 30and October 1 in Dublin, have confirmed they are not in a position to make the trip and have pulled out of the series.

In light of the cancelled Argentinean series, Revington will now re-select his squad for the Scottish series, scheduled for October 2-4, but the squad for the French series remains unchanged. Revington is expected to re-announce the squad later next week.

Mount Temple show Premier quality

Senior Girls Premier League: Week 1

The Senior Girls League got underway, with teams shaking off the return to school to put in some excellent performances. The show, however, was stolen by Mount Temple – newcomers to this level – who put in a fantastic performance to gain a comfortable three points at the expense of Our Lady’s Terenure. Elsewhere, there were heavy victories for Loreto, Beaufort and St Andrews College against Sutton Park and Loreto, Dalkey respectively.

Section A

Mount Temple 4-1 Our Lady’s Terenure
Our Lady’s started brightly and dominated the early phases but couldn’t penetrate the Mount temple circle; Temple held strong and took a surprise lead when Sarah Murray pounced quickest to flick home after 20mins. A minute into the second half, a well worked short corner was converted by Nicola Taylor and then, just 90 seconds later, a flowing move from a hit out saw Megan Oliver fire home a reverse stick goal. Our Lady’s didn’t give up and Claire Walsh got a goal back. They kept coming forward but the home side always looked a threat on the attack and scored again with five minutes remaining when Nicola Taylor slotted home her second of the match.

Wesley College 4-1 Muckross Park
Wesley College got their campaign off to an excellent start, comfortably taking care of business against Muckross Park. Sarah Robinson and Hannah Honner scored in the first half to put the home side in control, with Katie Warren extending the lead in the second period. Sarah Twomey hit back for Muckross, but a fourth goal from Anna-May Whelan put the issue beyond doubt.

Mount Sackville 2-0 Rathdown
Mount Sackville got the better of their opening fixture, in a close contest. Siun McLoughlin opened the scoring in the first half, and a neat short corner from Emma Sweeney in the second secured the victory – with goalkeeper Blaithin Colgan keeping a clean sheet in her team’s first outing.

Loreto, Dalkey 0-7 St Andrews College
St Andrews proved to be far too strong for Loreto, Dalkey. A glorious hat-trick from Sarah Woodroofe provided the spark, and further goals from Harriet Kinsman, Chloe Watkins, Sophie Marshall, and Gillian Pinder cemented the scoreline.

Section B

Loreto, Beaufort 8-0 Sutton Park
Newcomers Sutton Park experienced a difficult opening fixture against one of the traditional powerhouses of the league. Hat-tricks from Sinead McGirr and Carly Baker were added to by Orla Gavin and Laura Delany, as Beaufort excelled at scoring both from play and set-pieces.

Loreto, Foxrock 0-1 St. Gerards
An entertaining, end-to-end battle, resulted in a hard fought win for St. Gerards – the only goal of the game coming from Danni Maher. Katie Burgess impressed in defence for St Gerards, who won despite an excellent performance from Foxrock’s Sarah Greene.

Remaining Week One Section B fixtures
Thursday, Septemner 17: The Kings Hospital v Mount Anville
Saturday, September 19: Holy Child, Killiney v The High School

Week 2 fixtures: To be played by 26th September
Section A: Rathdown v Loreto,Bray; St Andrews College v Mount Temple; Muckross Park v Mount Sackville; Our Lady's Terenure v Wesley College
Section B: Sutton Park v Alexandra College; The High School v Loreto, Foxrock; Mount Anville v Loreto, Beaufort; St Gerards v The Kings Hospital

* For more of Deryck Vincent's photos from the Mount Temple vs Our Lady's, Terenure game, click here