Friday, August 13, 2010

The Hook moves to new expanded home

The Hook is moving to an expanded new home at www.hookhockey.com. The new version of the site will endeavour to keep the spirit of the blog, carrying all the latest Leinster hockey news, reports and photos.

The site features a number of new elements to help you find your preferred content – whether it be club, school or international – in as few clicks as possible, changing from the blog format to a categorised setup. Links to the latest news from your club can be found in left column, too,

Comments can be submitted through a simpler process than in recent months on the blog, with just a moniker and an email (which will not show up on the site) required.

A couple of features will be added to the new site in the coming weeks. There are also increased options for advertisers so if you would like to do so or have any suggestions in the meantime, feel free to send me your ideas to stevie_findlats@yahoo.com.

A huge thanks to Gillian McAuliffe for all her help with the site. Check out her work at http://www.gillianmcauliffe.com/.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Pembroke appoint Carolan as men's coach

Pembroke have again cast their net to South African to secure a coach, appointing Brendon Carolan (pictured) as their men’s first team coach for the 2010/11 season.

The 29 year old brings with him an impressive coaching CV, being named the South African Coach of the Year in 2009 as well as obtained an FIH High Performance qualification.

He is currently the men’s head coach of KwaZulu Natal in Durban who were the State winners in 2009, and is Director of Hockey at Glenwood High School.

He has also taken on the Head Coach role for South Africa U-17, U-18 and U-19A teams in the pas three years.

In a statement released by Pembroke, the club are delighted with the new appointment, saying:
“Brendon brings a wealth of coaching experience with him and has the calibre to take on our men’s first side as they head into another busy and challenging season, of defending the Leinster Senior League, the Leinster Senior Cup, the Irish Indoor Cup and the Irish Hockey League, and also preparing for the first round of the EHL in the autumn.

“We are delighted that Brendon will be also be taking on the role as Director of Coaching for the club, where he can pass on his wealth of experience for the benefit of both the men’s and ladies’ sections of the club, and, of course, the youth section as well.”

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Ireland complete Belgian whitewash

Ireland 2 (Alex Speers, Jean McDonnell) Belgium 1 (Morgane Vouche)
For the third day running, Ireland wrapped up victory with something to spare as they netted twice in the first half at the National Hockey Stadium and while, Morgane Vouche got the Belgians in range, the hosts always held the aces.

Alex Speers broke the deadlock in just the fifth minute when she dived to finish off fine combination play between the forward trio, Anna O’Flanagan and Nikki Evans renewing their link-up from a couple of seasons ago at Hermes to create the chance.

And Jean McDonnell pouched her second international goal with a clinically struck hit two minutes before the interval from just left of centre of the circle. Miriam Crowley notched the assist to add to an impressive weekend’s work from the UCC woman.

In between goals, Emma Clarke almost capped her 100th international appearance with a spectacular goal but her shot cleared the bar while Emilie Sinia’s shot wide of Emma Gray’s posts was the sum of Belgium’s efforts.

They did, however, strike back when Jill Boon’s build-up play down the right wing set up Morgane Vouche to give the visitors hope of salvaging a result. It came in the 43rd minute, again during a third period in which they held sway in a similar manner to Saturday’s tie.

But Ireland recovered and went closest to adjusting the score when Nicci Daly struck the post with a little over 20 minutes remaining. It was the pick of a number of late chances, none of which were necessary to complete a first series whitewash for Ireland in many a year.

Overall, the three games series proved the right opposition at the right time – facing a side with a similarly new-look about it with places for new squad possible members in the balance.

With the centralised panel of 25 to be announced in the coming weeks ahead of its October inception, the attacking intent and fluidity shown by the side could see a number of new forward options retained.

Coach Muller said after series "I was very happy with the weekend. We were very solid at the back and were always a threat up front. The new players integrated well into the team and it augurs well for the start of our central preparation programme in October. "

Ireland: Emma Gray, Cliodhna Sargent, Sinead McCarthy, Michelle Harvey, Lizzie Colvin, Emma Clarke, Shirley McCay, Anna O’Flanagan, Nikki Evans, Alex Speers
Subs: Niamh Atcheler, Nicci Daly, Louisa Healy, Jean McDonnell, Miriam Crowley

Belgium: Elizabeth Achten, Joy Jouret, Anouk Raes, Valeries Vermeersch, Lola Danhaive, Gaelle Valcke, Emilie Sinia, Caroline Himpe, Barbara Nelen, Jill Boon, Laurence Delmulle
Subs: Morgane Vouche, Olivia Bouche, Caroline Guisset, Julie Scraeyen, Helene Delmee

* Photos from Adrian Boehm

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Ireland notch second comfortable Belgian win

Ireland 3 (Cliodhna Sargent, Nikki Evans, Miriam Crowley) Belgium 1 (Valerie Vermeersch)
Ireland again showed an enterprising spirit as they swept by Belgium for a second day running at the National Hockey Stadium as both sides continue with experimental sides.

Emma Clarke returned to the side, coming in for Anna O’Flanagan in the match day 16, for her 99th cap but eight of the squad would be considered as relative newcomers to the setup.

Belgium, meanwhile, are using a similarly mixed panel with eight of their central panel not travelling while none of their U-21 European B division winning side have been incorporated but will be tried out in an upcoming series with Scotland.

Lining up with a four-two-four formation, Ireland showed their attacking intentions from the start with Clarke finding a foot inside three minutes to win the days first corner.

Michelle Harvey’s drag was blocked but it showed the hosts intent. Nikki Evans again provided the spark going forward, powering through three tackled down the left wing before zipping across a dangerous reverse-stick cross.

Soon after, Nicci Daly was put through one-on-one by a simple crash ball from Cliodhna Sargent through the centre of the Belgian defence but was unable to ever truly control and the chance drifted over the endline.

The visitors were living on borrowed time at this stage and the breakthrough came in the 11th minute from Ireland’s second corner. Cliodhna Sargent’s first dig rebounded straight back to her at the top of the circle and while her shot might have been thundering wide, the post-woman’s stick turned it over the line.

Chances continued to flow as Shirley McCay’s shot was deflected wide while Niamh Atcheler’s cross wreaked havoc, Achten forced to make a double save from Daly and Miriam Crowley.

And Evans doubled the lead – her third goal in two games – in the 25th minute from a neatly worked free. Lizzie Colvin’s pass into the circle seem to vex the Belgian defence, two players leaving the ball, allowing Chloe Watkins time and space in the circle to steady herself and pick out Evans at the back post to prod home from a yard.

Belgium made just two circle incursions in the first half, neither drawing a shot in anger, but they did bounce back after the break. At the height of their purple patch, they pulled a goal back through Valeire Vermeersch in the 42nd minute from their third short corner.

It was a soft concession as Ireland did not utilise any top-circle runners and the defender ambled four yards into the circle unopposed and crisply hit the backboard.

But the tie was settled six minutes later by the goal of the game in brilliant fashion. Michelle Harvey’s ball down the right sideline gave Alex Speers plenty of space to run into and she controlled perfectly on her reverse before sweeping a fine cross for Miriam Crowley to guide home expertly on her reverse.

After that, there was little to write home about bar a last minute scuffle which saw McCay and Jill Boon sin-binned. The latter reacted angrily after taking a stray stick to the head after an awkward tackle and the aftermath saw both yellow-carded.

Nonetheless, it was a second strong showing and a potential whitewash is on the cards tomorrow afternoon at 12pm at Belfield in the final match of the series.

Ireland: E Gray, M Harvey, C Sargent, C Watkins, E Clarke, A Speers (capt), A O’Flynn, S McCarthy, L Colvin, N Evans, N Daly
Subs: J McDonnell, N Atcheler, M Crowley, K McConnell, S McCay

Belgium: E Achten, J Jouret, M Vouche, A Raes, V Vermeersch, L Danhaive, G Valcke, E Sinia, C Himpe, B Nelen, J Boon
Subs: L Delmulle, O Bouche, C Guisset, J Scraeyen, H Delmee

* Photos from Adrian Boehm

Friday, August 6, 2010

Young Irish end losing run in style

Ireland 4 (Michelle Harvey 2, Nikki Evans 2) Belgium 0
A four-star second half performance saw Ireland end their Belgian hoodoo in fine fashion at the National Hockey Stadium as Nikki Evans and Michelle Harvey (pictured, right) both scored twice.

It ended the country’s ten game losing streak in the best possible manner as a number of players made serious cases for inclusion in Gene Muller’s centralised panel.

With Emma Clarke not arriving in Dublin until Saturday, just seven of the side in the match day 16 had more than ten caps to their name with Jean McDonnell, Miriam Crowley (below, left), Anna O’Flanagan and teenagers Niamh Atchler and Chloe Watkins all playing their first senior internationals on home soil.

Indeed, they were full value for the result, notching up 16 shots in the game, testing the visiting goalkeeper Elizabeth Achten from start to finish in a one-sided affair.

Watkins went close inside three minutes with a thumping reverse which Achten did well to bat away after Lizzie Colvin’s early inroads. It was the sole effort of a stop-start opening quarter, punctuated further by an injury to umpire Moira Flahive – standing in her first international – which caused a brief delay.

The resumption, though, saw Ireland tear into the game. During this period, Watkins would test the goalkeeper further still with another rasping reverse after the impressive Crowley had laid into her path. The UCC woman had a reverse-sweep palmed away while McDonnell skewed wide.

As it was, not taking one of the first half chances proved frustrating as two would-be corners were waved to play on and the ensuing chances went a begging with Crowley’s push across goal and Nicci Daly’s baseline run coming to nought.

Shirley McCay took a two-minute suspension for dissent on the second occasion just before half-time.

Ireland though they had taken the lead soon after the interval when McDonnell smashed the ball into the bottom corner. The shot was well outside the circle but was initially awarded before a consultation saw the right decision reached.

For good measure, McDonnell’s next crash ball hit the post from 20 metres out but it was a brief respite for the Belgian defence who finally succumbed in the 40th minute.

Anna O’Flanagan snuck in to win a penalty corner and Harvey whipped home low and true for 1-0.

Achten denied Evans’ volley and Daly’s punch shot in the immediate aftermath with a brilliant double save but the second was only three minutes in coming. Evans mazily raced down the right wing and her neat exchange with Crowley opened a comfortable chance to slot the second and Ireland were on easy street.

In a flurry of action, Evans, Colvin and, captain for the day, Alex Speers all went close before Belgium belatedly showed some attacking flair with Jill Boon striking her side’s first shot in anger in the 50th minute.

It was a rare break-out and Ireland sealed the win in the 62nd minute. This time Evans needed no help – though Nicci Daly provided a fine decoy run – switching her focus to the left-wing where she burned past Julie Scraeyen 25 metres out and easily evaded Achten to roll home her second international goal.

Harvey dragged home her second and Ireland’s fourth on the final hooter to complete a fine win. The sides meet again on today at 4pm and on Sunday at 12pm in which Clarke will return to play in her 99th international fixture and will don the captain’s armband.

Ireland: L Healy, M Harvey, C Sargent, C Watkins, S McCay, A Speers (capt), A O’Flynn, S McCarthy, L Colvin, N Evans, N Daly
Subs: J McDonnell, N Atcheler, M Crowley, K McConnell, A O’Flanagan

Belgium: E Achten, M Vouche, A Raes, V Vermeersch, L Danhaive, G Valcke, E Sinia, C Himpe, B Nelen, J Boon, L Delmulle
Subs: J Jouret, O Bouche, C Guisset, J Scraeyen, H Delmee

* A couple more pics from the game can be seen here

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Chiefs salute men's league reshuffle

The men’s Leinster league restructure will see the return of division nine while division two will remain in its existing format for the upcoming season, rising to seven in numbers following the formation of a new club, the Rathgar Chiefs.

Based in High School’s idyllic Danum grounds, the Chiefs were formed this summer from a group of recent university graduates looking to continue playing together after using up their ‘years of grace’.

The club has set up links with Diocesan hockey club – who celebrate their 50th anniversary in the coming season. For the first season, they will enter two teams, the first of which will play in division two while the second team will compete in the revamped division nine. A youth setup is planned for in the coming years.

The club draw their nickname from the one ever-present in Dublin University Hockey Club, the American-Indian chief who has been the club’s unofficial mascot since being installed in the Trinity hockey rooms over a decade ago.

Elsewhere, the restructure sees divisions four to eight revert back to the regular, ten-team format after a couple of years of increased numbers, mainly precipitated by sides dropping out of division two and into the junior leagues.

As such, eleven first teams will compete across these divisions with Irish Hockey Challenge winners St Brendan’s/PP, Naas, Portrane, Mullingar and Kilkenny all contesting division four.

Corinthian III, Three Rock Rovers III and YMCA III join already relegated Avoca II in regarding as division five sides and the fourth teams of that former trio are also repositioned into division six.

Skerries go with them as one of four teams moved down. None come the other way with table-toppers Fingal III and Dublin University III remaining in situ while Bray II, Avoca III, St Brendan’s/PP II, Railway Union IV and YMCA V are all moved to division seven.

YMCA VI, Navan III, Pembroke VII, Dublin University IV, Glenanne V and St Brendan’s/PP III will now make up the new division nine and will be joined by new second teams from the Rathgar Chiefs and North Kildare.

Divisions one and three will get underway on September 18.

Leinster Men's Hockey Leagues 2010/2011
Division 1:
YMCA, Weston, Corinthian, UCD, Three Rock Rovers, Glennane, Fingal, Monkstown, Railway Union, Pembroke Wanderers

Division 2: Suttonians, Navan, Rathgar Chiefs, Clontarf, Dublin University, Bray, Avoca

Division 3: Corinthian II, Pembroke Wanderers II, Glennane II, UCD II, Railway Union II, Dublin University II, Monkstown II, Fingal II, Three Rock Rovers II, YMCA II

Division 4: St Brendan's/PP, Pembroke Wanderers III, Railway Union III, Clontarf II, Naas, Portrane, Mullingar, Monkstown III, Kilkenny, Glennane III

Division 5: Three Rock Rovers III, Pembroke Wanderers IV, Monkstown IV, Corinthian III, Suttonians II, YMCA III, Weston II, Avoca II, North Kildare, St James Gate

Division 6: Glennane IV, Three Rock Rovers IV, Pembroke Wanderers V, Skerries, Dublin University III, Monkstown V, Corinthian IV, Navan II, YMCA IV, Fingal III

Division 7: Bray II, Railway Union IV, St Brendan's/PP II, Athy, UCD III, Avoca III, Kilkenny II, Mullingar II, Weston III, YMCA V

Division 8: Naas II, Corinthian V, St James Gate II, Pembroke Wanderers VI, Three Rock Rovers V, Wicklow, Clontarf III, Smithfield, Fingal IV, Railway Union V,

Division 9: YMCA VI, Navan III, Rathgar Chiefs II, Pembroke Wanderers VII, North Kildare II, Dublin University IV, St Brendan's/PP III, Glenanne V

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Jermyn back in Ireland fold for Malaysian ties

Paul Revington plans to use at least 25 players as Ireland’s men return to their international schedule after a brief summer break as the build-up to 2011’s European championships ramps up with a four-game series against Malaysia from August 18 to 22.

The coach had named four separate groups of 15 players for each of the four-game series which precedes a five-nations tournament in Paris a week later with the second goalkeeper slot to be confirmed for each panel at this point.

John Jermyn (right) - the Ireland selection's current top-scorer since Stephen Butler's retirement - returns after a summer sabbatical from the panel as does Adam Pritchard who missed out on the Celtic Cup and mid-summer series against France but David Hobbs has yet to return to the setup.

Brian Doherty (below, left) has a chance to continue his 100pc scoring record in the national jersey after three goals in three 2009 Celtic Cup ties – as well as a string of netbusters for the U-21 selection last month

They face a side with plenty of motivation with their coach Stephen van Huizen charged with delivering medals from the upcoming Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games – the latter offering potential Olympic places.

“Gold has always been our target [in these tournaments], and it will be the same for the other teams in the Asian Games as well. Our highest achievement in the Asian Games to date is bronze and we will again have to beat higher ranked teams like South Korea, Pakistan and India to achieve the set target.

“And if we fail, we will have to go through a qualifier where there will again be a higher ranked team than us to beat.

“In short, we are working towards an Asian Games gold, but it will not be easy,” said Van Huizen.

Ireland squad for Malaysia series:
Iain Walker (GK), David Harte (GK), Ronan Gomley, Joe Brennan, Adam Pritchard, Paul Gleghorne, Michael Maguire, Conor Harte, Brian Doherty, John Jackson, Geoff McCabe, Alan Giles, David Ames, Bruce McCandless, John Jermyn, Jason Lynch, Andy McConnell, Peter Caruth, Eugene Magee, Phelie Maguire, Chris Cargo, Gareth Watkins, Timmy Cockram, Peter Blakeney, Mitch Darling, Alan Sothern

* To see who plays in which specific game, click here

Match Schedule:
August 18, 2010 (8pm):
Ireland vs Malaysia, Belfield
August 19, 2010 (8pm): Ireland vs Malaysia, Belfield
August 21, 2010 (4pm): Ireland vs Malaysia, Grange Road
August 22, 2010 (4pm): Ireland vs Malaysia, Belfield

McConnell returns, Clarke in line for 100

Ireland will stick with a similar, experimental make-up to the squad which played Scotland recently with Gene Muller making two changes to the panel for next weekend’s series against Belgium.

Kate McConnell (left) returns to the senior panel for the first time since July 2008 when she featured in the Celtic Cup in Garryduff with Stephanie Quinn stepping out of the selection for these games, to be played at Belfield.

Louisa Healy comes back in for Pamela Smithwick between the posts after the Alex goalkeeper made her debut against the Scots.

Emma Clarke (below, right), meanwhile, is in line to make her 100th appearance for Ireland – becoming the fourth player in the current panel to do so after Nikki Symmons, Bridget Cleland and Eimear Cregan – should she play twice.

She captains a side once again which features nine players with less than ten caps to their name. Alex Speers is one of the more experienced members of the panel and has made the switch back to Ireland to work in Dublin from Belgium and will play her club hockey with Pegasus in the upcoming season.

Ireland will hope to end a ten-game losing streak since beating Chile in the World Cup qualifier against a Belgium side who come to Dublin on a high, having claimed gold at last week’s U-21 Women’s European Nation’s Trophy and will play in the A division next time round.

The lowlanders are currently ranked three places below Ireland in the world rankings but have held the Indian sign over Muller’s charges in recent times, winning a pre-WCQ double-header as well as taking a 3-1 in 2009’s Champion’s Challenge in Kazan.

Ireland squad for Belgium series (club/caps):
Niamh Atcheler (Hermes, 2), Emma Clarke (Leicester, 98), Lizzie Colvin (Loreto, 37), Miriam Crowley (UCC, 2), Nicci Daly (Loreto, 6), Nikki Evans (Railway Union, 8), Emma Gray (GK, Hermes, 16), Louisa Healy (GK, Loreto, 51), Michelle Harvey (Pegasus, 41), Sinead McCarthy (Cork Harlequins, 6), Shirley McCay (Dragons, 94), Kate McConnell (Pegasus, 2), Jean McDonnell (Railway Union, 3), Anna O’Flanagan (Hermes, 3), Audrey O’Flynn (UCC, 17), Cliodhna Sargent (Cork Harlequins, 68), Alex Speers (Pegasus, 87), Chloe Watkins (Hermes, 3)

Match schedule (all at Belfield):
Friday, August 6 (7pm): Ireland v Belgium (Carol Metchette, Moira Flahive)
Saturday, August 7 (4pm): Ireland v Belgium (Carol Metchette, Liz Clifford)
Sunday, August 8 (12pm): Ireland v Belgium (Carol Metchette, Catriona Hassey)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hooked! returns in early September

Just two weeks remain before the early bird offer expires for the IHA’s annual Hooked! Coaching Conference.

The IHA are currently offering a 25pc discount to the €60 price for the conference which gets underway in early September.

Senior international coaches Paul Revington and Gene Muller, along with IHA High Performance Director Dave Passmore will be among the key presenters.

They will cover topics including practical conditioning for clubs and schools; penalty corner defence; developing fast attacking hockey; integrating goalkeepers into training sessions and developing junior drag-flickers.

The conference takes place in three centres: Banbridge (September 4), UCD (September 5) and Garryduff (September 12) and runs from 10am to 4pm.

To avail of the early bird, call Katie on 01 716 3264.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Malaysians set to return for Irish series

Paul Revington’s Irish men’s team have a busy August in store as Malaysia have been confirmed as visitors for a four match series (times and dates to be confirmed) before taking on a five nations event in Paris.

Ranked 14 in the world, Malaysia are the highest placed side Revington has beaten with Ireland since taking over the post in November 2008, getting the better of the Asian side 2-1 in last summer’s Champion’s Challenge II.

Following that series, they travel with Malaysia to Paris for a tournament with Scotland, Poland and hosts France, beginning on August 24.

The squad is currently on a six-week break from training following their Celtic Cup success and series win over France.

They return to training on August 14 and Revington is looking forward to get back into gear with the 2011 Europeans and a first shot at Olympic qualification on the horizon.

"Our Team needs to continue to accumulate game and competition experience and these events provide this opportunity.

“The current challenge for our team will be playing these test matches after a period of necessary rest and recovery for the players, knowing that the players will be competing with international teams at the peak of their respective summer programmes.

“The team however showed a good balance of technical quality and emotional strength during the recent summer period and I know they will arrive back on the August 14 determined to make the most of these test match and competition opportunities before they start their respective club seasons."

Five-Nations - match schedule (Paris):
Tuesday, August 24: Malaysia vs Poland, France vs Scotland
Wednesday, August 25: Ireland vs Poland
Thursday, August 26: Malaysia vs Scotland, France vs Ireland
Friday, August 27: Poland vs Scotland
Saturday, August 28: Malaysia vs Ireland, France vs Poland
Sunday, August 29: Ireland vs Scotland, France vs Malaysia

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Scots complete clean sweep over Irish women

Senior Women's international challenge match
Scotland 3 (Kareena Marshall, Susan Hamilton, Aimee Clark) Ireland 1 (Alex Speers)
Scotland completed a clean sweep from their three match series with Ireland this afternoon in Forthbank, finding it a smoother transition to bed in their three new squad additions than Ireland’s sixth.

Old Alex goalkeeper Pamela Smithwick was the latest new Irish cap, lining out for the first time at senior level after five others had made debuts this weekend.

Scotland took the lead in the 25th minute when Kareena Marshall completed a switch-left routine. Claire Scott had two efforts foiled by the Irish defence soon after but Shirley McCay went closest when she was denied a leveller, smacking a post, also from a corner.

But Scotland killed off the tie early in the second period when Aimee Clark swept to Susan Hamilton to score from their second corner and, in the 48th minute, Ali Bell planted a low shot into the right corner to make it 3-0.

Late on, Ireland did force four corners – Nikki Evans to the fore – and she was involved in the consolation goal after Emma Clarke strode forward into the circle. Evans goalbound shot took a nick off Alex Speers for her fifth international strike.

Speaking afterwards, Gene Muller reflected on a worthwhile weekend to test out possible additions to the senior panel in the future, using ten players with less than ten caps to their name.

“We made too many errors today and did not create enough momentum. It was a scrappy match which demanded a tougher mentality than we showed and this is the main lesson for us.

“These three matches have been very useful for an opportunity to give players a chance at this level.”

Ireland will play a three match series against Belgium at the National Hockey Stadium from August 6 to 8.

Ireland: Pamela Smithwick, Audrey O’Flynn, Michelle Harvey, Cliodhna Sargent, Sinead McCarthy, Lizzie Colvin, Emma Clarke, Shirley McCay, Alex Speers, Nikki Evans, Nicci Daly
Subs: Chloe Watkins, Niamh Atcheler, Anna O Flanagan, Stephanie Quinn, Jean McDonnell
Not Used: Emma Gray, Miriam Crowley

Saturday, July 24, 2010

McDonnell strike not enough for Ireland

Senior women's international challenge match
Scotland 2 (Louise Baxter, Vikki Bunce) Ireland 1 (Jean McDonnell)

Despite Jean McDonnell’s stunning second half effort, an experimental Ireland side fell 2-1 to a Scottish side also using this series to assess their options as the Forthbank hosts fielded two debutants for Saturday’s tie.

The Scots took the lead midway through the first half following a turnover and subsequent neat interplay between Louise Baxter, Sam Judge and Vikki Bunce, the latter’s square pass left Emma Gray stranded allowing Baxter to roll the ball home.

Nikki Evans and Alex Speers had the best of the Irish chances in the first period while Carmin Dow had to be particularly alert to foil an Irish attempt following a quick free hit.

But, eight minutes into the second half, McDonnell scored her first international goal – on her second cap – when she picked up Cliodhna Sargent’s pass, turned a defender and blasted past Dow.

Scotland forced a series of corners in the aftermath but their winner came from play when debutant Susan McGilveray crossed and Bunce finished off after Ireland struggled to clear.

Speaking afterwards, Irish coach Gene Muller said of the game: “We were a notch up from yesterday in terms of performance it has been heartening to have consecutive good displays. The new players continue to hold their own against a good Scottish team.”

Ireland: Emma Gray, Audrey O’Flynn, Sinead McCarthy, Cliodhna Sargent, Michelle Harvey, Lizzie Colvin, Emma Clarke (Capt), Shirley McCay, Alex Speers, Nikki Evans, Nicola Daly.
Subs: Jean McDonnell, Anna O Flanagan, Chloe Watkins, Stephanie Quinn, Miriam Crowley
Not Used: Pam Smithwick (GK), Niamh Atcheler.

Five make debut but Kidd settles tie

Senior women's international challenge match
Scotland 1 (Nikki Kidd) Ireland 0

Gene Muller handed five Irish players their first senior international caps but they were unable to turn the tide against Scotland as a 40th minute goal settled the tie with Nikki Kidd dragging home the winner in the first of the three match series in Forthbank on Friday night.

Emma Clarke, elevated to captain on her 96th appearance, was impressive in midfield together with fellow senior players Shirley McCay and Alex Speers to help drive the young Irish team forward.

The goal came soon after the break, though, as Scotland created a number of second half chances as coach Gordon Shepherd assesses his pack before the upcoming Commonwealth Games, handing Kay Bartlett her first cap, too, while Laura Wrightson celebrated her 50th cap.

Speaking afterwards, Muller said “It was a very even match with both teams creating quality chances we had five players on debut and they al played very well for their first caps. We played at a high level for long periods and I am very encouraged by this.”

Ireland: Emma Gray, Audrey O’Flynn, Sinead McCarthy, Cliodhna Sargent, Michelle Harvey, Lizzie Colvin, Emma Clarke, Shirley McCay, Jean McDonnell, Nikki Evans, Alex Speers
Subs: Anna O’Flanagan, Chloe Watkins, Niamh Atcheler, Miriam Crowley, Stephanie Quinn.
Not used: Pamela Smithwick, Nicci Daly

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Six debutants in for Scotland series

Gene Muller has named six uncapped players in his squad for this weekend’s three-match series against Scotland in Stirling this weekend.

The selection comes 13 months before Ireland’s first shot at claiming an Olympic spot at the European championships in Monchengladbach in late August 2011 with this series – and three games against Belgium in a fortnight – a showcase for the possibles with ten probables rested.

Hermes trio Niamh Atcheler, Chloe Watkins and Anna O’Flanagan are all included in the experimental panel as is Old Alex goalkeeper Pamela Smithwick. Jean McDonnell, after three years as the country’s top scorer in the domestic game, gets her chance to stake a claim in the forward line.

Miriam Crowley is the one non-Leinster new inclusion, the UCC woman joining club mate Audrey O’Flynn in the selection.

The squad is shy on caps bar the Ulster trio of Emma Clarke, Alex Speers and Shirley McCay. The three are based abroad and so unlikely to be named in the centralised panel. Nor is Lizzie Colvin as the Loreto player is going to take up an Erasmus option for the coming year and so is included, too.

Defenders Michelle Harvey and Cliodhna Sargent are the two others included from the World Cup qualifying squad but Emma Stewart, Lauren Barr and Rachel Mulligan – squad members in 2009 – look to be out of favour.

They face Scotland three times this weekend before facing Belgium in another three match series in early August.

Muller, meanwhile, has released the specific details of the Central Participation Programme to the respective clubs.

Players will undertake full squad sessions in Dublin on Sundays and Mondays with the centralised panel then taking in Tuesday and Wednesday sessions in Dublin along with a pair of strength and conditioning sessions.

This programme will run from October 18 on a three weeks out of four basis with players available to play club matches on the same rota; a schedule which will run until the Europeans and probably on until the Olympic qualifiers or, indeed, the Olympics.

Playing in midweek league or cup matches, though, have been ruled and club training will only be factored into the programme in Irish Senior or IHL weeks.

International build-up matches are currently not likely to be scheduled in mid-season, with April 2011 pencilled in as the date for the next series of games.

Ireland’s men, meanwhile, will travel to France for a five-nations competition against the hosts, Poland, Malaysia and Scotland.

The tournament runs from August 24 to 29 with a squad to be named nearer to the time.

Ireland squad for Scotland series (Club, caps):
Emma Gray (GK) (Hermes, 14) Niamh Atcheler (Hermes, 0), Emma Clarke (Capt, Leicester, 95), Lizzie Colvin (Loreto, 33), Miriam Crowley (UCC, 0), Nicci Daly (Loreto, 5), Nikki Evans (Railway Union, 5), Michelle Harvey (Pegasus, 38), Sinead McCarthy (Cork Harlequins, 3), Shirley McCay (Dragons, 91), Jean McDonnell (Railway Union, 0), Anna O'Flanagan (Hermes, 0), Audrey O'Flynn (UCC, 14), Stephanie Quinn (Armagh, 4), Cliodhna Sargent (Cork Harlequins, 65), Pam Smithwick (GK) (Old Alex, 0), Alex Speers (Pegasus, 78), Chloe Watkins (Hermes, 0)
Rested: Mary Goode; Eimear Cregan; Lisa Jacob; Roisin Flinn; Bridget Cleland; Nikki Symmons; Emma Smyth; Niamh Small; Megan Frazer; Louisa Healy

Match Schedule:
Friday, July 23 (7pm): Ireland vs Scotland, Stirling
Saturday, July 24 (4pm): Ireland vs Scotland, Stirling
Sunday, July 25 (12pm): Ireland vs Scotland, Stirling
Friday, August 6 (7pm): Ireland vs Beglium, Belfield
Saturday, August 7 (4pm): Ireland vs Beglium, Belfield
Sunday, August 8 (12pm): Ireland vs Beglium, Belfield

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Indoor groups named for 2010/11 season

The line-up for the group stages of the National Indoor Trophy were released earlier this week with initial rounds of the competition in December and January, leading to the finals weekend in the NBA on Ferbuary 12 and 13, 2011.

Lisburn will be a new venue for the competition as two men’s and two women’s team from Ulster enter the competition – Belfast Harlequins and Annadale in the former; Armagh and Knock on the ladies side.

Cork C of I, meanwhile, are the sole Munster representatives on the men’s side and face a tough group against reigning Irish champions Pembroke along with Corinthian and Monkstown and last season’s surprise package Clontarf.

TRR and YMCA – both semi-finalists at least for the past couple of years – are the front-runners in Group III with former kingpins Avoca and Railway waiting in the wings.

On the women’s side, Railway begin their title defence with ties against Pembroke, Clontarf and Old Alex. Hermes travel to Lisburn to play the two Ulster sides and Trinity while 2009 winners Galway tussle with Avoca and Glenanne.

Men’s groups
Group I (Lisburn): Glenanne, Suttonians, Belfast Harlequins, Annadale
Group II (Dublin): Pembroke, Clontarf, Cork C of I, Corinthian, Monkstown
Group III (Dublin): TRR, YMCA, Avoca, Dublin Uni, Railway Union

Women‘s groups
Group A (Lisburn): Hermes, Armagh, Knock, Trinity
Group B (TBC): Galway, Avoca, Glenanne
Group C (Dublin): Railway Union, Pembroke, Clontarf, Old Alex

Monday, July 19, 2010

Irish produce first ever Home Nations double

Ireland’s U-18 boys and girls completed a first ever Home Nations double at Garryduff yesterday, both picking up the results they required from their final game of the four nations competition.

Needing only a draw to annex the title, the boys recorded a comfortable 4-0 win over Wales while the women cut it much finer.

They lost 1-0 to Scotland but prevailed in a three-way tie in the final standings with the Scots and England by virtue of a single strike on goal difference.

Shane O’Donoghue, again, was the inspiration for the boys, bagging his second hat-trick in three days to bring his tournament tally to seven in total. It was a consummate performance in spite of tired legs as Ireland played on the counter-attack to perfect effect.

The Glenanne man made the first for himself, bursting through from halfway before exchanging a pass with Luke Chadwick. O’Donoghue’s run was illegally cut short by the Welsh goalkeeper but he dusted himself off to convert the ensuing penalty stroke for the only goal of the first half.

He added a penalty corner drag-flick before nut-megging the goalkeeper for the third of the day. Tom Samuel completed the rout when he won possession in midfield, found the ubiquitous O’Donoghue who drew the goalkeeper before laying up for the diving Samuel at the back post to score.

The girl’s success – their first ever at this level – was a much tighter affair as Sarah Robertson’s 12th minute goal left Ireland on tenterhooks for the remainder of the tie.

Richie Malone’s side largely dominated with Vanessa Surgeoner and Katie Codyre both striking the post while the fine work of Emily Beatty, Nicola Gray and Dora Gorman helped create a series of chances.

None were completed, though, to leave Ireland susceptible to a counter-attack that might dash their hopes. It never came and left the girls in green top on goal difference.

U-18 Boys Home Nations results
Ireland 4 (S O’Donoghue 3, T Samuel) Wales 0; England 5 (N Bandurak 2, W Byas, J Hardy, N Giles) Scotland 0

Final standings:
1. Ireland 9pts (+7) 2. England 6pts (+8) 3. Wales 3pts (-3) 4. Scotland 0pts (-12)

U-18 Girl’s Home Nations result
Ireland 0 Scotland 1 (S Robertson)

Final standings (points/goal difference):
1. Ireland 6pts (+2) 2= Scotland 6pts (+1) 2= England 3pts (+1) 4. Wales 0pts (-4)

* For Ondine Roche and Simon MacAllister's photos on Irish Hockey Photographers from the weekend of action at Garryduff, click here. Adrian Boehm's photos will be added during the week.



** To follow Irish Hockey Photographers on Facebook, click here while the group's Twitter feed is here

Sunday, July 18, 2010

U-18 double on cards for Irish

An U-18 Home Nations double is still on the cards as the Irish boys and girls both overcame England at Garryduff this afternoon and require a single point from tomorrow’s third series of games to annex their respective titles.

Tom Samuel struck twice to overhaul an English first half lead in the boy’s game to notch a 2-1 win as they prevailed in spite of three yellow card sin-binnings.

The Three Rock player was ideally placed to profit from the corner injector’s spot as two rebounded his way to cancel out Josh Guy’s earlier effort.

The English forward snapped up the lead from a corner move. Mark Ingram smothered an initial switch left and deflection but Guy grabbed the second phase effort. Things went from bad to worse 30 seconds later when Andy Williamson was binned for a high take but Ireland rode out until the break.

And, with England’s Alex Czerniweski sitting out a spell in the bin, Ireland were back on terms from their third corner. Shane Madeley’s pacy drag was saved brilliantly by Harry Gibson’s stick but popped waist-high for Samuel to volley first time with serious power for the leveller.

The winner came six minutes later when Ben Dobson powered down the right wing, winning another corner which Shane O’Donoghue dinged off the right post and while William Edgar almost scored the rebound, Samuel completed the job from close range.

It came moments after Richard Sykes vitally cleared Nick Bandurak’s ball while Ian Sloan – again forging a fine midfield partnership with Luke Chadwick – set up O’Donoghue for what might have been an insurance goal but his slip to Edgar was just an inch too far from reach.

England had two late corners denied but the Irish, though, were good value for the win, looking the more incisive at either end and now need a draw against Scotland to take the title.

The same proposition awaits the girls against Scotland with another deserved victory. Katie Codyre netted the only goal in the 58th minute after inspirational Dora Gorman broke a couple of tackles in midfield and played in Emily Beatty.

The Alex winger’s cross-cum-shot invited the deflection from Colaiste Iognaid’s Codyre to put the Irish in pole-position.

Home starlet Amy-Kate Trevor held the defence in shape in fine style after switching early from left back to the centre in place of the injured Nicole Laarhoven and Joanne Orr almost sealed the tie, drawing an excellent save from Dukie Davies with Gorman’s follow-up brilliantly taken off the line.

The Irish now play the Scots, who kept them mathematically themselves in the hunt for glory thanks to a 2-1 win over Wales.

Heather Elder did the damage, scoring both her side’s goals, to add to her strike in the 2-1 reverse to England. The Scottish vice-captain’s pace has been difficult for all defences to deal with, and she will have to be well shackled by Richie Malone’s side tomorrow.


U-18 Boy’s Home Nations Day two results:
Ireland 2 (Tom Samuel 2) England 1 (Josh Guy); Scotland 0 Wales 5 (F Campbell 2, M Pacey 2, S Forman)

Standings: 1. Ireland 6pts (+3) 2. England 3pts (+4) 3. Wales 3pts (0) 4. Scotland 0pts (-7)
Monday: England vs Scotland, 8.30am; Ireland vs Wales, 12.30pm.

U-18 Girl’s Home Nations day three results:
Ireland 1 (Katie Codyre) England 0; Wales 1 (N James) Scotland 2 (H Elder 2)

Standings (played-points; goal difference): 1. Ireland 2-6pts (+2) 2. England 3-6pts (+1) 3. Scotland 2-3pts (0) 4. Wales 3-0pts (-3)
Monday: Ireland vs Scotland, 10.30am

* Photos courtesy of Adrian Boehm, more to follow on www.irishhockeyphotographers.zenfolio.com  on Tuesday.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Gray and Surgeoner fire Irish U-18s

Nicola Gray’s corner smash and Vanessa Surgeoner’s deliciously timed second half strike handed Ireland the win their dominance deserved against Wales at Garryduff this evening for whom goalkeeper Roseanne Thomas was outstanding.

Gray battered home a trademark corner from the girls in green’s first set piece in the fifth minute but from then on Thomas kept out numerous of her straight hits – five of six were on target – as well as a Rebecca Barry drag-flick to keep Ireland at bay.

Captain Deirdre Duke (pictured) was also denied from play when she was unable to convert a difficult bouncing ball when well-placed while Dora Gorman pulled the strings to great effect and Gray performed admirably in the back four, inside the tidy Aisling Naughton.

Second half sin-binnings to Surgeoner and Leah Ewart scarcely opened the door for the Welsh and the former responded brilliantly to some ribbing from the stands in the wake of her yellow card.

On her return, Gorman intercepted in midfield and played in the Ulster player who dinked a delightful strike over the goalkeeper to silence the dissenters.

It came in the 64th minute, two minutes after Lucy Thayer had brilliantly nicked the ball off Ewart’s stick after Emily Beatty raced down the right flank. Ireland face tournament leaders England on Sunday.

It is the English team’s final tie, beating Wales on Friday night 2-1 and following up with a 2-1 success over Scotland today with Josie Inverdale – daughter of BBC presenter John – on the mark.

U-18 Girl’s Home Nations standings (played-points, goal diff)
1. England 2-6pts (+2) 2. Ireland 1-3pts (+2) 3. Scotland 1-0pts (-1) 4. Wales 2-0pts (-3)

* Photos courtesy of Ondine Roche

O'Donoghue's four downs Scotland

Shane O’Donoghue’s brilliant quadruple fired Ireland’s U-18 boys to a 4-2 win over Scotland in their opening Home Nations tie at Garryduff this afternoon, firing three inside the first half.

It was a tally of sheer quality as the Irish held off a Ben Peterson-inspired second half fightback when the Irish looked to have let their early dominance slip.

The Glenanne man (pictured) opened the scoring inside 90 seconds, following up his own rebound to break the deadlock. Ireland dominated for the remainder of the half, O’Donoghue miscuing the best chance after Luke Chadwick teed him up one-on-one, but two goals within the 34th minute were to eventually reflect the pressure on scoreboard.

O’Donoghue drifted across the circle before firing home a crisp, open-side bullet across the Scottish goalkeeper’s bows for 2-0.

And his third was equally classy. Nick Burns took down an overhead and squared for O’Donoghue to rip the net with a reverse and a three goal half-time advantage.

But Scotland took advantage of some lacks Irish play after the interval, Peterson reversing home from the left after a quick counter for a lifeline and, in the 47th minute, he slid home again on his back-hand from Peter Baldwin’s square ball.

Their ascendancy, though, was cut short when Iain Duke was sin-binned for a robust challenge on Chadwick and, with him in the bin, O’Donoghue rolled home his fourth after Burns laid on with some fine legwork three minutes from time.

Tom Samuel impressed at the back as did Ben Dobson on the right-side of defence and will need to be on form again tomorrow when they face England. They demolished Wales 5-0 in the day’s opening fixture.

U-18 Boys Home Nations, standings
1. England 3pts (+5) 2. Ireland 3pts (+2) 3. Scotland 0pts (-2) 4. Wales 0pts (-5)

* Photos courtesy of Ondine Roche

Girls settle for fourth; boys evade relegation

Ireland U-16 girls rallied late but left it too late as Belgium took bronze at the European Championships in Barcelona with a 2-1 win to end a dramatic week.

Sharp-shooter Katie Mullan fired home a 64th minute corner and pressure in the closing minutes earned another corner on the final whistle for Ireland. But they were unable to convert a set-piece which would have earned extra-time in the third/fourth place playoff.

Belgium had whipped into a 2-0 half-time lead of a tie short on chances. Ireland’s defence, meanwhile, shone in the second period but clear chances only came to the fore belatedly and while the Irish girls poured forward in the last ten minutes, the Belgians stuck it out.

The boys, meanwhile, retained A division status with a 2-2 draw against Poland, playing for the fifth successive game in the midday heat. A ten goal win was needed to snaffle fifth place but that never looked likely and the single point was enough to relegate the Poles.

It was 38 degrees this time around but Ireland recovered from the concession of a seventh minute corner drag-flick to lead 2-1.

David Cole – who was outstanding next to Matthew Rollins in the centre-backs – equalised with a corner effort before Scott Sullivan’s pass picked out Kirk Shimmins to slot home a one-on-one effort.

Again, sharpness in front of goal was a factor in not killing off the tie as two Polish players were sin-binned. They nicked an equaliser a couple of minutes from time with a smart deflection but Ireland held on to stay up.

It ended an, at times, frustrating week for the Irish boys who were competitive in each game and might have pushed on for a medal on another week.

They created numerous chances but lacked the cutting edge – perhaps due to no competitive warm-up fixtures and a three month wait since the school’s league season – to grab vital goals.

U-16 Boys European Championships – Group C final table
1. Russia 7pts (+12) 2. Ireland 5pts (+3) 3. Poland 4pts (-1) 4. Czech Republic 0pts (-15)

Irish react angrily to Dutch "physical" claims

Ireland U-16 girls' management have reacted angrily to Dutch claims of an overly robust approach described as "totally inappropriate" in the wake of their 5-1 semi-final defeat yesterday afternoon.

Speaking to hockey.nl, Dutch coach Kai de Jager said: "It was just physical force/violence which I thought was totally inappropriate. They had no intention to play hockey and just hung around in front of their own goal but in the en, we got through that wall."

The Irish camp, though, hit back at this suggestion, with a statement saying "[We are] very unhappy with the label of "being physical". It was a bruising match with lots of tough 50/50 balls contested.

"The Irish squad was also unimpressed with the behaviour of the Dutch Captain who refused to play the ball for the last two minutes as the Irish team played a half court defence. With her side leading 5-1, she squatted on the 75 yard line without moving the ball. The supporters in the crowd booed while the players patiently waited.

"The Dutch Coach later apologised to the Irish Management for the arrogant behaviour of his Captain."

Irish Coach Una McCarthy commented "The Dutch are wonderful hockey players who play a fast and physical game but their lack of respect for other participating teams questions their values and ethics as ambassadors for junior European hockey"

The Dutch ran out winners courtesy of Frederique Derkx scoring two from three penalty strokes and adding two fizzing drag-flicks while another effort cracked the face-mask of number two runner Roisin Upton.

The other goal came as a result of a defensive mix-up but McCarthy was pleased with how her side performed against a side that had already notched 43 goals - including a 23-0 win over Lithuania - in three prior games.



Video from Albert Ferrer

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dutch deny Irish girls final place

Una McCarthy’s Ireland U-16 girls were unable to halt the Dutch juggernaut but did show up reasonably well in the physical exchanges against a side that had already battered 43 goals from three games to date in the tournament.

Captain Frederique Derkx netted four times – two corners and two strokes – in her side’s 5-1 win over the girls in green though Chloe Brown did pull one back from play to make it 3-1 early in the second half.

The Irish will now play Belgium in 3rd/4th place playoff, following their 3-0 loss to Spain in the other semi-final.

The U-16 boys, meanwhile, picked up their first win of the tournament with a 3-0 win over the Czech Republic in the searing heat in Barcelona.

They got off to a dream start with a David Cole penalty corner strike after only four minutes but, despite controlling much of the game, were unable to push home the advantage.

Cole doubled the lead, again from a corner, early in the second period before Josh Moffett completed the win before the tie played out a slower tempo.

It moved Ireland onto four points in Group C and they will now face Poland needing a draw to avoid relegation to the B division while a win could see the side garner fifth place, depending on the scoreline between Russia and the Czechs.

Ireland U-16 girls (vs Netherlands): L Camlin, G Adams, C Brown, A Cooke, L Gray, A McGrath, L McKee, E Russell, R Upton, A-M Whelan
Subs: N Walsh, G Frazer, K Lloyd, O Macken, K Morris
July 17, bronze medal match: Ireland vs Belgium, 3pm

Boy’s U-16 European Nations Championships:
Group C:
1. Russia 4pts (+5) 2. Ireland 4pts (+3) 3. Poland 3pts (-1) 4. Czech Republic 0pts (-7)
July 17: Ireland vs Poland, 11am

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Irish Hockey Photographers launch new online home

Irish hockey's top photographers have joined forces to launch a new one-stop shop - http://irishhockeyphotographers.zenfolio.com - for players, parents and fans to purchase top-class pictures.

The Irish Hockey Photographers collective was founded in 2008 in association with Ireland's dedicated hockey news websites, The Hook and Southern Fried.

The team of amateur snappers has grown to incorporate Adrian Boehm, Deryck Vincent, Ondine Roche, Eoin Tyrell, Stephen Findlater and Emer Keogh among other contributors, and covers every level of hockey in the country from schools up to senior international level.

The group primarily provides photos for The Hook and Southern Fried - the only hockey blogs in their respective homelands of Leinster and Munster - but has also supplied photos to the Irish Examiner, Irish Times and Evening Herald, as well as numerous other local publications.

The success of the group's initial venture via the photography social networking site Flickr - where their photographs have clocked up almost one million views in less than two years - has led to a significant extention of the service provided.

All photos are now available to purchase in a printed format, in a range of sizes direct from the site. T-shirts and mugs emblazoned with your favourite image are also available, and your chosen product is delivered straight to your home.

For futher information - or to enquire about joining the Irish Hockey Photographers team - visit the site at http://irishhockephotographers.zenfolio.com or contact irishhockeyphotographers@yahoo.co.uk

* Big thanks to Botanic's Gillian McAuliffe for her help in getting the site operational

** The site currently features all photos taken by Adrian Boehm since September 2009. The Irish Hockey Photographers will be uploading their pics from the last few seasons over the summer but if you have a specific set of photos you would like to purchase, email irishhockeyphotographers@yahoo.co.uk and they will be uploaded in due course.

Irish U-18 panels named for Home Nations

The Irish U-18 boys and girl’s panels have been named for this weekend’s Home Nations competition to be held in Garryduff, Cork this weekend.

The boys side gets its nucleus from the Wesley and Banbridge sides. The former – who claimed three schools titles this year – provide five of the 18 player panel while Bann have three panellists, though their contingent could have been more had Robin Smyrl not succumbed to injury.

Railway’s Mark Ingram steps up from U-16 netminding duties along with Rob Fitzgerald while Glenanne’s top scorer from play last season, Shane O’Donoghue, dons the vice-captain duties along with Luke Chadwick.

IJC winner Richard Sykes provides a corner threat while the trio of Three Rock players – David McCrea, Tom Samuel and Shane Madeley – bring first team experience, too.

The girls have five Leinster players included in their selection with Deirdre Duke taking the captain’s armband. She is one of three Alexandra College players involved along with powerful corner striker Nicola Gray and the flying Emily Beatty.

Mount Anville’s Aisling Naughton and Lisa McCarthy are the other pair to make Richie Malone’s line-up.

They get underway on Saturday, a day after England and Wales begin the female tournament (Friday, 8pm). The tournament runs all weekend until Monday.

Ireland U-18 boys: Rob Fitzgerald (YMCA/Wesley), Mark Ingram (Railway Union/Oatlands College), Matthew Bell (Banbridge/Banbridge Academy), Nick Burns (Cork C of I/Midleton), Luke Chadwick (VC, YMCA/Wesley), Ben Dobson (Cork C of I/PBC), William Edgar (Annadale/Campbell), Shane Madeley (Wesley/TRR), Owen Magee (Banbridge/Banbridge Academy), David McCrea (TRR/Wesley), Hugh McShane (Banbridge/Banbridge Academy), Shane O’Donoghue (VC, Glenanne/High School), Paul Ritchie (Annadale/Regent House), Tom Samuel (TRR/Wesley), Ian Sloan (Capt, Cookstown/Cookstown HS), Richard Sykes (Monkstown, St Andrew’s), Andrew Williamson (Annadale/Campbell College), Matthew Lecky (Raphoe/Royal and Prior)

U18 Boy’s Home Nations schedule (Garryduff):
July 17: England vs Wales, 12pm; Ireland vs Scotland, 2pm
July 18: Scotland vs Wales, 12pm; Ireland vs England, 2pm
July 19: Scotland vs England, 9am; Ireland vs Wales, 1pm

Ireland U-18 girls: Jeanna Holmes (GK, Randalstown/Carrick Grammar), Dora Gorman (Greenfields/Taylors Hill) Lisa McCarthy (Railway/Mount Anville), Aisling Naughton (Corinthian/Mount Anville), Deirdre Duke (Capt, Hermes/Alexandra College), Nicola Gray (Old Alex/Alexandra College), Amy Kate Trevor (Cork C of I/Scoil Mhuire) Nicole Laarhoven (Almeerse, NL), Naomi Carroll (Catholic Inst/St Patricks Comp), Rebecca Barry (VC, Catholic Inst/Laurel Hill), Kerri McDonald (Lurgan Ladies/Banbridge Academy), Katie Codyre (Greenfields/Colaiste Iognaid), Michelle Carey (Galway/Colaiste Iognaid), Vanessa Surgenor (Randalstown/Ballyclare HS), Joanne Orr (Armagh/Royal School Armagh), Leah Ewart (Armagh/Royal School Armagh), Emily Beatty (Old Alex/Alexandra College, Sammy Jo Greer (GK, Ballymoney)

U18 Girl’s Home Nations schedule (Garryduff):
July 16: England vs Wales, 8pm
July 17: England vs Scotland, 4pm; Ireland vs Wales, 6pm
July 18: Wales vs Scotland, 4pm; Ireland vs England, 6pm
July 19: Ireland vs Scotland, 11am

Girls set for Dutch semi; Boys miss last four place

Ireland’s U-16 girls advanced to the semi-finals of the European championships as they beat Russia 4-0 in Barcelona this evening to finish second in their group behind Spain. They will face the daunting prospect of the Netherlands in the final four; a side who scored a massive 43 goals in their three initial group games.

Roisin Upton and Katie Mullan both grabbed their second goals of the tournament while Railway's Kate Lloyd and Cork Harlequins' Antonia McGrath were also on the mark.

Upton netted the only goal of the first half from the penalty spot before the Irish pulled clear in the second period.

The boy’s, however, were unable to get the win they needed to advance. Holland’s 4-0 win over Austria meant a two-goal success against Russia would see Ireland through on goal difference.

But they fell 3-0 behind and only for a late rally did they avoid fourth place in the pool. Leinster trio Ross Canning, Jordan Sutton and Jeremy Duncan all scored in a whirlwind second half performance.

They did have their chances to nick the win in the final ten minutes but the point earned could prove crucial in the coming days.

The boys go into Group C – the relegation pool – with one point and now must face the Czech Republic on Friday and Poland on Saturday to decide their fate.


U-16 Girl’s European Championships – Group B
1. Spain 9pts (+13) 2. Ireland 6pts (+7) 3. Russia 3pts (-8) 4. Ukraine 0pts (-12)

Match schedule (Irish time):
Friday, July 16 (6.30pm): Ireland vs Netherlands
Saturday, July 17 (TBC): Final/3rd place playoff)

U-16 Boy’s European Championships – Group A
1. Netherlands 9pts (+17) 2. Austria 4pts (0) 3. Ireland 2pts (-2) 4. Russia 1pt (-15)

Boy's match schedule (Irish time):
Friday, July 16 (11am): Ireland vs Czech Republic
Saturday, July 17 (11am): Ireland vs Poland

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Loreto seeking new coaches

Loreto hockey club are looking for coaches of all levels to join them for the 2010/11 season.

The club are the reigning women’s Irish Senior Cup holders and currently have six teams competing at all levels in the Leinster leagues as well as a large junior section.

If you are interested in taking on a side and want to find out more, contact loretohockeyclub@gmail.com.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

U-16s both still in Euro semi-final hunt

* Words from Southern Fried's Alan Good

Ireland’s U-16 boys will be looking for a favour from the Netherlands tomorrow, but a place in the semi-finals of the EuroHockey Youth Nations Championships in Barcelona is still within their grasp.

A 1-1 draw with Austria today leaves Miles Warren’s side in third in their pool, with Adam Fallis’ neat turn giving him the space to push home an equaliser.

That goal was grabbed while Ireland were down to ten men in a closely-fought but tempestuous game, which saw Kirk Shimmins sin-binned twice, while Josh Moffett also saw yellow.

The Austrians also had a pair of yellow cards in the second half but had taken the lead in the 14th minute through Moritz Mayer. Faills' goal came two minutes after the break.

With whipping boys Russia — who were hammered 12-1 by the Dutch — up next in their final game tomorrow (11am Irish time), the Irish must win and overturn Austria’s goal difference advantage of six.

That task is not beyond them given the central Europeans must tackle the dominant Dutch, and Ireland will have the advantage of knowing what they have to do against the Russians.

Ireland’s U-16 girls also take on Russia with a semi-final spot at stake, but are in a healthier position having already got a win under their belts.

They lost 1-0 to pool favourites Spain yesterday, the winning goal coming in the sixth minute from captain Maria Tost, but a victory of any kind against the Russians is likely to be enough to advance, pending other results.

European U-16 Boys Championships standings (all played two games)
1. Netherlands 6pts (+13) 2. Austria 4pts (+4) 3. Ireland 1pt (-2) 4. Russia 0pts (-15)

U-16 Boy's schedule:
July 14 (11am, Irish time): Ireland Vs Russia

European U-16 Girls Championships standings (all played two games)
1. Spain 6pts (+9) 2. Ireland 3pts (+3) 3. Russia 3pts (-4) 4. Ukraine 0pts (-8)

U-16 girl's match schedule:
July 14 (7pm, Irish time): Ireland vs Russia

Monday, July 12, 2010

Whelan leads way for Irish U-16s

Ireland’s U16 girls gave themselves a fighting chance of a semi-final spot at the EuroHockey Youth Nations Championships in Barcelona, by hammering the Ukraine 4-0 in their opening game earlier tonight.

Wesley’s junior captain Anna-May Whelan gave Ireland the lead with further goals coming from Orla Macken, Roisin Upton and Katie Mullan.

Ireland look set to face a tougher examination today (5pm) when they meet hosts Spain, who eviscerated Russia 8-0, in the second of their three pool games.

Whelan and Railway’s Macken are among a half dozen Leinster players involved in Una McCarthy’s panel for the tournament.

Emma Russell – who gained experience last week with Ireland’s U-18 selection against Belgium – is part of the 18 player set-up along with Railway’s Nicola Walsh and Laura Gray, an emerging talent in St Andrew’s colours who produced some fine performances at the latter end of her school’s memorable treble winning season.

Overcoming champions the Netherlands proved beyond the Ireland U16 boys side however, as they went down 3-1.

Miles Warren’s side matched the Dutch in most aspects and were level at the break thanks to a 20th-minute strike from Pembroke Wanderers’ Kirk Shimmins.

But the Oranje’s counter-attacking skills proved the difference in a tight second half, albeit with a hint of controversy.

A shot from outside the circle was deliberately left by Irish netminder Stefan Gallagher, only for the goal to be incorrectly awarded.

Ireland are in action again today (11am Irish time) against Austria, who hammered Russia 4-0 to also grab an early initiative.

Ireland U-16 girls : Gayle Adams (Ballymoney/Cambridge House), Chloe Brown (North Down/Nendrum College), Lucy Camlin (Pegasus/Ballyclare HS), Elaine Carey (Galway/Jesuits), Amy Cooke (Lisnagarvey/Ballyclare HS), Gemma Fraser (Omagh/Omagh HS), Laura Gray (Hermes/St. Andrew's), Kate Lloyd (Railway/Loreto, Dalkey), Orla Macken (Railway/Rathdown), Antonia McGrath (Cork Harlequins/Ursuline Convent Thurles), Lucy McKee (Armagh/Banbridge Academy), Katie McQuillan (Dromore/Sullivan Upper), Katie Morris (Lisnagarvey/Strathearn), Katie Mullan (Ballymoney/Dalriada), Emma Russell (Hermes/Holy Child, Killiney), Roisin Upton (Catholic Institute/Cresent College Comprehensive), Nicola Walsh (Railway/Mt Anville), Anna-May Whelan (Old Alex/Wesley)
Coach: Una McCarthy
Manager: Jean McDonnell
Asst Coaches: Michelle Rainey / Kymberly Daly
Video / Support: Denise McCarthy
GK Coach: Stephen O'Keeffe

U-16 girl's match schedule:
July 13 (6pm) Ireland Vs Spain
July 14 (8pm): Ireland Vs Russia
July 16 (TBC): playoffs
July 17 (TBC): playoffs

Ireland U-16 Boys: Matthew Allister (Sullivan Upper/Annadale), Michael Anderson (Banbridge Academy/Banbridge), Peter Brown (Banbridge Academy/Banbridge), Ross Canning (St Columba's/Three Rock Rovers), David Cole (St Andrews/Monkstown), Ben Cosgrove (Banbridge Academy/Banbridge), James Cox (Campbell College/Annadale), Jeremy Duncan (Kilkenny/Railway Union), Adam Fallis (RBAI/Lisnagarvey), Stefan Gallagher (Newpark Comp/Avoca), James Lorimer (RBAI/Mossley), Richard Lynch (Ashton/Cork C of I), Joshua Moffett (Banbridge Academy/Banbridge), Matthew Rollins (Cookstown High/Cookstown), Kirk Shimmins (Wesley College/Pembroke Wanderers), Scott Sullivan (Bandon Grammar/Bandon), Jordan Sutton (Wesley College/Corinthian), Gareth Wilkinson (Ashton/Cork C of I)
Coach: Miles Warren
Manager: Fraser Mills
Asst Coach: Ricky Lee
Video-support/GK coach: Stephen Doran

U-16 Boy's schedule:
July 13 (12pm) Ireland Vs Austria
July 14 (12pm): Ireland Vs Russia
July 16 (TBC): playoffs
July 17 (TBC): playoffs

Friday, July 9, 2010

Call for submissions for Leinster ladies' history

Stephanie Batt is currently assembling a history of Leinster ladies’ hockey clubs: senior, intermediate, junior and minor with a view to producing a book.

She is appealing to all club secretaries or individual club members who could furnish her with details, photos, newspapers or personal reminiscences of their club’s history for inclusion.

All documents and photographs would be safely kept and returned. She can be reached at steph.batt@gmail.com.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Le Touquet seek Dublin opposition

Le Touquet hockey club are hoping to travel to Dublin for a preseason tour and are currently looking for opposition for a weekend in early September – either the 3rd to 5th or 10th to 12th.

They will arrive in Dublin with their men’s first team and also a veteran’s side made of players aged over 40.

If your club are interested in welcoming the French club on these dates, email Eric Chateau – Le Touquet’s president - at ericchoteau@hotmail.com.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Centralisation plan gets IHA green light

The IHA confirmed today that from October 2010, the majority of the Irish senior women’s team will commit to a ‘Central Preparation Programme’ (CPP) located in Dublin, for a period of ten months.

The programme is designed, according to an IHA press release, to “facilitate a core, intensive preparation program targeting those athletes in contention for selection in the build up to the Olympic Qualification Events.

“It will enable the majority of the players to train together on a regular basis in one location with the aim of qualifying the women’s National team for the London Olympic Games.”

It is envisaged that about 20 of the 25 players selected for the Irish panel will be in a position to be located in Dublin for the initial time period, and those that are unable to make the move will continue training at a local level in midweek and join the full squad for Sunday and Monday training sessions.

Players selected to take part in the CPP will continue to compete for their clubs as the weekly schedule makes provisions for weekend club hockey – except for scheduled breaks or international events – while also enabling players to prepare midweek with their clubs for ESB Irish Senior Cup and IHL matches.

Additional athletes maybe invited into the programme by Gene Muller who will monitor both club and interprovincial matches throughout the year.

The potential benefits of moving to centralised training from the current regional setup are outlined by the IHA as follows:

“It will enable the majority of players to train together on a regular basis in one location; it will help address critical technical and tactical weaknesses; it will facilitate more intense, frequent and higher quality training sessions; a programme of this nature makes the periodisation of the Irish training and competition programme feasible. Under the previous system it was difficult to control training variables to develop and peak the team.”

National coach Gene Muller welcomed the announcement: “The move to a central preparation programme is a significant move forward for the Irish women’s hockey team, and puts our training environment in line with many of the top international nations.

“The main aim is to improve our chances of international success. This plan cannot work without player buy-in and our players have been fantastic in endorsing and driving this process.”

Eimear Cregan, the current Irish captain, also believes this is a key step if the side is to have a shot at reaching the Olympics: "I have no doubt that this programme will maximise our potential as a team as well as providing us with a fantastic opportunity to qualify for the Olympics in London 2012.

“The current squad of players is hugely committed and dedicated, and I firmly believe that each player will work extremely hard to make this a success.

“I am also pleased that the Irish Hockey Association has been able to accommodate those players who are unable to centralise due to their work commitments.”

Meanwhile IHA High Performance Director, David Passmore says “'While it will maximise the time the athletes can train together it also gives some flexibility to accommodate for the different athlete needs and circumstances, whilst maintaining their involvement at club level for key competitions.

“In the past we have completely withdrawn players from club hockey in the build up to major competitions this does not need to be the case now.”

Clubs whose players will be affected by the CPP will be contacted by Gene Muller by next Wednesday with the specific details of how this will impact on them in the upcoming ten month period. The core Irish panel likely to be involved in the new setup is likely to be announced in the aftermath of the women's series with Scotland at the end of this month.

The women’s budget that incorporates the Central Preparation Program will be allocated in-line with previous year’s budgets funded through ISC, Sport NI and ESB.

The move has received backing from the Irish Sports Council, Sport Northern Ireland, the Sport’s Institute of Northern Ireland, The Irish Institute of Sport and national sponsors ESB.

Graham Shaw takes on Glen's player-coach reins

Glenanne Sports Club have announced that Graham Shaw has been installed as the men's player-coach for the forthcoming 2010/2011 season.

Shaw, who retired from international hockey last winter with 151 caps to his name, will take over from Arul Anthoni as he prepares to lead Glens into their second EHL campaign.

In a statement released by the club, Glenanne said as part of the announcement "Although only 32, Shaw brings extensive top level coaching to the set-up, having won the Irish Senior Cup with Loreto last May and also taken over the Irish Under-21 side recently.

"Sharpie - as he is known in hockey circles - has played for Glenanne since the Under-8 age grade and has won several honours throughout his playing career with them. He hopes to add to that honours list in his latest role."

Speaking after his appointment, Shaw said : "I am delighted to be coaching Glenanne. I feel we have a great mix of youth and experience in this squad and I am looking forward to working with them.

"I will continue to play for Glennane and am very much looking forward to the challenge."

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Railway appoint O'Keeffe for men's role

Railway Union have announced the appointment of Ian O'Keeffe as coach for the men’s first team for the 2010/11 season.

In a statement released by the club this week, Railway said of the appointment: “After a period out of hockey, O’Keeffe is keen to get back into the game and brings with him a huge amount of playing and coaching experience and we are looking forward to successful times with Ian.”

O’Keeffe has been involved with hockey for 30 years as a player, coach and manager. As a player, he represented Belvedere before going on to captain Cork Harlequins and Pembroke Wanderers.

At Interpro level he played schools, U-21s and senior as well as representing Ireland at all levels, playing in the European championships, the Intercontinental Cup and the Junior World Cup.
Ian has coached at both Senior & underage levels and has managed the Irish U-21 team.

Malone's U-18s triple up against Scots

Ireland’s U-18s completed an excellent trio of games with their most emphatic win of three over Scotland at Jordanstown on Monday as they picked up a 3-0 win. Leah Ewart was on target for the third game in-a-row while Rebecca Barry and Katie Codyre (left) were also on the mark.

It concludes their build-up to the Home Nations tournament in style and they now look forward to the event which will be played in Garryduff, Cork from July 17 to 19.

Meanwhile, after 36 international fixtures in the past fortnight, Ireland’s internationals take a slight break until July 12 when the U-16 selections take on the best in European competition in Barcelona while the senior women round off the summer schedule with a three game series against Scotland in Sterling from July 23.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Junior Celtic Cups prove elusive for Ireland

Ireland’s U-21 boys were denied the Junior Celtic Cup in dramatic fashion as an experienced Scotland side following a 4-4 draw at Coolnafranky. The Irish led three times in the game but found themselves chasing the game in the final stages as Kenny Bain popped up to score his side’s crucial fourth goal.

Stuart Loughrey equalised to set up an exciting final few minutes but Scotland held on to take the title on goal difference following big wins over France and Wales.

Ireland added a 2-0 win over France on Saturday to their 6-0 success on Friday to be in with a shot of glory today. Davy Carson netted in the first half before Ali Smyth rounded out that win but it left Ireland two goals behind the Scots going into the final day’s play.

Again, Carson got the only goal of the first half before Gordon McIntyre levelled for the first time from a corner rebound in the second period. Cookstown’s Mark Crooks restored the lead only for McIntyre to level.

Corinthian sharp-shooter Brian Doherty whipped in his fifth corner of the weekend for 3-2. Josh Cairns cancelled that out with a corner of his own and Bain nicked the fourth with five minutes to go, again combining with senior international team mate McIntyre.

Loughrey’s effort set up the grandstand finish but Scotland held out to retain the title.
France, meanwhile, claimed the women’s Junior Celtic Cup, notching three wins from three as Ireland’s U-21s – shorn of a couple of senior international stars – ended the tournament in third.

The French had too much firepower on Saturday afternoon, Louise Poulenc’s goal 18 seconds before the break a major psychological blow.

Anna O’Flanagan’s goal had Ireland in contention prior to that as the game was poised at 1-1. But with their tails up in the second half, Apolline Rougeau and Alix Perroucheau ran up a 4-1 win.

Ireland fell 2-0 in their final game this afternoon to second placed Scotland.

The U-18 girls impressed over the weekend with back-to-back wins over Scotland at Jordanstown as they recorded a 3-1 win on Saturday afternoon with goals from Nicola Gray, Leah Ewart and Katie Codyre while Sunday brought a 3-2 win. This time, Gray and Ewart were joined on the score-sheet by Aisling Naughton.

The Irish U-16 girls, meanwhile, produced a storming pair of results to build their confidence ahead of the European Championships as they notched 12 goals in two games against Wales.

Braces from Chloe Brown and Railway’s Kate Lloyd helped the girls in green to a 6-0 win on Saturday evening with Katie Mullan and Antonia McGrath on target.

Mullan added a triple on Sunday afternoon with Elaine Carey, Roisin Upton and Gemma Frazer all weighing in for a 6-1 success.

International results:
Men's Junior (U21) Celtic Cup, Coolnafranky
Saturday: Ireland 2 (A Smith, D Carson) France 0
Sunday: Ireland 4 (B Doherty, M Crooks, D Carson, S Loughrey) Scotland 4 (G McIntrye 2, J Cairns, K Bain)
Standings: 1. Scotland 7pts (+10) 2. Ireland 7pts (+8) 3. France 3pts (-4) 4. Wales 0pts (-15)

Women's Junior(U21) Celtic Cup, Coolnafranky
Saturday: Ireland 1 (A O’Flanagan) France 4
Sunday: Ireland 0 Scotland 2
Standings: 1. France 9pts (+11) 2. Scotland 6pts (+5) 3. Ireland 3pts (-2) 4. Wales 0pts (-14)

Ireland U18 girls 3 (L Ewart, K Codyre, N Gray) Scotland 1
Ireland U18 girls 3 (L Ewart, N Gray, A Naughton) Scotland 2

Ireland U16 girls 6 (C Brown 2, K Lloyd 2, K Mullan, A McGrath) Wales U16 0
Ireland U16 girls 6 (K Mullan 3, E Carey, G Frazer, R Upton) Wales U16 1

* For more of Emer Keogh's pictures from Ireland U-21 men vs France, click here. Adrian Boehm's photos from Ireland U-21 men vs Scotland can be seen here.