Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hermes complete double delight over Railway

Jacqui Potter Cup, quarter-finals:
Hermes completed the perfect double weekend, beating previously unbeaten Railway Union for the second time in two days at Park Avenue, with Aine Connery (pictured, celebrating) striking ten minutes from time this afternoon to announce the Booterstown club as a major contender in the two domestic competitions.

Connery smashed in a super reverse as she drifted to the left of the circle to earn the laurels in a much tighter tie than Saturday's league encounter. Railway enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges, a repeat of last year's final, but found Emma Gray in good form as Hermes weathered a concerted 20 minute storm.

The second half saw the visitors grow into the game and eventually got their reward in the 60th minute with the game's only goal. The win makes Eric Fintelman's charges clear favourites for the title at the semi-final stage where they are joined by Pembroke, Old Alex and Corinthian.

Jenny Heggie's last second strike handed the reds their passage into the last four as they defeated Glenanne 2-1. Irish underage cricket international Laura Delany broke the deadlock with a sweet strike from open play for her first senior goal but Kate O'Connor's penalty corner shot levelled the game with 15 minutes to go. But Heggie popped up with a corner rebound on the final whistle to take the spoils.

Pembroke went even further, needing a Karen Hales' extra-time winner to deny Old Alex II a shock upset. Sarah Clarke opened the scoring but former Trinity woman Heather Irvine cancelled that out to force overtime. But Hales netted to leave just one Alex side in the last four.

Their first eleven came from behind to end Loreto II's cup dreams, also on a 2-1 scoreline. Sarah Scott's corner goal had given the Beaufort side a surprise lead but Nicola Gray bagged her second goal of the weekend with another straight hit in the 26th minute to make it 1-1 at the interval.

And fellow Alex schoolgirl Emily Beatty was on hand to seal the tie in the second half as Alex upped the tempo to advance.

Railway Union 0 Hermes 1 (Aine Connery); Old Alex I 2 (Nicola Gray, Emily Beatty) Loreto II 1 (Sarah Scott); Old Alex II 1 (Heather Irvine) Pembroke 2 (Sarah Clarke, Karen Hales); Glenanne 1 (Kate O'Connor) Corinthian 2 (Laura Delany, Jenny Heggie)

* For more of Deryck Vincent's photos from the Railway Union vs Hermes game, click here

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Butler ends Pembroke Irish Senior reign

Stephen Butler’s 54th minute corner strike ended Pembroke’s two-year reign as Irish Senior Cup champions at Serpentine Avenue and advance to the last eight of the competition.

The fixture will scarcely make it into the pantheon of great ties between the sides with a total of 14 time-stoppages in play – only two for injury – gave an idea of the slow, static nature of a tie that usually sets the pulse racing.

Glenanne effectively took the sting out of Pembroke’s flyers and left the hosts resorting to crash-balls from 30 metres out long before the scoreboard-timer served to confuse both teams in the endgame.

The Glens soaked up pressure, enticing Pembroke away from their preferred counter-attack game and they found space a scarcity. It could have been a very different game had Pembroke taken any of three first half chances.

Alan Giles’ high deflection dinged off the post in the 14th minute and Butler intercepted a Patrick Good pull-back soon after, a metre from his line and the lurking Alan Sothern.

Steven Doran – playing with a cortisone injection to assuage pain in his cracked rib – produced a brilliant stick save to deny Tim Lewis’ measured strike to leave it 0-0 at the break.

But they were rare openings. Corner situations were sparse and when they came were frustrating for all concerned, Pembroke’s first effort in the 42nd minute taking upwards of two minutes to finally settle following lengthy protests, line-breaks and delayed push-outs, before the shot zinged wide.

David Shaw was yellow-carded in the aftermath of that incident for a body-check but it was in this period Glenanne made the killer move. Mick McGuinness flew down the left wing and was unceremoniously nudged over just over the 22-metre line.

Butler held his nerve from the ensuing corner, the Glen’s second, forging a gap between David Harte and Tim Lewis for the day’s only goal.

A series of Pembroke pumped balls came the direction of Doran’s goal but Brennan and Butler dealt comfortably with the majority. One that got away was Sherriff’s bash into Andy McConnell’s path but Jonathan Kane applied enough pressure to ensure the ball went the wrong side of the post.

At this stage, the ground’s scoreboard ticked to zero though was not including time stoppages. The countdown, though, might have played quite a significant factor in the Glens dribbling for the corner and Pembroke’s play taking on a more ragged fashion having stuck rigidly to a two-third press for 65 minutes.

The Hook’s personal timer still read nearly six minutes to play, the majority of which Alan Lewis had to sit out for the day’s second yellow card. Mick O’Connor won Pembroke’s second corner in the last minute. Another lengthy delay saw Doran become the second Glens player green-carded for time-wasting at a corner but McGuinness was off the line like a light to get something on Sothern’s drag.

Suggestions it hit his foot were waved away as Glenanne celebrated but the final whistle had still not been blown but the ‘Broke weren’t alert enough to capitalise from the long corner and the tie was finally sealed.

Elsewhere, just three other fixtures survived the frost or snow as Monkstown woke up to a blanket of snow in Raphoe, Instonians and Banbridge had a tie postponed for the second time in a week and Three Rock’s hosting of Cookstown was also put on the long finger.

Corinthian were the big Leinster winners of the day. They out-classed Cork C of I in the second half of their tie at Whitechurch Park – moved from the main pitch to the recently laid second-surface at St Columba’s – to win 4-3.

Darren Kimfley and Lucas Piccioli’s link-up play was again superb while the hosts strong spine based on the strength of Andrew Cronje and Brian Doherty was too much for CI who relied heavily on Jermyn’s drag-flicks for inspiration.

The pair were locked at 2-2 at the break with but the reds raced clear in the second period and, but for Jermyn’s final hooter strike, could have had a more emphatic win. YMCA and Fingal both bowed out of the competition to mid-table northern opposition, losing to Kilkeel and Lisnagarvey, respectively.

In ALSAA, Paddy Gahan produced an excellent opening goal but Fingal were unable to hold onto the lead, conceding to a neat Greg Thompson reverse just before half-time and they relinquished the tie in the 66th minute. Up to then, Garvey had enjoyed the majority of possession but Fingal had the clearer cut chances only to be sucker-punched in the closing stages.

YM, meanwhile, dropped out of the cup with Gareth Russell’s double proving crucial for the Mourne men. YMCA had led 2-0 at half-time via David Robinson and Andy Walker but Kilkeel bounced back in the second half to take the result. Robinson, too, may be out of action for a couple of weeks following a hand injury sustained during the game.

The draw for the third round was postponed due to the volume of cancellations.

No play occurred in division two with Avoca’s trip to Weston and Suttonians jaunt to play Dublin Uni at Grange Road ruled out due to frost.

Irish Senior Cup, round two results:
Pembroke 0 Glenanne 1 (Stephen Butler); Kilkeel 3 (Gareth Russell 2, William Annett) YMCA 2 (David Robinson, Andy Walker); Fingal 1 (Paddy Gahan) Lisnagarvey 2 (Greg Thompson 2); Corinthian 4 (Darren Kimfley 2, Chris Pelow, Brian Doherty) Cork C of I 3 (John Jermyn 2, Nick Burns)

* Deryck Vincent's photos from the Pembroke vs Glenanne game can be seen here

Five-star Hermes bring Railway back to earth

Women's Division One:
Railway Union 1 (Nikki Evans) Hermes 5 (Anna O'Flanagan 2, Jenny Burke, Chloe Watkins, Aine Connery)
Hermes blew the Leinster division one title chase wide open as they smashed Railway's perfect record to smithereens at Park Avenue this afternoon, rattling in three goals in the last quarter for an emphatic 5-1 win.

Both sides rested players, Niamh Atcheler and Emma Smyth, involved in the Irish set-up in midweek but the hosts showed few ill-effects when Nikki Evans broke the deadlock in the 10th minute with a brilliant combination with Jean McDonnell. They worked a fine trio of passes between to round the last defender and goalkeeper for Evans to roll in. That was as good as it got, though, for Railway who were pegged back inside three minutes.

Jenny Burke latched onto Aine Connery's 60-metre pass wide on the left-wing, raced away from two chasing defenders and rounded Helen Stevenson to equalise. And Chloe Watkins gave Hermes the lead before the break when she soloed right through the heart of the Railway circle, having started on the 22-metre line, and nudged past the keeper on her reverse side from four yards out.

And while Railway started the second half stronger, they were unable to create clear-cut chances. Hermes, by contrast were ruthless. The excellent Anna O'Flanagan set up the vital third, robbing the ball on the 22 and playing Aine Connery in to smash home. Stevenson was, by this point, playing through the pain barrier with a slight injury but was helpless to stop the fourth when O'Flanagan shot home from the middle of the circle and she completed the rout after Watkins drove into the danger zone and slipped the final ball to the play-maker. Hermes move top for the first time in the current campaign as a result.

Old Alex 1 (Nicola Grey) UCD 1 (Laura Wilson)
Laura Wilson's last minute corner earned UCD a crucial point in the battle for fourth place at Milltown as Old Alex were left rueing two late yellow cards, a key factor in a tightly fought fixture with much of the play competed for between the 25s. Nicola Grey had broken the deadlock in the 47th minute from a short corner bullet but Alex were forced onto the back-foot when Rebecca Coll and Rachel Griffith were sin-binned and UCD prospered from a late corner. Wilson's slap-shot was destined for a deflection but no stick interfered and it sailed serenely into the bottom corner for 1-1 that keeps UCD two points clear of Alex.

Trinity 0 Corinthian 0
Trinity missed out on a chance to break back into the top five as they were denied all three points by an inspired Siobhan Burke who kept a clean-sheet in the face of eight penalty corners. Katie Grehan and Caroline Murphy impressed for the students as the reds scarcely threatened at Santry but a scoreless draw leaves the sides where they were in mid-table.

Glenanne vs Bray; Loreto vs Pembroke - both called off due to frost

Irish Junior Cup results:
Catholic Inst II 1 Railway Union II 2; Galway II 2 (Niamh Codyre, Alison Hynes) UL II 0; Old Alex II 1 (Una Budd) Glenanne II 0; Bandon II 0 Randalstown 5 (Lisa Thomas 2; Lyndsey Black; Pamela Muir 2); Clontarf II 1 (Rehanna Curtis) Greenisland II 2 (Tara Connor, Lyndsey Anderson); Belfast Harlequins II v Loreto II, postponed

Quarter-final draw: Railway Union II vs Galway II; Greenisland II vs Old Alex II; Belfast Harlequins II/Loreto II vs Randalstown II; Lurgan II vs UCC II/Armagh II

* Adrian Boehm's photos from Railway Union vs Hermes can be seen here

Friday, January 29, 2010

Wesley girls triumph in Junior A League

Wesley's junior girls bridged an eight-year gap to claim the school's first A league title since 2002 at Grange Road yesterday, prevailing on penalty strokes 4-2 ahead of Muckross after the sides were locked at 1-1 after extra-time.

The Ballinteer school had made the early running with Sophie Pratt and Lauren McGrane combining excellently but the defensive stylings of Shannan Clarke and goalkeeper Marilyn Egan kept the sheet clean and Muckross grew into the game to take control in the closing stages of normal time with Jane O'Brien and Sarah Twomey leading the assault.

The decibel level was immense with a boisterous crowd making it difficult to hear the umpire's whistle, most notably on the final hooter when Muckross netted but the official's whistle had blown several seconds earlier.

The Donnybrook school opened the deadlock four minutes into extra-time when Clarke's short corner shot was deflected to the net by Alex Hernan but Wesley were on terms inside four minutes when Pratt swept home first time from player-of-the-match McGrane's cross, having originally nicked the ball on the right wing.

A high quality penalty competition ensued with Pratt, McGrane, Jennifer Anderson before Kate Reidy saved, leaving Clare Samuel to settle the tie and hand Wesley their 18th Junior A league crown since its inauguration in 1925.

* Elsewhere, Mount Anville beat St Raphaela's 6-0 on Wednesday to take their place in the second round of the Leinster School's Senior Cup where they will meet Loreto, Foxrock.

** For the full match report and photos, check out next Thursday's Evening Herald.

Pembroke and Glens set to make headlines

Seconds out, round two of potentially four head-to-heads this season between Pembroke and Glenanne as the province’s top two over the past decade lock horns in this weekend’s stand-out Irish Senior Cup tie

The pendulum regularly swings from the sublime – last season’s IHL final – to the ridiculous – the card-fest in the ISC semi-final last Spring – but always creates the major talking points.

Pembroke have had the edge, winning at Serpentine Avenue pre-Christmas and winning the two afore-mentioned ties on penalties, and have David Harte back between the posts with injury and exams behind him.

For the Glens, Steven Doran still has a cracked rib to contend with but showed few ill effects with a couple of excellent saves last week against Rovers in the IHL.

Gary and Graham Shaw were both excellent that day while Stephen Butler and Joe Brennan are building a formidable central defensive paring. Snuffing out a resurgent Justin Sherriff and the obvious Alan Sothern threat will be key while, if Tim Lewis continues in midfield, his battle with Graham Shaw could catch the eye.
Ronan Gormley and Paddy Conlon are still in the Bahamas at a wedding.

Corinthian, meanwhile, play Cork C of I in another major test of their credentials as they look to add the scalp of Munster’s finest to the destruction of Cork Harlequins before Christmas.

CI are a different level, though, and John Jermyn’s brilliance will need to be countered by robust performances from Andrew Sutton, Chris Pelow and Henry Micks in the engine room. Darren Kimfley, Rowland Rixon-Fuller and Lucas Piccioli will look to use their nous to unlock the youthful Cork defence while Davy Carson has recovered from illness to take up his place in a full panel.

Three Rock compete in the third of the all-IHL ties to be played in Dublin in the second round, hosting Ulster champions, Cookstown.

The Co Tyrone club’s form offers up a bizarre quandary. For so long, Coolnafranky was the for the fortress on which back-to-back league titles was built. This term, with a new water-based pitch in situ, their home form has deteriorated but, conversely, they have been irresistible on their travels.

With David Ames, Colin Donaldson and Andy Barbour bringing the international class, they are unbeaten away from home, including a big win at Glenanne Park. Rovers are still a competitive unit but will be without Garry Ringwood due to exams while the game marks Ali Haughton’s last fixture before going travelling.

YMCA face a tough away day against Mourne men Kilkeel – their counterpart in the Ulster Premier in fifth spot – on their sand-based pitch.

It is Jacob Webber’s last game before returning to Australia while Richie Pedreschi could be back in contention after midweek exams ruled him out of the Pembroke tie. Charlie Carroll might be the man to make way as he picked up severe bruising on his arm on his return to senior hockey.

Monkstown face the longest trip, going all the way to Donegal to play Ulster’s bottom-placed side Raphoe while Fingal face Lisnagarvey for the fourth time in six years.

Instonians play Banbridge for the second time in six days looking to avenge last weekend’s 1-0 loss at Havelock Park while Mossley play Annadale in the Belfast derby.

In division two, Dublin Uni have their third attempt at ending Suttonians’ unbeaten run this term to keep any semblance of a mathematical chance of promotion in their sight.

Weston play Avoca, also the third time they have met, with the Blackrock side hoping the injury crisis that saw coach Mark Cullen named in the squad last week will be avoided.

On Sunday, the last pair of National Indoor Trophy finalists will be known as Avoca and Glenanne compete against sole Ulster entrants Belfast Harlequins.

Men’s Irish Senior Cup, round two (Saturday):
Corinthian v Cork C of I, 1.30pm, Whitechurch Park; Pembroke v Glenanne, 3pm, Serpentine Avenue; Raphoe v Monkstown, 1pm, Royal and Prior; Mossley v Annadale, TBC, The Glade; TRR v Cookstown, 3pm, Grange Road; Fingal v Lisnagarvey, 2.30pm, ALSAA; Kilkeel v YMCA, 1.30pm, McCauley Park; Instonians v Banbridge, 1pm, Shawsbridge.

Men’s Leinster Division Two:
Dublin University vs Suttonians, 10.45am, Grange Road; Weston vs Avoca, Griffeen Park, 2pm

Men’s National Indoor Trophy, Group IV (Sunday, DCU)
Avoca v Glenanne 1, 1.10pm; Belfast Harlequins v Glenanne 1, 2.15pm; Avoca v Belfast Harlequins, 3.20pm

Hermes bid to end Railway record

After a season waiting in the shadows of the form of Loreto and Railway Union, Hermes have the chance to transform their season this weekend with a double-bill at Park Avenue in the league and the Jacqui Potter Cup.

Eric Fintelman has a full squad available to them – dependent on how Niamh Atcheler got through the intense Irish training camp this week – and a win on Sunday in the cup would make the Booterstown club outright favourites with Loreto and UCD already out of the competition. Emma Gray is available after exams.

In the league, Hermes have snuck back into contention with six successive wins following a sticky start to the campaign but Railway have held sway in recent times and their 100pc record in all competitions is a huge boon to confidence.

They also will hope neither of their stars, Helen Stevenson and Emma Smyth, are too worn out from their Spanish exertions. Railway took the laurels in the Irish Senior in an incredibly tight tie, with Cecelia Joyce's equaliser (courtesy of TAZVideoSport) causing much debate.

In a similar vein, Loreto welcome back Nicci Daly, Lizzie Colvin, Louisa Healy and Niamh Small. Nikki Symmons picked up a stick for the first time since her operation this week but may not yet be ready for the rough tumble of a league tie with Pembroke.

Old Alex face UCD in a key tie for a guaranteed IHL place – the winner will move into fourth place – while Trinity will hope to keep the pressure on when they host Corinthian.

They are at the zenith of their powers since Dave Bane took over after a couple of years of steady improvement though the reds are a sturdy opposition this term, making this another well-matched pairing this weekend, Kylie Deverall's goal the only difference between the sides last time out.

Bray, meanwhile, travel to Glenanne attempting to reel in the deficit on the Tallaght club as both sides look to avoid what looks increasingly like a promotion/relegation tie with either Genesis or Three Rock Ladies.

The Glens have home advantage on Sunday in the cup when Corinthian come visiting while Milltown hosts a busy day of action with Old Alex I and II playing Loreto II and Pembroke, respectively.

Women’s Leinster Division One (Saturday):
Glenanne v Bray, 11.15am, Tallaght; Trinity v Corinthian, 11.30am, Santry; Loreto v Pembroke Wanderers 12.15pm, Beaufort; Railway Union v Hermes, 2pm, Park Avenue; Old Alexandra v UCD, 3.15pm, Milltown

Jacqui Potter Cup, quarter-finals (Sunday): Old Alexandra v Loreto II, 2.30pm, Milltown; Railway Union v Hermes, 2.30pm, Park Avenue; Glenanne v Corinthian, 3pm; Old Alexandra II v Pembroke,4pm, Milltown

Irish Junior Cup (Saturday): Catholic Institute II v Railway II, 12.30pm, Rosbrien; Galway II v Univ of Limerick II, 12pm, Dangan; Old Alex II v Glenanne II, 1.30pm, Milltown; Belfast Harlequins II v Loreto II, 2.30pm, Deramore Park; Bandon II v Randalstown II, 1.30pm, Bandon Grammar; Clontarf II v Greenisland II, 3.30pm, Mount Temple

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Loreto back up to second spot

Women's Leinster Division One:
Corinthian 1 (Susie Geoffroy) Loreto 2 (Nikki Keegan, Ali Meeke)
Loreto moved back up to second place even without their sizable international contingent who are taking part in a high-intensity training camp in Spain this week. They were challenged all the way by Corinthian at a cold Whitechurch Park last night but took the points, going ahead early on through Nikki Keegan. The game was in the balance until Ali Meeke scored the second with ten minutes to go. Susie Geoffroy's corner goal for the hosts late on pulled one back but it was too late to threaten a draw. The reds stay in seventh as a result.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Merry helps Temple Mount Trophy charge

Leinster Schoolboy’s Senior Trophy – first round
Mount Temple 2 (Kevin Mullins, Adam Merry) King’s Hospital 1 (Johan Livonius) after extra time

Adam Merry’s extra-time rebound secured Mount Temple’s place in the quarter-finals of the Leinster school’s Senior Trophy, edging out King’s Hospital in a pulsating tie on the Malahide Road last Friday.

He struck late to break the resistance of a game KH who went ahead early and, with stout Simon Pearson and Paul Lawson resistance almost held on for penalty strokes. Johan Livonius – one of three German exchange students in the starting line-up – got a superb deflection to Carl Goodwin’s knee-high cross to open the deadlock. Temple’s Mark Ryan had already drawn a brilliant save from Johan Bullinger – a former handball goalkeeper who converted his skills to the Astroturf two years ago – and he peppered the KH 25.

KH, though, were carving out the odd chance of their own until Kevin Mullins’ bizarre goal levelled matters. He miscontrolled Merry’s crash ball to wrong-foot Bullinger. The ball hit the post and rebounded onto the goalkeeper’s kicker and back into the goal.

Livonius missed out from a late corner to nick the tie in third last minute while Pearson’s long run as denied at the last by Conor McGlynn when he looked well set, meaning extra time was necessary.

And Temple took the initiative once KH were reduced to ten men for a sin-binning. Ryan’s lengthy overhead exploited the extra space with Mullins racing onto the through ball. His low shot was brilliantly parried by Bullinger but he could do nothing to deny Merry’s follow-up which sealed the tie. They advance to play High School on Thursday afternoon.

Senior Trophy, round Two draw:
John Scottus vs Kilkenny; St Columba's College vs Dundalk; Mount Temple vs High School; Sandford Park vs Sutton Park

U-13 Cup: Sutton Park 8 St Columba's 3; King's Hospital 3 High School 0
Junior Cup: Mount Temple 3 (Mark Ryan 2, Conor Sealy) King's Hospital 1; Sutton Park 3 Sandford Park 0
Junior B league: St Killians 7 Wesley 0; St Killians 1 St Andrew’s 1
U-13 B league: St Killians 0 St Andrews 0

* Check out Thursday's Evening Herald for more; for photos from the Mount Temple vs King's Hospital game, click here

Schoolgirls hockey back in action for busy New Year

Leinster Schoolgirl’s Senior Hockey
St Andrew’s took two huge steps toward a famous Premier League and Senior Cup double this week as schoolgirl hockey returned to action after a two-week delay to the resumption of the season.

Ireland A international Chloe Watkins returned to the fold after a lengthy absence due to an ankle injury to help her side complete Section A of the Premier League with a perfect record – eight wins from eight.

Her side also claimed the honours in the big tie of the first round of the Senior Cup, ousting Wesley 6-2 and now face what looks a comfortable draw in round two against the Senior B league’s St Killian’s who needed penalties to edge past Manor House in the first round.

For Andrew’s, though, their challenge could be affected by the absence of defender Niamh Atcheler. The 17 year-old’s progression had been meteoric and she has been included in the Ireland senior squad of 24 as they prepare for the World Cup Qualifiers in Chile at the end of April.

Below the Booterstown school in Section A of the inaugural Premier League, should Wesley beat Loreto, Bray this week, they will face a straight play-off for the second semi-final berth with Mount Sackville due to identical records and goal difference not being used as a tie-breaker.

The Castleknock school completed the group phase with an impressive 3-1 win over Mount Temple despite trailing 1-0 at half-time.

In Section B, Mount Anville are in pole position going into the last round of fixtures with two wins in the last week. Aisling Naughton netted three times in those fixtures, once in the 2-0 win over Loreto, Foxrock and twice in a 3-1 win over St Gerard’s.

They have dropped only two points so far, but are being chased all the way by Alexandra College and Loreto Beaufort who are both a further two points behind.

In the cup, Santa Sabina showed their continued improvement since laying an Astroturf pitch in Sutton. They produced their best performance of the year to beat Our Lady’s Grove 6-2 with Hannah Connolly and Sarah Keoghan both notching doubles as they raced into a 4-2 half-time lead.

Kate McKiernan and Beth Cassidy were also on target to set up an enticing tie against Sutton Park, neighbours of less than a kilometre away, in round two.

Senior Cup results:
Wesley College 2 St Andrew’s 6; Muckross 4 King’s Hospital 0; Santa Sabina 6 (H Connolly 2, S Keoghan 2, K McKiernan, B Cassidy) Our Lady’s Grove 2; Sutton Park 2 Notre Dame 0; Manor House 1 St Killians 1, St Killians won on penalties; John Scottus 0 Mount Temple 7; St Gerard’s 4 The Teresian School 0; The High School 0 Alexandra College 2; St Columba’s 3 (P Peters, A Traill, C v.d. Decken) Loreto, Dalkey 0; Holy Child, Killiney 2 (M Daly-Devereaux, K Ackland) Loreto, St Stephen’s Green 0

Premier League:
Section A: Mount Temple 1 (S Murray) Mount Sackville 3
Section B: Mount Anville 2 (J Maguire, A Naughton) Loreto, Foxrock 0; Mount Anville 3 (A Naughton 2, J Maguire) St Gerard’s 1

Senior Cup Second round draw:
Mount Temple v Loreto, Bray/Rathdown; St Andrew’s v St Killian’s; Muckross v St Gerard’s; Sutton Park v Santa Sabina; Loreto Foxrock v Mt Anville / St Raphaelas;Alexandra College v Loreto Beaufort; Our Ladys Terenure v St Columba’s; Mt Sackville v Holy Child Killiney
Fixture (Wednesday): Mt Anville vs St Raphaela's

Senior Plate draw – first round (for those teams beaten in Round One:
Notre Dame v Newpark; Dundalk Grammer v John Scottus; Manor House v Mt Anville/St Raphaelas; Newbridge v St Josephs of Cluny; Rathdown/Loreto Bray v Teresians; Our Ladys Grove v Wesley College; Kings Hospital v Loreto Dalkey; The High School v Loreto, St Stephens Green

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pembroke cruise past YM challenge

Mills Cup, quarter-final:
Pembroke 4 (Alan Sothern 2, Patrick Good, Gordy Elliott) YMCA 0
An awesome Pembroke opening salvo made a more than decent YMCA look decidedly average as their slick interplay saw them romp to a simple win at Serpentine Avenue tonight. They started without Ronan Gormley and Paddy Conlon, both in the Bahamas for former team-mate Ian Symons' wedding, but had David Harte in action. He was tested twice, once by David Robinson's deflection and then with an incredible double-save from Todd Gill's volley but, other than that, it was one-way traffic. Alan Sothern bagged a second-half double, a low corner strike and a sliding tip-in from Gordy Elliott's cross. Elliott opened the scoring with former YM-man Patrick Good netting soon after. They will now play the winners of the Rathfarnham derby between Corinthian and Three Rock in the semi-finals.

Irish Hockey Challenge in full swing

Portrane and St James Gate advanced to the second round of the Irish Hockey Challenge as they both managed away day victories over Skerries and Mullingar, respectively.

Nasir Munir continues to show his skills on the Dublin scene as he netted in the 5-2 win in Skerries in the Co Fingal derby with Mukhtar Ahmed – who moved after a brief spell with Clontarf – Peter Conway, Eoin Conway and Anthony Carroll also on the score-sheet. Paul Kennedy’s St James Gate beat last year’s finalists 4-3 on Saturday.

On the women’s side of the competition, Monkstown continue their impressive run in the competition, disposing of Derg Valley 2-1 with Aileen Kealy and Katie Hutch on the mark. They will play in either Athlone or Clonmel in the quarter-finals.

2009 finalists Fermoy are also in the mix following a 2-0 win over Wexford II. Reigning champions YMCA will play their last 16 tie against Gorey on February 6 in Enniscorthy.

Men's Irish Hockey Challenge, round one results: Skerries 2 Portrane 5; Mullingar 3 St James Gate 4
Round Two draw: Omagh vs Limerick; Saintfield vs Ballymena; Portrush vs PSNI; Naas vs Ballynahinch; St Brendan's vs Kilkenny; Parkview vs Larne; St James Gate vs Portrane; Campbellians vs Ashton

ESB Women's Irish Hockey Challenge, round two results:
Mallow 2 Kilkenny II 0; Enniscorthy 1 Tipperary 2; Fermoy 2 Wexford II 0; Raphoe 12 Mullingar 0; Renmore 1 Limerick 1, Limerick win 4-3 on strokes; Monkstown 2 Derg Valley 1
Round Three draw: Gorey/YMCA vs Mallow; Limerick vs Raphoe; Athlone/Clonmel vs Monkstown; Tipperary vs Fermoy

Monday, January 25, 2010

Pembroke and Garvey in pole position

Men’s Irish Hockey League results:
Group A: Pembroke 3 (Justin Sherriff 2, Alan Sothern) Cork Harlequins 0
Pembroke were held at bay for long periods by Cork Harlequins, in particular by Reinout Mensink, but their overall dominance eventually won out as they picked up a bonus point win courtesy of Justin Sherriff’s late double.

In truth, it was all one-way traffic with ’Quins mustering just one shot as they spent the game with 11 men behind the ball and just a series of overheads to relieve the incessant pressure.

But they came within ten minutes of stealing a bonus point for a narrow loss before two brilliant Sherriff strikes gave the ’Broke all four points on offer.

Mensink, helped by John Hobbs, had managed to deny every Pembroke effort in the first half with player-coach Craig Fulton hitting the post while Alan Sothern and Mick O’Connor both had chances
Sothern eventually broke the deadlock just before three-quarter time from a corner and, with Mark Black serving a five-minute sentence for not retreating at a free, Pembroke used the numerical advantage to seal the win.

Sherriff took in Ken Treacy’s long ball and smashed in an unstoppable shot in the 61st minute and his second a mere 90 seconds later earned the winning bonus point from a tight angle

Monkstown 2 (Andy Ewington, Alec Barrett) Corinthian 2 (Darren Kimfley, Lucas Piccioli)
Monkstown picked up their first points of the 2009/10 IHL season with Andy Ewington striking inside the last ten minutes to deny Corinthian a second straight victory in their debut season.

Alec Barrett opened the scoring getting on the end of an Andrew Ward cross, to score a great opener but Lucas Piccioli levelled inside two minutes.

The reds were reduced in numbers four times – two yellows, two greens – but Darren Kimfley returned from a five-minute suspension to fire Corinthian back into the lead in the 59th minute.

However, Ewington responded instantly with a drag flick to tie the game up and, in spite of Brian Groves’ yellow card, the Town secured two points for the draw at Rathdown.

Banbridge 1 (Stephen Dowds) Instonians 0
Stephen Dowds nabbed the only goal of an intriguing tie at Havelock Park on Sunday afternoon, delayed after the fog had prevented the tie from being played on Saturday evening.

A major threat throughout, the youngster scored the only goal of the game in the fourth quarter, latching onto Niall Kelly’s pass to finish past Nigel Skillen and earn a vital three points.

Dowds had gone close in the early stages while the returning Mark Irwin also flashed a shot wide. Ross McCandless let a couple of corner opportunities slip away as chances were hard to come by. But Dowds secured the win late on to move the Co Down side into fourth in the group.

Pool A: 1. Pembroke 7pts (+4) 2. Instonians 5pts (+2) 3. Corinthian 5pts (+2) 4. Banbridge 4pts (0) 5. Monkstown 2pts (-3) 6. Cork Harlequins 0pts (-5)

Group B: Three Rock Rovers 3 (Peter Blakeney 2, Patrick Shanahan) Glenanne 4 (Stephen Butler 2, Gary Shaw, Shane O'Donoghue)
Glenanne got their IHL campaign back on track after an opening day defeat to Cookstown with a spectacular 4-3 win over Three Rock Rovers at Grange Road.

Rovers will rue their indiscipline which saw three players yellow carded and two serving green-card suspensions as they spent much of the game on the back foot but almost nicked a last gasp draw for the second round running.

Gary Shaw – a constant presence in attack in combination with the excellent Graham Shaw – opened the scoring, waltzing in from the right wing to slip the ball in at the near post.

Peter Blakeney levelled in fine style, collecting Garry Ringwood’s through-ball and deftly flipping over the on-rushing Steven Doran, playing through the pain barrier despite a cracked rib.

Rovers survived five minutes of 11 vs 9 play with Pierre de Voux and Alan Bothwell both on yellow cards while Joe Brennan was also binned for two minutes but, with the hosts restored to the full complement, the Glens got the lead back when Shane O’Donoghue finished after fine work by Stephen Butler and Alan Lewis.

Patrick Shanahan completed an excellent team goal – created by Colin Huet and de Voux – from 2-2 in the third quarter but a pair of brilliant Butler drags soon had Glenanne in the driving seat.

Peter McConnell and Lewis were both sin-binned but, with the latter on a yellow, Rovers got one back from a Blakeney corner. Their task to equalise was made slightly tougher when Bothwell was shown yellow for a second time – on this occasion for dissent from his side’s coaching staff – but de Voux almost levelled in the last minute.

He deflected well but Doran was brilliantly off his line to smother the danger and Glenanne took three points, a result they probably deserved on the balance of possession of an incredibly lively game.

Cookstown 1 (Colin Donaldson) Lisnagarvey 3 (Greg Thompson 2, Timmy Cockram);
Lisnagarvey became the pace-setters in Pool B as the only side with two wins from two as they got the better of Cookstown at Coolnafranky, Greg Thompson’s double doing the damage.

He set the ball rolling side three minutes, finishing off Timmy Cockram’s assist, a lead they held until half-time.

Colin Donaldson levelled following a great solo run but Garvey retook the lead when Thompson drove home. Cockram netted a 54th minute penalty stroke to confirm the win and top spot with six points.

Cork C of I 4 (John Jermyn 2, Peter Catchpole, Nigel Buttimer) Annadale 3 (Ian Hamilton 2, Jonny Quigley)
Cork C of I moved into second place in the Group B standings as the Garryduff men built a lead and learned their lessons from their opening day draw with Three Rock to hold on for the points against Annadale.

In a whirlwind opening, Ian Hamilton had whipped the visitors into the lead inside 70 seconds but three goals in a five minute spell had CI 3-1 up by the end of the first quarter.

John Jermyn dragged in the equaliser before Nigel Buttimer bashed in from the top of the circle and Peter Catchpole finished off a magnificent move, set in motion by Alec Moffett, for 3-1.

Jonny Quigley pulled one back in the second quarter but Jermyn restored the two goal advantage by the 43rd minute when he scored a trademark drag-flick.

Billy Lynch was adjudged to have brought down a ’Dale striker seven minutes later and Hamilton converted the ensuing stroke, setting up a raucous last 20 minutes.

Plenty of chances came and went, including a last minute corner for Annadale but the stop was missed leaving Jermyn to break and set up Moffett but he was unable to mark a fine personal performance with a counter-attack goal and deny Annadale a bonus point.

Pool B: 1. Lisnagarvey 6pts (+4) 2. Cork C of I 5pts (+1) 3. Glenanne 4pts (0) 4. Three Rock Rovers 3pts (-1) 5. Cookstown 3pts (-1) 6. Annadale 1pt (-3)

* For Adrian Boehm's photos from the Pembroke vs Cork Harlequins game, click here.

Galway retention on track as Railway advance

Railway Union and Monkstown became the fifth and sixth men’s sides to qualify for the inaugural National Indoor Trophy finals weekend as they proved too strong for tournament newcomers Glenanne II and Suttonians.

Both had progression wrapped up at the National Basketball Arena prior to their match-up in the group’s second last game with Railway taking the honours 3-1 to head the group. The Glens and Suttonians subsequently played out a lively 5-5 draw to earn their first point in the competition.

On the women’s side, Galway began their bid to remain indoor champions in style as they beat Loreto Group A’s opening tie, 7-4, and gained the single point they needed in a 3-3 tie with Corinthian to seal their passage into the final’s weekend.

The reds were ousted by Rathfarnham neighbours Loreto 5-3 for the second qualifying place. Hermes bossed Group B with three comfortable wins over Old Alex, Avoca and Glenanne. Alex nabbed second with hard-fought wins over the latter pairing while division three Avoca gave a strong account of themselves to beat the Glens in the group’s final tie, 4-3.

Railway Union, meanwhile, transferred their outdoor form to indoor as they picked up three wins from three to top group C with a goal difference of plus 18. UCD grabbed second spot courtesy of a narrow 4-3 success over Pembroke when a draw would have nudged the Dublin 4 side through.

Group C: Glenanne II 2 Monkstown 8; Railway Union 6 Suttonians 0; Glenanne II 1 Railway Union 6; Monkstown 8 Suttonians 3; Monkstown 1 Railway Union 3; Glenanne II 5 Suttonians 5
Standings: 1. Railway Union 9pts (+13) 2. Monkstown 6pts (+9) 3= Glenanne II 1pt (-11) 3= Suttonians 1pt (-11)

Group A: Galway 7 Loreto 4; Corinthian 3 Galway 3; Corinthian 3 Loreto 5
Standings: 1. Galway 4pts (+3) 2. Loreto 3pts 3. Corinthian 1pt (-2)

Group B: Avoca 2 Hermes 4; Glenanne 3 Old Alex 5; Avoca 1 Old Alex 4; Glenanne 1 Hermes 7; Hermes 5 Old Alex 0; Avoca 4 Glenanne 3
Standings: 1. Hermes 9pts (+13) 2. Old Alex 6pts (0) 3. Avoca 3pts (-4) 4. Glenanne 0pts (-9)

Group C: Pembroke 1 Railway Union 3; Bray 1 UCD 7; Railway Union 7 UCD 2; Bray 0 Railway Union 11; Pembroke 3 UCD 4; Bray 1 Pembroke 8
Standings: 1. Railway Union (+18) 2. UCD 6pts (+2) 3. Pembroke 3pts (+4) 4. Bray 0pts (-24)

YMCA break into top five

Leinster Men's Division One:
Fingal 0 YMCA 2 (Andy Walker, David Robinson)
Goals inside the first ten and last minutes earned YMCA a place in the top five of Leinster division one for the first time this season to make it a fascinating race for the fourth guaranteed IHL place with Three Rock Rovers and Monkstown in the last few months of the season. Andy Walker fired in a reverse for 1-0 and he turned provider for David Robinson to finish in the closing stages as Fingal pushed for an equaliser to take all three points. Fingal battled hard in an evenly contested game with both sides spurning several corner opportunities while Tom Manning and Dave Bane both had chances but the Y's more clinical edge saw them home.

Leinster Men's Division Two:
Avoca 2 (Stephen Brownlow 2) Dublin University 1 (Daire Coady)
A drag-flick and stroke from Stephen Brownlow moved Avoca to within striking distance of Suttonians at the top of the division two table, as they disposed of Dublin Uni at Newpark. The hitman scored with virtually the first play of the game as Avoca earned a corner straight from the tip-off. Daire Coady levelled with powerfully struck corner but Brownlow restored the lead from the spot after the ball was deemed to hit a defender in line with the goal. Craig Moore and Ezra Handelman were both sin-binned in the second half of a tight, even game with chances at both ends but no further goals meant the home side prevailed.

Elsewhere, Bray's fixture with Weston was cancelled due to frost while Suttonians against Navan was postponed, too.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Shaw insists IHL is "the one I want"

With the IHL heating up this weekend, Graham Shaw admits it’s the one title he cherishes more than any other as the domestic hockey season heats up in earnest.

The Glens play Three Rock at Grange Road, needing to get back on track after a home defeat against Cookstown but the formidable midfielder says the club’s focus is mainly on lifting the coveted new trophy.

“The IHL is the one I want now, big time. We were so unlucky in the last few years, just met Pembroke on good days and probably should have beaten them on two occasions but they beat us on strokes so it’s definitely the one I want.”

For Shaw, it would complete a full set of national titles in the same season that he reached the 150 cap milestone, placing him in the most elite of company in the Irish game.

Strange to think then, that the Colaiste Eanna man could have left stick behind him and taken up a contract in England as a professional footballer. Shaw doubled up as an Irish U-15 hockey and Republic of Ireland U-15 footballer during the school days, earning trials with a number of English clubs but when asked why he eventually stuck with hockey he admits: “I don’t really know”.

“It’s the kind of decision I’ve asked myself a few times. I got trials abroad, I was doing well getting offered a few contracts but my family and I wanted to get my Leaving Cert.

“Somewhere between the end of fifth year and the summertime, I decided I was going to give up soccer. I can’t really tell you why. I’d been with the Irish U-18s and been away with the youth Olympics. I enjoyed that so much that I’d go and play hockey. It seems a mad decision now!”

Soccer’s loss, though, was hockey’s gain – specifically Ireland and Glenanne. A young Shaw began to make his name when he scored in the 1996 Mills Cup final as the Glens made their trophy-winning breakthrough against YMCA with a 4-3.

It was the genesis of the sustained success from the Tallaght club which fed through into an All-Ireland success in 2000; the moment Shaw believes the Glens truly arrived.

“Beating Lisnagarvey in Belfield was a great win and a step forward for us as a club. From that onwards, we’ve established ourselves in the top two or three clubs in the country.

“But it’s not only a confidence thing; you need to have the team there. The important thing was we were getting to cup finals all the time, we knew what the final was and how to win them whereas we met other teams who were thinking, ‘how are we going to beat them?’ We were thinking ‘we are going to win this and that’s the end of it’. That comes from playing those big games.”

As for his international career, Shaw hit the magical 150 cap mark against Argentina in the World Cup Qualifiers in the autumn, a tie Ireland needed to win to stand any chance of reaching the February’s showpiece event.

As such, Shaw admits he had precious little time to consider the importance of the milestone.

“When you get to 150 in such a big tournament and such a big game it doesn’t really come into play as much as in a friendly game. The fact we needed to win by a scoreline, there was no real focus on the cap whatsoever, it was all on the game.

“After, you get time to reflect and it means a lot to you but, at that stage, it’s just all about the game.

“I haven’t really sat down and reflected on my whole career. It’s brilliant though when you think of how much you can learn from different players and their styles, trying to pick things up off them and them off you. Some of the guys I played with like Paddy Brown and Davey Smyth, Raph [Mark Raphael] in the early years... some super players.

“The two Europeans have been nice, going into an international tournament and winning something. Those two were the highlights, the disappointing one was the Champion’s Challenge; it was a bit of a sucker-punch. We played well in that tournament and should have gone on and won it.”

The hunger still exits to make it to a major for Shaw and with the Olympics in London 2012, he says he has no plans on hanging up his stick just yet.

“At the moment I am sticking around. After a tournament, you have to chill out for a while and then reflect. It’s going depend on career, where I am work-wise but a year and a half isn’t a huge amount of time and you’re going to be out of the game a long time. I’ll assess that at the end of the season, sit down with Revs and see where we are.”

Friday, January 22, 2010

Leinster sides keep it in-house for IHL

Derby day in the IHL as four key ties remain within provincial boundaries sees all five Leinster sides stay within city limits on Saturday with Corinthian and Pembroke looking to strengthen their position after opening day wins in Group A.

For the ‘Broke, David Harte is again the major injury concern for the visit of his former club Cork Harlequins as the reigning champions get used to playing with teenager Antoine Bruneau between the posts. Pembroke were pushed all the way by a spirited UCD last Sunday, a performance which might open up a chink of optimism for Quins.

Such hope, though, is tempered by the absence of Jason Black due to a fractured collar-bone while Sean Nicholson is a long-term absentee and trips to Dublin have not borne much fruit in recent years. Last year, Pembroke won the corresponding fixture 2-1 while last weekend’s golden goal loss to YMCA may dent Harlequins appetite for another trip to the capital.

Corinthian, meanwhile, will aim to make it three from three on Saturday this term against Monkstown as Andrew Cronje’s side aim to continue their incredible pre-Christmas from which garnered 10 wins from their last 11 outings.

5-3 and 4-3 results suggest goals are in store with Chris Pelow finding his range last week, Darren Kimfley and Lucas Piccioli with the tricks and Brian Doherty an obvious corner threat.

For the Town, a loss would all but end their hopes of progression in the tournament after a sluggish start against Inst scuppered their opening tie at Shaw’s Bridge. Thus they need Andy Ewington to fire on all cylinders. Matt Fairweather’s aerial prowess with Gareth Watkins, Frank Ryan and Andy Ward in chase could be a fruitful avenue given Railway’s success via this method though would be anathema to the Town’s stylist instincts.

Table-toppers Instonians face a tough battle to maintain that place as they travel to Havelock Park for the late game in Co Down against Banbridge – a prelude to the Irish Senior Cup second round tie.

Former internationals Paddy Brown, Mark Irwin and Neil Cooke have all shaken off injuries over the lengthened winter break up north and will hope to prevent Ross McCandless from getting corner opportunities.

In Pool B, it’s do-or-die for Three Rock and Glenanne as a loss for either will make it nigh on impossible to return to the semi-finals. For the Glens, no side lost twice in the last season’s competition and progressed from the group stages and last month’s shock loss to Cookstown ups the ante.

For Rovers, the 2-2 draw with Cork C of I means the battle is not quite as acute but three Ulster away days to come make it a big ask.

The extent of Steven Doran’s injury sustained against Monkstown last Sunday is a key talking point. If he is unable to play through the pain barrier, High School man Gareth Carragher is waiting in the wings to don the pads.

Rovers are at relatively full strength, though Kyle Good has been confirmed as a non-runner for the rest of the season following surgery while Gavin Bourke has another niggle.

The two winners from round one, Cookstown and Lisnagarvey, battle at the new Coolnafranky water-base and while the Co Tyrone pitch has been frozen in recent times, Cookstown have made use of the Magherafelt indoor astro to keep training on track.

Their home form was rocked with back-to-back losses on home turf – a first for a number of years in Ulster league action – against Annadale and Banbridge and a lack of post-Christmas action means this could be a tricky tie to negotiate, even with Timmy Smyth, David Ames and Andy Barbour in tow.

Cork C of I and Annadale carries much of the same significance as the Rovers and Glenanne tie, especially after the Garryduff hosts threw away a two goal lead in Dublin last month. Karl Burns and Mark Ruddle are out again for CI with Billy Lynch deputising between the sticks.

In the Leinster league, YMCA have the chance to jump ahead of Monkstown into the IHL play-off place when they travel out of Fingal on Saturday afternoon.

The fifth and sixth playoff places for the National Indoor Trophy will be confirmed on Sunday with Railway Union and Monkstown the favourites to advance from a group featuring newcomers Suttonians and Glenanne II.

In division two, Weston will have revenge on their minds when they travel to Bray for the second week in a row. Last week’s cup loss to a Simon Cox-inspired Bray will rankle and if the Lucanites fancy chasing down Suttonians, three points are imperative.

Sutton, for their part, struggled at Navan earlier this season and the Badgers would welcome another 3-3 draw at King’s Hospital on Saturday. Avoca host Dublin Uni as the Blackrock side also aim to apply the pressure on Suttonians.

Irish Hockey League fixtures (all Saturday)
Group A: Banbridge vs Instonians, 7pm, Havelock Park; Pembroke vs Cork Harlequins, 3pm, Serpentine Avenue; Monkstown vs Corinthian, 4.30pm, Rathdown
Group B: Cork C of I vs Annadale, 2.30pm, Garryduff; Cookstown vs Lisnagarvey, 2.30pm, Coolnafranky; Three Rock Rovers vs Glenanne, 4pm, Grange Road

National Indoor Trophy, Group Three (Sunday, National Basketball Arena):
Glennane II, Railway Union, Suttonians, Monkstown.

Leinster Men’s Division One:
Fingal vs YMCA, 1pm, ALSAA

Men’s Division Two:
Avoca vs Dublin University, 1.45pm, Newpark; Navan vs Suttonians, 12.30pm, King's Hospital; Bray vs Weston, 2pm, Loreto Bray

Leinster Senior Mills Cup (Tuesday, January 26):
Pembroke vs YMCA, 7.45pm, Serpentine Avenue

Men’s Irish Hockey Challenge, round one:
Skerries vs Portrane, 2pm, Skerries; Mullingar vs St James Gate, 1pm, Loreto Mullingar

Holders Galway to defend indoor crown

The ladies hockey scene switches indoors with the National Basketball Arena hosting the National Indoor Trophy after this version of the sport took a year out.

With the tournament not being run in 2009, there is little by way of a form guide though Galway have the benefit of playing last year’s EuroHockey Indoor Club Champion’s Challenge by virtue of their win in 2008.

That panel, above left, features many of the 13 Connacht U-18 players who featured prominently in this year’s interpros while former Pembroke woman Emma Glanville holds the fort at the back.

In Lousada last year, as reigning Irish champions the western side started slowly on their European quest but a 3-1 in over Wales’ Howardian HC and a draw with Turkey’s Cankaya gave them a fourth place finish.
Furthermore, they have been afforded the right to host this year’s event in the NUI Galway Sports Complex from February 26 to 28.

They are in a three-team group with Corinthian and a Loreto side unable to use their outdoor international stars due to their training camp in Spain.

Division Three’s Avoca will have a job on in Group B when they attempt to claim one of the two finals spots ahead of Glenanne, Hermes or Old Alex. On Sunday, Bray, Pembroke and UCD will attempt to end Railway Union’s run of wins in 2009/10.

Elsewhere, the second round of the Jacqui Potter Cup will be completed when Corinthian II face Old Alex and the Milltown club’s seconds play Genesis on Sunday.

The Irish Hockey Challenge continues though reigning champions YMCA’s trip to Gorey has been postponed. Mullingar face a long trip to Raphoe while Monkstown welcome Derg Valley to Rathdown.

ESB National Women’s Indoor Trophy (all at the NBA)
Group A:
Corinthian; Galway; Loreto
Group B: Avoca; Glenanne; Hermes; Old Alex
Group C:
Bray; Pembroke Wanderers; Railway Union; UCD

Leinster Senior Cup: Second round (Sunday):
Corinthian II v Old Alexandra, Whitechurch, 1.15; Old Alexandra II v Genesis, Milltown, 3.30.

Irish Hockey Challenge (Saturday): Second round:
Raphoe vs Mullingar, 2.30pm, Royal and Prior; Fermoy v Wexford, 12.30pm, Loreto Fermoy; Mallow v Kilkenny, 1pm, Farmers Cross; Enniscorthy v Tipperary, 1pm, Enniscorthy; Renmore v Limerick, 1.30pm, Mervue; Monkstown vs Derg Valley, 2.15pm, Rathdown

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cats fight back to beat Newpark

Leinster Schoolboy Senior Trophy
Kilkenny College 4 (Eamonn Walsh, Howard McDonnell, Eoin Finnegan, Jeremy Duncan) Newpark Comprehensive 2(Kevin Maguire, Eric Gardener)
Kilkenny College advanced into the quarter finals of the Leinster Schools Senior Trophy with a 4-2 victory over Blackrock's Newpark CS. Kilkenny took the lead inside two minutes from a short corner, Jeremy Duncan's original shot was saved but Eamonn Walsh finished the rebound. Newpark were level within ten minutes when captain Mark Haughton played a ball into Kevin Maguire, who deflected the ball past George Smyth.

Haughton continued to cause problems for Kilkenny and played Johnny Burns in one-on-one soon after but Smyth saved well and in the 30th minute Newpark had a three-on-one break but Colin Harper intercepted a superb chance for a second goal. Kilkenny continued to work hard and Duncan saw his shot come back of the post. Seconds before half time, Maguire was again through one-on-one with Smyth but his shot slipped just wrong side of the post.

But Newpark did take the lead through a Eric Gardener short corner shot in the second half. Kilkenny were level less than five minutes with Howard McDonnell producing a sensational chip over the Newpark goalkeeper.

The hosts pressed on and were in front with ten minutes remaining when Eoin Finnegan found the net with an excellent strike. Newpark threw bodies forward, looking for the equaliser but were unable to breach the cats defence. And Duncan sealed the win with two minutes left with another well taken goal. Next up for Kilkenny is John Scottus at Serpentine Avenue.

Elsewhere, Sutton Park advanced to the last four of the competition at the expense of Sandford Park. They now await an opponent who will be either Mount Temple, King's Hospital or High School. The former pair play in the first round of the competition on Friday, January 22 and then will go on to play High School in the quarter-finals.

At junior level, Sutton were 3-0 winners against Sandford at UCD on Wednesday. In the U-13 Cup, King's Hos beat High School 3-0 at Danum.

* Words from the Kilkenny vs Newpark game courtesy of Marcos Blake; for all the schoolboy cup draws, click here

Muller lays out WCQ build-up plans

The IHA has confirmed the Irish women’s build-up for the World Cup qualifiers in Chile, which gets underway in late April.

Gene Muller’s squad will travel to Spain, Belgium, England and France in the next three months, playing at least eight international fixtures in order to prepare for the qualifiers.

They begin by travelling to Alicante tomorrow for a week-long training camp before moving Nivelles, Belgium for two fixtures in early February. Three matches against England in Bisham take place from February 22 to 24 before Ireland take on the Celtic Cup in Nice, France from March 5 to 7.

Coach Muller said ahead of the Spanish training camp he is pleased to get an intense week of training time in at this stage: “Our WCQ preparations kick off with a week-long training camp in Alicante. This affords us the opportunity to train without distraction and competing demands for a week.

"We have settled on a World Cup Qualifier squad of 24 players so for these players the hard work is just beginning. We have a series of short competition events after we return from Spain which does not include a large training component, so this makes our time in Spain event more significant.”

It is expected that Muller will announce his World Cup Qualifier a week after the Celtic Cup. Squad members have not been precluded from playing domestic league and cup fixtures but their involvement is likely to be curtailed to a large extent by the extensive training schedule.

Ireland squad: Niamh Atcheler (Hermes), Lauren Barr (Ballymoney), Emma Clarke (Leicester), Bridget Cleland (Ballymoney), Eimear Cregan (Cork Harlequins), Lizzie Colvin (Loreto), Nicci Daly (Loreto), Roisin Flinn (Old Alex), Mary Goode (Bray), Michelle Harvey (Pegasus), Louisa Healy (Loreto), Lisa Jacob (UCD), Shirley McCay (Dragons), Rachel Mulligan (Armagh), Audrey O'Flynn (UCC), Julia O'Halloran (UCC), Cliodhna Sargent (Cork Harlequins), Niamh Small (Loreto), Emma Smyth (Railway Union), Alex Speers (Dragons), Helen Stevenson (Railway Union), Nikki Symmons (Loreto)
Unavailable for Alicante training camp: Megan Frazer (University of Maryland) and Emma Stewart (Armagh)

Match schedule:
February, Friday 5: Ireland vs Belgium, Nivelles
February, Sunday 7: Ireland vs Belgium, Nivelles
February, Monday 22: Ireland vs England, Bisham
February, Tuesday 23: Ireland vs England, Bisham
February, Wednesday 24: Ireland vs England, Bisham
March, Friday 5 to Sunday 7: Senior Celtic Cup, Nice

All fixture times to be confirmed

News in brief: Ali Keogh named in EHF UDP

* Three Rock Ladies Alison Keogh has been named as one of eight young umpire's to be included on the European Hockey Federation's Umpire Development Programme for 2010 to 2012. She will be mentored by England's international whistle-blower Margaret Hunnaball who will oversee her progress along with three other umpires from Italy, Slovenia and Cyprus. Ray O'Connor, meanwhile, will mentor the other four umpires who hail from Holland, Scotland, Portugal and Slovakia.

* The Leinster school's Development Programme are on the lookout for new coaches for their initiative which gets underway in March. For more information about the programme and how to get in contact, go to their website by clicking here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Jacqui Potter draw throws up final repeat

Hermes and Railway Union will face off in a repeat of last year's Jacqui Potter Cup final, this time at the quarter-final stage in Park Avenue, on January 31 following the draw this week. Glenanne and Corinthian face off in the only other all-division one tie.

Pembroke await the winner of Old Alex II and Genesis, which will be played on January 24, while Loreto II will travel to play either Corinthian II or Old Alex's first team. That last 16 tie is also pencilled in to be played this Sunday.

Jacqui Potter Cup – Round Three draw:
Old Alex II/Genesis vs Pembroke; Corinthian II/Old Alex I vs Loreto II; Railway Union vs Hermes; Glenanne vs Corinthian

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Leinster Branch seeks match reporters

The Leinster Branch is currently seeking interested parties who are interested in writing and submitting a weekly round up of Leinster senior matches for the IHA.

If you are interested in taking on this task, contact Ronan Pelow at

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Alex double-up to move into IHL spot

Women's Division One
Old Alex 3 (Roisin Flinn 2, Laura McCoy) Pembroke 1 (Hayley O'Donnell)
Old Alex's superb second half performance earned them their second win of the weekend to bound up another rank in the league standings as they came from a goal deficit to beat Pembroke in Milltown. Hayley O'Donnell had given the lead from the second phase of a penalty corner but it was scant reward as the visitors had dictated affairs in the first half and some of the early stages in the second half.

Alex, though, changed their approach in the second period and drew dividends when they turned over possession with greater frequency. And they capitalised, first when Laura McCoy got on the end of a turnover move and they soon took the lead when Roisin Flinn stole the ball on halfway.

She raced away from one tackle and penetrated the circle unopposed to slot home the 2-1 goal. She smashed in her second from the right of the circle to secure the points later on which moves the Milltown club above Trinity. Pembroke, meanwhile, remain in eighth place.

Jacqui Potter Cup - second round
Corinthian, Glenanne and Loreto II all advanced to the last eight of the Jacqui Potter Cup this weekend with wins over Pembroke II, Bray and North Kildare respectively. The reds showed some rustiness after the winter break but Carol McGowan's goal from a first half penalty corner melee was enough to see them over the line. Audrey McCormack netted a corner for the Glens in extra-time to seal their passage. Loreto II were comfortable three goal winners.

Results: Corinthian 1 (Carol McGowan) Pembroke II 0; Glenanne 1 (Audrey McCormack) Bray 0; North Kildare 0 Loreto II 3

Sherriff rescues points for Pembroke

Men's Division One:
Pembroke 4 (Alan Sothern 3, Justin Sherriff) UCD 3 (Ronan Flannery 2, Gavin O'Halloran)
For the second day running, UCD recovered from a 3-1 deficit but, again, failed to take any tangible reward despite contributing to one of the games of the season thus far at Serpentine Avenue. Justin Sherriff scored mere moments before the final whistle to take all three points for Pembroke and move them within a point of table-topping Corinthian.

The students made good use of rare forays into the hosts territory in the first half to take the lead through Gavin O'Halloran, catching a sweet rebound after an initial drag-flick was saved by Antoine Bruneau. Alan Sothern dragged home an equaliser for 1-1 at the interval and he scored twice more to give Pembroke a strong advantage - finishing his hat-trick with touch to Mick O'Connor's reverse cross.

But, showing the energy and team spirit so apparent against Monkstown in the cup, Ronan Flannery slapped in two corner switches against his former clubs and the possibility of denting Pembroke's title hopes was very real.

But the reigning Leinster champs had the final say as they superbly worked an opening through Conor Harte and Andy McConnell to set up Sherriff who grabbed his fifth goal on his comeback weekend with a typical piledriver.

Glenanne 3 (Gary Shaw, Johnny Goulding, Stephen Butler) Monkstown 1 (Andrew Ward)
Six points and two fixtures crossed off the list were the vital statistics as Glenanne did the necessary to overcome Monkstown at St Mark's this afternoon. They were comfortable for long periods but the Town rallied in the second half but, after a lengthy break due to Steven Doran's injury, their challenge petered out as Stephen Butler scored a corner to settle matters.

Gary Shaw's bullet shot and Johnny Goulding's finish put the greens 2-0 up at half-time. Andrew Ward pulled one back as the Town enjoyed their best spell but the were unable to carry that momentum on after Doran received treatment for several minutes. Butler struck late on to complete a perfect weekend for the Glens.

Mills Cup second round
Bray 4 (Simon Cox 3, Stuart Collier) Weston 3 (Enda Tucker, Phil Barron, Shane O'Hare)
Bray produced an incredible turnaround in form as they converted Saturday's 9-1 loss into a gutsy 4-3 win over Weston in the garden county this afternoon to become the last division two side standing. Simon Cox returned for the game and his hat-trick was the key factor to put Bray into the quarter-finals where they will play Monkstown.

* For Adrian Boehm's photos of Pembroke vs UCD, click here

Loreto and Railway make up All-Leinster final

Railway Union and Loreto will contest the first all-Leinster ESB Irish Senior Cup final in four years in May after they disposed of Pegasus and reigning champions UCD respectively to advance.

For Railway, it will be a first ever national senior title of any description as their incredible, 100pc season continues apace adding the Ulster champions scalp to their list of victories which also includes Munster champions and IHL winners in 2009/10.

Loreto, though, have the experience on the big stage and will be going in search of their ninth final win and a number of the side enjoyed glory in the two in-a-row of 2002 and 2003. The Beaufort club's 1-0 triumph over UCD gained a modicum of revenge for last season's penalty strokes elimination at the genesis of the student's famous cup run.

Railway's 3-1 win in Belfast over Pegasus was a collector's item with the Ulster champions nigh on unstoppable on home turf in the past 15 years. But Mick McKinnon's charges whipped up a 3-0 lead and while Arlene Boyles' strike threatened a comeback, the visitors were too far clear at that point, deep into the second half.

The Park Avenue side shaded the first half in territory and possession columns and were rewarded when Jean McDonnell guided Isobel Joyce's hard hit brilliantly into the roof of the net. Emma Smyth had moments earlier surged through the Pegs' defence and rounded the goalkeeper only to see her shot cleared off the line.

It was to be one of four such clearances overall - two for each side - as the fixture as played at break-neck speed. Nikki Evans doubled the difference four minutes after the break, finishing off a devastating move, assisted finally by Cecelia Joyce before Kate McKenna cracked in a brilliant first-time reverse following Patricia O'Dwyer's run took out three defenders.

Pegasus, orchestrated by the wily Claire McMahon, threw bodies forward and picked off a goal through Boyles but, denied off the line by Emer Lucey and Cecelia Joyce, were unable to get back into the tie in a lively closing stanza which Suzanne Beaney sin-binned.

Loreto's triumph at Belfield was a more tense affair, starting an hour late as a result of the overtime in the men's tie between UCD and Monkstown. That delay meant Loreto were shorn of Nicci Daly who had to attend an exam.

Cathy McKean's 15th minute goal proved the sole difference, scoring from the first real opening, finishing off a fluent move in which Lizzie Colvin was the key element.

She raced down the left flank before working her way into the circle and offering up a slightly lobbed cross for the ace finisher to complete. Catriona Tipping's individual run and shot was well saved from the half's other major opening while Lisa Jacob was a constant threat in the opposite direction.

The Irish international was the prompting force for the Belfielders purple patch in the game's third quarter but Louisa Healy dealt with a series of corners as open country was difficult to find for either team nor was the tie especially free-flowing.

Tipping shot just wide in the second half but it was not needed as Loreto doggedly held on for the final place - their first since the 2003 title.

Elsewhere, Sarah-Ann O'Connor's late goal gave Three Rock Ladies a quarter-final place in the Irish Hockey Trophy where they will play Portadown. Knock and Greenfields also advanced to the last eight and the latter were drawn against Galway in a Connacht derby.

ESB Irish Senior Cup, semi-final results:
UCD 0 Loreto 1 (Cathy McKean); Pegasus 1 (Arlene Boyles) Railway Union 3 (Jean McDonnell, Nikki Evans, Kate McKenna)

Irish Hockey Trophy, third round:
Three Rock Ladies 2 (Brigid Charmant, Sarah-Ann O'Connor) Dromore 1 (Shauna Haughey); Queens 1 Knock 3 (Joanne Carlisle 2, Diane Hagan); Omagh 0 Greenfields 4 (Alma Whelan, 2, Neasa McGettigan, Ciara Power)
IHT quarter-final draw: Portadown vs Three Rock Ladies; Ashton vs Wexford; Knock vs Catholic Institute; Greenfields vs Galway

* For more of Adrian Boehm's photos from UCD vs Loreto, click here. Photos of the IHT match Three Rock Ladies vs Dromore, can be seen here.

Fry cooks up breakthrough win for YMCA

YMCA's progression continues apace as they dumped Cork Harlequins out of the Irish Senior Cup as veteran Mikey Fry grabbed the golden goal that earned a second round tie in Kilkeel in two weeks time.

The Y have been threatening a big result for much of the season, pushing Pembroke all the way, tying with Glenanne 3-3, as well as threatening the top five. At Alexandra College, over the course of a cagey, battling 77 minutes, the Dubliners just edged IHL opposition though a litany of missed corners meant they might have had the tie wrapped up inside the regular distance.

Nine corners slipped through their fingers as Quins took their time to settle into the tie. Reinout Mensink, aided by the excellent Jason Black, combined to keep the sheet clean, though, and when Mark Black began to spray the passes in the second half, the Cork side showed more attacking promise.

Indeed, three corners in normal time could have nicked a fascinating tie while Todd Gill shone bright in a top drawer defensive unit to limit clear chances. Quins had first dig in extra-time, though, Dan Hobbs fizzing a flick just by the post barely 60 seconds into time added on.

But Fry - along with Will Powderly, one of the survivors of the 2001 final run - settled it, pouncing after Jacob Webber's shot ricocheted off the frame of the goal in the 77th minute.

Monkstown went a step further in the tension stakes as they eventually fought off a spirited UCD on sudden death penalty strokes. The Town appeared to be cruising with eight minutes to go, leading 3-1 courtesy of Andy Ewington's corner double and a sweet reverse strike from Gareth Watkins in the 20th minute.

Robbie McFarlane, though, had scrambled an early corner rebound to level at 1-1 and, after Gavin O'Halloran had served time for a yellow card, UCD launched a thrilling comeback.

McFarlane smashed in after David Quinn's initial shot to make it a grandstand finish with seven minutes to go and the striker earned and scored the corner on the final hooter to complete his hat-trick. He deflected a corner routine to force extra-time.

Brian Groves and Quinn both sat out part of extra-time as the Town won a series of corners in extra-time but no goals meant strokes. Five strokes left the sides still inseparable at 3-3 but Alec Barrett showed the ice cool nerve to beat Ross Gribben while David Fitzgerald denied John McInroy - his nemesis earlier with an incredible point blank save from a diving deflection - to send Monkstown through.

Elsewhere, results followed the form guide as Corinthian managed to escape Railway's clutches with Chris Pelow the scorer in chief. Three Rock were scarcely troubled by Bandon, leading 1-0 at the break from Sven Galjaardt's corner. Mick Maguire added a thunderbolt reverse while Ross Canning and Peter Blakeney shared scorer and creator roles for goals three and four.

Holders Pembroke notched up yet another double figures win. This time it was 14 and the opponent Bangor; Alan Sothern scoring a half-dozen. Clontarf came unstuck in Cork against C of I with Richie Dorman rolling back the years with a double. At the opposite end of the experience spectrum, Nick Burns matched that feat while Rob Abbott got a consolation goal and the Bulls were unlucky not to add a few more, pinging the bar and post. Banbridge won the only tie not involving Leinster teams, disposing of North Down 7-2.

The round two draw threw up a wealth of fascinating ties but the standout tie, as always, is Pembroke's fixture with Glenanne to be played on January 30. Fingal get yet another chance to end their Garvey hoodoo. They meet for the fourth time in six years and the ALSAA men have never won in eight attempts in total.

Corinthian will be grateful of home-field advantage in what could be a seminal moment for Andrew Cronje's team against Cork C of I. Three Rock stay at Grange Road for their tie against Cookstown in another of four all-IHL ties - the final one being the Ulster derby between Instonians and Banbridge.

YM's reward is a tricky tie on the sand in Kilkeel while Monkstown have the longest trip as they go to Donegal to play Raphoe.

Irish Senior Cup - round one results:
YMCA 1 (Mikey Fry) Cork Harlequins 0, after golden goal; Three Rock Rovers 4 (Sven Galjaardt, Michael Maguire, Peter Blakeney, Ross Canning) Bandon 0; Pembroke 14 (Alan Sothern 6, Justin Sherriff 3, Conor Harte, Andy McConnell, Timmy Lewis, Michael O'Connor, Craig Fulton) Bangor 0; UCD 3 (Robbie McFarlane 3) Monkstown 3 (Andy Ewington 2, Gareth Watkins), Monkstown win 4-3 on sudden death penalty strokes; Railway Union 1 (Peter English) Corinthian 3 (Chris Pelow 2, Darren Kimfley); Cork C of I 6 (Richie Dorman 2, Nick Burns 2, John Jermyn, Stephen Parker) Clontarf 1 (Rob Abbott); Banbridge 7 (Ross McCandless 3, Dane Ward, Stephen Dowds, Simon Magowan, Colin Dowds) North Down 2 (Mark Forrest, Scott Caruth)

Irish Senior Cup - round two draw (January 30)
Corinthian vs Cork C of I; Pembroke vs Glenanne; Raphoe vs Monkstown; Mossley vs Annadale; Three Rock Rovers vs Cookstown; Fingal vs Lisnagarvey; Kilkeel vs YMCA; Instonians vs Banbridge

* Amazing stuff from the Irish Hockey Photogrpahers today. To see more photos from UCD vs Monkstown from Adrian Boehm, click here and Deryck Vincent, click here. For Adrian Boehm's pictures from YMCA vs Cork Harlequins, click here. For pics from Three Rock Rovers vs Bandon from Deryck Vincent, click here, for Emer Keogh's set of photos, click here and for a few more photos, click here.