Monday, January 4, 2010

Mid-term report: Men's divisional round-up

Division Three:
As proved last year, the myriad factors associated with division three success make it one of the toughest leagues to predict with Monkstown and Corinthian needing a playoff to eventually decide the destination of the title.

A similar situation looks likely this time out with a tie for first between the reds and Three Rock Rovers with both sides using the tried and trusted method of young stars guided by elder statesmen. Rovers have used a strong nucleus from the Wesley All-Ireland school’s winning side guided by Ross Varian, Ross Harris, Graeme Dowling and Stephen Bredin.

Corinthian, meanwhile, draw on the wiles of Stephen Williams and their share of young Wes players. They struck twice inside the last ten minutes to beat their Rathfarnham rivals 3-2 in one of the season’s key fixtures. Monkstown are three points off the pace with a game in hand and are very much in the running.

Pembroke are lurking a place back with Duncan McKeen still marshalling the defence and Frenchman Antoine Bruneau stepping into the keeper’s berth. Maurice Elliott continues to be one of the league’s most potent forces when called upon. Elsewhere, Dublin Uni have been more of a nuisance than previous years, notching five wins to date to enjoy their highest position since rising up through the leagues.

Division Four:
Pembroke thirds 100pc record may have been wiped out by reigning champions Corinthian in early December but Dave Wilson-Moore’s charges remain very much the team to beat with nine wins from ten. Their first away day of 2010, though, could prove vital as they travel to second placed Mullingar.

’Gar are unbeaten in league action to date, drawing inspiration from their run to the inaugural Irish Hockey Challenge. Tom Bowers is the powerhouse in the engine room and a win there could open up what previously looked a sewn up title charge.
Clontarf seconds’ improvement continues and they hold third place with six wins from nine.

Division Five:
Naas have enjoyed their drop from division two to five and take an eight point lead into 2010 as they look to find their natural level in the provincial pecking order with Peter Young and Angus Dunlop still holding the fort.

Weston seconds can catch them should they win their three games in hand while Portrane’s bid to bounce straight back from relegation is still in order. Former Glenanne man Nasir Munir is at the helm there and has been in rude scoring form, bagging five in a recent 6-4 win over Three Rock fourths.

Skerries also may have a part to play in the shake-up, too, since being relocated in division five. They have showed up well but have a wealth of games to catch up on. They will have to do so without Brian McMahon, though, who has recently made the switch to Clontarf.

Division Six:
Monkstown fifths and Dublin Uni thirds are embroiled currently in a two-horse race with one point separating the pair at the turn of the year. Trinity have been ever presents in the top three of whichever league they have frequented for the past six years and look well set to continue the trend and Mike Sexton appears to be leading his side in a similar direction. The Town have won five consecutive games since falling 3-1 to the Trin and hold the balance of power with the point advantage and a game in hand. Fingal thirds head the chase, five points off the pace.

Division Seven:
Athy’s entry onto the Leinster hockey circuit has proved a massive success to date, unbeaten in eight games and a commanding nine points clear of the pack with large turnouts for every fixture to date. Formed at the start of the season, the club primarily draws from former rugby players who had played hockey in their school days but have found their feet in jig-time.
Three Rock fifths take up second place after relegation last time out with Derek Squire organising the team. Mullingar seconds and UCD thirds have games in hand and could close the gap.

Division Eight:
Smithfield head a pack of four teams covered by just three points at the top of division eight with a record built around a perfect home record with four successes to date. St James’ Gate seconds hold onto second promotion position at the moment though Fingal fourths are very much in contention as is Wicklow’s team who are in a tie for third but have games in hand on each of their title rivals.


Anonymous said...

when did Brian McMahon move to Clontarf? He was one of the guys apparently unavailable for skerries which is why they went down?

Anonymous said...

Is there a case to say that the leagues be restructured like ulster so that we have Senior and junior leagues, ie only 1st teams in with each other. like between div 4 and 5 theres 8 1st teams alone. if we had senior leagues it might encourage fringe players from teams 3rds and 4ths to move clubs and thus improving the standard of the club game? coz at the moment you can see that certain teams 3rdsand 4ths are too strong for their leagues but cant go up because the team above them is in the league above them.

Anonymous said...

Skerries Did not Drop Leagues becasue of 1 Player. It was due to the loss of alot of players. Yes Brian McMahon Was a massive part of the skerries team. Brian is just back from working out at sea and is going back to sea shortly.


Anonymous said...

skerries originally dropped into division 6 and were ripping up the league. From what I've heard they lost 4 players. seems very little to drop leagues

Anonymous said...

does anyone know if the Branches are going to cancel hockey matches this weekend?

Anonymous said...

Trinity to finish finish top five in div 3, out with the old guard!

Anonymous said...

branch should cancel games if nobody can train...

Anonymous said...

Players playing for "big" club 3rd and 4th teams dont move to 1st team "smaller" clubs - it just doesnt happen, 2nd team players also rarely leave. An example of this is Naas/weston - there are lots of players i know living in the naas & lucan areas having bought houses out that way - They still play for their clubs in dublin city - they wouldnt think of leaving - i guess because they have played for there clubs since school.

The likes of Naas however may become a possible Big club - in the near future as the children of these players may go and play for them -


Anonymous said...

Ladies Branch have called off all Ladies games for this weekend and moved them to March.

Men's Branch ????????????????

Anonymous said...

skerries in fact lost 7 starting players from last year and some of the other players were not available every week.

Anonymous said...

As a member of Naas Hockey Club I like your enthuseasm about us becoming a BIG club in the future. Any Ideas as to how. We have a fantastic Womens Section composed of 3 teams but are mens section is struggling. Could you be a little more clear as to your discribtion of BIG


Anonymous said...

How in the name of god can naas expect to become a big club just like that, they just dropped from div 2 to div 5. I really doubt any of the naas lads are currently eagerly awaiting this magic transformation Clive. The ingrediants for something like that are 1) a feeder school 2) a couple of generations of big families heavily involved 3) a massive underage effort 4) sizable financial backing. To name but a few.....Potential Big clubs go forward, slowly, with massive effort, I should know, I've been involved in one since I was 14 and we're still just that- potential.

Anonymous said...

Railway will be the dominant club in Irish Hockey from 2011 onwards - The Ladies are already starting to dominate and the Men's team has been building over the past two years. Naas have no chance - they are currently Div 5. The other club to watch are Suttonians - good undcerage structure and a Feeder School.

Anonymous said...

well ok i should not have used the word "near" - and i only used Naas as an example - by Naas i also include Weston & even Navan. When i say "Big" i do mean competing in the top half of Div One. And no disrespect i dont believe any of these current first team crop will be involved.

Im talking about these clubs Colts section - their u8s and u10s kids - Offspring of hockey playing mothers & fathers - living in these areas & going to school in these areas. Those kids friends and school chums.
Glenanne are the perfect example and have shown this by becoming a big club by the transition of players from colts to senior team.

And with the young population in Naas, Navan & Lucan - this is also possible for these clubs.


Anonymous said...

It’s great to see satellite clubs growing and evolving and putting in place long term structures. But just remember it’s not what you do but the way that you do it.

I have witnessed several displays of bias umpiring in assisting clubs obtain results that may or may not have been attained without that assistance. Bad umpiring can be forgiven but orchestrating results is unforgivable. Some of these clubs get their just deserves when they are promoted to a division where the branch appoints their umpires, some never make it high enough and continue to produce bias umpires week after week.

So in the long run you are not doing your club any favours as you end up with a reputation for it plus it’s sad that you would knowingly give short corners when it was a free out or vice versa.

Anonymous said...

All the clubs in the commuter belt have a fantastic resource of colts on their door step and it is up to them to be proactive and try to recruit in local schools.
Ideally some form of promotional video could be shown in local primary schools to try to tempt players and parents into playing a game many will only vaguely know. A well produced video is very effective on young children and not expensive to produce. This could be repeated on an annual basis, any parents that bring their children down would then be asked to volunteer one Saturday to ensure adequate volunteers.
The clubs need to take the initiative however.

J said...

Fair play to athy for doing so well, so soon. But its not going 2 get any easier as the season goes on. hopefully they can keep pressing on and win the league!
The league shouldn't get changed to be like ulster because smaller 1st teams like athy and others might not be able to keep up with the high standard that the best clubs set.

Anonymous said...

very interesting that match fixing allegations are being made by 12.07pm...not sure who he/she has in mind but do others agree "big" clubs tend to get decisions in tight situations, the old trafford effect? umpires are after all only human...

Queso said...

Here's a great promotional video the FIH produced a few years ago... not sure if it's been updated since...

I had it on VHS video (remember those!!) as part of one of my coaching collections... I used to play it to some of the kids I'd be coaching to get a bit of a buzz going!!

Anonymous said...

Also available to order from the IHF at,8510,1181-180286-197504-40026-265488-custom-item,00.html

Should definitly be used by anyone who is trying to promote the game to students who probably know very little about the sport. Maybe the IHA could produce one with an irish slant??