Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Midweek clashes provide vital challenges

Weather permitting, midweek could provide a couple of twists in the women's and men's division one title races as well as posing a tough tester for Suttonians in their pursuit of the division two crown.

Hermes and Loreto on Tuesday night (8.15pm, Belfield) is a vital fixture with a win for either side returning them to at least a share of first place in the rankings. The Beaufort side will be without Lizzie Colvin, Nicci Daly, Louisa Healy, Niamh Small and Nikki Symmons due to international commitments in England.

No such problems afflict Hermes as Emma Gray and Niamh Atcheler were not included for this away trip though Jenny Burke is a doubt due to illness while Chloe Watkins may be rested again as Leaving Cert pressures are factored in.

How they bounce back from the Pembroke cup defeat - relinquishing the title after a four-year reign - on Sunday is vital. Prior to that, Eric Fintelman had enjoyed a 100pc record in all competitions since taking over before Christmas with the side accruing nine straight league wins.

UCD are down to play Trinity in a reprise of last week's colours fixture on Wednesday night in Belfield with the visitors desperately needing goals if they are to challenge for fifth spot.

On the men's side, Pembroke can close the gap to two points on Corinthian, with a game in hand, should they get past the challenge of YMCA on Wednesday night (7.30pm, Serpentine Avenue). The toll of three games in five days may be a factor but the elite level training of much of the panel means they are used to such schedules in international tournaments.

Nonetheless, YM are fresh from a free weekend and gunning for points to secure an IHL berth and appear the form side in the mid-table wrangling. A recent 4-0, midweek cup defeat at the same venue provides Trevor Dagg with food for thought.

Suttonians and Dublin Uni will tussle on Tuesday night in a fixture reverted to Santry from the adopted home at Grange Road in an effort to beat the frost. Sutton, especially will hope to avoid a further back-log with five games in a 15 day period currently in store.

That glut of fixtures has led to them withdrawing from Leinster Junior trials with Saturday week's Irish Hockey Trophy tie against Belfast Harlequins a pressing concern. Bray travel to Navan on Wednesday night, too.

Fixture schedule:
Women's Division One: 
(Tuesday): Hermes vs Loreto, 8.15pm, Belfield
(Wednesday): UCD vs Trinity, TBC

Men's Division One:
(Wednesday): Pembroke vs YMCA, 7.30pm, Serpentine Avenue

Men's Division Two:
(Tuesday): Dublin Uni vs Suttonians, 7.30pm, Santry
(Wednesday):Navan vs Bray, 8pm, King's Hospital


Anonymous said...

Dublin Uni v Suttonians is being played in Santry

Anonymous said...

what a joke, how can two of the top teams in the title race play when one side is missing 4 key players and the other none. seems a bit unfair when other teams lower in the league like bray last sat play loreto with all internationals.

Anonymous said...

I thought a team was entitled to a postponement went a number of their players are on international duty?

Anonymous said...

Re 2:54 Yes in the mens section but no in the womens.

Anonymous said...

Not on the ladies side this season given the amount of time they are likely to be away or at training camps.

Makes it a bid odd at the top with timing a key factor! Don't understand why such a refix as tonight's one was allowed to happen!

Anonymous said...

ladies insist on 3 dates being given, one of these dates have to be accepted - clever work on hermes part, but certainly not fairplay, but any other team would have done just the same - or would they????

Gale said...

it's really unfair to not only Loreto but also to the other teams in the league who play against a full strength Loreto side. And, this is the second time this year that Hermes are playing an understrength Loreto. This game could decide the season

Anonymous said...

snowing out where I am, can anyone let us know if these games are off or still going ahead?

Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen the schedule these days?!? There are about 93847539 matches to play across 4 competitions. The international unavailabilty does complicate matters but what can be done about it? The top teams are already every single weekend and playing double weekends a lot of the time, even at Christmas, without having to move matches around to suit the opposition and their internationals. It is frustrating but it's been like this for years. Hermes won the league in a couple of seasons where they were without their (then greater number of) internationals for lengthy periods of time. It's difficult but it's the price you pay for having such good players. Loreto also beat Hermes in the opening fixtures. Who knows, they may do it again and may go on to win the league???

Anonymous said...

absolute joke of a game with Loreto having none of their internationals. It was an unfair match and Loreto should have been granted a postponement.

Anonymous said...

This kind of carry on makes a joke of the league. A team providing players to any Irish team should never be penalised for it. Did the clubs or branch fix sec organise this fixture? It seems crazy.

Anonymous said...

for all those complaining about lack of internationals look to any professional sport. Rugby, do you see leinster or munster given postponements during the 6 nations? Soccer, do any of the premiership teams get them? Answer is no so why should hockey be any different?

Anonymous said...

Amazingly, in soccer, they have "international weeks", which allows players to play all their international fixtures without clashing with club fixtures. It's a fairly radical thought but it seems to work.