Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ireland clubs demoted despite Loreto fifth

The myriad machinations of women’s European club competition has seen Ireland’s two representatives drop a division despite Loreto’s fifth place finish in Rome earlier this week.

Ireland’s second seed, UCD, were relegated from the third tier European Champion’s Challenge I competition on Monday following a 2-1 defeat to Czech hosts Slavia Praha.

Rachel Burke got a superb deflection to Kerry McComish’s guided corner strike to tie the game at 1-1 but the Czechs struck in the last quarter to a share of fifth place and condemn the students to a share of seventh place and relegation to next year’s Challenge II event for Ireland’s second European entrant – Loreto as Irish Senior Cup winners.

And after the jigs and reels of a complex EHF ranking system, despite Ireland remaining 12th in the overall list of European performers, they have lost their place in the Club Champion’s Trophy.

How this is arrived at is based on a two-tone approach. Ranking lists are derived from the combination of results from the past three years of European club competition in the Club Champion’s Cup and Trophy.

Meanwhile, this year’s three challenge events used a direct promotion/relegation for the Champion’s Challenge events.

The combined system, though, creates the anomaly that while Azerbaijan’s second team, Baku, finished rock-bottom in the Champion’s Trophy, they stay in the division courtesy of Atasport claiming fourth in the top tier to earn enough to maintain their second team’s berth in the Trophy.

As a result, Ireland were the unfortunate country to make weight with Belarus producing two strong showings and earn two places in next season's Trophy.

As such, Railway Union will compete in next season’s Champion’s Challenge I event which will be a promotion/relegation affair while Loreto drop two divisions to play in the Challenge II.

On the men's side, due to Pembroke, Glenanne and Three Rock's performances in the past three years in the EuroHockey League, Ireland has risen another place to sixth in the overall, season-end rankings but it is very tight between sixth and ninth with less than one ranking point separating the sides.

* For more information and clarification on how the ranking systems work, follow the links on the homepage of

No comments: