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News for 19 April 2019

All the news for Friday 19 April 2019

Rot Weiss, Polo, Egara and Amsterdam march on to KO8 dates

©: Frank Uijlenbroek / World Sport Pics

Rot Weiss Koln, Real Club de Polo, Club Egara and AH&BC Amsterdam all progressed to the KO8 stages of the Euro Hockey League following a spectacular day two of the KO16 in Eindhoven.

It sets up a series of local derbies in the quarter-finals on Saturday with Mannheimer HC facing Uhlenhorst Mulheim at 9.30 (CET) in an all-German clash. Belgian sides KHC Dragons and Waterloo Ducks face off at 11.45 (CET) before an all Spanish affair at 14.00 (CET) between Club Egara and Real Club de Polo. AH&BC Amsterdam face Rot Weiss in the fourth game of the KO8.

Club Egara started off the action with yet another close run battle with Saint Germain in their growing rivalry. Normal time ended 1-1 with David Aura and Blaise Rogeau trading the goals before Quico Cortes produced the heroics in a shoot-out to see the Spanish side through.

Game two was a modern classic as Matias Rey scored a late winner for Real Club de Polo to beat Royal Leopold 4-3. Alex Reyne had Polo in dreamland at 2-0 before Leo stormed back to lead 3-2 but Borja Llorens and Rey scored from corners to win the day and a KO8 game with their Spanish rivals.

AH&BC Amsterdam over-powered Scottish newcomers Grove Menzieshill as their array of world stars had too much quality in the tank. Hat tricks from Justin Reid-Ross, Boris Burkhardt and Mirco Pruijser helped them to a 12-1 win.

They are the only Dutch side through to the last eight, however, as Rot-Weiss won the latest game in their long-running rivalry with SV Kampong with Mats Grambusch popping up with an epic winner with just 25 seconds to go. Kampong led at half-time but were behind to a pair of goals from the Grambusch boys, Tom getting the equaliser at 1-1. Martijn Havenga made it 2-2 with five minutes left in a thrilling finale but Mats broke the Utrecht side's hearts.

Friday will feature the four ranking matches with important nations points on the line which will have an impact on how many tickets each country will get in the new EHL format in 2019/20.

Surbiton and Three Rock Rovers begin the day at 12.45 (CET) before Saint Germain face Royal Leopold (15.00 CET). Hosts HC Oranje-Rood take on Dinamo Kazan at 17.15 (CET) before SV Kampong and Grove Menzieshill complete the schedule (19.30 CET).

Every game will be streamed live on www.eurohockeytv.org while all the highlights and clips from the day will be posted on the EHL social media as they happen!

Today's results
M5 12.45h KO16 Saint Germain HC 1 (B Rogeau) Club Egara 1 (D Aura), Egara win shoot-out 2-1
M6 15.00h KO16 Royal Leopold HC 3 (D Cuvelier, K Russell, A Verdussen) Real Club de Polo 4 (A Reyne 2, B Llorens, M Rey)
M7 17.15h KO16 AH&BC Amsterdam 12 (J Reid-Ross 3, B Burkhardt 3, M Pruijser 3, V Verga, R van Kan, T Hiebendaal) Grove Menzieshill 1 (J Golden)
M8 19.30h KO16 SV Kampong 2 (J Janssen, M Havenga) Rot Weiss Koln 3 (M Grambusch 2, T Grambusch)

Friday 19 April 2019
M9 12.45h Ranking match – Three Rock Rovers v Surbiton
M10 15.00h Ranking match – Saint Germain v Royal Leopold
M11 17.15h Ranking match – Dinamo Kazan v HC Oranje-Rood
M12 19.30h Ranking match – Grove Menzieshill v SV Kampong

Saturday 20 April 2019
M13 09.30h KO8 – Mannheimer HC v Uhelnhorst Mulheim
M14 11.45h KO8 – KHC Dragons v Waterloo Ducks
M15 14.00h KO8 – Club Egara v Real Club de Polo
M16 16.15h KO8 – AH&BC Amsterdam v Rot Weiss Koln

Sunday 21 April 2019
M17 13.00h FINAL4 Semi-Final 1
M18 15.15h FINAL4 Semi-Final 2

Monday 22 April 2019
M20 15.15h GRAND FINAL

Euro Hockey League media release

Egara win through to KO8 via shoot-out against Saint Germain

©: Frank Uijlenbroek / World Sport Pics

KO16: Club Egara 1 Saint Germain 1 (1-0), Egara win shoot-out 2-1
Club Egara produced an almost identical victory to their 2015 KO16 success over Saint Germain which also ended 1-1 before prevailing in a shoot-out.

The vastly experienced Quico Cortes produced an excellent set of blocks in the decisive phase to hand his side the victory and their first trip to the quarter-finals since that 20014/15 campaign.

It was a gritty, physical battle throughout against a Saint Ger side who caused them plenty of problems throughout. Egara did go in front when Pol Gispert’s crash ball into the circle took a deflection which Guillaume de Vaucelles had to block. It fell from his pads, though, into the gleeful path of David Aura who chipped in a seventh minute opening goal.

The first half grew increasingly physical with numerous bodies going tumbling but no advance on the scoreline.

When the leveller did come, it was a thing of the beauty that lit up the contest. Martin Genestet’s powerful cross from the right wing was controlled with a bounce by Blaise Rogeau who took the chance to unleash a fabulous high volley that gave Cortes no chance.

For the remainder, Egara looked the more likely to get a winning goal, particularly in the last five minutes but a shoot-out was the outcome.

There, Tom Genestet and Vincenc Ruiz both scored in the first round before a round of misses. Francois Goyet was also denied before Gerard Clapes held his nerve despite a buzzer malfunction to get a crucial goal for 2-1.

No one was able to score from the closing four shoot-outs with Cortes brilliantly keeping out Thomas Pauchet in the last round with his hands.

Xavi Gispert said afterwards: “We played very well first half and could have gotten a couple of goals but we have a lot to improve for the next game. Rhythm is key in the EHL and that is what we will have to change for our next game.”

As for his goalkeeper, Gispert added: “We are lucky to have him and hopefully he will be around for a long time.”

Euro Hockey League media release

Polo win a classic EHL battle over Royal Leopold

©: Frank Uijlenbroek / World Sport Pics

KO16: Royal Club de Polo 4 Royal Leopold 3
Real Club de Polo won a barn-storming KO16 tie to reach the KO8, beating Royal Leopold 4-3 in a tie that had drama galore in the closing two minutes.

Polo were in dreamland in the first half as they raced into a 2-0 lead with Alex Reyne scoring twice. The first was a gorgeous near post touch from David Alegre’s powerful cross just before the end of the first quarter.

He then weighed in once again in the second quarter with a brilliant first time volley, technically incredible as he was running away from goal as the ball bounced his way.

Dimitri Cuvelier started the comeback for Leopold five minutes before half-time when he latched onto a bouncing ball in the circle, smashing it home from mid-circle.

Leo enjoyed a really strong start to the third quarter and they went in front when Kane Russell whipped a high drag-flick into the top corner to make it 2-2.

Four minutes later, Arthur Verdussen weighed in with yet another brilliant volleyed finish from the top of the circle, turning a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 lead.

But they only had that advantage for a few minutes as Polo won a series of penalty corners in quick succession and, from the fourth of them, Borja Llorens powered in a drag-flick.

The game was ultimately won in the last two minutes when Matias Rey got a touch to Roc Oliva’s slowed down drag-flick for 4-3. It came from a piece of individual brilliance from Alegre to win the corner.

There was further late drama when Leo had the ball in the net just a few milli-seconds after the final buzzer, the game ending just before hitting the net.

Xavi Lleonart, a winner last year with Bloemendaal, was delighted to nick the result: “We knew it would be really , really hard and it took scoring in the last minute but that’s the EHL! It was so tight and it was great to finally win.

“It’s nice to play in different clubs in this competition. It is so difficult for a Spanish team to get into the FINAL4. Last year, I really enjoyed the EHL with Bloemendaal and we will try and do it again with Polo.”

They meet Club Egara, a side they know incredibly well, regularly playing each other four or five times a season: “They have a lot of character, play with a lot of passion. It’s always a fight and will be physically spectacular.”

Euro Hockey League media release

Amsterdam over-power debutants Grove to reach EHL KO8

©: Frank Uijlenbroek / World Sport Pics

KO16: AH&BC Amsterdam 12 Grove Menzieshill 1 (5-0)
AH&BC Amsterdam over-powered Scottish newcomers Grove Menzieshill as their array of world stars had too much quality in the tank.

Justin Reid-Ross grabbed a goal from play in the first few minutes when he reacted quickest to sweep in after Mirco Pruijser’s initial shot.

He added a corner in the first minute of the second quarter before Boris Burkhardt flicked home a rising flick. Pruijser’s pirouette turned in the fourth and Reid-Ross concluded his hat trick for 5-0 at half-time.

The biggest cheer came 30 seconds into the second half when Menzieshill pulled one back as Luke Cranney intercepted on the left flank and crossed the ball which eventually fell to Jamie Golden to finish.

Further goals from Pruijser, Valentin Verga, Tom Hiebendaal and Burkhardt stretched the lead out to 9-1 before the end of the first half. Burkhardt became the second player to complete his hat trick inthe 49th minute.

Pruijser became the third to score a treble with four minutes remaining before Rik van Kan added the 12th goal.

Tom Hiebendaal said afterwards: “It is difficult to keep the focus in this kind of game. We tried some different presses for the next game and I think that was really good for us.”

Euro Hockey League media release

Grambusch grabs sensational late winner for Rot-Weiss to knock out Kampong in epic tie

©: Frank Uijlenbroek / World Sport Pics

KO16: SV Kampong 2 Rot Weiss Koln 3 (1-0)
Mats Grambusch produced a remarkable last minute winner to see Rot-Weiss Koln win the latest edition of this ongoing rivalry, a truly epic 3-2 success in the last of the KO16 matches in Eindhoven.

This edition was played at an incredible tempo with both sides throwing everything into the contest. Kampong had to play without Robbert Kemperman and Lars Balk but were boosted by the availability of Sander de Wijn.

Rot-Weiss had the best of the first quarter and were within inches of opening the scoring in the 11th minute when Sjoerd de Wert – who has recently been brought out of retirement – deflected a Tom Grambusch shot onto the bar.

Kampong stepped up their pace in the second quarter with Boet Phijffer going close on a couple of occasions while Victory Aly made some great saves from Jip Janssen.

Janssen did break the deadlock in the 28th minute, however, when he picked up the ball from a charged down drag-flick and fire into the roof of the net.

Rot-Weiss started the second half in good shape and they scored their equaliser via Tom Grambusch’s heavily deflected drag-flick – his eighth goal in 13 EHL games.

Aly made a couple of powerful saves while Bjorn Kellerman – who was excellent in setting their attacks in motion – should have made it 2-1 when he battled past the last defender but inexplicably missed an open goal.

Johannes Grosse had also saved off the line before Rot-Weiss went in front from their fourth corner, a smart move between the Grambusch brothers, Tom laying on for Mats to guide in.

Martijn Havenga equalised with five minutes to go in almost identical fashion to Janssen’s opening goal, rebounding his own charged down drag-flick to shoot into the roof on his reverse.

The last few minutes saw a plethora of dramatic moments with both sides denied a goal on video review. And they got an amazing winner with 25 seconds left on the clock when Mats Grambusch went on his own to score a truly remarkable goal, weaving inside two defenders and clipping a gorgeous finish over David Harte.

“It’s easy to describe!” Mats Grambusch said when asked to put the feeling into words.

“We won 3-2 and are now through to the KO8; that’s what we wanted and achieved in the end. As always, it was a really hard match with Kampong. We’ve played them four times now and this year, we were the lucky ones.

“The intensity high, we played well defensively and had good one-on-ones but we didn’t play too well offensively. Our strategy did work out in the end but we couldn’t play it like we wished to. We kept on believing in ourselves and got that third goal.”

Euro Hockey League media release

Baptism of fire for Grove Menzieshill in first EHL appearance

Grove Menzieshill`s first appearance at the prestigious EuroHockey League (EHL) in Eindhoven turned out to be a real baptism of fire as they were beaten 12-1 by crack Dutch side AH&BC Amsterdam in the last 16 round.

It was always going to be a huge challenge for the Dundonians and the quality of the opposition was clear when South African international Justin Reid-Ross opened the scoring from close range in only five minutes.   

Although they had a go from the outset, the Taysiders’ found defensive mistakes were clinically punished by a sharp Amsterdam strike force and they fell five behind at the interval, Reid-Ross scoring a hat-trick.

However, a golden moment at the start of the second half, Luke Cranney took advantage of some sloppy defending, squared the ball and Jamie Golden brilliantly chipped it over the keeper.

But it was only a brief respite, Amsterdam increased the tempo and slotted home another seven to complete the scoring, there were hat-tricks for Boris Burkhardt and Mirco Pruijser

Grove Menzieshill now have to pick themselves up to face the loser of Kampong (Netherlands) and Rot Weiss Koln for crucial ranking points – hardly an easier task than today.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Blow for Malaysian hockey team as keeper Kumar is out

By Aftar Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: The national hockey team suffered a huge blow when experienced goalkeeper S. Kumar (pic) will not feature in the World Series Hockey tournament.

The 39-year-old Tampin-born player has not recovered from a muscle tear on his right thigh which he suffered during the Malaysia Hockey League match last month.

Kumar, who has 310 international caps, also skipped the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh last month.

National coach Roelant Oltmans said it will be difficult without Kumar when the tourney starts from April 26 to May 4 at the National Hockey Stadium.

“We’ve already expected this and Kumar will be replaced by Hairi Abdul Rahman. Hairi had a good tournament in Ipoh and we will keep faith with him,” said the Dutch coach.

Meanwhile, national skipper Muhd Sukri Abdul Mutalib, who did not play in Ipoh due to a broken finger, is back in training.

Oltmans, who was hired last October to help Malaysia qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, will name the final 18 players today.

Oltmans said that they are currently fine-tuning on the penalty corners.

“We achieved about 26% conversion rate in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup but we hope to improve on it,” he said.

“We’re are looking at a 30%-35% conversion rate for the World Series.”

Oltmans, however, was not happy as there is no video referral in the tournament.

“The FIH (International Hockey Federation) did not allow it. It is not a right decision but I cannot change it. We have to accept it.”

Eight teams will feature in the tournament and Malaysia are drawn in Group B with Brazil, China and Italy while Group B comprise Canada, Austria, Belarus and Wales.

Malaysia will play a friendly with Wales on Tuesday before taking on Brazil on April 26.

The Malaysian Hockey Confederation have set a target for the national team to win the tournament.

The Star of Malaysia

USMNT Drops First Game of Series Against South Korea

SEOUL, South Korea - After traveling half way around the world and followed by two intense days of training, the U.S. Men’s National Team was eager to take on No. 17 South Korea, who has had a lot of recent international success. The first of four test series games at the Korea National Training Center saw No. 25 USA unable to capitalize as the hosts went on to earn a 4-0 victory.

“It has been a while since we played an opposition of this quality, so it is great to be here again,” said Rutger Wiese, USMNT Head Coach. “We played well for three quarters but obviously can’t be content with our performance the fourth quarter. We are looking forward to showing improvements in game two in the areas that we recognized we need some work in today.”

The first quarter was pretty even with Korea having a bit more ball possession while USA did have two great scoring opportunities that they were unable to capitalize on. Korea earned a penalty corner early and scored with a low bullet into the right corner of the goal to take a 1-0 lead. USA stabilized and started to move the ball with more intent as the first quarter came to a close.

A quick pep talk at the first break saw USA progress and start to play with more consistency in the second and third quarters. Korea’s second goal came from a poor substitution where USA was caught by a fast counter attack down the right side, allowing a circle entry with the defense scrambling. This resulted in the hosts tallying their second goal of the game to extend their lead to 2-0. USA didn’t let up on their offensive pressure and connected with the forward line a few times to threaten and produce a couple of good shots, and Korea’s goalkeeper even made a great save off a USA penalty corner.

The fourth quarter saw USA run into penalty trouble after earning a few cards forcing them to play an athlete down for 9 minutes. Korea added two more goals to their lead as USA goalkeeper Daan Wisselink (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) fought bravely with quite a few valiant saves. The final score stood in favor of Korea 4-0.

The U.S. Men’s National Team returns to the pitch in less than 24 hours for the second game of the four-match series.

USFHA media release

U.S. Women's National Development Squad Prevails in Shootout Over Belgium's U-21 Team

BILTHOVEN, The Netherlands - On a beautiful sunny afternoon in a tranquil setting, the U.S. Women's National Development Squad faced Belgium's U-21 team in the third game of the tour at the Stichtsche Cricket en Hockeyclub in Bilthoven, The Netherlands. The 60-minute match was a battle that saw USA convert on a penalty stroke in the third and the Red Panthers fight to find the equalizer on a broken penalty corner to force the game to a shootout. The red, white and blue prevailed through four well executed performances and exemplary goalkeeping for the 4-1 shootout victory.

Similar to their first two tour games, USA started the first quarter on a positive note displaying a high energy performance that led them to beat Scotland twice earlier in the week. USA was far better with possession of the ball and was able to create a number of half chances but could not break the deadlock. Once again, Karlie Heistand (Hamburg, Pa.) provided the team with her calm presence in the middle of the pitch and Taylor Stone (Herndon, Va.) and Virginia Bramley (Elizabethtown, Pa.) were industrious and combative throughout.

Midway through the second quarter, USA was given a golden opportunity to take the lead. After some nice passing interplay down the right side, Blood found herself with time and space inside the Belgium circle. Before Blood could get a shot off she was fouled and a penalty stroke was awarded. Unfortunately, USA was unable to convert leaving the score at 0-0 going into halftime.

The third quarter saw both teams working hard and an endeavor was rewarded to USA when Erin Shanahan (Pasadena, Md.) found herself through on goal, but once again a recovering Belgium defender broke the play down and the umpire had no option but to award a penalty stroke. This time Erin McCrudden (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) successfully converted to give the team a 1-0 lead.

Belgium responded with a good series of passing play and were rewarded for this with a series of penalty corners. A poorly executed insert broke kindly to Belgium who was able to take the ball wide and squeeze a shot under USA goalkeeper Carrera Lucas (Brooklandville, Md.) to level the game at 1 -1. With both teams pushing for the victory, USA created a good opportunity at the far post but unfortunately could only find the side board. Regulation finished 1-1 forcing the game to be decided in a shootout.

Well executed routines from Alexandra Hammel (Duxbury, Mass.), Carrie Hanks (Niskayuna, N.Y.), McCrudden and Shanahan and strong goalkeeping from Lucas ensured the team to a 4-1 shootout victory.

“This was an extremely enjoyable game for us to play in, we used the ball well and pressed extremely well," said Kelly Marks (Blue Bell, Pa.), U.S. Women's National Development Squad Captain, following the game. "That has been the real stamp of this team over the past three games and it’s a great platform for us to create chances from.”

The U.S. Women's National Development Squad has their final game of the tour tomorrow, Friday, April 19 at 12:00 p.m. ET against Stichtsche HC.

USFHA media release

2019 Test matches JPN v CHI (Women)
Ibaraki (JPN)

16 Apr 2019     JPN v CHI     1 - 0
17 Apr 2019     JPN v CHI     2 - 1
19 Apr 2019    JPN v CHI     0 - 1

FIH Match Centre

Canberra To Play Host To U21’s International Women’s Series

Ben Somerford

Hockey Australia today announces the Australia’s Under-21 women’s team will play in a three-nation series against New Zealand and India in Canberra in December.

The Australian Institute of Sport and Hockey ACT will support the series, which will be an important opportunity for the future generation of Hockeyroos.

The under-age series is a coup for Canberra which hasn’t hosted senior international Hockey since the Kookaburras series against Japan in March-April 2012.

The last senior international women’s Hockey played in Canberra was the Hockeyroos’ two-match Test series against Argentina in April 2011.

The series will involve six matches from Tuesday 3 December – Sunday 8 December at the National Hockey Centre.

National Women’s Junior Coach Tim White said: “We are excited to announce this three-nation series in Canberra in December.

“International competition is a crucial part of our pathway in Australia for our National Junior Squad athletes and India and New Zealand will provide excellent competition.”

The teams are expected to arrive in Canberra on Saturday 30 December ahead of the matches.

Hockey Australia media release

Scotland u21 women to play Wales this weekend – squad announced

Scotland U21 Women will play Wales at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre this weekend in a three-match test series.

A strong squad for the series has been announced and the matches will be played on Friday at 2:30pm, Saturday at 2:30pm, and Sunday at 10:30am. 

It’s a huge year for the Scotland U21 Women’s squad as they prepare for U21 EuroHockey Championship II in Alanya, Turkey, this July.

Friday |  2:30pm
Saturday |  2:30pm
Sunday |  10:30am

Scotland Squad
Heather Elder
Alison Westwood
Catriona Booth
Morven Cawthorn
Aspen Cumming
Rhona Gowans
Cailin Hart
Ellie Wilson
Rachel Bain
Ruth Blaikie
Kirsten Cannon
Lorna Crawford
Bella Fiskin
Olivia McMahon
Eve Pearson
Jori Van Calcar
Georgia Jones
Tara Aitchison
Erin Stevens

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Scotland Men’s O35s Masters squad announced

Scotland O35s Masters men have announced their squads for their upcoming Home Nations tournament in Glasgow, and the European Championships in Rotterdam.

While the schedule for the European Championships has yet to be announced, the Home Nations will be held at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre on 28th-30th June. Scotland will play Wales, Ireland and England over the weekend.

Friday 28th June – 7pm v Wales
Saturday 29th June – 12:45pm v Ireland
Sunday 30th June – 9:30am v England

Graham Batchelor, selection committee member, said:

“We are looking to build on last year’s fourth place finish at the World Cup at Egara. We have lost a few influential players to the 40’s but have a number of talented new faces coming into the squads.

“We have warm up games against a number of National League 1 teams, which will hopefully hold us in good stead for the challenges ahead”

Home Nations – June 28th to 30th – Glasgow 

Gavin Sommerville – Western Wildcats
Cameron Pitcairn – Watsonians 
Phil Mathison – Cambridge city 
Mark Mundell – Watsonians 
Ewan Clark – Watsonians 
Allan Gouick – Dunfermline Carnegie 
Steven Glass – Dunfermline Carnegie 
Thomas Hyndman – Uddingston 
Alan Meikle – Hillhead 
Andrew Hilton – Hillhead 
Craig Hilton – Hillhead 
Graham Batchelor – Watsonians 
Ashley Cochrane – Watsonians 
Magnus Ferrier – Watsonians 
Martin Daw – Dunfermline Carnegie 
Andrew Johnson – Watsonians 
Scott Brown – Southgate 
Chris Wilson – Hillhead 

European Championships – 22nd July – 28th – Rotterdam 

Jamie Frail – Hillhead 
Cameron Pitcairn – Watsonians 
Ross Wilson – Hillhead 
Leon Wilkie – Granite City Wanderers
Allan Gouick – Dunfermline Carnegie 
Phil Mathison – Cambridge City 
Steven Glass – Dunfermline Carnegie 
Tom Hyndman – Uddingston 
Andrew Hilton – Hillhead 
Craig Hilton – Hillhead 
Graham Batchelor – Watsonians 
Ashley Cochrane – Watsonians 
Magnus Ferrier – Watsonians 
Martin Daw – Dunfermline Carnegie 
Graham Stenhouse – Watsonians 
Jonathan Horn – Hillhead 
Scott Brown – Southgate 
Steven Moir – Harris

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Corry lifts EYHL trophy for Garvey a year to the day since end of cancer treatment

Michael Kydd (from Sponsor EY) presented Lisnagarvey Captain James Corry with the EY Trophy. Picture: Billy Pollock

Lisnagarvey were crowned Irish EYHL champions for the second time in the competition’s four year history on Wednesday night when they got the win they needed to secure the trophy after an emphatic 6-1 victory over Annadale at Comber Road.

Their triumph means that, for the first time since the full season format was introduced, two Ulster sides have won the respective national titles, following Pegasus’ women’s success earlier in the month.

Lisnagarvey celebrate their EYHL win. Pic: Billy Pollock

Garvey captain James Corry was thrilled with his team’s triumph, achieved with a largely youthful squad following the departure of several front line players for the continent and a couple of retirements.

James said: “It was another great performance from the boys tonight. Our young boys have fitted in really well this season and are a massive part of the team.”

“We have bonded very well this season and that is a massive part of the success so far. We will work hard towards the playoffs and Irish Senior Cup final. It will be difficult but we will go into these games with plenty of confidence. “

For Corry, it marked an incredible comeback. It was exactly a year to the day since he finished receiving treatment for testicular cancer.

Team mate Jonny Bell paid tribute to Corry: “Sporting comebacks have been a hot topic of conversation after last weekend, and in James Corry we have an incredible comeback story.

“For James to lift the trophy aloft, exactly one year to the day, since he finished his last round of gruelling treatment is testament to his character.

“As soon as his treatment was finished he was back on the pitch running, joining the Irish players for pre-training running. And his fitness levels were rock bottom.

“He now looks stronger than ever; he is a true warrior and a wonderful example to any aspiring sportsperson; it has been a joy to play for him this season.”

“No one gave us a chance at the start of the season, perhaps understandably so given we lost seven internationals and two Under-21 internationals over the summer.

“Back in September, we looked a bit thin on the ground but our coaching team put their faith in youth and we had seven or eight players playing their first season of IHL hockey.

“After a shaky start to the season, the winter break came at a great time allowing us some breathing space to have an intense physical and technical development phase equipping us for the second half of the season. This was the critical period in the season when we made a lot of ground.

“A key turning point, in terms of results, was our first game back after the winter break. We were 2-0 down to Glenanne after ten minutes, but we came away with a draw and were probably disappointed not to get three points.

“At this point, there was a growing realisation that a top four finish was achievable. But going undefeated since then and winning the league with a game to spare, we have exceeded all expectations and achieved something special.”

Garvey went ahead through Andy Williamson in the second quarter and Wallace High School captain Johnny Lynch doubled the lead before Dale pulled one back through Kent Irwin before the long break.

Matthew Nelson made it 3-1 and then his older brother Daniel got number four after being set up by another Wallace student, Troy Chambers.

Williamson got his second of the night before Lynch did likewise to round off the scoring as Garvey kept on course for a national hockey treble.

For Bell, he said this was a particularly special league victory: “Winning the Irish hockey League this season has definitely been one of my proudest moments in club hockey. We lost our first game of the season at home to Pembroke.

The Hook

Loreto and UCD ready for European challenges

Loreto’s Hannah Matthews. Pic: Sinead Hingston

Loreto face the toughest possible quarter-final in the EuroHockey Club Cup as they look to dethrone Den Bosch, the dominant force for almost 20 years, when they meet in Amsterdam.

The Beaufort club are meeting the three in-a-row winners who have also won the competition 17 times since the year 2000 and feature a plethora of the side that won the World Cup last summer with the Netherlands.

Nonetheless, Hannah Matthews is delighted to take on the challenge: “Although it seems like a daunting prospect we are so excited about playing them.

“I have never played Den Bosch before. Although it seems like a daunting prospect we are so excited about playing them.

“It will be a huge step up for us of course but the team is relishing the opportunity. When you go to Europe, you want to play against the best teams in the world and we will. We will obviously have to have a strong defensive performance but we will also watch as much video as we can so we’re aware of what we will be facing.”

She is looking forward to lively support come what may from the Loreto crowd who will be in good voice in the Wagener Stadium stands.

“Loreto love nothing more than a tour so Amsterdam may never recover! I’m biased but they are the best supporters. They have a huge influence on me when I play, I want to be the best I can be for my club because they are so supportive and so passionate when it comes to our team.”

Should they lose the tie, they will go into the fifth to eighth place playoffs; a shock win puts them into Sunday’s semi-finals.

In Kent, meanwhile, UCD will contest the EuroHockey Club Trophy. They take on the hosts Holcombe on Friday, Edinburgh University on Saturday and Dinamo Moscow in their last group game on Sunday before playing a classification match on Monday.

Miles Warren will be without the hugely influential Lena Tice as well as Sophie Thomas for the competition but he can call on Leah McGuire, Beth Barr, Ellen Curran and Hannah McLoughlin who have all had injury issues of late.

“It’s going to be another challenge and step up that our young squad has had to face this season but I have full confidence that we can perform well and be competitive in every game.

UCD coach Miles Warren. Pic: Adrian Boehm

“Our group is going to be extremely difficult since the three opponents have all won their respective regular season leagues. Holcombe lost the play off finals this weekend but they topped the league phase and with them being our first game it will be like a final since only the group winner had a chance of winning gold.

“Edinburgh University have won the Scottish league for the last three years so they will be very tough and we don’t know much about the Russian team but we play them on day three so will do some scouting on them while we are there.

“Nothing is ever easy in sport and if you want to achieve you need to be well prepared firstly and then be willing to push yourself to the limits at these events.

“It’s going to be very tough but we are looking forward to the challenge and no matter what the final outcome we will learn and grow as a group from it.”

Women’s weekend fixtures
European Club Cup quarter-final: Loreto v Den Bosch, Amsterdam, 3.45pm
European Club Trophy: UCD v Holcombe, Rochester (England), 5.45pm

Saturday, April 20
European Club Trophy: UCD v Edinburgh, Rochester (England), 2.30pm

Sunday, April 21
European Club Trophy: UCD v Dinamo Moscow, Rochester (England), 2.30pm

The Hook

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