Fixtures schedule hurts the small fry
HOCKEY:Avoca and Fingal find themselves at the bottom of the Leinster Senior League table. No surprise there. This year’s competition militated against the smaller squads and the Leinster Branch got the results many could have predicted at the outset.
Some clubs had just four matches remaining in the league by the end of 2012 after a series of double weekends in which some teams were stretched beyond breaking point.
It was a pretty schedule and not at all sympathetic to the weaker clubs, who do not have the resources to play five matches over seven days, which was not unusual this season. That’s a double weekend, a midweek match and another double weekend.
As the branch now knows, this was all to little avail as the FIH switched the dates of the World Hockey League 2 to next month, when the Irish team will travel to India.
What it all means is after the frenzy of pre-Christmas matches, March could be eerily quiet for clubs who are no longer involved in any of the cup competitions.
Pembroke, who lead the table, have just four more league games before the 12-team Irish Hockey League kicks in at the beginning of April. They have played 14 matches in the 18 game competition, their last league match against Glenanne on December 8th. Glenanne, who managed to string out their league program at a better pace, have six games left.
The qualifying process for the IHL, the provincial leagues, has been turned on its head this season. Regardless of next year’s Irish team commitments, which should be considered, running the Leinster program the same way again drags down the clubs and the IHL.
Sunday: Leinster Senior League – Division Two: Dublin University v Clontarf, Grange Road, 4pm. Leinster Senior Cup: Monkstown v Avoca, Rathdown, 3.30; Three Rock Rovers v Glenanne Grange Road , 2.30; YMCA v Corinthians, tbc; Fingal v Pembroke Wanderers, ALSAA, 2pm .