Three Rock Rovers claim EuroHockey Indoor Club success
Glenanne defeat Cookstown 5-1 to extend their EY Hockey League lead
Three Rock Rovers: recorded six wins from six in Tbilisi.
Three Rock Rovers proved far too strong for the EuroHockey Indoor Club Challenge II in Tbilisi, sweeping to six wins from six to earn Ireland promotion back up to the third tier of continental competition.
The key win came on Saturday evening when Liam Canning’s side produced their best performance to beat second-placed Kringsja from Norway 8-5 thanks to a Harry Morris hat-trick.
That all but assured promotion which was copperfastened with a 4-2 win over Lithuania’s Klevas. And, going into their final tie, anything better than a 13-goal defeat against Bulgarian cannon-fodder Lokomotiv Sofia would assure gold.
The Rathfarnham club will now take up a place at Challenge I level in 2019 where they will look forward to greater competition on the lead-in.
Indoor hockey has traditionally played a distant second fiddle to the outdoor version but the spate of winter cancellations has heightened calls for a closed season.
Ulster and Leinster hockey have both introduced new underage indoor competitions while the Pro Series Indoor concept – introduced from South Africa – is set to raise the interest further from March to June.
Currently, any indoor that does happen runs concurrently to the outdoor league.
Banbridge coach Mark Tumilty said this week the split between the two codes is now “a must for the game”, saying that a “proper indoor league structure would only help players further. We are the only top nation in Europe not doing indoor”.
On the pitch in the EY Hockey League, Glenanne extended their lead over Rovers to 10-points with a comfortable 5-1 win over Cookstown.
Lisnagarvey are still lurking in the hunt, though, as they won 3-1 against Banbridge with three goals in the first 14 minutes. They have three league games to make up, starting off against Annadale on Wednesday, as well as an Irish Senior Cup tie which could get them within range of the Glens.
EY Hockey League: Annadale 3 (J Taylor, R Carr, O Flack) Cork C of I 3 (J Jermyn 3); Cookstown 1 (J Haycock) Glenanne 5 (S Boucher 2, E O’Malley, G Shaw, J Rogan); Lisnagarvey 3 (S Murray, A Williamson, N Glassey) Banbridge 1 (L Witherow); Pembroke 2 (A Sothern 2) Monkstown 2 (M Romoli, N Dee)
EuroHockey Indoor Club Challenge II
Saturday: Three Rock Rovers 6 (R Canning 3, R Pautz, L Madeley, D Walsh) HC Klippari (Finland) 2; Three Rock Rovers 8 (H Morris 3, R Canning 2, R Pautz, D Walsh, J Hosking) Kringsja (Norway) 5
Sunday: Three Rock Rovers 4 (R Canning 2, J Hosking, H Morris) Klevas Siauliaui (LTU) 2; Three Rock Rovers 23 (R Pautz 6, R Canning 6, J Walker 3, J Hosking 3, D Walsh 2, C Empey, E Geyer)
Irish Hockey Trophy, quarter-finals: Bandon 7 (C Sweetnam 4, D Jennings, A Smith, D Smith) NICS 3 (S Armstrong 3); Bangor 2 (J Easlea, R Burgess) UCC 2, Bangor win shoot-out; Newry 1 (D England) Raphoe 3 (W Kilpatrick, J Wilson, T Orr); Portrane 2 (I Khan, R McKeon) Dublin North 2, Portrane win shoot-out 5-4
EY Hockey League: Belfast Harlequins 0 UCD 5 (D Duke 2, K Mullan, L Tice, K Egan); Loreto 2 (A Meeke, J McGirr) Hermes-Monkstown 0; Pegasus 1 (T Doherty) Cork Harlequins 2 (E O’Leary, N Carroll); Pembroke Wanderers 2 (J Ringwood, A Naughton) Trinity 2 (S Campbell, E Noone); Railway Union 2 (E Smyth, C Joyce) Ards 0
Irish Hockey Trophy, quarter-finals: Bandon 5 (R Nyhan, M Barrett, V Burns, K Desmond, R Desmond) Ballymena 2 (R Reynolds 2); Bray 1 (S Richardson) Three Rock Rovers 0; Catholic Institute 4 (L Foley, R Pratt, A Hickey, L Ryan) Belvedere 1 (A Barrett)