Quins hoping for Euro glory

CORK HARLEQUINS begin their fourth European adventure in Prague today when they represent Ireland in this year’s European Club Championships.

The Cork side previously represented Ireland in this competition in Holland in 2002, Belgium in 2003and in Austria in 2005 and according to team manager Donal Kingston their previous experiences should stand them in good stead on this occasion.

“We have been seeded third in our pool behind SK Slavia Praha (Czech Republic) & Western Wildcats(Scotland) and it will require that we make a very strong start to the tournament if we are to qualify for the medal matches,” Kingston said last night from Prague.

“Our most successful European tournament to date was in Vienna in 2003 when we played in the medal match against Royal Dragons (Belgium) and were controversially denied a last gasp winner before losing in a penalty shoot-out.

“The umpire had awarded a winning goal but was then overruled by the TD’s bench who advised that the final whistle was blown before the ball crossed the goal line,” he added.

Harlequins travelled to Prague with the majority of their squad available, but with the notable exception of John Ahern, who has been sidelined for some time now with a long term injury.

Their competition starts tomorrow with a match against the host club Slavia Praha at 4pm local time, while on Saturday they take on the Western Wildcats at 2pm with their final group game on Sunday against Portuguese outfit AA Espinho, again at 4pm.

The medal matches will then be contested on Monday.

Meanwhile, Old Alex slipped toa 3-1 defeat to German side Stadion-Rot Weiss Koln in their opening pool game of the European Division A Cup Winners Cup in Madrid. Alex held the Germans for the opening period and upon conceding the opening score, fought back almost immediately to equalise through co-captain Lisa Dowling for a half-time score of 1-1.

The second half saw the German side raise their game, and despite excellent Alex short-corner defence, Koln scored two goals from open play to win 3-1.

Old Alex play English side Canterbury in their next pool game today at noon.

Cork Harlequins squad: W Bateman (GK), C Daunt (GK), J Hobbs, S Nicholson, P O’Driscoll, J Black (Capt), D Hobbs, R Hobbs, M Black, D Lombard, L d’Alton, P Lombard, R Gash, D Egner, D Eakins, D Mills, M Lombard, E Gash. Coach: S Dale.

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