Meredith fears confirmed as Irish face costly trip to Malaysia

Irish hockey chiefs were left with a dual conundrum yesterday following the confirmation of dates and venues for next year’s Champions Challenge I.

Meredith fears confirmed as Irish face costly trip to Malaysia

Both the men’s and women’s tournaments will clash directly with the Irish Hockey League (IHL) finals weekend, meaning a rescheduling of the current 2013/14 calendar — which took the Irish Hockey Association a couple of months to draft — is likely required to accommodate the club game’s showpiece event.

The men’s CC1 gets under way on April 26 with the women’s event starting a day later; both tournaments finish up on May 4, the proposed date for the IHL finals.

The venues announced for the competitions have also seen Irish men’s coach Andrew Meredith’s worst fears confirmed, with another expensive trip to faraway shores on the cards.

Having travelled to Argentina for last year’s CC1 in November and New Delhi for the World League 2 in February, Ireland will now be bound for Kuantan, Malaysia next April.

The CC1 is one of two world level tournaments that Ireland are due to play in 2014 with the second round of the World League — part of the Olympic qualifying process — pencilled in for the end of the year.

Meredith said earlier this week that if both tournaments were played in Asia, he is “scared to think what we would have to do in terms of budget to run the [senior men’s] programme.”

Budgetary issues have beset the association in the past 12 months as they bid to keep the eight national team programmes up and running amid a challenging financial climate. Last year, a public fundraising drive, yielding €60,000, was required to allow the men to compete in the CC1 in Argentina.

The women, meanwhile, will play in Scotland at the newly constructed Glasgow Green national hockey centre, specially designed to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games next summer.

Meanwhile, all of the fixtures for the Munster club season were released on munsterhockey.com this week, with October 5 — the campaign’s third week — providing two early heavyweight Division 1 clashes between the women of UCC and Catholic Institute, plus Cork C of I and Cork Harlequins in the men’s league.

Men’s Champions Challenge 1 entrants (current world rank), Kuantan, Malaysia: New Zealand (5), Spain (joint 6th), Korea (joint 6th), South Africa (12), Malaysia (13), Canada (14), Ireland (15), Japan (16). Women’s Champions Challenge 1 entrants (world rank); Glasgow, Scotland: Korea (8), USA (10), South Africa (11), India (12), Belgium (13), Spain (14), Ireland (15), Scotland (19).

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