Mark Tumilty’s side defeated leading French outfit Saint Germain 2-0 on Saturday before twice coming from behind to snatch a 3-3 draw with heavily fancied Belgian side Royal Leopold to progress in front of over 2,500 fans at Havelock Park yesterday as Ireland hosted the EHL for the first time.
It means they’ll join Irish champions Lisnagarvey in the KO16 round next Easter, with Tumilty delighted with yet another highlight to an incredible year for the sport in Ireland.
“Leopold are a top side so this is a great day for Irish hockey, to have two teams in the KO16 who thoroughly deserve to be there,” said Tumilty.
“This is the highlight of my coaching career, probably my whole hockey career. For all the guys, to come back to your home club, there is a special feeling. To produce on our home ground, we have to enjoy it. Life is too short not to!”
Domestically, Cork Harlequins continue to impress in the women’s EYHL as they match holders and favourites Hermes-Monkstown every step of the way.
Both sides retained their 100% records with Quins impressing on their home debut in this year’s competition, coming from behind to see off Pegasus 3-1 with Irish international Rebecca Barry’s super reverse-stick strike the highlight. Hermes-Monkstown beat Loreto 1-0 with their taliswoman Anna O’Flanagan again the heroine for the victors.
Domestically, UCC’s men and Cork C of I’s women both made big statements of intent in Munster league action. College romped to a 6-1 win over Ashton, a side they had lost to in pre-season, with Glenn Healy and Shane O’Halloran hitting goals against their formative club.
Cork Harlequins pulled off a 3-2 road win over Cork C of I B on Friday night to get their season up and running while Bandon continue to lead the way after picking up their second success of the campaign, a 4-2 win in Limerick.
On the women’s side Cork C of I saw off Bandon 3-0 to put Chris Blaney’s side top of the pile, while Clonakilty got off the mark with a single-goal win over Waterford. A severely depleted Ashton were happy to again eke out a score draw on the road, drawing 1-1 in Limerick with just 11 players.