Cold weather causes hockey fixture havoc

Munster U18 coach Chris Blaney is leading calls for the boys interpros to be moved from its November slot after cold weather again played havoc with the tournament.

Frozen pitches continually force hasty reschedules of early morning and evening games at the annual U16 and U18 competition between Munster, Leinster and Ulster.

But this weekend, the entire final day of matches had to be postponed until later in the season due to severe frost at Queens University in Belfast.

Blaney lamented the tournament being played “at the worst time of year” after his side could only complete three of the four games they had spent months preparing for.

On the pitch, things didn’t go too well for either Munster outfit. The U18s were edged 2-0 by Ulster but then fell 4-1 to Leinster despite a cracking strike from captain Calum Crowley, before collapsing 8-0 against Ulster yesterday.

George Blackwell’s U16s suffered a 5-0 loss to Ulster, before more respectable 2-0 defeats to the hosts and Leinster.

Elsewhere, Hermes/Monkstown put daylight between themselves and the chasing pack in the women’s EY Hockey League with a 5-0 demolition of Ulster Elks.

Cork Harlequins and UCD both lost ground as they drew for the first time this season, playing out a 1-1 tie at Farmer’s Cross as Rebecca Barry’s opener for the hosts was cancelled out by UCD’s Sarah O’Loughlin.

Ards’ winning run continued with Chloe Brown again a key woman in their 2-1 win over basement side Pembroke to move up to fourth. Saturday’s other games were frosted off, leaving Hermes/Monkstown with a four-point lead over UCD at the summit after seven games.

In Munster, Waterford’s first win of the season, a 2-1 success at Limerick, coupled with Bandon and Ashton cancelling each other out in a scoreless draw tightens things up in the lower reaches of the Division 1A table.

UCC are emerging as the biggest challengers to pace-setters Catholic Institute and Cork C of I after dismantling Clonakilty 4-0.

In the Irish Junior Cup, there was drama in both the all-Munster ties. Ashton came from two goals down to see off Cork C of I 3-2 with Jade Lawless scoring the winner against her former club with three minutes to go.

Cork Harlequins edged out Bandon on strokes after a scoreless draw, Lorna Bateman saving four Bandon penalties, while UCC’s interest was ended in a 2-0 defeat by Lisnagarvey. Blackrock’s defence of the Irish Hockey Challenge began with a 3-0 success over Tipperary.


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