A turbulent week for Munster hockey ended with positive news as it emerged Cork will host next year’s U18 boys and girls European championships.
It’s the first major international hockey event to be held on Leeside since the 2010 U18 Home Nations, and will be played on the water-based pitches at Garryduff Sports Centre and University College Cork from July 24-30. Earlier this week, Munster’s governing body warned that hockey activity in the province could cease by October 19 if volunteers aren’t found to fill three key management committee positions.
Munster Hockey chairman John Dennis has however said their warning garnered the desired response, and they expect to have a new secretary, treasurer and men’s fixtures secretary installed prior to next month’s deadline.
Ireland talisman Eugene Magee believes the new EY Hockey League which begins tomorrow can galvanise club hockey here.
The 18-game league, which had a rocky formation period amid dissent from some Ulster clubs, replaces the truncated format that has been in place since 2007 and sees the top 10 men’s and women’s teams taken out of their provincial competitions for the first time.
“Having played in professional clubs in Holland, Belgium and Germany their competition is extremely high in their leagues making them incredibly exciting games to watch,” said Banbridge star Magee. “The youth of those clubs then gain a significant interest in hockey and perhaps this is why they develop such skills from such a young age.
“I’m hoping the same will apply to hockey in Ireland with the massive buzz that this league is creating.”
Three Munster clubs are involved and all have profited from their involvement with new players arriving.
Olivia Roycroft (Bandon) and Katie Campbell (Catholic Institute) have linked up with Cork Harlequins, who face a dilemma between the posts for their opening encounter with Railway Union - Ireland U18 goalkeeper Emma Buckley is sidelined with injury and previous incumbent Vanessa Sargent has retired.
UCC’s ladies have lost their totem Amy-Kate Trevor to Pembroke but gained lots of young talent including Ireland U18 pair Saoirse O’Leary and goalkeeper Clodagh Cassin, Quins trio Alex O’Grady, Claire O’Sullivan and Niamh O’Leary and Ashton’s Rachel Foley amongst the newbies in the frame to play Connacht kingpins Greenfields in Galway tomorrow.
Cork C of I’s men count David Harvey (Pembroke Wanderers), Ireland U18 hitman Julian Dale (Harlequins) and Brian Stockil (Ashton) among their recruits and begin their campaign at home to Cookstown.
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