Ireland’s women have been dealt a reasonably favourable pool in the women’s World Cup next July with their date with India looking to be the crucial one if they are to make the knock-out phases.
They have also been drawn against Olympic champions England and the highly rated USA but if Graham Shaw’s side can get one over the Indians, they will likely take up one of the three tickets to the next round from the four-team pool.
Crucially, Ireland beat India last summer at the World League Semi-Finals to earn their ticket to London 2018 and have a strong record against them despite being ranked four places lower on the world list.
Shaw’s side travel to southern Spain for a warm-weather camp this week with games against the hosts and Belgium. They do so without the services of Ellen Curran who is rested with UCD club mate Leah Ewart coming back into the side.
On the field at home, half of the Irish Senior Cup ties were wiped out by the frost around the country but the two remaining Cork sides advanced to the quarter-finals on Saturday.
For Cork C of I in the men’s competition, Julian Dale was in spectacular form, scoring four times in a 7-2 win over Kilkeel at Garryduff.
They could not carry the momentum through to the second part of their weekend, losing heavily to Three Rock Rovers in the EY Hockey League. Rovers hit the front with Peter Blakeney and John Mullins scoring in the first ten minutes.
C of I had the best of the next two quarters but were out on their feet as the double-weekend kicked in at the death as their heavy legs were felt, alarmingly, conceding four times in the last 17 minutes.
Back in the cup on Saturday, the big result in the cup was Leinster league side YMCA’s victory over EYHL outfit Annadale. It had an extra edge to it given Dale had denied YM a promotion shot last season; normal time ended 1-1 before the Dubliners won the shoot-out 3-0.
Monkstown were the only other side to go through with David Cole netting the only goal against UCD with five other ties postponed.
On the women’s side, Cork Harlequins went through a strong 4-0 win at Farmer’s Cross with Cliodhna Sargent striking her first two goals since coming back from pregnancy.
Railway Union edged out Leinster league side Muckross 3-1 while UCD won 3-1 against Ards to take up their places in the last eight of the competition.
In the Munster Senior Cup, the marquee tie of the round between Catholic Institute and UCC fell by the wayside with a dramatically frozen pitch with precious little astroturf on view.
Vicky Burns and Moira Barrett propelled Bandon into the next round with a 2-0 win over Ashton while Cork C of I edged out Belvedere 1-0 thanks to Edel Coyne’s goal.
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