The U-21 interpros return this weekend after a season’s hiatus, serving as a primary selection competition for the Irish panel’s European campaign as the IHA will field a national side at the grade this summer for the first time since 2004.
Leinster are the defending champions in both competitions, dating back to their victories at the 2010 vintage in Dublin and will be looking to UCD’s higher learning in both cases with the Belfield academy providing a large contingent of the tournament’s players.
Nine of Rory O’Donoghue’s club side step up to the plate with seven donning Leinster blue while two – Nick Burns and Ben Dobson – will wear the red of Munster. Shane O’Donoghue, though, will only play in two thirds of the competition before flying out to Mannheimer to link up with the Irish senior setup.
Davy Carson and Stephen Cole are the sole survivors of the 2010 vintage from the Leinster perspective while there are a couple of newcomers to representative hockey altogether with Conor Quinn, Fingal’s Simon McKeever and Clontarf’s Stephen Ludgate among the new faces.
Graham Shaw’s Ireland U18 boys will step into the men’s tournament to make it a quadrangular event like the women’s, given Connacht do not field a men’s side at this level. It is a side filled with plenty of junior blues – seven in total.
Munster’s men are back-boned by UCC’s Irish Hockey Trophy-winning side last weekend, including captain Adam O’Callaghan, while Dublin-based trio Karl Lynch (Pembroke), Burns and Dobson.
Ulster bring a particularly strong side to the table, one with eight players with EHL experience this term with either Cookstown or Banbridge – the latter club’s members also feature well in the U-21 panel.
On the women’s side, UCD players feature in all the provincial sides bar Munster as their wide-casted net has drawn a lot of the country’s top talent. Brenda Flannery will skipper the Connacht U-18s with fellow Leinster-based players like Katie Codyre (Hermes) and Jessica McMickan in tow.
Utility player Sarah Greene and Loreto’s defensive general Hannah Matthews are back for a second outing while Niamh Atcheler brings international quality to go with CPP talents Deirdre Duke and Gillian Pinder while Genesis have a representative in the form of Niamh O’Connor.
Hopes of home glory on the women’s side have been boosted by the return of captain Olivia Roycroft (UCC) from a broken collarbone, while potential stars have returned from foreign fields to don the red of Munster, namely former Ireland U-18 pair Rebecca Barry (America) and Nicola Laarhoven (Holland).
There’s also sure to be some extra bite in the Munster-Leinster clashes for two players in particular; UCC’s Colin Manning and Aine Curran are both Kilkenny natives but like the Connery sisters, Aine and Sinead, before them, will line out for Munster against their native province.
Meanwhile, in the EuroHockey League, David Ames (pictured below – pic courtesy of Frank Uijlenbroek) got the better of Ronan Gormley as a late Beeston winner from Carl Smith handed the Nottingham club a KO8 place ahead Gormley’s Club de Campo, 2-1. Chris Cargo is in action for Reading on Saturday at 4pm (Irish time) against Germany’s Club an der Alster.
Men’s U21 Interprovincials, Garryduff, Cork
Tomorrow: Leinster v Ireland U18, 10am; Munster v Ulster, 2pm
Sunday: Ulster v Ireland U18, 10am; Munster v Leinster, 12pm
Monday: Ulster v Leinster (11.30pm); Munster v Ireland U18, 1.30pm
LEINSTER U-21: S West (GK, TRR); C Quinn, P Byrne, S O’Donoghue, R Burke, L Chadwick, R Anderson, D Watkins (UCD); R Sykes, S Cole, F Ryan (Monkstown); J Tobin (YMCA); S McKeever (Fingal); D Carson (Corinthian); P English (Railway Union); S Ludgate (Clontarf); S Roberts, S Nolan (Trinity).
MUNSTER U-21: B Corcoran (GK), A O’Callaghan (capt), A Power, C Manning, S O’Grady, F O’Leary, P Catchpole, C Kavanagh (UCC), R Lynch, A Daunt, R Sweetnam, J Phillips (GK), P Daunt (Cork C of I), K Lynch (Pembroke), N Burns, B Dobson (UCD), A Scannell (Bandon).
ULSTER U-21: A Thom (GK), R Miller, M Crooks (Cookstown), M Bell, P Brown, S Dowds, S Forbes, O Magee (Banbridge), N Gilmore, J Wright (Portadown), S Hunter (Loughborough Students), A McCann (Lisnagarvey), M Murphy (Durham Uni), P Purcell (capt), A Williamson (Annadale), J Robinson (Mossley).
IRELAND U-18: A Allen (Friends School/Lisnagarvey), M Allister (Sullivan/Annadale), P Brown (Banbridge Academy/Banbridge), C Roberts (Sullivan/Annadale), L Cole (St Andrews/Monkstown), B Cosgrove (Banbridge Academy/Banbridge), J Duncan (Kilkenny College/Railway Union), S Gallagher (GK, Newpark/Avoca), J Hool (GK, RBAI/Mossley), R Nair (St Andrew’s/Railway Union), M Robson (Sullivan/Annadale), M Rollins (Cookstown HS/Cookstown), K Shimmins (Wesley College/Pembroke Wanderers), S Sullivan (Bandon Grammar/Bandon), J Sutton (Wesley College/Corinthian), G Wilkinson (Ashton/Cork C of I), M Loughrey (St Andrew’s/Pembroke Wanderers).
Women’s U-21 Interpros, Garryduff, Cork
Tomorrow: Leinster v Connacht, 12pm; Munster v Ulster, 4pm
Sunday: Ulster v Connacht, 2pm; Munster v Leinster, 4pm
Monday: Ulster v Leinster, 9.30pm; Munster v Connacht (3.30pm).
LEINSTER U-21: N O’Connor (Genesis); G Pinder (Hermes); H Matthews, A Meeke, S McGirr, H Mulcahy (Loreto); E Hinkson (Old Alex); S Conway, A O’Grady (Pembroke); O Fox, R Barnett (Railway Union); E Horan, V
Taaffe (Trinity); S Greene, N Gray, C Hill, D Duke, N Atcheler (UCD).
MUNSTER U-21: C Hayes (GK, Bandon); R Barry, K Campbell, N Carroll, R Upton (Catholic Institute), O Cotter, Y O’Byrne (Cork Harlequins), J Coyne, O Roycroft (capt), A Curran, N Kerr, K Murphy, E O’Leary, S Peters (GK), A-K Trevor (UCC), E Reidy (Cork C of I), R Shanahan (NUIG), N Laarhoven (Almeerse).
ULSTER U-21: SJ Greer (GK, Leeds), N McKnight (Ards), N Barr, S McClure, L Murray, K Scott (Lurgan), C Warnock, K McDonald (Armagh),S Rose (Nottingham Uni), J Alison, J Orr (QUB), L Ewart (UCD), K Lammey, D Axon (Ulster Elks), H Dawson (Belfast Harlequins), E Reid (Randalstown).
CONNACHT U-21: E Molloy (GK), H Jenkinson, R Butler, R McInerney, A Rossiter, A O’Connor, O Callanan, N Whelan (NUIG), N Cooke (GK), T Melvin, F Timmins, L Fahy, E Carey, R Bradley, D Hatton (Galway), B Flannery (capt), J McMickan (UCD), K Codyre (Hermes).