Both Railway Union and Cork Harlequins have seen their expectations of top tier European club hockey go up in smoke this week, having now to settle for life in the second tier.
Following Euro victories from the likes of Loreto, Pegasus and Hermes in recent years and their own third place finish in 2011, IHL champions Railway looked set to be the benefactors from Ireland’s improved status as one of the top eight nations.
But the European Hockey Federation (EHF) this week announced a restructuring of the EuroHockey Club Champions Cup, the marquee competition in women’s club hockey.
Last term, it featured 12 teams from eight nations but the new format allows only for eight entrants coming from six countries with Ireland one of the two nations to make way. Railway, as such, have been bumped back down to the secondary competition, a situation which coach Mick McKinnon felt should not have occurred.
He said on Twitter: “The EHF changing qualification criteria after the qualification period is poor form. It should have been done prior to last season or for 2014.”
There was similar frustration for Cork Harlequins as they thought their Irish Senior Cup brought an EHL place with it. But the final rankings for the current season, released today, saw Ireland slip from sixth to ninth in the nation’s list.
Their place was ultimately taken by Scotland who earned the same ranking points (14.625) as Ireland but leapfrogged them into eighth based on the goal difference of their European representatives, European Hockey Federation (EHF) competitions manager Dariusz Kurc told Southern Fried’s Alan Good this evening.
Controversially, these results were achieved by Kelburne in the EuroHockey Club Champions Trophy — a tier below the EHL, where Ireland’s Banbridge and Cookstown competed last season.
Quins had recently returned to training of sorts with the EHL specifically in mind and sought sponsorship for the impending trip. With many Quins stalwarts, including captain Mark Black, set to put retirements on hold to play in the EHL, it remains to be seen whether the news will affect their decision.
In both instances, Irish Hockey Association high performance director Dave Passmore said the national body are “seeking clarification”.
Elsewhere, Pembroke have confirmed the appointments of Keith Crawford and Chris Tyrrell as their new ladies first team coaches for the 2012/13 season. The pair continue their partnership having previously worked together with the Leinster U-21 and Junior Interpro teams, winning out in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
They also achieved back-to-back promotions with the Trinity ladies second eleven, lifting them up to division two, as well as reaching the Irish Junior Cup semi-final. Mick O’Connor will continue in his position as second team coach at the club.
8 Responses to “Euro campaigns dampened by late revisions”
June 22, 2012 10:21 am euro_hockey says
I find it fascinating that Irish clubs believe they have the divine right to be in the EHL, the ranking system has been in place for years and hasnt changed in relation to the mens EHL. For Quins and Irish hockey to think that after Cookstown and Bann getting thumped in the EHL that their ranking would not go down. Also dont be so disrespectful to other nations for doing well at different tournaments
June 22, 2012 12:09 pm blimp says
Quins thought they were going to EHL, were excited, found out they weren’t, and are disappointed. How is that being disrespectful?
Cookstown had a tough time, but Banbridge only lost 5-3 to UHC. 4-3 to Montrogue, where is the thumping there?
Scotland go from 1 Trophy team, 0 EHL teams to 2 EHL teams, due to goal difference. They benefit from having only one team in the Trophy, the next SCO team is 3rd Tier.
Do you actually think that is a fair situation? That Kelburne came second at the EuroHockey Trophy and has earned 2 spots in the EHL? Meaning the second Scottish team, goes form 3rd tier to 1st. Fair enough Kelburne has earned the right to represent in the EHL, but gaining 2 spots is not right.
June 22, 2012 2:05 pm League Statto says
I see there is once again only 7 teams in Div 2. Mullingar obviously dropping back down and being replace by Kilkenny. Has this been confirmed? What division have Mullingar gone back to?
Another year with 7 teams in a league. This is the 3rd year in a row with this fiasco and the 4th or 5th year that there has been issues with Div 2. At what point will something be done about this by the branch? Something tangible has to be done. Its a joke!
June 22, 2012 2:12 pm Stephen Findlater says
On the provisional fixture list, Mullingar have gone back into division four. I’ll be putting together a post about the men’s leagues this evening once I’ve updated all the provisional fixtures
June 22, 2012 5:27 pm AG says
There’s no sense of entitlement to be in the EHL. I doubt most people have any problem with Scotland earning more ranking points than Ireland to get above us; the points from the EHL/Trophy are weighted accordingly.
The issue is that it has come down to goal difference when Kelburne were playing against clubs from middling nations (Italy, Wales and Austria) whereas Cookstown and Bann had to play the likes of Amsterdam and UHC respectively. It’s not comparing like with like.
In the event of a tie on overall points, would probably be fairer to decide it on the “points per entry” field from the previous season. In this case, it would still put Scotland ahead of Ireland but would be a bit easier to accept.
June 22, 2012 6:14 pm euro_hockey says
First of all I am not from Scotland and am not supporting their cause. I agree the current rules need changing as they had not thought through the scenario that has arisen.
What I am commenting about is the way the article is written and it does come across as arrogant.
Quins thought they were there, if they put their head in the sand fair enough!! They obviously had not looked at the ranking points after R1 of EHL. If they had they would of seen it was going to be tight based on the Trophy results.
June 22, 2012 6:37 pm Paddy Power says
Ultimately, this has been on the cards for a few years. Knock on effect of players from Ireland playing their club hockey abroad thus weakening their club side in Ireland and therefore making it difficult for that club side to make any progress in EHL. I doubt any club side in Ireland even at their peak would have got out of Cookstown’s group. It is where it is for a reason and won’t change until the overall quality in Ireland rises again, be it from players returning from abroad or the club sides at home getting better.
June 22, 2012 9:06 pm AG says
You’re entitled to your interpretation of the piece but the way the article is written has nothing to do with Quins. They knew this was a possibility but opted to start preparing for the EHL on and off the pitch, rather than wait for the rankings to come out and have lost a month of prep time. I’m sure you can appreciate their sense of disappointment that it came down to such fine margins in the end.
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