The Leinster men’s division one season will take on a condensed look as the back-ended Irish Hockey League season has led to a major overhaul of the domestic calendar.
With Ireland’s senior internationals also down to possibly play in three world level competitions, it has led to a major logistical issue as each tier attempts to organise their competition. Ireland’s men will play the first round of the World League in September and progression there will set up a second round date in May.
Add in November’s Champions Challenge I and the changes in the IHL dates and the upshot is that 14 rounds of the provinicial league will be played between September 15 and December 15 with four double-weekends on the schedule during this period.
Sunday, February 24 is the closing date for the regular season to be completed, over a month earlier than the March 31 2012 deadline last term, with the Neville Cup moving to March 2013. The Mills Cup running concurrent to the league and keeping its St Patrick’s Day final place while the Irish Senior Cup also runs off the first three rounds of competition in the regular season with the finals weekend on March 23 and 24.
The big change, though, is that the Irish Hockey League will not begin until March 16 with the group phases running through April to the tournament fruition in May.
Pembroke and YMCA face off in a huge early season tussle on day one of the Leinster campaign while Railway Union and Monkstown is another bug opening day tester.
Avoca return to the big time with a trip to Corinthian while Glenanne’s title defence begins against Three Rock Rovers.
Going down the Leinster men’s leagues, division two remains with seven teams with Kilkenny exercising their option to move up from division four.
They take the place of Mullingar who drop down to the fourth tier after a year in senior hockey, taking in a league which has risen to 12 teams from ten.
2011/12 division five winners YMCA III take one of the promotion places with Avoca II and Weston II following them up with just Naas making way, falling through the trap-door into division five.
YMCA IV’s league win also yielded a promotion along with Athy who have moved up three divisions in three seasons but, otherwise, the entrants remain the same with no sides dropping down.
Division six is the one to feel the knock-on from the increase in division four sides, it dropping from 12 to ten teams. Railway Union IV and UCD III move up, replacing Monkstown V and Pembroke V.
Two up and two down for Division Seven, Navan II and Clontarf III replacing Corinthian V and Wicklow while, currently, there are no additions or reductions in league teams overall.
Men’s Leinster League breakdown (click link for 2012/13 fixture lists) Division One (10): Glenanne, Monkstown, Pembroke, Railway Union, YMCA, Corinthian, Fingal, Three Rock Rovers, UCD, Avoca Division Two (7): Clontarf, Weston, Kilkenny, Dublin University, Rathgar, Suttonians, Portrane Division Three (10): Pembroke II, Glenanne II, Monkstown II, YMCA II, TRR II, Railway Union II, Fingal II, UCD II, Dublin Uni II, Corinthian II Division Four (12): Pembroke III, Monkstown III, Railway Union III, Glenanne III, YMCA III, Corinthian III, Avoca II, Weston II, Clontarf II, Suttonians II, Navan, Mullingar Division Five (10): Pembroke IV, Monkstown IV, YMCA IV, Three Rock Rovers III, Rathgar II, Athy, Skerries, North Kildare, St James’s Gate, Athy Division Six (10): Three Rock Rovers IV, Railway Union IV, Glenanne IV, Corinthian IV, Fingal III, Dublin Uni III, Kilkenny II, Mullingar II, UCD II, St Brendan’s/Phoenix Park Division Seven (10): Pembroke V, Monkstown V, Weston III, Rathgar III, Avoca III, Clontarf III, Portrane II, Navan II, St Brendan’s/Phoenix Park II, Bray Division Eight (11): Pembroke VII, Pembroke VI, TRR V, YMCA V, Corinthian V, Dublin Uni IV, Fingal IV, Bray II, North Kildare II, St James’s Gate II, Wicklow
28 Responses to “IHL changes leads to compact Leinster season”
June 23, 2012 7:53 am Marty McFly says
Very congested fixture list for Senior league. Gonna be a nightmare. Far too many games pencilled in before Christmas. I hope there doesn’t end up being a big back log due to weather etc.
I also hope the branch do not allow postponements for internationals this year unless instructed to do so by the IHA
June 23, 2012 3:06 pm WhistleBlower says
Car crash waiting to happen. 2 or 3 weeks of cold weather and teams will be 6 games down. And still no plan for div 2. Are they waiting for an all Ireland league to be introduced and for the top four to be taken out of div 1? Maybe a few years ago that was a runner, but too much expense for it today.
June 23, 2012 6:58 pm roofio says
Am I correct in gathering that if your a team in Div 1 that didn’t make it to IHL. Their hockey, weather permitting will be finished by Christmas, unless they get a good run in a cup that is.
What a Joke! Please tell me I’ve gotten this wrong! How does it effect the other leagues? Div 2 and lower?
June 23, 2012 7:03 pm roofio says
Just to follow up on previous point, why would someone bother playing hockey for one of the clubs in Div 1 that aren’t in IHL if they’re season is basically over by Christmas..
This is a serious disaster for the sport in Leinster! When are they just going to cop on to the fact that the international players are mostly semi-professional, and too busy for club hockey, and let the seasons run as normal, if it works out that an international player is available to play then hes available to play, if he’s not he’s not.. Simple! Everyone gets effected by the exploits of the Irish team, really seems ridiculous, I presume for alot of people playing in Div 1 they enjoy the weekly game and keeping fit, so why is the branch making it les and less fun for people to enjoy hockey..
June 24, 2012 10:11 am Div 2 Player says
Dear Leinser Branch,
Will you please grow a pair and do something about Div 2 rather than just waiting for a couple of extra teams to ‘give it a go’ and the league is restored to an acceptable number of teams.
This system of playing teams 3 times is a load of horse manure.
June 24, 2012 12:58 pm Div4 and unimpressed player says
The biggest problem with this new schedule is how it will affect the lower divisions as the season comes to a conclusion. The worst kept secret in leinster hockey is players/ringers dropping down the divisions to get game time at when their own team doesn’t have a match or in some cases playing multiple games on a Saturday. This happens all too regularly and massively distorts each division table from div3 down. If there are to be no games for a number of div1 teams from the end of feb, their players will begin dropping down the teams with 1′s players playing 2′s, 2′s playing 3′s and so on. This will turn a troublesome situation into a ridiculous one!!! Is their anything in place to combat this come March???
Can i also question the logic behind relegating 1 team and promoting 3 in Div4???
June 24, 2012 3:55 pm @roofio says
Roofio, you are incorrect in your assumption that the league will be over at Christmas.
The Div 1 schedule runs up until 24th Feb. That being said there is a break for Christmas and Indoor from Dec 8th until Jan 19th.
This is not ideal. The shortening of the regular season has to be seen as a complete joke. Although to be fair to the branch it is not something that they came up with, rather imposed on them by the IHA.
There are a number of problems with this.
1. If you are going to shorten the provincial league season in favour of a compact IHL and for Internationals then you have to reduce the amount of teams in Leinster Div 1.
2.There are now a ridiculous amount of double weekend fixtures before Christmas. It is absolute lunacy. What happens if the weather becomes and issue in Nov/Dec/Jan. When exactly will all the re fixes (which lets be honest are undoubtedly going to happen) take place.
The branch need to seriously consider where they are going with the senior leagues if Irish hockey is to focus on the IHL and the International calendar.
Reducing Div 1 to 8 teams would be a start- less fixtures. This would also increase the numbers in Div 2.
June 24, 2012 5:50 pm Roofio says
Yes I gathered that the season has deadline till 24feb, and I agree with you, that’s a joke! Considering, as you say, the indoor runs till near the end of jan. Which technically leaves just a few weeks for teams to play any potential re-fixes or the likes, and with a condensed schedule with cup matches then too.
This is really stupid, it has to be said. Feels like Seth Blatter is now running things in Irish hockey!!
Already a minority sport here, and they are making it more about just 5-6 clubs in Leinster! Well done guys, alienate any new possible comers to the game !
I’m actually disgusted at the stupidity here. The game should be separated into two sections, international and club. Simple. With growing interest in hockey, why the hell would we make club teams revolve their fixtures around a national team that 80-90% of the squad don’t even bloody play in Ireland!
June 25, 2012 11:56 am AGM attendee says
This is all well and good complaining about this now on the Hook, where most of the LB heads will actually read the comments.
However, being a club representative and unfortunately having to go to the LB AGM meetings which last 3 hours because they have arguments about nonsense issues like handbooks, turn up and voice your opinions against the system that put this in place.
It would be far more interesting to see people at the AGM try and convince you that this is the best for hockey rather than listening to them vote on the colour of the handbooks.
That said, it is a joke and I feel for all players across divisions who in fact won’t have a weekend free for 5 months come September…
Also, agreed with the comments about Division Two – LB just need to get on with it and make a decision
June 25, 2012 6:00 pm div 2 player says
best of luck to kilkenny this coming year and fair play to them for coming up and giving it a shot in the division. hopefully they will get back to where they were (getting promoted to Div 1 and competing there). would navan, skerries or north kildare be in any fit state make the move up to div 2?
also feel that the leinster branch have got it totally wrong with the div 1 fixtures for the coming season, sad to see that there only major change to leinster hockey over the summer is to hurt leinster hockey even further. total inactivity with division 2 now this. sort it out. i dont know how many exactly but how many players in leinster are regular players for the Ireland side? my thought would be no where near enough to have massive fixture congestion over it. this is also ridiculous in terms of over playing younger players in first team squads and stretching these teams lower teams down the divisions. it will have a massive knock on affect and not for the better.
June 25, 2012 10:54 pm Leinster supporter says
Steve, are there some fixtures missing from div 2. I counted Sutton only play 16 games as oppossed to 18???? Thanks
June 26, 2012 1:12 pm Stephen Findlater says
@Leinster supporter – Quite possibly! I’ll check to see what is missing when I get a chance
June 26, 2012 3:06 pm Rob Kelly says
If three teams from the large list of first teams in div 4/5 came up (Navan, Mullingar, Athy, Skerries, North Kildare, St James’s Gate) this could potentially help sort div 2. I’m not saying for an instance that they might win the league in their first season but they would all be competitive at the bottom with each other and be in a position to build just as the bottom few teams of div 1 are.
Also could we not look at the rugby approach where internationals and provincials run side by side. When a player is called up to international that creates an opening for a youngster to impress in their absence at club level.
June 26, 2012 9:22 pm while were on the topic says
Did Mullingar win a game last season? if so it was only one or two. This is not a go at mullingar and fair play for stepping up.
I think the only way out of this is to accept we only have 17 1st XI sides to play at this level. simply forcing teams up because they have a 1st next to there name simply wont work.
Make 1st Division a 9 team league and the 2nd Division an 8 Team league.
Get those first teams who are in Divs 4-7 out and put them in there own league. Call it Senior Div 3 Throw a couple of the 2nd XIs ie Avoca 2′s Weston 2′s Suttonians 2′s.
It is very annoying playing for a large club on one of the lower teams…ie 5ths and you come up against a clubs 2nds who have a team in Div 1/Div 2 and a 2nd Team in Div 6/Div 7. Fringe div 1 players Vs Div 6/7 players.
June 26, 2012 9:25 pm while were on the topic says
Its such a shame the branch are making such a mess of this. After all the great work and support for the olympic quals last April.
UNDOING ALL GOOD IT SEEMS
June 27, 2012 6:36 am Roofio says
@ while we’re on the topic
I don’t agree with your first point about mullingar what so ever. Just look at portrane, granted they finished 2nd last, but had quite alot of points and wins behind them. The previous season the finished div 4 on same points as mullingar and a playoff had to decide the league.
Also, the score 52 goals in div 2 and conceded 54, avoca who won the league scored 54 and conceded 25 or something. So it goes to show that if a team from div 4 applies themselves they are more than capable of bring competitive in div 2. Sure if portrane had a good goalkeeper who knows where they might have finished!
June 27, 2012 11:40 am Daniel says
Why not summer hockey? It never ceases to amaze me that a minority sport insists on playing in the height of miserable Irish winters.
I played for years and enjoyed Leinster comps but I just got sick and tired of training on wet cold Irish nights and playing on a Saturday morning in January at 5 degrees. I lost track of how many games were called off in the last winter I played. Frozen pitches for weeks are now the norm.
Lots of the soccer leagues have moved to the summer with great success. At the moment I play a bit of social hockey in the summer and its a complete joy. Pitches would generate far more revenue from other sports in the winter when grass based training pitches are not suitable. It would increase participation and enjoyment. Right now the kids hockey for our under 6′s resumes at the end of September. The lovely summer evenings are such a missed opportunity for all (well I may be exaggerating in how lovely they are at present)
June 27, 2012 11:48 am Dave says
Dan, I organized hockey at a local pitch during June. 3 of the 4 nights had monsoon conditions. Never again, mate.
June 27, 2012 11:54 am Daniel says
BTW: Leinster is no down from 10 divisions to 8 (including the mess that is division 2). Surely this is evidence of dwindling participation.
June 28, 2012 7:39 am Uber Deutschland says
At the end of the day this really all seems like a complete joke, all of the comments above are correct, and in so many different ways and aspects.
What we all need to do is come up with a real way of getting the branch to realise the issues we all have as players and lovers of the sport in Leinster, rather than all of us having a go here on The Hook (which does help I must say).
Any REAL ideas of how to get this sorted??
June 28, 2012 9:33 am stating the obvious! says
In a previous comment I read, that at the agm most of the time was spent arguing over what color the hand book was going to be!!?!!
First thing that needs to happen is the Branch must get there act together and start looking to fix the real problems.
Players need to talk to there club reps about issues they have with leinster hockey
Clubs need there reps to let the branch know what the real issues are and !!make sure something is done about it.!!
June 28, 2012 9:34 am stating the obvious! says
to much talk not enough action!!
June 28, 2012 5:39 pm Not Really says
I think there are a number of things, each with varying degree of importance.
None really came up at the AGM which I was surprised as they have been ongoing issues at the time, which suggests that the AGM is not really doing what it is there for. I was at the AGM and it was well attended however it was over 3 hours long and a lot of crap discussed at it.
So it seems that an EGM would be more appropriate to discuss and vote on issues such as league structures, no. of teams in leagues, prominence of IHL and IHA matches over Leinster league etc.
Any major change to fixtures and league structures directly affects clubs. The fixtures issue was not even proposed at the AGM. It was mentioned in passing that the IHA had insisted on it and it was either double weekends or midweek games before Christmas.
Im not saying it was Leinster branchs fault here but the only options given to clubs (by email) were midweek or double weekends.
There should have been a NO option. I dont see what possible valid reason there could be to end the league early to facilitate IHL and International. It does nothing except hinder the vast majority of players that are not involved in either
Same re Division 2. How many suggestions have been submitted to the branch? Plenty. I could not believe that it was not even mentioned on the Agenda
Breakaway Leinster League and association required
June 29, 2012 1:46 am blimp says
Is everyone here sure that all players in teams not involved in IHL are upset that there season would be over by the start of March?
In previous years people were complaining about the length of the season, they come up with a shortened season with a midway break and now people are having a cry that it’s too short? You still get to play the same amount of games. People have been complaining that when IHL is on, teams not involved don’t get to play. You just can’t please everyone.
It actually looks good. The double weekends are early enough they are very unlikely to be affected by weather.
So given they probably won’t change it, if non IHL teams actually want to play more, maybe Leinster could run a Leinster Hockey League. 5 Div 1 clubs not involved in IHL and the 7 teams in Div 2, run it in the same format as the IHL. That would extend their ‘short’ season. Give the 2nd division teams a good crack at 5 division 1 teams.
All you would need to do is change the last two weeks of Div 2, so make 2 double header weekends and it would finish the same date as Div 1. Then commence IHL/LHL
Nice lengthy season for everyone and gives Div 2 some good experience vs Div 1 teams to hopefully help bridge the gap.
less moaning about the season structure, more ideas on how to make the best of it!
June 29, 2012 11:24 am Uber Deutschland says
Decent point made about bridging that gap between div 1 and div2, and a good idea I must say. Although, all good ideas seem to be totally ignored in typical Irish fashion!
Just regarding your first point though, that div1 palyers are playing up until end of Feb, how many games is there actually scheduled for after Christmas?? I haven’t seen any ficture lists, but I’m just going of Stove’s report that alot of the games will be wrapped up before Christmas, and also that indoor runs until 19th of jan someone else mentioned.
June 29, 2012 10:03 pm blimp says
Only 4 league games, but I think the Mills cup is played as well. there seems to be 2 free weekends, not sure what would be played on those. Or whether they are left free intentionally for catch up games?
June 29, 2012 10:55 pm Stephen Findlater says
@blimp – Those ‘free weekends’ have indoor scheduled on them from what I can make out.
@Uber Deutschland – each division at the bottom of the page has a link to the league fixtures for the 2012/13 campaign (just click on the words written in blue)
July 4, 2012 3:58 pm Uber Deutschland says
4 double weekends, and season over on 24 Feb with no games from 8 dec to 19 jan, really is a bit of a joke! Where is the enjoyment in that for players?? One game a weekend can take it out of you enough, let alone 2!
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