Irish hockey, and particularly Railway Union’s women’s team, have been rewarded for the continued strong performances in European club hockey over the past three years with a berth in the EuroHockey Club Champions Cup.
It is the first time Ireland will compete in the new form of the competition having previously been involved in the A division when Pegasus represented Ireland in 2006 in Berlin while Old Alex played in the former Cup Winners Cup in 2007.
Ireland’s ranking rose from seventh to fifth, jumping ahead of Azerbaijan and Belarus by virtue of Railway’s third place finish in Belgium in the Champions Trophy May, adding to their bronze in Dublin two years ago and Pegasus’ victory in Belfast last year.
The combined good performances mean Ireland receive one place in the elite competition that features the Netherlands and Germany’s top two clubs along with sides from Spain, England and Azerbaijan in 2014.
As Irish Hockey League champions, Railway are the recipients of that place while UCD’s gold medal in the Champions Challenge I should earn promotion for Ireland’s second Euro entrant in the Trophy for 2014 though this remains to be confirmed. Loreto would be the beneficiaries of that elevation.