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30 teams from nine nations across six tournaments will take part in 67 games over five days as Lisnagarvey is set to host the European Open, the biggest event the Irish Masters have brought to the island.
The event starts on Tuesday morning and runs until next Saturday at the Comber Road with four men’s competitions taking place and two women’s events with sides from the Home Nations taking part along with visitors from Germany, the Netherlands, South Africa, USA and Australia.
For the Irish O-40s, there is plenty of Leinster interest with Paul Fitzpatrick the marquee name having lined out for UCD last season in division one.
His former Glenanne team mate Clinton Murphy is another to have recently been a top tier regular while goalkeeper Kieran Healy is a UCC stalwart in Munster. Gregg Sterritt brings senior international experience from the mid to late 1990s while Catholic Institute’s John Wallace recently played a key part in his club’s Irish Hockey Challenge success.
At O-45s level, Pembroke second team player Peter Priestly, top picture, brings a formidable presence to the panel while Clontarf sharp-shooter Ross McMullen is one of the key forward options.
Four Garvey men line out at this level including Mark Murray, pictured in black below, who is player-coach among his many other roles in Irish hockey, managing the Irish U-18s while also trying to develop hockey in Connacht with their junior interpro side.
It is a feature of many of the sides, the players contributing much to their clubs and the greater hockey community. At O-55 level, YMCA man Peter Chadwick is another such example, a key figure in his club’s youth section’s development as is Eddie O’Malley at Glenanne.
For the women’s O-40s, influential captain Gillian Garrett, Aisling Schutte (both family holidays) and Richelle Flanagan (broken toe) are unavailable from the side that played in the Home Nations.
Annie Lawlor, Jane Salter and Linda Jenkinson come in their place while Yeats County’s Clodagh McMoreland takes on the armband, bringing with her experience from the successful Muckross team of the 1990s.
Clara Chamberlayne of Pembroke remains as vice captain while former international and current top tier umpire Tara Browne is one of the goalkeepers.
Ards defender Lynn Mills, pictured below, is a current IHL, ISC and European indoor performer from the season gone by as Ireland take on Scotland – who they beat 3-0 at the Home Nations – England, who they lost to 4-1, and Australia who are expected to be strong, beating Ireland last year at the World Cup in Canterbury, England.
With no Over-45s age group, the Irish women in this category will compete as the Babas in the O-50s section with the inclusion of a Welsh player.
Kathy Shaw (family holiday), Tracey Skoyles (family holiday) and Sinead Guilfoyle (work commitments) are unable to attend while Iris Nelson is still injured (knee) and Annie Lawlor, Jane Salter and Linda Jenkinson are playing with the O-40s.
Coming into the squad are Marion O’Brien, Tracey Kingston following her Interpros showing and Tracey Bowe from Wales as the Welsh are not entering a team.
The captain is the influential Cork C of I midfielder Joan Dobson, who was previously vice captain while former international goalkeeper Alison Thompson (nee Vance) is vocal in defence.
Skilful midfielder/forward Joanne O’Grady brings a lot of nous to the team from her previous international experience while Roly Burke and Julie Fisher are also very accomplished performers.
The Babas play Ireland O50s, Australia O50s and England O55s – and will be expected to do well in this age group given their younger legs – though the experience and skills of the older aged teams are not to be underestimated.
The Irish O-50s have full availability from the Home Nations, though they travel this time with a squad of 16 rather than 17 with Sue Vincent missing out.
Railway player Helen Johnston remains on as captain, with former international and Alex player Orla Galvin as vice captain. This team has five former international players.
As well as Orla Galvin, there is Cork C of I forward Cathy Walsh, the Rainey forward Carolyn Burns (nee Shankey), Lisnagarvey midefielder/defender Maggie Hunter (nee Browne) and Pembroke midfielder/forward Orla Bell.
The O-50s will play the Babas – who they’ve trained with all summer – as well as the England 55s, who they beat 3-2 in a tough match in the Home Nations, and Australia O-50s, who they lost to in last summer’s World Cup in Canterbury.
So, it is a tough competition for the Irish O50s but they have been preparing meticulously and hope that the hard work over the summer pays off, especially as the tournament is being played on Maggie Hunter’s home venue at Lisnagarvey.
In addition, on Saturday August 17, there will be Lions 40s and Lions 50s playing the respective Australian teams. Each coach of the Home Nations Teams (Ireland/England/Scotland for 40s and Ireland/England/Babas for 50s) will be asked to put forward five players for the Lions teams.
The Lions teams will be announced at the tournament dinner in the fabulous Titanic Centre on the Friday night and the showcase matches will take place Saturday v Australia at 12 noon (50s) and 13.30 (40s).
Over 40s: England, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, South Africa, Wales
Over 45s: England, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, Wales/Barbarians
Over 50s: England, Netherlands, Ireland, Scotland, USA, Wales
Over 55s: England, Netherlands, Ireland, Scotland, Welsh Dragons
Over 40s: Australia, England, Ireland, Scotland
Over 50s: Australia, England, Ireland, Babas
Tuesday, August 13
Forest pitch: M40 – South Africa vs Wales, 10.30am; M55s – England vs Scotland, 12pm; M50s – Ireland vs Scotland, 1.30pm; M55s – Netherlands vs Wales, 3pm; M45s – Ireland vs Scotland, 4.30pm; M50s – USA vs Netherlands, 6pm; M40s – Ireland vs Germany, 7.30pm
Church pitch: L50s – Australia vs Ireland, 10.30am; M50s – England vs Wales, 12pm; L40s – Ireland vs Scotland, 1.30pm; M45s – Wales vs England, 3pm; L50s – England vs Babas, 4.30pm; M40s – England vs Scotland, 6pm; L40s – England vs Australia, 7.30pm
Wednesday, August 14
Forest: M50s – England vs Netherlands, 9am; M55s – Ireland vs Scotland, 10.30am; M45s – Germany vs Scotland, 12pm; M55s – Wales vs England, 1.30pm; M40s – Wales vs Germany, 3pm; M50s – England vs Scotland, 4.30pm; M40s – England vs Ireland, 6pm; M50s – Ireland vs Netherlands, 7.30pm
Church: L50s – England vs Ireland, 10.30am; L40s – Scotland vs England, 12pm; M50s – Wales vs USA, 1.30pm; L50s – Australia vs Babas, 3pm; L40s – Ireland vs Australia, 4.30pm; M45s – Ireland vs England, 6pm; M40s – Scotland vs South Africa, 7.30pm
Thursday, August 15
Forest: M50s – Scotland vs USA, 10.30am; M45s – Scotland vs Wales, 12pm; M40s – England vs South Africa, 1.30pm; M40s – Ireland vs Wales, 3pm; M50s – England vs Ireland, 4.30pm; M55s – Ireland vs England, 6pm; M45s – Ireland vs Germany, 7.30pm
Church: L40s – England vs Ireland, 10.30am; L50s – Babas vs Ireland, 12pm; M50s – Wales vs Netherlands, 1.30pm; M55s – Scotland vs Netherlands, 3pm; M40s – Germany vs Scotland, 4.30pm; L40s – Scotland vs Australia, 6pm; L50s – England vs Australia, 7.30pm
Friday, August 16
Forest: M40s – England vs Wales, 8.30am; M45s – England vs Scotland, 10am; M40s – South Africa vs Germany, 11.30am; M40s – Ireland vs Scotland, 1pm; M50s – Netherlands vs Scotland, 2.30pm; M55s – Wales vs Ireland, 4pm
Church: M50s – England vs USA, 8.30am; M50s – Ireland vs Wales, 10am; M45s – Wales vs Germany, 11.30am; L50s – classification match, 1pm; L40s – classification match, 2.30pm; M55s – Netherlands vs England, 4pm
Titanic exhibition: 6.30pm
Tournament dinner: 7pm
Saturday, August 17
Forest: L40s – classification match, 9am; M45s – England vs Germany, 10.30am; M55s – Ireland vs Netherlands, 12pm; M55s – Scotland vs Wales, 1.30pm; M45s – Ireland vs Wales, 3pm; M40s – Ireland vs South Africa, 4.30pm; M40s – Germany vs England, 6pm
Church: L50s – classification match; M50s – Wales vs Scotland, 10.30am; Lions Test – Australia vs Lions 50s, 12pm; Lions Test – Australia vs Lions 40s, 1.30pm; M40s – Scotland vs Wales, 3pm; M50s – Ireland vs USA, 4.30pm
Ireland men O-40s: Kieran Healy (UCC), Gordon Clarke (Corinthian), Jonny Gregg, Clinton Murphy (Glenanne), John Wallace (Catholic Institute), Peter Young (Naas), Gregg Sterritt (Annadale), Richard Tinney, David Bolas (Lisnagarvey), Ian Stuart (Monkstown), Colin Mockford, Paul Fitzpatrick, Keith Fishbourne (Glenanne), Michael Pobloth (Kilkeel), Roland Budd (Three Rock Rovers), Jason Hill (Mossley), Stephen Magee (North Down), Paul Beattie
Ireland men O-45s: Mark Brown (Ballynahinch), Graeme Shaw (Lisnagarvey), Martin Rodgers (Kilkeel), Peter Pollock (Annadale), Mark Wallace (Oxted), Michael Millar (Cookstown), Neil Madeley (Banbridge), Herbie Todd (Mossley), Mark Murray (Lisnagarvey), Neil Welch (Cork C of I), Stephen Galway (Annadale), Dara Crowe (Catholic Institute), Peter Priestly (Pembroke), Ali Reilly (Antrim), Bruce Agnew (Lisnagarvey), Rupert Pinion (Lisnagarvey), Ross McMullen (Clontarf)
Manager: Jamie Millar
Coach: Mark Murray
Ireland men O-50s: Niall Gilmore, Tom McKean, Mark McCullough, Phil Thomas, Chris Maskery, Gavin Campbell, William Redpath, John McCann, Mitchell Patterson, Martin Collins, William Cooper, Neil Murray, Roy Gordon, Gerry Hamill, Ollie O’Connor, Peter Kelly, Lawrence Patterson, Mervyn McCaigue
Ireland men O-55s: Tim Hogg (Instonians), Crawford McKee (Chelmsford), Billy Pollock (Cliftonville), Eddie O’Malley (Glenanne), Seamus Agnew (Mossley), Sean Curran (Teddington), Keith Jess (Lisnagarvey), Fergus Stapleton (Reading), Kenny Best (Newry), David Woods (Chelmsford), Harrold de Jong (Three Rock Rovers), Stuart Egner (Cork Harlequins), Sandy Sherrard (Mossley), Peter Chadwick (YMCA), Davy Hull (Mossley), Alan Smith (South Antrim), Stuart Switzer (Three Rock Rovers), George Blackwood (coach, Bangor), Alan Wheeler (Fingal)
Ireland women O-40s: Tara Browne (GK, Galway), Hazel Agar (Old Alex), Noreen Dockery (Old Alex), Caroline Sharkey (Loreto), Clara Chamberlayne (vice-captain, Pembroke), Annie Lawlor (Pembroke), Emma Glanville (Galway), Kerry Johnson (Pembroke), Noreen Daly Gillis (Cork Wanderers), Clodagh McMoreland (captain, Yeats County), Jane Salter (Glenanne), Julie Bell (Belfast Harlequins), Alison Gillan (Holywood), Lynn Mills (Ards), Nichola Thompson (Lurgan), Shelly Lyons (Pegasus), Linda Jenkinson (Loreto), Joan Robinson (GK, Grosvenor)
Coach: Benjamin Epstein
Assistant coach: Stacey McGookin
Manager: Julie Massey
Babas: Alison Thompson (GK, Portadown), Claire Bell (Belfast Harlequins), Roly Burke (Hermes), Alison Pigot (Pembroke), Jean Erskine (Newcastle), Julie Fisher (North Down), Julie Doak (Knock), Joan Dobson (captain, Cork C of I), Mairead Lyons (Three Rock Ladies/Barnes), Joanne O’Grady (Suttonians), Marian O’Brien (Swords), Judy Judge (Cork C of I), Tracey Bowe (Wales), Tracey Kingston (Cork C of I)
Coach: Ross Canning
Manager: Gill Jackson
Ireland women O-50s: Helen Roche (Railway Union), Helen Johnston (Railway Union), Maura O’Neill (Three Rock Ladies), Dymphna Hill (Cork C of I), Bronwyn O’Donnell (Loreto), Pat Stewart (Grosvenor), Cathy Walsh (Cork C of I), Carolyn Burns (Rainey), Dee Mooney (Loreto), Orla Galvin (Old Alex), Angie Boran (Botanic), Maureen Flavin (Hermes), Siobhan Forde (Galway), Maggie Hunter (Lisnagarvey), Dee Wallace (Ballyclare), Orla Bell (Pembroke)
Coach: Stuart Malcolm
Manager: Julie Wilson