Fingal take “tough decision” to drop out of division one after 17 years in top flight

Avoca will replace Fingal in men’s Leinster division one following the ALSAA club’s request to drop down a tier in the wake of a number of retirements and players leaving the club.

With replacements not forthcoming, the club made the application to the Leinster Hockey Association to move down a division and reduce their club’s representation in the leagues to two teams, taking part division two and six.

Fingal’s Ben Chillingworth says it has been a “tough decision for the club” Pic: Adrian Boehm

Without an established hockey playing school in north Fingal providing a stream of players, it has been difficult for the club to attract players despite strong historic links to schools further afield such as Kilkenny College and Dundalk Grammar.

During the summer, there were talks with Suttonians with a view toward amalgamation. These were brought before Extraordinary General Meetings at the respective clubs on August 8 but, while Suttonians’ membership were agreeable, Fingal voted against the proposal.

It means Fingal drop out out of the first tier after 17 seasons, moving up in 1997. With stalwarts like David Bane moving into full-time coaching with Railway Union and Andrew Marshall retiring a year after Adrian Sweeney, it left only Ben Chillingworth, Eamon Bane and Jim Dunne as full-playing links to the side that won promotion back then and has under-pinned their efforts ever since.

At their height, the airport side finished second in division one in 2005, reaching the All-Ireland Club Championships while also playing in the early years of the Irish Hockey League.

Speaking about the move, Chillingworth said to The Hook: “It has been a tough decision to make but we are now looking to rejuvenate their panel in the second tier with a view to regaining promotion in the near future”.

Avoca, meanwhile, were approached by the LHA with a view to returning to the top division in place of Fingal having been the top placed first team in division two, only missing out on promotion last spring after a playoff against Rathgar.

The Newpark club accepted their proposal to move up in a straight swap with Fingal. Suttonians will continue this season with a single team in division two.

** The full men’s division one fixture list can be seen here. The first round of matches gets under way on September 6.

Men's Leinster Senior Div 1

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Match Score
March 21, 2019 12:00 am Santry Avenue
Dublin University Avoca

-:-

March 19, 2019 12:00 am High School
Rathgar Corinthian

-:-

March 16, 2019 12:00 am Newpark
Avoca UCD

4 - 3

March 16, 2019 12:00 am Mount Temple
Clontarf Dublin University

2 - 1

March 16, 2019 12:00 am Whitechurch Park
Corinthian Kilkenny

8 - 2

March 16, 2019 12:00 am Donabate LC
Portrane Rathgar

-:-

March 16, 2019 12:00 am Park Avenue
Railway Union Dublin North

5 - 1

March 9, 2019 12:00 am NSC Abbottstown
Dublin North Clontarf

1 - 2

March 9, 2019 12:00 am Santry Avenue
Dublin University Portrane

1 - 1

March 9, 2019 12:00 am Kilkenny College
Kilkenny Avoca

1 - 8

Match Score
March 23, 2019 12:00 am Mount Temple
Clontarf Portrane

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March 23, 2019 12:00 am NSC Abbotstown
Dublin North Avoca

-:-

March 23, 2019 12:00 am Santry Avenue
Dublin University Railway Union

-:-

March 23, 2019 12:00 am Kilkenny College
Kilkenny Rathgar

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March 23, 2019 12:00 am Belfield
UCD Corinthian

-:-

March 30, 2019 12:00 am Newpark
Avoca Dublin University

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March 30, 2019 12:00 am Whitechurch Park
Corinthian Dublin North

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March 30, 2019 12:00 am Donabate LC
Portrane Kilkenny

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March 30, 2019 12:00 am Park Avenue
Railway Union Clontarf

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March 30, 2019 12:00 am High School
Rathgar UCD

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Men's Leinster Senior Div 2

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Match Score
March 24, 2018 12:00 am Templecarrig
Bray Corinthian II

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March 24, 2018 12:00 am Mount Temple
Clontarf II YMCA II

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March 24, 2018 12:00 am Merrion Fleet Arena
Monkstown II Pembroke II

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March 24, 2018 12:00 am Donabate Portrane
Portrane Glenanne II

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March 24, 2018 12:00 am Park Avenue
Railway Union II TRR II

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March 10, 2018 12:00 am Templecarrig
Bray Glenanne II

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March 10, 2018 12:00 am Whitechurch Park
Corinthian II Railway Union II

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March 10, 2018 12:00 am Serpentine Avenue
Pembroke II Clontarf II

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March 10, 2018 12:00 am Grange Road
TRR II Monkstown II

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March 10, 2018 12:00 am Wesley College
YMCA II Portrane

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