The four first teams from Leinster’s women’s division two – namely Muckross, Avoca, Rathgar and Genesis – look set to be promoted to division one when the expanded Irish Hockey League comes into effect next season.
The season-long IHL will see the first teams of Hermes, UCD, Railway Union and Pembroke moving out of the Leinster league for the inaugural season, necessitating a reshuffle in the league roster.
As such, Wednesday’s meeting the Leinster Ladies Committee submit their proposal for approval from the LHA Board, based on feedback from the respective clubs, with the overwhelming feeling that the top league in the province be dedicated to first teams only.
With no relegations for this season, it means that those four clubs will join Loreto, Old Alex, Trinity, Glenanne, Corinthian and North Kildare.Carrying on down the leagues, it means that up to four clubs will be moved up on the proviso that – down to division ten – no league shall have more than one team from the same club.
An offshoot benefit of the introduction of the IHL is that the Leinster Hockey Association has a better hold over their leagues with less dependence on the international calendar filtering down. To this end, the league will revert to an October to April format.
To cope with the change in logistics, the ladies committee laid out the following tenets to deal with the changeover:
1. Clubs will continue to maintain their affiliation to LHA through the payment of per team affiliation fee (including their IHL team).
2. There is no change to player registration–Leinster IHL players/teams will be registered as first eleven, subject to the normal bye-laws.
3. In order to maintain this consistency with the administration of registrations, Leinster IHL teams will be required to submit their IHL match cards to Leinster.
4. There is no change to Cup competition eligibility. Leinster IHL teams may enter the Jacqui Potter Cup). The Jacqui Potter plate may be reinstated, subject to club interest.
5. There will be a return to an October to April season.
6. Bye Law 19 league structure will be maintained.
7. Bye Law 27 will be subject to change: postponements will be restricted to Irish Cup competition only.
Meanwhile, the women’s division one and two seasons were formally closed out in midweek with Railway Union claiming third place in the table with a 2-0 win over Glenanne, twins Isobel and Cecelia Joyce scoring the goals.
The first came from a disguised sweep pass from Grace McLoughlin to Nina Heisterkamp who slipped to Cecelia to reverse in. The second was a direct corner strike. Glenanne threatened on the counter via Sarah Daly and Audrey McCormack but no goals accrued in an otherwise low-key tie.
In Division two, UCD II took fourth spot in the table with a 4-1 win over Loreto II on Monday evening as sharp-shooter Jane O’Brien scored twice while Lauren McGrane and Ailbhe Marsh also chipped in.
An early UCD lead was cancelled out by Sarah Evans but two goals in quick succession after half-time put the game to bed.
The Irish Hockey Trophy reaches the quarter-final stage with three Leinster and one South East side still in contention for the national competition.
Three Rock Ladies are hoping to build on their shock win over Muckross in the previous round when they host Larne with Welsh star Angharad Griffiths hoping to drive on their young side.
Our Lady’s, another side who have done well in division three, travel across south Dublin to take on Genesis in what should be an evenly matched tie. Kilkenny host the tournament’s favourites Cork C of I while Galway play against Armagh at Dangan.
Women’s Division One: Glenanne 0 Railway Union 2 (I Joyce, C Joyce)
Division Two: UCD II 4 (J O’Brien 2, L McGrane, A Marsh) Loreto II 1 (S Evans)
Irish Hockey Trophy, quarter-finals: Galway v Armagh, 1.30pm, Dangan; Kilkenny v Cork C of I, 1.30pm, Kilkenny College; Genesis v Our Lady’s, 2.45pm, St Raphaela’s; Three Rock Rovers v Larne, 3pm, Grange Road