Two goals from Ben Campbell saw Leinster win the men’s Under-21 interpros last Sunday in Santry as they claimed the laurels via a 2-0 success against Munster.
Campbell struck in the seventh minute before sealing the deal in the second half when he finished off a Sam O’Connor assist, making a good run from the back to pick up breaking ball on the right. He fed it into the centre for Campbell to pop into the back of the net.
With Ulster not taking part in the competition, this was the sole match that counted toward the overall interpro title. The Irish Under-18s also played the two sides, beating Munster 2-1 before falling 9-1 to Leinster, all the matches being played on the same day.
It was a low-key return for the competition after an intermittent presence over the last five years. Rather than use the regular weekend-long format, the tournament was originally set in the 2015-16 season calendar as split over two sessions, one, one in November and one in June.
A number of provinces had an issue with June for a variety of reasons, leading to a change in format with three Sundays over September, October and November suggested to ensure the national coaches could see players in a competitive situation with and against their peers. This is an important factor with over 50% of the players selected playing outside the Irish Hockey League.
This was subsequently revised to two weekends, allowing national coaches a chance to identify players to bring into regional training panels. With Ulster’s withdrawal, this reduced the tournament down to a one-day event.
Given the playing schedule, provinces were asked to include up to 25 players in their squads and to name up to 18 for each match.
In the wake of the tournament, Munster coaches Andy Gray and Malcolm Coombes criticised the way the competition was put together in today’s Examiner.
Men’s coach Gray said: “It seemed that two weekends were chosen at random, and information on the tournament was pathetic,” said Gray. “The lack of clarity and importance we saw around the interpro tournament this year was a major factor in some players’ decision to pull out.”
Coombes echoed this point: “The way the interpros were organised and the lack of importance shown to it was a huge disappointment. This trickled down to the clubs and players themselves.”
Leinster squad: Jonny McCormack (Avoca), Richard Couse (Avoca), John Mullins (Clontarf), Kevin Mullins (Clontarf), David Howard (Corinthian), Neil Byrne (Glenanne), Sam O’Connor (Glenanne), Stu Ronan (Glenanne), Geoff Cole (Monkstown), Ziggy de Boe Agnew (Monkstown), Keith O’Hare (Pembroke), Daragh Walsh (Three Rock Rovers), David Kane (Three Rock Rovers), Freddie Morris (Three Rock Rovers), Harry Morris (Three Rock Rovers), Jamie Carr (Three Rock Rovers), Luke Madeley (Three Rock Rovers), Andrew Ramsey (UCD), Ben McCrea (UCD), David Nolan (UCD), Jazze Henry (UCD), Leo Micklem (UCD), Stephen Dawson (UCD), Aaron Bailey (YMCA), Ben Campbell (YMCA)
Coach: Jason Klinkradt
Assistant coach: Jody Hosking
Team manager: Peter Chadwick