Irish third level side battles it out with Scotland

The Irish Colleges and Universities teams came away with a set of impressive results from their series with Scotland at the National Hockey Centre in Glasgow this week; the women won both their ties while the men drew their series.

First up on day one, the women who pressed the Scots very early on. Despite some resistance and excellent goalkeeping from the hosts, University of Ulster’s Choe Mitchell put the Irish 1-0 up just on the 20 minute mark.

The lead was doubled soon after when Dublin Institute of Technology’s Sophie Barnwell added a fine finish to put daylight between the sides before Emily O’Leary, also of UU, put the visitors 3-0 to the good on the half time whistle.

The Irish Universities and Colleges women's team

The Irish Universities and Colleges women’s team

Despite a very aggressive press employed by coach Chris Blaney, the Irish were unable to add to their tally in the second half while Scotland were to grab a consolation scored by Carla McNiven but the game ended 3-1.

The men were up next and took the lead early on when Dublin University’s Robbie Clarke was put clean through on goal and finished well past the goalkeeper.

The Scots didn’t lie down and drew level with five minutes to go in the first half with a Ross Clunie drag-flick. The second half started brightly for Ireland with Cork Institute of Technology’s Julian Dale tapping in at the back post with seconds of the restart.

Dale continued to show the exciting form he has shown in the Irish Hockey League and brought Ireland to 3-1 soon after. A lapse in concentration from Ireland’s Defence, led to three quick goals in succession from Clunie, Rob Harwood, and Joe McConnell which put Scotland 4-3 ahead with six minutes to play.

Ireland didn’t give up and were level within twi minutes when Dale, with another fine drag-flick, brought the teams level with just 4 minutes to play.

The Cork man continued to cause problems in the dying minutes and almost won it with seconds to go after a fine solo run only to see his shot come back off the post; 4-4 the final score and Ireland won 4-1 on Penalty Shuttles.

The women were up first again on day two with and Ireland were, once again, the team on top. It took them 20 minutes to break the Scottish resistance, University Of Ulster’s Paige Brown firing home the first goal on 25 minutes.

Scotland continued to fight and were rewarded in the most spectacular way when Chloe Hardy completely mishit her reverse but lobbed Royal College Of Surgeons’ Tiffaney Ellis to equalise right before half time.

Ireland, though, were to prove their dominance in the second half and were 2-1 ahead after five minutes when UU’s Anna Kozniuk fired a fantastic drag flick past the Scottish keeper.

The men's Irish Universities and Colleges team

The men’s Irish Universities and Colleges team

Ireland closed out the series in superb style with further goals from Rebbeca Barry and Dublin University’s Lauren Thomas sealed a 4-1 win.

The final match saw the Irish men take a very attacking press to Scotland in the first half. They were left frustrated, however, and Scotland were the ones who profited from the Irish teams lack of finishing as Clunie once more fired the Scots ahead with another fine drag-flick seconds before half time.

Michael Styles’ men though weren’t without fight and turned the scoreline on its head when Dublin City University’s Keith O’Hare dragged Ireland level, before Dale converted another to make the scoreline 2-1.

Ireland’s short corners were causing the Scots problem after problem and Dublin Institute of Technology’s Geoff Cole added for 3-1 following another fine switch move. The Scots wouldn’t give in however and 30 seconds later Andy McCannel drew the score back to 3-2, before Duncan Riddel broke Irish Hearts for the second day running and equalised on the final whistle.

3-3 was the final score and Scotland went on to win the shoot-out 4-3.

Men’s Irish Colleges and Universities squad:
Peter Bingham, Peter McKibbin (University Of Ulster), Julian Dale (Cork IT), Keith O’Hare (Dublin City University), Geoff Cole, Neil Byrne, Scott Sullivan (Dublin IT), Rory Nichols, Aaron Rooney, Johnny Lewis, Cillian Hynes, Robbie Clarke (Dublin University), Stuart Ronan (IT Tallaght), Thomas Sturgeon, Chris Ormandy (Queens University). Coach: Michael Styles, Manager: Marcus Blake

Women’s Irish Colleges and Universities squad:
Tiffaney Ellis (RCSI), Sara Quill (Dublin City University), Laura Hanlon, Sophie Barnwell (Dublin IT), Rachel O’Brien, Cliona McCullogh, Lauren Thomas (Dublin University), Robyn McKee, Tori Hastings (Queens University), Emily O’Leary, Rebbeca Barry, Victoria McMaw, Chloe Mitchell, Paige Brown, Jordan Page, Anna Kozniuk (University Of Ulster). Coach: Chris Blaney, Manager: Marcus Blake

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