The Irish Colleges and Universities teams came away with a set of impressive results from their series with Scotland in Stormont this week with both the men’s and ladies teams completing a brace of series wins.
First up on day one were the men who took the lead early on with a fine goal from Queen’s University’s Finn Harkin. The Irish attack, led by captain, Connor Roberts from UU, continued to press, with IT Tallaght’s Stuart Ronan going close.
Despite the onslaught however, the Scots defended well and the home side had to settle for a 1-0 lead at half time. The Irish doubled their lead two minutes into the second half when Trinity player Wilf King found the net.
The Scots reply was almost instant, however, as Callum White pulled one back from a short corner leading to a very nervy final quarter with the visitors going close on many occasions but Ireland held on to record a 2-1 win.
The ladies squad got off to a slow start as they settled into their first game. A few nerves were settled early in the second quarter with Ulster University’s Leah Paul tapping in from close range.
The lead was doubled soon after when Trinity College’s Rachel Burns beat three players from the halfway line before finishing past the goalkeeper; 2-0 the score at half time.
The Irish attack, bouyed on by a very aggressive press from coach Gary Ruddock, continued to push forward, and Paul and Burns both grabbed their braces in the third quarter.
The game seemed to push away from the Scots as Ulster University’s Hannah Irwin grabbed Ireland’s fifth through a penalty stroke midway through the final quarter. The Scots were to grab two consolation goals however as Ireland pressed very high were caught twice in succession on the break, conceding two short corners late on, to which Iona Macintyre-Beon scored two impressive drag flicks, 5-2 the final score.
Day 2 saw the ladies team rise earliest. The visitors showed much more resiliense early on and Ireland’s forwards were frustrated going in tied at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter started with a flourish from the Scottish as Keri Nicol charged forward before laying off to Sophie Maunder to put the visitors 1-0 ahead. Ireland pushed forward with fleeting breaks from Cork IT’s Michelle Barry, and Dublin IT’s Sally Campbell but were unable to break the Scottish resilience before half time.
Ireland Came out all guns blazing in the second half and Paul, as she had done the previous day, equalised shortly after the half time break. DCU’s Colleges veteran Sara Quill put her name on the scoresheet a few minutes later and with the final touch of the game sealed a 3-1 win late on in the final quarter to give the ladies a 2-0 series win.
The men had a slightly easier day, wrapping up a 7-0 victory over Scotland. They started well with Queen’s University’s Callum Anderson setting them on their way.
Further goals from UCC’s Eoin Finnegan (2) and another from Trinity’s Wilf King sent them into half time 4-0 ahead. The route was completed by three more goals from Anderson, Finnegan and DIT’s Herbie Fowler Hudson.
Men’s Irish Colleges and Universities squad: Sam Sheppard, Callum Anderson, Finn Harkin (Queen’s University), Sean Butler (Maynooth University), Rory Nichols, Wilf King, Eoin Buttanshaw (Dublin University) Zack Waters, Andrew Tutty, Chris Cole (University College Dublin), Conor Roberts, Zack McClelland, Ben Wallace (Ulster University) Brian Stockil (Cork IT), Herbie Fowler Hudson (Dublin IT), Eoin Finnegan, Colin Kingston (University College Cork), Stuart Ronan (IT Tallaght). Coach: David Menaul,Assistant Coach: James Dodsworth, Manager: Ashley McConnell
Women’s Irish Colleges and Universities squad: Kate Murphy, Saoirse O’Leary (University College Cork), Michaela Van Der Walt (NUI Galway), Sally Campbell, Laura Hanlon, Aine Ryan (Dublin IT), Leah Paul, Megan Rogers, Hannah Irwin (Ulster University), Jenny Long, Erika Markey, Issy Delamar (Trinity College), Sara Quill (Dublin City University), Michelle Barry, Ingrid Burns, Rachel Desmond (Cork IT), Cliona Sheehy (Royal College of Surgeons) Coach: Gary Ruddock, Assistant Coach: Paul Byrne, Manager: Marcus Blake