The Voice of the EHL Nick Irvine will provide his dulcet tones to the soundtrack of the National Indoor Trophy on Sunday as the champions of 2020 will be crowned at Galway’s Kingfisher Hall.
It is a coup for the competition with indoor guru Rob Abbott co-opting the commentator for the event which will be streamed live on www.eurohockeytv.org.
Action tips off in the men’s competition at 9.30am with Munster champions Limerick facing off against Leinster runners-up Railway Union. It will be Limerick’s second trip to the finals weekend having topped their pre-Christmas group against Ashton and UCC with Luke Cardy running up 12 goals in four games.
They hope they won’t be too under-cooked, however, due to the second phase of their provincial competition being cancelled due to withdrawals.
It is a side with an international flavour with New Zealander Nick Lampp, Frenchman Victor Biais and Dutch player Tom van Veen named on their squad list.
Railway ran out of legs in the Leinster final but will have a much deeper bench this time around with Irish internationals Brendan Parsons and Stephen O’Keeffe returning. Richard Forrest, however, is injured and replaced in the panel by Tom Simms. German player Bjorn Daase – an outfielder with Pembroke – is a key man from their set pieces.
The second semi-final (at 10.30am) sees reigning champions Three Rock Rovers hoping to take a first step toward a fourth successive title, taking on Ulster champions Banbridge.
Bann won their title at the first attempt, edging out Cookstown on goal difference in the Ulster round-robin. They feature lots of outfield quality with internationals Gareth Lennox, Jonny McKee, Peter Brown, Philip Brown and Drew Carlisle all involved.
Rovers, meanwhile, have a couple of changes to their Leinster winning side with Ross Canning back after illness to captain the team while James Kyriakides and Ali Haughton come back in.
Daragh Walsh is unavailable due to a tour with KHC Leuven – his Belgian outdoor club – while Dylan Shirley is the other players to step out.
The women’s semi-finals start off at 11.30am with 2019 winners Railway Union up against Galway who took the trophy back in 2009.
Emma Smyth is a high profile additions to the line-up having watched the Leinster final from the rafters while Cecelia Joyce and Kate Dillon are also named in the line-up. Hannah de Burgh Whyte’s set piece shooting will be a feature for Gareth Myburgh’s charges.
Galway are captained by Fiona Kelly with Michaela van der Walt a strong goalkeeper. Former Pembroke players Emma Glanville has huge experience indoors while Elaine Carey – previously of UCD – will provide a lively presence up front.
The second semi-final pits Muckross against Ards, winners of seven of the last eight National Indoor titles. Coached by Rob Abbott, Muckross have improved game on game, getting through their group in third place before beating Glenanne and UCD in their playoff games.
Guests Erika Hinkson (Old Alex) and Sara Quill (Corinthian) have played their part while international Sophie Barnwell is at the heart of their play.
Ards, meanwhile, have medals galore in their line-up and got a late reprieve to be able to play on this stage yet again. The Ulster women’s championship initially looked set to be scrapped with no indoor hall booked in time but they managed to avail of hall time while the women’s international side was away to prevail even without internationals Caroline Adams and Amy Benson.
Adams works well with the dynamic Naomi Grundie while Benson is a goal machine. That moniker can also refer to Zara Malseed outdoors and they could make for a fearsome forward duo.
They are bidding for a place in the 4.45pm final to round off the weekend with the men’s final on before at 3.30pm.
All games will be streamed live on eurohockeytv.org with Nick Irvine in situ to guide you through all the action.
|Hockey Ireland Indoor Finals, Sunday, February 2, 2020|
|The Kingfisher, NUIG, Galway|
|9.30am||Railway Union v Limerick||Men||Click here|
|10.30am||Three Rock Rovers v Banbridge||Men||Click here|
|11.30am||Railway Union v Galway||Women||Click here|
|12.30pm||Muckross v Ards||Women||Click here|
|13.30pm||3rd /4th||Men||Click here|
|12.30pm||3rd / 4th||Women||Click here|