Euro representatives announced as Leinster league winners and EYHL2 invitations come into view

Hockey Ireland have announced the club representatives for European competition shall remain the same for next season and in the same order.

It means Pegasus will take Ireland’s number one women’s spot with Loreto in the second seeded position.

Pegasus and Loreto will remain as Ireland’s Euro representatives for the 2020/21 season. Pic: Adrian Boehm

On the men’s side, Three Rock Rovers will be the number one seed with Lisnagarvey taking the second slot for the 2020/21 competitions.

Announcing the decision, Hockey Ireland stated: “The Board considered the situation in detail and received recommendations from the EYHL Competitions Committee. 

“With the 2019/2020 EYHL season declared null and void due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, the Hockey Ireland Board has made the following decision regarding the representatives for next season’s EuroHockey Club competitions

“The European representatives for the EuroHockey Club competitions shall remain the same for next season, and in the same order.”

For Pegasus, it could mean two European competitions within the season. Currently, the Euro Hockey League FINAL8 is “on hold” with possibilities being researched for the competition to be played later in 2020.

The Ulster side qualified for that event as the 2018/19 EY Champions Trophy winners. With this announcement, it would see Pegs line also be in line for a place in European competition in the new year – the level will be determined by European ranking which could be effected by their performance at a refixed FINAL8.

Loreto were due to play in the EuroHockey Trophy this year which should remain the case for 2021.

On the men’s side, Three Rock Rovers retain their place as Irish number one seed but EHL Men could be modified for the 2020/21 season due to the current circumstances.

With a usual pre-Christmas slot potentially either given to the 2019/20 season’s FINAL8 or else cancelled, next Easter’s format will likely have to accommodate some changes.

How this is organised will possibly have a knock-on effect on what competition Lisnagarvey play in. They were down to host in EuroHockey Club Trophy II, effectively a third tier competition this year.

But Ireland’s ranking on the EHL nations list was likely to get a boost by virtue of Rovers’ performance in Barcelona last October, attaining a ranking of ninth in Europe with a 5-0 win over Scotland’s Grange before running Rot-Weiss Köln close in the KO8.

If the FINAL8 can be completed, this could boost chances of moving into a stronger competition but should the 2019/20 season not be completed, those extra points may be voided.

As with everything in the current environment, all of this remains dependent on government advice on when play can return.

Closer to home, Leinster Hockey is currently finalising league placings for the 2019/20 season with a percentage basis set to be employed to determine the outcome. Such positions will be ratified and sent to clubs in the next day or two.

In an email to club secretaries, Leinster added: “Please note that no planning for next season will be undertaken until we have greater certainty from Hockey Ireland and the statutory bodies. This will probably be July at the earliest.”

EYHL Division 2 looks set for an expansion. In a letter to regional branches, Hockey Ireland have said any team who competed in the 2019/20 season’s EYHL2 but did not qualify through their provincial leagues will be invited to compete in a slightly extended version. This will be for the 2020/21 season only.

For the men’s EYHL2, should all leagues be decided on a percentage basis, this would mean 10 invitations available. The contentious one will be in Leinster – at the time of the lockdown, Portrane and Rathgar were level in third place on 31 points with the latter slightly ahead on goal difference.

However, that method of tiebreaker was done away with last summer with the result between the two teams the decisive one – Portrane beat Gar 4-3 in their one meeting this term.

In Munster, Cork C of I and Bandon are eligible for the two tickets with Harlequins set for an invite based on last year’s entry. Ulster’s entry list would remain the same.

  • Leinster: Clontarf, Railway Union, Avoca, Portrane.
  • Munster: Cork C of I, Bandon, Cork Harlequins
  • Ulster: Cookstown, Kilkeel, Instonians

Like the application from a group of women’s clubs, a submission has been made by a number of men’s clubs to run a “full-season” EYHL2. This proposal is currently under review by Hockey Ireland.

On the women’s side, the one additional team eligible for inclusion is Galway. They were tied at the top of Connacht’s Division One with NUIG at the close of play in March.

It brings the tally to 11 teams invited for the competition.

  • Leinster: Corinthian, Trinity, Monkstown
  • Munster: UCC, Cork C of I
  • Ulster: Lurgan, Ards, Queen’s
  • Connacht: NUIG, Greenfields, Galway

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