Hockey Ireland have officially “abandoned” the 2020/21 EY Hockey League seasons with the likelihood of concluding the competition in any meaningful way proving very remote.
Three rounds of the sport’s marquee competition were played before a tightening of government restrictions called a halt to action in October.
As such, the decision was widely anticipated with Hockey Ireland chairman Eric Brady saying it was “inevitable” but he was hopeful some competitions could be played during the summer should situations allow.
“We know that this is very disappointing for all clubs and players, but we simply no longer have the time to complete this year’s leagues,” Brady said.
“However, we are continuing to look at other avenues that may provide players and clubs with competitive hockey at some stage, should this become possible.”
While the schools’ championships were also cancelled, the statement did not cull the cup competitions with the potential for the Irish Senior Cup, Irish Hockey Trophy and Irish Hockey Challenge to be potentially be played in a shortened format.
Similarly, there have been calls for the reinstatement of the senior and Under-21 inteprovincial championships which could be played off over one week or three weekends if a window opens up.
Alternatively, Hockey Ireland says they “will work with clubs to look at alternative competition formats which may provide players with an opportunity to play hockey later in the year, subject to Government restrictions”.
Whether this has any impact on the clubs qualified to represent Ireland in European action remains to be seen, too.
Three Rock Rovers’ men and Pegasus’ women are currently awaiting further information on the Euro Hockey League – scheduled for Easter – but Lisnagarvey and Loreto already know their respective Euro Trophy events have been put on hold until the autumn at least.