Happy New Year to all the hockey family and here we go for the second part of the 2018/19 season!
On New Year’s Day, the Linden Cup Final was played at Deramore Park between Antrim and Ballynahinch – the trophy was lifted by Ballynahinch after defeating Antrim 4-2. In the qualifying stages Antrim had won 5-1!
On Saturday 5th January I travelled to Edenvilla to watch Portadown 1st v Raphoe (m) in Premier League, followed by Portadown 3rd v Raphoe 2nd (w). Sunday 6th saw the BDO Youth Indoor competition continue at the Antrim Forum – the boys started their campaign, and the girls U18’s played for the cup and plate titles – the U18 girls cup final was won by Lurgan in a thrilling game against local rivals Armagh – umpires were Lyn and Mark. The plate final between Randalstown and Ards went to a shoot out, with Randalstown lifting the plate – umpires Aaron and Randal.
A Senior 1 ladies game at Carrickfergus Leisure Centre was my day-trip for Saturday 12th – Castle took on Coleraine ladies, narrowly losing 2-0 in an end to end game.
The finals of the BDO Indoor girls U15 cup and plate were played on 13th January at the Antrim Forum – the plate final was umpired by young umpires Grace and Aaron, with Randalstown coming out victorious over Ballymoney. Thanks to PJ for mentoring the young umpires. And in the U15 cup final Coleraine beat Bangor.
In the afternoon, the boys BDO indoor finals took place – in the U15 final Lisnagarvey defeated Portadown and this game was umpired by two young umpires, Aaron and Fraser. The U18 final was between Antrim and Lisnagarvey (umpires Les and Noel) with ‘Garvey completing a successful indoor double at U15 and U18 levels. Thanks to all the umpires who helped at the BDO Indoor.
The Ulster indoor qualifier for the ladies was held on Sunday 13th January at Queens PEC – the teams competing to go forward for the All Ireland Finals were Ards, Mossley, North Down and Queens. Ards won the title for the 8th year in a row and joined the other provincial champions at the Antrim Forum on 27th January. Thanks to Terry Templeton, VP, who attended the PEC as I was at the youth indoor.
Monday 14th January was a fabulous evening at the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards Dinner in the Waterfront Hall. Hockey was well-represented both in nominations for awards and as winners – Shirley McCay won the Game Changer Award, Ayeisha McFerran won the Malcolm Brodie Player of the Year Gold Award, and Eugene Magee won a Special Recognition Award. Congratulations go to the award winners, and also to Adam Louden’s Ulster U18 boys who were nominated for an award.
The Ulster men’s indoor qualifier was played at the PEC on 20th January – Cookstown won for the second year in a row to go forward to the All Ireland Finals later in January – others teams were Banbridge, North Down, and Queens.
Umpiring a game was on the agenda for me on 26th followed by the Irish Indoor Finals on 27th at the Antrim Forum – the Ulster representatives were Ards (w) and Cookstown (m). Ards 7 year run as Irish indoor champions was ended by Railway Union in the women’s final 6-1. Cookstown men came 3rd winning 8-3 against Limerick in the 3rd/4th play-off spot.
Unfortunately, the weather has started to curtail some of my ‘hockey-watching’ at the end of January but hopefully this will be short-lived.