Nine years since we last entered the highest level of European Club Hockey, TRRHC is in for a triumphant return next Easter! Its all thanks to the memorable win by the mens 1st XI in the EYHL Champions Trophy Finals weekend in HQ.
The men entered the competition on the back of 11 straight wins, but brought their semi final game right down to the wire needing a shoot-out to overcome last years winners Lisnagarvey. After that it was a case of gather and regroup as they faced local rivals Monkstown. The lads were due a win against the Town in this competition having been beaten twice in the last three years in semi-finals by the same team. This year however was to be different. Kev Mullins opened the scoring in the first quarter to set up a tight game. A solo dash from the halfway line by Mitch Darling was finished beautifully to bring it to 2-0 in the final quarter. However Monkstown scored with 7 minutes to go, setting up a nerve-wrecking ending as they piled on the pressure looking for an equalizer. Thankfully it wasn’t to be and the lads held out to win the competition!
The win is even more significant when we consider that only 4 of the squad of 18 are over 23, while 14 of the squad have made their way up through the ranks of our junior section proving that the future is bright for this young side. At the other end of the squad demographic was Gary Ringwood who celebrated his self-called final game for the 1st XI with another medal to add to the collection. In his 20 years and an incredible 508 games of 1st XI hockey Gary has now won all trophies available within Ireland, with this medal being his first for the EYHL in its current format. Congratulations also to Mitch Darling for winning the overall player of the weekend Jimmy O'Connor cup!
The win puts TRRHC as the top seeded side in the country for next years European rankings. Put simply this means that in Easter of next year the lads will make their way over to the second round of the EYHL where they will compete alongside 15 of Europes best sides. The venue will be confirmed asap but for now keep Easter weekend 2018 free in the diaries as rovers head on tour!!
The trip will mark one of three European competitions for the club this year. The first comes in August as our Rockets become the first Irish Parahockey team to compete in the European Parahockey Championships. If you would like to support them, please copy and paste the following link to your browser. Next up will be the indoor European trip in February, with a venue for that also to be confirmed.
Finally, the win this weekend couldn’t have happened without the support and behind the scenes efforts of so many. Huge congratulations and thanks to coach Niall Denham for his work throughout the season alongside Andrew (Chuck) Walker as manager, and Emer Keogh as video operator. Thanks to David McCrea for acting as physiotherapist for the weekend and Ali Keogh for her work during the training sessions throughout the season.
Last but not least, to all the volunteers not only this weekend, but last. Giving up your free time on weekends, especially bank holidays is most appreciated particularly when you have to stand in the rain to do it! There are thankfully too many to mention, but we cannot host events like this without your effort and dedication. It was particularly sweet to win in front of a home crowd, something we could not do without your support as many people stepped up to pitch in beyond their aligned slots to make sure we had cover. Thanks too to Loreto Hockey Club and Sally-Ann Fanagan for their help in filling slots for us and for managing our volunteer list.
From us all in the club, we cant think of a better way to sign off on the season! We hope you enjoy the break and come back next year refreshed and ready to take on Europe!
Updated 09:48 - 3 May 2017 by Jack McCann