Last week the relatively young and relatively new look TRR indoor side lost the Leinster title that they had won for the previous two seasons to Railway Union 7-4. However their key aim was to retain the Irish title that they won last year as it would guarantee them representing Ireland in the European arena for two consecutive years.
The title was to be decided in a three way play off which would come down come down to goal difference if required. Last Sunday in St.Columba's, Railway Union defeated Queens University 6-3. The TRR side knew that they needed to beat Queens by more than three goals to ensure that a draw against Railway would mean the Irish title would be retained.
They did more than this defeating Queens 17-2. (Ross Canning 4, Ben Walker 4, Richard Pautz 3, Conor Empey 2, Jody Hosking 2, Eckhart Geyer 1, Harry Morris 1). Most importantly our key players were able to take long rest periods in the second half and our less experienced players continued to keep the goal tally ticking.
After our defeat to Railway the previous week. We highlighted areas that required improvement. We aimed to be more dynamic in our press, to defend the boards more tightly, to defend more aggressively in the tackle, to channel more purposefully, and to transfer the ball more quickly to undermine Railway's disciplined half court press and counter attacking style.
We started quickly, creating and spurning four good chances. We then took a 2 goal lead and extended that to 4-1 early in the second half. A lack of calmness, combined with a few key umpiring decisions going against us, meant Railway equalising. However the side regained its composure and raised its tempo in the final six minutes scoring 3 excellent rapid fire goals to ensure victory, the final score was 8-5. (Ross Canning 4, Ben Walker 2, Harry Morris 1, Jody Hosking 1)
The Irish Times article is here https://www.irishtimes.com/sport/other-sports/three-rock-rovers-retain-national-indoor-trophy-1.3371569
The side will be playing six matches in Tiblisi, Georgia from the 16th to the 18th of February and aim to come in the top two to ensure promotion; that will mean playing in an upper division in 2019, in a European tournament this win has prequalified them for.
Despite missing two players on Irish outdoor duty, Darragh Walsh and Luke Madeley. The indoor squad now has sufficient depth in numbers to cope. In addition wily veteran defender Peter McConnell was persuaded by the coaching staff to brush the cobwebs off his indoor stick and Ben Walker took time away from studying to score six goals in the two games. Our newcomers to the boards Harry McMahon, Conor Empey, James Walker continue to progress and more than held their own.
The tournament got extensive media and social media coverage as well as being live streamed. Many thanks to Tristan Seaton-Stedham (Taz) for facilitating the stream and raising the profile of Indoor Hockey. The You Tube link to the games is here if anyone would like to watch this exciting brand of the game being played by their fellow club members. https://youtu.be/YnlplnrvvIQ
The players would like to thank St.Columba's College for the use of the hall, the club for supporting the indoor version of the game, and to the fund raising organisers and financial contributors who have made this Georgian European trip possible as well as our outdoor Road to Rotterdam. It promises to be an exciting time for the squad.
Updated 21:07 - 29 Mar 2018 by Jack McCann