The men's 1sts competing in the EHL, the Under 14s in the Junior EHL, Junior girls on tour and repsentatives in the Leinster HOD squads along with about 200 supporters meant that it was huge weekend for the Club on and off the pitch in Rotterdam between March 30th and April 2nd!
Rovers Rotterdam Rendezvous
The men's first competed in the KO16 against Saint Germain on the Saturday morning in Rotterdam. In an extremely positive and brilliant first 2 quarters from the lads they dominated, keeping the French under the pump for large portions of the first half.
They limited the French to very few chances in the first half while creating plenty themselves from some lovely hockey. Unfortunately the French took the lead quite against the grain through a well worked short corner to lead 2-0 as field goals were worth double in the tournament this year.
However, the lads did not get disheartened and justly got on level terms just before the half-time hooter when Harry scored a wonderful goal in the D after a lovely move from the back which involved the majority of the team. With his weight going onto his back foot he cracked a lovely shot over the helpless keeper's pads after controlling the ball in the middle of the D under pressure.
Unfortunately the French took the lead in the second half from a well worked short corner to take the lead, again somewhat against the run of play through their captain. Like the first half the lads played some delightful hockey in front of a large band of Rovers supporters and were extremely unlucky not to go in front when Harry cracked an outrageous reverse off the bar, which would have been goal of the tournament for sure.
The final score was 3-2 unfortunately, however, the lads represented themselves immensely and showcased the best of Irish hockey and the supporters highlight why the Irish are the best supporters in the world!
They had a second game to prepare for in the ranking match sequence where they face Belgian giants the KHC Dragons. Unfortunately the lads were on the wrong end of a 20-10 score line, 12-5 traditionally. However, they again represented themselves immensely under trying circumstances with 6 players down to due a stomach virus by the end of the game.
They were also the first and potentially the only team to convert a penalty goal into a field goal, which is something to be happy with and they scored 5 goals against very formidable opposition!
Huge thanks to Lynn Canning, Amanda Morris, John Findlater and others who drove the fundraising initiative to enable the team to travel, the support team of Deano, Ali, Chuck and Gareth Borland for their immense work throughout the weekend and the season so far!!
The Juniors take Rotterdam
The Under 14s in the first appearance for an Irish team in the ABNAMRO Junior EHL finished 3rd, yes I repeat 3rd!
They played Bloemendaal and Racing Club de Polo in the group stages. In their first game against Bloemendaal, from Holland, they managed a wonderful 2-1 win, the winning goal coming from a well worked switch at short corner time. This set them up brilliantly for their second game against Polo. They earned a draw, which meant that themselves and Polo made it to the Semi-Finals.
In the Semis they faced Royal Racing Club de Bruxelles. They came back from 3-0 down to get back to 3-2 and nearly completed an immense come back but ultimately fell short against their Belgian opposition.
This meant that they faced a battle for 3rd place against familiar foes in Polo. They won a tight game against the Spanish side to claim Ireland's first EHL medal, at any level!!
Huge congrats to the boys for all their hard work in putting such stellar performances over the weekend. Thank you to their coach Angus ad manager Kevin for their hard work throughout the season getting the team to this point! It must also be noted that a huge thank you must go to Brona who made this Junior take over of Rotterdam a reality!
Alongside the 2 teams in the EHL in Rotterdam, Rovers Under 16 girls were over representing and Brooklyn Mapfumo and Hugo Heisterkemp were part of the Leinster Under 16s HOD squad in Eindhoven, well done to all!!
What a weekend!!!
Updated 19:42 - 9 Apr 2018 by Jack McCann