The 2012 edition of the Women’s Hockey Champions Challenge is being held at the National Hockey Stadium in UCD from September 29th to October 7th. UCD has successfully hosted both the 2011 Women’s Electric Ireland Champions Challenge and an Olympic qualifying event over the last 12 months.
Australia, Belgium, India, Scotland, South Africa, Spain and the United States join Ireland in this year’s competition. The eight teams will be competing in two pools of four, with the winner of the event eventually securing the right to join Argentina, England, Netherlands, Germany and Japan in the Women’s Hockey Champions Trophy 2014 in Argentina.
Ireland, the third lowest ranked team in the tournament, find themselves in Group B, alongside South Africa, USA and Scotland. Ireland are guaranteed to be involved right up to the last day, with the knockout stages determining a definite position for each team, from first to eighth.
UCD will be well-represented, with Niamh Atcheler, Nicola Gray, Brenda Flannery, Chloe Watkins, Anna O’Flanagan and Katie Mullan making up one third of the Irish squad.
UCD had a strong showing in this year’s All-Ireland Minor Football final, with the captains of both counties being UCD students. David Byrne led his Dublin side to a 0-14 to 1-5 win over Paraic Harnan’s Meath after six unanswered points put the game to bed.
UCD was also represented on the Dublin side by David Campbell, Steve Mulvaney, Mattiu MacDonncha and Shane Cunningham, with Campbell the only UCD player to score. UCD also had a strong showing on the Meath side, with Shane McEntee, Ciaran Gillespie and Fiachra Ward representing the royals.
Ward was joint top scorer on the day with 1-2 (1-0 pen, 0-2 f) and contributed over half of Meath’s points. McEntee also chipped in with a single point, but it was not enough to fight off a strong Dublin side.
UCD RFC have kicked off their Ulster Bank Division 1B campaign with a convincing 48-20 away win over Belfast Harlequins. Belfast were favourites going in to the game, having finished second last season, but UCD got revenge for two defeats last year, and started the new league season in the form that allowed them to avoid relegation at the end of last season.
Their cup campaign was not as successful, with wins over Bective Rangers and Terenure College either side of a draw with St. Mary’s and a loss to Lansdowne. UCD finished third in their group, behind St. Mary’s and Lansdowne respectively.