Turf's up for city girls in Euro finals

By JOHN HOGAN

 
AN all-star Irish hockey team took off to Scotland on Saturday with two talented Limerick girls among the contingent.

Kate Collins-Smyth and Caoimhe Bourke are both members of the Irish under-18s hockey team who are mixing it with the best at the European Championships in Edinburgh this week.

Speaking to the Limerick Chronicle as she was preparing to leave, Kate could barely hide her excitement at the week of action that lay ahead.

“I can’t wait,” said the Crescent College Comprehensive star, “this is probably the best under-18s team we have ever had, everyone is just so good.”

Kate has been phenomenal on the astroturf pitches this year, having played for both the Munster under-18s, for whom she was captain, and the under-21s, not to mention being one of the star players on Crescent College’s Munster Senior Cup-winning team.

She is confident that the Irish girls can go far in this week’s tournament.

“We’ve got Lithuania, Belgium and Holland in our group, Holland will be particularly difficult but the top two qualify to the knock-out stages so we’d be very disappointed if we didn’t at least get through to the semi-finals,” said Kate.

Although teammates for now, the girls have often played opposite one another as Caoimhe attends Laurel Hill Coláiste where, like Kate, she will do her Leaving Cert next year. Caoimhe is also co-captain of the Irish side.

For Kate, putting on the Irish jersey has been a dream that she feared might never happen following a sickening injury blow two years ago.

“It’s the first time I’ve played for Ireland,” she says, “the week before we were to play our first game with the Irish under-16s, I dislocated my knee and wasn’t able to play for them.”

It’s been a long haul for both the girls with trial sessions having taken place as far back as last October when a squad of 50 talented girls was brought together. The squad was gradually whittled down over the last number of months to the 18 players that flew out from Dublin at the weekend.

In keeping with the Munster tradition of having proud travelling fans, Kate and Caoimhe will have a vocal following when they walk out onto the Scottish astroturf in the green jersey.

“Both our parents are going over for the whole tournament so we won’t be lacking in support, hopefully we’ll give them something to cheer about,” said Kate.

10 July 2007

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Crescent College Comprehensive S.J.

Girls Australian Hockey Tour 2007

 

On behalf of the Munster Branch of the Irish Hockey Association I am delighted to have this opportunity to wish Crescent College Ladies Squad all the very best for their trip to Australia, it will be a wonderful experience for the girls playing matches against teams on the other side of the globe.   I am sure they will make many new friends in the process and forge links with other players that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.

  

The Branch would like to acknowledge the dedication of the college and staff for commitment to Munster hockey and I have no doubt that the laying of the new Astro Turf Pitch will see further improvement in numbers and quality of players taking an interest in hockey. 

 

I as president of the Branch would also like to invite any hockey players from Australia who might be thinking of travelling to Ireland not to hesitate to contact Munster Hockey on email munsterhockey@eircom.net  or our web site www.munsterhockey.com.

 

I wish the squad every success on their tour and trust they will return enriched by their experience.

 

John Rose,

President

Munster Branch Irish Hockey Association

 

 

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Article from Limerick Leader 7th June 2007


Australia calling to Crescent - By JOHN HOGAN

AUGUST can't come quick enough for the Crescent College Comprehensive hockey team as they prepare for a trip of a lifetime to Australia. The Dooradoyle school has been planning the Australian Odyssey for almost two years now and the lucky girls team can hardly believe that it's almost time to pack their bags.

As the school broke up for the summer holidays last Thursday, they were deliriously excited that the next time they donned the Crescent jersey, they would be in 'Oz'.

Speaking to the Limerick Leader, Crescent coach Seán O'Callaghan said that everyone involved was "fierce excited" by the approaching tour. The lucky students depart on August 2nd for three weeks, the touring party will consist of three teams of 44 girls and six coaches and teachers. O'Callaghan told the Limerick Leader that preparation for a tour of this magnitude has been very extensive.

"This has been in the making for over 20 months now," said the Cork born coach, "we were used to organising trips away with the ski tour and the various other trips that take place during the year but with something this big, it was necessary to start planning two years in advance."

The players and coaches will have a busy schedule during their stay, each team will play six games, guest local coaches will take the girls for training sessions and they will take part in a two day training camp. On four different occasions, the girls will be hosted by their Australian opposition players, which the coach thinks is a great chance to experience a slice of Australian life.

When not playing or training on the pitch, Seán O'Callaghan has ensured the touring team will also partake in many "trips and tours" around Australia. "We've a good few things planned for the days when we're not playing hockey," said Seán, "we're going white water rafting, surfing, we'll see the great barrier reef, visit a koala park, and we'll go on tours of Sydney and Perth."

Hockey has gone from strength to strength in the Dooradoyle school in recent years, Crescent College Comprehensive won five of the seven competitions it took part in this year including the Munster Senior Cup. Seán O'Callaghan credits a large part of the school's success to the construction of an astroturf in the grounds four years ago and to his "fantastic" coaching team.

The coach says he has no fear of this summer's touring teams dropping below the high standard set by their cup-winning predecessors; "we knew we'd have talented players travelling," said Seán, "I'd figured there were good teams coming through two years ago when we started looking at the idea of this trip."

While nothing like the Australian tour has ever been done before, Crescent College Comprehensive has earned itself a reputation for showing its students the world outside the classroom. Every year the school organises a ski tour in Europe, an excursion in which Seán also has a large part to play, and in recent years Crescent rugby teams have travelled to Dubai, Japan and to the slightly less exotic valleys of Wales.

The hockey team's last major trip abroad was to Holland, one of the strongest hockey nations. According to Seán O'Callaghan after being in the Nederlands, Australia was the next logical choice of destination for his team. "Well Holland and Australia would be the two best hockey playing countries in the world," said Seán, "we'd been to Holland already so that's why we decided on Australia for the next trip away." Seán says he has a "great bunch of parents"

to thank for the Australian tour coming to fruition, he also emphasised the importance of the support from Headmaster Dermot Cowhey throughout the preparations. As is to be expected for such a major trip, extensive fundraising was required and the parents group helped organise a fashion show, bag packing, a 45 drive and a golf classic.

The only thing left to worry about now is the conditioning of the players once the 2nd of August comes around. However, the coach has no worries about his team's fitness; "The girls have all been given a training programme for the summer," said Seán, "they will be fitness tested before they go and we will have some serious training at the end of July."

With all the money raised, flights booked and accommodation confirmed, the pay off from two years work is fast approaching for the coaches and teams in Dooradoyle. This is one group of secondary school students for whom the last month of summer can't come quick enough.

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Organising Comittee that helped make the Australian trip possible

 

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Fundraising for Australia

 

 

Undertaking a tour like this incurs quite a substantial cost to parents, so to help alleviate this financial burden the organizing committee and the girls going on tour decided to embark on a fundraising campaign.  We the players formed our own committee to devise and organize our own fundraising events.  Our committee comprised of four girls, two from Fourth Year and two from Fifth Year. They as a result of consultation with the rest of the touring party came up with events in which we would play an active part and hopefully raise lots of money.

 

All of us enjoy a good night out so naturally organizing an event like a disco was a definite winner!!! Yet we decided not to just have one disco but two.   The first of these was an under 14’s held in St. Paul’s GAA Club in early October 2006.   This provided a great opportunity for new students to get to know each other in a social setting and to check out one another’s moves on the dance floor.  Our second disco had a Halloween theme complete with fancy dress and was held in Old Crescent RFC. Volunteers and supervisors of the discos were giving all the demonstrations of the latest dance moves (anyone over the age of 20 is asked not to practice these in public ever, thanks!) Both events turned out to be a great success and more importantly raised much needed funds.

 

 Our next fundraising event targeted the generous spirit of Christmas in Limerick.  Armed with collecting buckets every girl going on tour spent the 8th and 9th of December (the busiest shopping days of Christmas) bag- packing in Dunne’s Stores on the Childers Road. Fortified by the sounds of Christmas carols and the jingle of money falling into our buckets we kept going, it was tiring work for everyone including the parents, but it was all well worth it in the end and buckets of fun!!

 

Our final fundraiser was to stage a fashion show in the spectacular Clarion Hotel overlooking the river Shannon. A number of girls were selected as models; some more had the pleasurable task of going to the various clothes shops in the city to select the clothes for the show. The rest of us helped out in any way we could, selling tickets, finding spot prizes even building the cat-walk.  The build up to the event created great excitement with all the girls and the night itself was full of glitz and glamour.  On the night there was no doubt but the hockey girls stole the show from the professional models. This proved to be another great success as the girls were pure naturals at what they did best……posing!!!

 

 

The adults on the fundraising committee decided on three other fundraisers. The first was a golf classic held in Limerick Golf Club in September 2006. Apart from the harsh weather it turned out to be a great success, competition amongst participating teams was very strong but there was also a great sense of fun and all for a good cause.  Contributions from local businesses and shops ensured that great prizes were handed out in the club house at the end of the evening.

 

A fun race night was held in the Quality Hotel in November. A huge effort went into selling horses, tickets, and advertisements for the race night brochure.  Cries of “come on number 7” and sighs of exasperation could be heard by hotel resident’s four stories up!   This turned out to be a very entertaining and successful night despite huge losses exceeding 10 euros by the race going punters!

 

A Christmas Card Drive held in the school in December. For gamblers and non-gamblers it was a chance for some to try their skill or luck around the card table.   This was a great fun night for all.

 

The final piece of the fundraising jigsaw comes in the shape of this brochure which as you can see has taken a lot of time and effort. 

 

On behalf of all of us traveling to Australia we would like to thank all who helped fundraise, those who bought tickets, contributed prizes and  gave sponsorship . You have made this trip a reality.

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Interview with Irish International

 

 

Eimear Cregan 1/6/’07

 

 

 

                                                                                                                 

Born:

Limerick

 

 

Age:

25

 

 

Position:

Forward

 

Caps:

101

 

 

Club:

Harlequins Hockey Club

          

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is there a history of great sport players in your family or are you the first?

“Yes there is. Mine is a huge GAA family with all of us playing hurling and Gaelic football. My Uncle also managed the Limerick Senior Hurling team a few years ago so yes we are all very much into sport.”

 

And do you play other sports?

“Yes but not at the moment because I don’t have time with hockey, but I play I play soccer, football, camogie, golf and I also did gymnastics for years.”

 

When and how did you first start playing hockey?

“Well I started with Lansdowne. A friend of mine was living nearby and dragged me along to a training session one day much to my dismay. I had no interest in hockey, as I was a camogie player! I didn’t even have a stick so my friend gave me a really old one to use and I ended up loving it.”

 

How old were you when you first played for Ireland?

“I was 14 playing at under 16 level.”

 

What is your training schedule like at the moment?

“Well I recently moved to Dublin for the summer because I’m the only girl from Limerick on the team and it’s just easier. We train Monday and Wednesday evenings and on Tuesday evenings and Thursday mornings we have gym and weights sessions. We might have matches on Saturdays and Sundays depending.”

 

Where is the most interesting place hockey has taken you in the world?

“Korea, but South Africa was really interesting too. Korea is a place I doubt I ever would have seen if I hadn’t travelled there playing hockey in the 4 nations, and it was unbelievable. Hockey is so big over there that their team were treated like superstars and so were we. For example their double Decker team bus had spray painted portraits of each player on the side. Their passion for the sport was just unbelievable.”

 

 

What is your fitness and diet like?

“You have to be really careful and fill yourself up with good food. That’s not to say you can’t eat chocolate, it’s all about moderation and discipline. It is important after every training session or work out to look after yourself and eat properly.”

 

What do you like to do in your free time?

“I know it’s sad to say but I love to watch sport. I was at the Irish Open in Adare recently and I will probably go to the limerick match this weekend. Mostly I like to hang out with my friends. Hockey takes up so much time that you often miss out on things so it’s great to see my friends whenever I can.”

 

Do you get nervous before big matches?

“Yes, I get nervous before every match but that means that I’m up for the game and want to perform at my best level. You never know if it’s going to be your day or not and you always want to do well. Nerves are good though because they get the adrenalin pumping and mean that your body is preparing for the match.”

 

Which sports personality do you admire most?

“Paul O’Connell. For his discipline, work rate, enthusiasm and commitment to the game.”

 

What is the best thing that hockey has either added to your life or introduced you to?

“Definitely my friends on the squad. We spend a huge amount of time together between matches, camps and travelling and when we travel we literally live out of each other’s pockets, so we are all very close. We are like family. If there is something wrong with one person we can tell and are there to help each other. I’ve made a lot of my best friends through being on the squad.”

 

What team, in your own opinion, are the best you’ve played against?

“The Argentinean team. They just have so much skill and a natural flair for the game it’s a pleasure to watch them play. They always just play and enjoy what they do. It’s great to see them winning tournaments because they are always ecstatic with their win.”

 

What advice would you give for someone who wanted to play for Ireland?

“Keep working away. Just keep working at skills and they’ll begin to come a lot more naturally in matches. It won’t get handed to you on a plate you have to put in the time. When I was in college, I went out and trained every day and you do miss out on things but it’s worth it. Just keep practising.”

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Senior Cup 2007

 

 

 

 

The Munster School Girls Cup starts on a league basis with those who qualify from their pools going forward into knock-out stages. With only 8 teams entered this year, it was straight into the knock-out stages for all teams.

 

In the first round of the cup Crescent College Comprehensive played Bandon Grammar in Bandon. We lost 3-2 in what was a disappointing performance. This was a big set back for the team and coaches but there was still hope for us using the back door system (where first round losers are put back in the draw). In this tie, Crescent drew away to Ursulines Thurles  on a score line of  1-1.The replay was played at home and Ursilines were defeated as Crescent deservedly out-played them 2-0 with goals from Kate Collins-Smith and Nikki Murphy. This win put Crescent in the semi-final of the cup.

 

The semi-final was to be our toughest match as we were playing Bandon. They were red-hot favourites to take the title and so we knew we had a big task on our hands. Even having new gear and a home game wasn’t enough to beat Bandon, it finished 2-2 which meant a return trip to Bandon, they now having home advantage. We weren’t going to make the same mistake twice. The replay was a back-breaking yet exciting match with Bandon taking the lead in the first half. This put great pressure on Crescent who had fought hard to get this far. Everything went into the second half. A super goal from Nikki Murphy put Crescent back in the game. It finished 1-1 and even after extra time it remained a draw. This meant penalty strokes. After five strokes from each team the score remained level so therefore sudden death was to decide the winning team. Our captain, Heather Fleming, scored a classic penalty into the bottom corner of the goals and it was Bandon’s turn. It was all up to this one shot from the Bandon player. But our fearless goalie, Brid Madigan, saved the penalty putting Crescent into the Senior Cup Final for the first time in four years.

 

There was a great atmosphere from the many Crescent supporters in Garyduff for our final against Mount Mercy of Cork. We all knew it was going to be a tough match on a water-based pitch but having practiced on it during the week we knew this match was within our reach. Neither teams got off to a great start until Mount Mercy won a short corner. Caoimhe De Paor was first-runner in Crescents defensive line-out. She created the turning point for us when she swiftly stole the ball from Mount Mercy. From this, we created great opportunities for goals and began to play some great hockey.  It turned out to be one of our best performances together as a team. By half-time we were 1-0 up with a Kate Collins-Smith goal, a direct shot through the goalies legs from the top of the circle.  By full-time Crescent remained the better team and won the Munster School Girls Senior Cup for the second time in the history of Crescent.

 

Having won the Munster Senior Cup, Crescent were then to represent Munster in the Kate-Russell All-Ireland schools in Dublin on the 22nd/23rd of March. This tournament was being televised by Setanta Sports so it was important to play well. Our first match was against Loreto Wexford and we got off to a flying start. We beat them 2-0 with goals from Alex Kennedy and Fiona O’Shea but catastrophe struck when we lost one of our key players, Alex Kennedy, due to an injury in the first match. But according to the commentators on Setanta Sports, our substitutes were like clones of the players they replaced, they were that good!

 

Our second match of the day was against Royal School Armagh who were favourites. Armagh went ahead within the first few minutes but a determined Crescent team wasn’t letting them go without a fight. A goal from the post by Jessica Mc Kechnie brought us back into this game. We really dominated the match until the last few seconds when Armagh won a short corner. The full-time whistle went which meant all of their players could line-up on the circle for the short-corner. The speed of the Armagh push-out was too great and the whistle went to show they had scored. The first day had ended on a bad note but that didn’t dampen our spirits.

 

Our first match on the second day was against Alexandra College of Dublin. It was a close encounter and we really gave it everything. After conceding a goal many chances arose but we failed to put the ball in the goals. This match finished 1-0 to Alexandra College.

 

The final game was a fight for the bronze medal. Taylors Hill were our opposition and we desperately wanted a win after two losses.  Our fitness really showed in this match as all the other teams were getting tired but we were still excelling in our performances. A great shot from Kate-Collins Smith put us in the lead for the first half. By the end of the second half it was 2-0 with a well deserved goal from Heather Fleming.

 

Overall the experience was a great one that will never be forgotten by any of the team or coaches involved.

 

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Junior Hockey    Interview with Junior Captain '06/'07 

  

  I have interviewed the junior hockey captain, Jane Hickey. Here she gives us an insight to junior hockey for this year.

  

Hey Jane what are your expectations for the year?

  Well I’m expecting a lot from this team, I’m expecting us to go all the way and win the double.

  

  How are ye doing so far?

  We have six points out of six in the league, beating St. Angelas and Bandon both strong opposition from cork. The cup starts in February.

  

  Are you happy about your captaincy?

  Heyyll no!

  

  How many days a week do the team train?

  Three days a week religiously. We can’t breathe without our hockey.

  

  Who are the trainers for this year?

  Ollie O’ Connor and Sean O’ Callaghan.

  

  Who is your main competition for this year?

  Ursulines.

  

  How strong is the team this year compared to other years?

  A pretty strong team.

  

  Who is your hockey icon?

  The one and only Shelli Fives. She’s my idol.

  

  Do you wish to pursue a career in hockey in the future?

  I’ll see what Shelli’s doing first.

  

  Do you think there’s good talent coming up through minor and junior teams?

  Of course. There’s going to be many Munster players in the future.

  

  Is there much competition for places?

  Yes, there are loads of subs who could steal your place at any time, so you have to play your best all the time.

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The history and tradition of hockey in Crescent

 

In the early 1970’s Fr. Paddy Kelly began the coaching of hockey in the school, thus beginning the tradition and reputation that it has today. Teams and player numbers were low due to an overall majority of a male population in the school. Hockey had to compete with rugby which was the main sport in the school. In an effort to establish hockey a grit pitch was installed in 1976 and was later refurbished in 1986.

 

The first rays of success came to the school in 1984. The intermediate team was successful in winning the Munster Intermediate Cup for the first time. This was a huge achievement for the team and gave great impetus to the popularity of hockey.

 

For over 25 years hockey was played on grit in Crescent but as our game began to develop and observing the success of other provincial teams our facilities needed to improve if we were going to achieve great success. With a lot of work and fundraising the official opening of our new astro turf pitch took place in November 2003!

 

The results of good coaching and playing on astro were quickly seen as in the spring of 2003 Crescent won the Munster Senior Cup and League and the Minor Cup and League! That year we also had the honour of hosting the Kate Russell All Ireland Tournament in which we finished third. This is the premier event for School’s hockey in Ireland. Representatives from all the following provinces, Munster, Connaught, Leinster, South East and Ulster, battle it out over a thrilling 3 day Tournament with the winners representing Ireland in the Europeans.   

 

Since 2002 we have been successful winning 5 of 6 Minor Cups and the League all 6 times. Inevitably this strength in depth had to translate to success up the teams and the season ‘06-’07 exceeded all expectations

 

This year the spring of 2007 the Crescent senior team beat Mount Mercy of Cork 1-0, captained by Heather Fleming, to bring the cup back to Crescent once again! We then went on to represent Munster in the Kate Russell All Ireland Tournament which we finished third in! Our Minor team won both Minor A cup and League. The juniors won the Junior A league and runners up in the Junior Cup. Our under 15 A’s won their League. Crescent won 5 out of a possible 7 “A” competitions in Munster which was a remarkable achievement.

 

Without the support of family, friends and colleagues the success of hockey in crescent would not be at the level it is today. The sacrifice, dedication and success of past/present coaches and players will always be hallmarked for future generations to aspire to. All from very humble beginnings  back in the 1970’s has ensured crowded training sessions, victorious leagues and Cups and most of all a sense of enjoyment and achievement form hockey in Crescent.