By: Alan Good On: October 13, 2014 In: Club, Features Comments: 10

Cork Church of Ireland coach Eddie Kirwan says it gave him no joy to watch his side hand out a crushing 28-0 Munster Division One defeat to University of Limerick on Saturday.

The student club, who had only three players left after a mass exodus last year, played the fixture with just eight players, including three beginners and another who had never played hockey before.

C of I ran up a scoreline unheard of in Munster hockey – even in a league that often has mismatches – prompting heated debate on social media with some accusing the club of a lack of sportsmanship, while others claimed the side were in a no-win situation.

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“I can only look at us inwardly,” said Kirwan. “We didn’t want to destroy them and rotated players as much as we could, but our players want to work hard. We hadn’t played for three weeks and I have girls fighting for places in the squad for a big game coming up against Harlequins.”

He added that contrary to claims on Twitter, nobody from UL had approached him about conceding the game at half-time, while 15-0 down, adding that he “would have considered it” had they done so.

“I can’t speak for UL and don’t want to do that. I’m a UL alum, I played varsity hockey there and didn’t take any joy in it. We just went out and played a fixture. It was obviously a chastening day for them but it’s up to them how they progress after that. I don’t know what we were meant to do.”

While some have called for UL to move to a lower division, the club has always strived to maintain Division One status in the belief that it will otherwise never attract enough players to keep it in existence. UL’s Laura O’Kane, who missed the game but is one of the three survivors from last season, said they are looking to move on.

“This year we have lots of players training but they can’t commit to matched at the weekend; with only eight players it was inevitable the scoring would be big against us, especially having just found a new goalkeeper,” she said.

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“Maybe after 10 goals C of I should have lined out with eight players too to make it a fairer contest and save some of the girls’ dignity. Nevertheless, we are happy we didn’t receive the €350 fine for not turning up as we have a limited budget. We have more players available over the coming weekends so we just want to move on and forget about it.

“Regarding our Division One status, we are trying to get a solid, committed team together even though it’s proving difficult when there are only three of us left from last year. but we are continuing to play the matches, hoping that people will be available to play and won’t pull out, like what happened this weekend.”

Social media reaction to C of I’s 28-0 win over UL

 

 

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10 Comments:

    • Simon MacAllister
    • October 13, 2014

    OK – now that everyone has burnt off their outrage on social media about the specific match (everything from untruth to half truth to fact) will people move on and think about the underlying issue? A game that is doomed in Munster based on its current trajectory?

    – Player numbers which are not going the right way
    – Falling attendances at big games
    – Problems with umpire numbers (a problem which manifests itself as a quality issue but is actually caused by quantity)
    – Continuing reliance on the same small cohort to run and administer the Branch, Clubs, Schools and individual teams

    I don’t have the answers but I don’t see a debate at Branch or grassroots which is going to find them either……

    • Gary Acheson
    • October 13, 2014

    This result is one sure way of discouraging those new players from continuing in hockey
    This is not sportsmanship. It should have been called at half time!

    • Will Mitchell
    • October 13, 2014

    Disrespectful not to pay properly, otherwise it’s taking the mick out of your opponents….but clearly this shouldn’t happen.
    Is there not a rule for when one side is twelve goals up or something already??

    • Phil Oakley
    • October 13, 2014

    Just to confirm a few facts regarding the current status of the women’s game in the province:

    In 2009, we had 47 senior women’s teams, we now have 57 (the highest number ever). We had 1,498 underage (U16 down) girls playing club hockey in 2009 and we now have 2,263 (as of the end of last season and again the highest number ever). We have also had the emergence of new clubs like Kinsale, Crescent, Blackrock, Clonakilty, Cashel New Inn etc.

    Our inter-provincial underage teams have for the last few years improved significantly and are consistently competitive at interpros and we usually provide 3-4 of the international senior women’s starting team with players like Audrey O’Flynn, Cliodhna Sargent, Yvonne O’Byrne and Naomi Carroll flying the Munster flag, 3 of whom are still playing for Munster sides.

    • JJ
    • October 13, 2014

    I’m a current player in a hockey team in Munster and I hounestly think UL are to blame for the result u don’t have a match withouth the players so hashtag that! #sportsmanship

    • Patrick Byrne
    • October 14, 2014

    Saw this in Germany could not believe it. One of the main problems is the lack of support for the smaller teams especially UL. For the last couple of years they have struggled and the talk at the end of last season was that they were not going to have a full team. So why does munster have them play games so early in their university year? Why cant they wait for a couple of weeks to see do they have a full team and what standard? A couple of years ago UL had games in January when the uni is effectively closed for exams and students are “home”. They had more games played in that season at the end of January yet played 2 games with half a team…. And what were those games????, COI and Harlequins.
    Finally why did the umpires not stop it? Any game with a 10 – 0 score is over. 15-0 is rubbing their noses in it! But what do I know!!!

    • Health & Safety
    • October 14, 2014

    I wasn’t at the game, but doesn’t this scoreline also leave it open to question player safety? If there were 8 UL girls (some beginners & a new goalie) against a well-experienced CI team who were rotating in, then surely the umpires & coaches should have deliberated at some point to discuss safety as an issue? What if someone had been badly injured in this game as a result of a clumsy tackle or from a shot off a corner etc? Surely there is some kind of protocol that the Munster Branch/iHA could employ to ensure this type of thing doesn’t happen again. I imagine nobody came away from this game feeling good about themselves.

    • Gerard
    • October 15, 2014

    I think some consideration needs to go to the 8 girls who travelled from Limerick knowing that an absolute pasting was in order but went anyway. That at least show’s some kind of resolve that I’m not convinced I could’ve brought myself to do.

    In Scotland, the uni team’s have dispensation to start their season later but effectively have a month of double header’s once they start back in order to make up the games. Perhaps for next year as suggested above that could be put into consideration.

    Maybe UL could recruit ex graduates still in the city to help bolster the development of their youngster’s?

    Or as one recruitment technique was used at UCC, one of the captain’s sat at the bottom of the student union building and grabbed ex classmates from secondary school to try their hand at hockey in order to field a full team (thus starting my own love affair with the game).

    There’s plenty of idea’s people can float around but it still needs a committee of people to try and seek the best path forward which may not be the easiest for them but as there is a lot of sporting pride in Limerick and I’m sure they will be seeking the same answers to solving this in a positive manner.

    • Simon MacAllister
    • October 15, 2014

    Good to see the numbers on the ladies game Phil. What is happening with men’s numbers?

    • Phil Oakley
    • October 16, 2014

    Yes Simon, positive news on the boys’ side – Up from 407 boys in 2010 to 513 last year, growth is slow but moving in the right direction at least. We had a new boys’ club added and developed in the last two years in Kinsale and they are now one of the biggest with over 60 boys in their system.

    We had 25 senior teams last year and we have 30 teams this year, which includes 9 teams in the new development league set up by the branch this year.

    Our biggest issues remain around retention of U14s/U16s in clubs and the addition of new boys’ schools, so still a lot of work to be done.

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