Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Irish stay put at 18th in world rankings

Ireland's senior international team are still No 18 in the world, according to the latest rankings.

The sport’s governing body has released the latest positions, and the biggest climb sees the USA move from 30th to 19th, just one place lower on the ladder than the Irish, after finishing second behind Pan American champions Canada.

Germany are No 1, with Australia, Spain, Holland, Korea and England also in the top six.

Japan, the highest ranked team coming to the Champion Challenge II series to be hosted in Dublin in July, are up to 11th while the others coming are Malaysia, who remain at 15, France who at 17, Poland who slip a place to 20, Austria who slip a place to 22, Russia who stay at 25, and Chile who drop three to 27.

Meanwhile it’s Irish Senior Cup this weekend with Ulster’s Cookstown and Banbridge meeting in the quarter-final and Leinster’s Pembroke and Glenanne meeting in the semi-finals.

Cookstown co-coach Michael Haycock knows he won’t have David Ames available, as he still hasn’t recovered from an elbow injury received in the Ulster Bank Burney Cup final.

He is also hoping that none of the other schoolboys in his squad - David Best, Stuart Smyth and Greg Allen - will pick up injuries during the John Waring Trophy schools’ series in Dublin which takes place today and tomorrow.

Ulster champions Cookstown need to win to keep alive their chances of landing an all-Ireland trophy, as their hopes of qualifying for the Irish Hockey League remain slim after three draws from their opening three games.

Bann coach Suzanne Evans is equally determined her lads maintain their interest in both the cup and IHL, and that means they’ll have to put the 4-1 defeat at Three Rock behind them.

There are two Podium Ulster Premier League games rearranged, and it gives Annadale and Lisnagarvey the opportunity to put pressure on Bann and Instonians in the battle for the four automatic IHL places next season.

Annadale go to Bangor while Garvey could push Raphoe closer to a return to Senior One at the Donegal venue.

There’s no doubting the big Senior One clash - the meeting of Kilkeel and North Down. If the Mournemen win, then they will take over as title favourites, particularly as the Comber lads lost at Antrim and drew with Harlequins last week.

Irish Senior Cup quarter-final: Cookstown v Banbridge, Coolnafranky, 2.30pm (Umpires, A Groves, G Caulwell). Semi-final: Pembroke v Glenanne, Serpentine Avenue, Dublin, 2.15pm.

Podium Premier League: Bangor v Annadale, Ballykillaire, 1pm (Umpires, R Johnston, C Beattie); Raphoe v Lisnagarvey, Royal & Prior, 2.30pm (Umpires, L Allen, C Hutchinson).

Senior One: Kilkeel v North Down, Kilkeel, 2.30pm (Umpires, D Clarke, G Herron); Cliftonville v Civil Service, CIYMS, 1pm (Umpires, J Aiken, J Wray); Newry v Queen's, Newry, 2.30pm (Umpires, N McBride, E McFerran); Portadown v Antrim, Edenvilla, 1pm (Umpires, J McCalister, D Pearson); Belfast Harlequins v South Antrim, Deramore, 1pm (Umpires, T Lorimer, M Dowds); Armagh v Ballynahinch, Ardmore, 1pm (Umpires, C Telford, T Templeton).

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