Sunday, 11 December 2016

All Ireland Schoolboys Championship October 2016

The 2016 Subway All-Ireland Schoolboys Championships were held in Dublin from the 26th to the 28th of October. This year the tournament was played out across thirty three matches, seven venues, and four groups. This event has long served as one of the highlights of the Irish hockey calendar and this year was no exception, ultimately exhibiting contests of the highest quality.
Having qualified through a challenging provincial play off competition, Villiers were subsequently drawn against Methody from Belfast, High School from Dublin and Banbridge Academy (also from the North) who happened to be the current title holders.
 A tense and thrilling first game against High School saw a dominant Villiers side go one nil up with a decisive goal mouth finish from Captain John Costello.  A physically assertive High School team were equally matched in all areas of the field. However, Villiers would lose out by a late goal against the run of play to finish 2 - 1. A courageous and disciplined performance would set the standard and send a message to other teams in the group.
As expected game two against the All Ireland Champions was played at a ferocious pace with Banbridge relentlessly attempting to break through the Villiers defense only to be repeatedly rejected by a superb team performance governed by Craig Morrow and Stephen Tutty. Fatigue would finally get the better of the red blockade that was the Villiers players and the advantage of experience would benefit Banbridge who eventually manufacture two late goals.
Having marginally missed out on getting an elusive win, Villiers took an assertive position against Methody with John Costello, Quinten Eacrett, and Jannis Von Maydell all hitting the target early on and James Hodkinson adding to the tally to ensure a memorable 4 -3 victory. All squad members should be proud of their efforts and take confidence that they can compete and perform with the best sides in the country.