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Weekend Preview

Chloe Brown has revealed she turned down the offer of a move to Germany last season but she says she would jump at the opportunity if it were to come along again.

The Ards striker will, therefore, be doing her utmost to impress when she plays in the European Indoor Trophy tournament in Prague at the weekend. With all five of her team's games being broadcast live on the internet, Brown will be in the shop window as she aims to enhance her reputation as the best indoor player in Ireland.

She has scored more than 30 goals for the club in five previous European tournaments and will be expected to add to her tally over the weekend.

Brown explained:
"I had an offer to go to Germany but due to other factors happening in my life I decided it was not the best time to go. I would love to play abroad especially in the likes of Germany where they have an indoor league." 

"I really enjoy indoor and I am always gutted when it ends as I feel I never get much time to play it and build momentum."

The 24-year-old Irish outdoor international, surprisingly omitted from Graham Shaw´s 29-strong World Cup training squad, would love to see the six-a-side version of the game expanded here although there have been encouraging signs of late in that regard.

Brown added:
"Ulster hockey have planted the seed at underage level with U15 and U18 indoor tournaments that were a great success. There is also the Pro Series indoor (PSi) initiative that seems to have taken off across the country with the Belfast Bears taking off up here in Ulster." 

"Hockey Ireland should have the final say and need to take the initiative as they will need to look at the national schedule to ensure that a proper indoor league is set up. Leinster hockey seem to have done a good job at it this year by organising a league whereas we just had a one-day tournament in Ulster."  

This weekend, Ards will be targeting a top-six finish in Prague which would enable them to retain their second-tier status. They are up against opposition from the Czech Republic, Croatia and Lithuania in the first phase before playing two classification matches.

"When we go to Prague our aim is to stay in B division. However every year we have played in a Euros, we have gained more and more experience and this shows in our play. We always want to improve and do one better than last time. My aim is to not just to stay up but do it comfortably." Chloe said.

However, she believes if things don't change in Ireland as far as the indoor game is concerned, despite the encouraging signs, Ards' task will be difficult, if they are to achieve their objective.

"I believe so. All these teams we play have their own respective indoor leagues. Before the tournament starts they have had at least two months of training and matches, yet this year we had two days of matches between ulster and Irish indoors." she said.

"I always worry going into the first day of matches in the Euros as it's been a while since we have played any competitive games but that doesn't stop us and in fact it encourages us to give more and show that we are a threat."

In a big weekend for local hockey, Belfast Harlequins will be hoping to bounce back from a 5-0 EYHL loss to UCD when they host Pembroke in the second round of the ISC at Deramore at Deramore on Saturday.

Quins captain Claire Kirkpatrick said:
"I thought we had some good spells of play, some good posession and build up play. Regardless of the score we were happy with most of our performace and how we never gave up."  

"All their goals were very well worked and three of them scored from direct shots from hard angles that we just have to give them credit for. So we remain positive about Pembroke on Saturday."

Lurgan face an even bigger task when they take on UCD in the quarter-finals while in the Ulster Premier, the stand out fixture is the top of the table clash between Ballymoney and Queen´s at the Joey Dunlop Centre.

There´s also a massive game at the wrong end of the table as the bottom two, Portadown and Rainey meet at Edenvilla on Friday night.

In the men´s EYHL, Lisnagarvey will hope from a favour from Annadale when the latter host leaders Glenanne while the Hillsborough side go to Cork C of I. Banbridge really need to beat Pembroke to keep their slim play-off hopes alive while there´s a crucial basement clash between Cookstown and Railway Union in Dublin.

In the Ulster Premier, it´s tight between Bangor and Instonians who play Portadown and Mossley respectively in the top-seven series while Belfast Harlequins host South Antrim.


WOMEN
Friday

Premier

Portadown v Rainey  7.00pm @ Edenvilla

EuroHockey Indoor Club Trophy, Prague
SK Slavia Praha v Ards Friday 23rd Feb 12.30pm local time
Ards v HAHK Mladost Friday 23rd Feb 4.50pm local time


Saturday
EuroHockey Indoor Club Trophy

Ards v Gintra Stretke Uni HC 11.20am local time

ISC Round 2
Belfast HQ v Pembroke 2.30pm @ Deramore

ISC Quarter Final
Lurgan v UCD 2.30pm @ Lurgan JHS

Premier
Ballymoney v Queen’s 2.30pm @ Joey Dunlop LC
Banbridge v Dungannon 1.00pm @ Havelock Park
Randalstown v North Down 2.30pm @ Antrim Forum

Senior 1
Armagh v Raphoe 2.30pm @ Ardmore
CI Ladies v Lisnagarvey 1.00pm @ CIYMS
Knock v Ballymena 4.00pm @ Shaw’s Bridge
Priorians v Ballyclare 2.30pm @ St Columbs Park
Victorians v Omagh 4.00pm @ The Dub

IJC Quarter Final
Ulster Elks 2 v Cork C of I 2 1.30pm @ UUJ

IHT Quarter Final
Mossley v Cork C of I 4.00pm @ The Glade

IHC Semi-Final
NUIG v NICS 1.00pm @ Dangan Sports Ground


MEN 
Saturday

EYHL

Annadale v Glenanne 2.30pm @ Strathearn
Banbridge v Pembroke 2.45pm @ Havelock Park
Cork C of I v Lisnagarvey 1.00pm @ Garryduff
Railway v Cookstown 2.40pm @ Park Avenue

IHC Semi-Final
Ballynahinch v Cliftonville 1.00pm @ St Columbs

Premier A
Instonians v Portadown 2.30pm @ Shaw’s Bridge
Mossley v Bangor 2.30pm @ The Glade
Belfast HQ v South Antrim Time 4.00pm @ Deramore

Premier B
Antrim v North Down 1.00pm @ Antrim Forum
Raphoe v Newry 2.30pm @ Royal & Prior
Queen’s v NICS 2.30pm @ The Dub


Played Midweek
Men

EYHL:

Lisnagarvey 2 (D Buser, D Nelson) Annadale 0

Ulster Premier:

Portadown 1 (J Curran) NICS 1 (P Johnston)
Queen's 4 (F Harkin 2, C Anderson, R Blair) Raphoe 1


Women
Ulster Premier:
Queen's 4 (A Hutchinson 2, R McKee, E McStea) North Down 0
Ulster Elks 0 Lurgan 1 (L Wright)





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