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Ulster U15 Indoor Tournament

With the continuing cold-snap, the outdoor hockey fixture-list may well be curtailed this weekend but one event that is sure to go ahead is the inaugural Ulster Hockey Under 15 indoor tournament at the Antrim Forum on Sunday.

It's the brainchild of Ulster Hockey's Workforce Development Officer Jonathan McMeekin, who is a big fan of the six-a-side version of the sport.

He played it in at a high level with Glasgow Western and local sides Team Kaliber and Holywood’87 in Europe in the past.

These days, McMeekin is a regular with Ulster Premier side Antrim, who are holding their own in the new expanded outdoor league.

McMeekin is excited about the prospect of the new youth event which will see over 140 boys and girls in action at the Forum.

He said: "The event was fully booked within 24 hours of going out to clubs, so the interest is there."

"It would great to see the indoor game return to its popularity in Ulster and the only way to do this is to start at youth level. Giving to young players positive experience this weekend is important, so let’s hope that the hockey public get behind the event and support their clubs future stars."

McMeekin well remembers the days when indoor hockey was at its zenith in Ulster as he was a member of the various Holywood teams that regularly did Ulster proud in European competition.

"The Ulster indoor League used to attract large crowds on a weekly basis at the Valley Leisure Centre." he added.

"It also provided playing opportunity to play tournaments across Europe, which were all great experiences.” he explained.

McMeekin sees the two versions of the sport as complimentary and hopes Sunday's event will be the start of bigger things to come for the indoor game in the years to come.

"Indoor hockey is a fast, technical and exciting game. Philosophically speaking, the indoor format shows no mercy for your weaknesses or mistakes, and is a sharp, edgy and purist game."

"The aim over moving forward is to increase the playing opportunities and get more clubs involved." he added.

A total of 12 teams are taking part in Sunday's event at the Forum and the schedule is as follows:

BOYS
9:30-9:40       Antrim v Mossley
9:45-9:55       Lisnagarvey v South Antrim
10:00-10:10     Banbridge v Bangor
10:13-10:23     South Antrim v Antrim
10:26-10:36     Bangor v Mossley
10:39-10:42     Banbridge v Lisnagarvey
10:45-10:55     Antrim v Bangor
10:58-11:08     South Antrim v Banbridge
11:11-11:21     Mossley v Lisnagarvey
11:24-11:34     Banbridge v Antrim
11:37-11:47     Lisnagarvey v Bangor
11:50-12:00     Mossley v South Antrim
12:03-12:13     Antrim v Lisnagarvey
12:16-12:26     Banbridge v Mossley
12:29-12:39     Bangor v South Antrim
12:45-12:55     FINAL

GIRLS
1:30-1:40         Omagh v Coleraine
1:45-1:55         Ards v Mossley
2:00-2:10         Lisnagarvey v Bangor
2:13-2:23         Mossley v Omagh
2:26-2:36         Bangor v Coleraine
2:39-2:42         Lisnagarvey v Ards
2:45-2:55         Omagh v Bangor
2:58-3:08         Mossley v Lisnagarvey
3:11-3:21         Coleraine v Ards
3:24-3:34         Lisnagarvey v Omagh
3:37-3:47         Ards v Bangor
3:50-4:00         Coleraine v Mossley
4:03-4:13         Omagh v Ards
4:16-4:26         Lisnagarvey v Coleraine
4:29-4:39         Bangor v Mossley
4:45-4:55         FINAL

The top two finishers in the boys and girls events will play off in two finals and it is hoped that this will become an annual event.




In the women's Ulster Premier League, weather permitting, leaders Dungannon will be expected to stay at the summit with a win over struggling North Down while Ballymoney, who trail only on goal difference, host Ulster Elks.

Queen's will be out to repeat their Denman Ulster Shield semi-final win over Banbridge when the teams renew their rivalry at the Dub while Portadown have an important clash with Randalstown on Friday night. In the second-tier, Ballymena have their final run out before facing Garvey in the Senior Cup final when they host Victorians while the Hillsborough side are away to Knock on Friday night.

In the EYHL, Pegasus travel to Railway, Ards have a tough trip to Cork Harlequins while the latter's namesakes from Belfast host Loreto at Deramore.

The top game in the men's Premier sees Instonians travel to Comber to face North Down who are just a single point in arrears of the Belfast team. Kirk Cup finalists Kilkeel and Mossley are away to South Antrim and Cliftonville respectively while leaders Bangor travel to the Dub to play Queen's.

In the EYHL, there's a huge game at Comber Road where Lisnagarvey, who welcome back Ireland star Johnny Bell, entertain champions Three Rock Rovers while Banbridge host Monkstown. There's also a big Ulster derby at Stratheran where Cookstown will be aiming to avenge their recent 4-1 loss to Annadale.

FIXTURES
MEN

Saturday
EYHL

Annadale v Cookstown 2.30pm @ Strathearn 
Banbridge v Monkstown 3.30pm @ Havelock Park
Lisnagarvey v TRR 3.00pm @ Comber Road

Premier
Cliftonville v Mossley 2.30pm @ CIYMS
NICS v Belfast HQ 2.30pm @ Stormont
North Down v Instonians 4.00pm @ Comber LC
Queen’s v Bangor 2.30pm @ The Dub
Raphoe v Antrim 2.30pm @ Royal & Prior
South Antrim v Kilkeel 2.30pm @ Friends’ School

Irish Hockey Trophy
Weston v Newry


WOMEN
Friday

Ulster Premier

Portadown v Randalstown 8.15pm @ Edenvilla

Senior One
Knock v Lisnagarvey 7.20pm @ Stormont

Saturday
EYHL

Belfast HQ v Loreto 2.30pm @ Deramore
Cork HQ v Ards 1.05pm @ Farmers Cross
Railway v Pegasus 1.00pm @ Park Avenue

Premier
Ballymoney v Ulster Elks 2.30pm @ Joey Dunlop LC
Dungannon v North Down 2.30pm @ Royal School Dungannon
Queen’s v Banbridge 1.00pm @ The Dub

Senior One
Ballymena v Victorians 2.30pm @ Ballymena Academy
CI Ladies v Ballyclare 1.00pm @ CIYMS
Omagh v Armagh 2.30pm @ Omagh HS
Raphoe v Priorians 1.00pm @ Royal & Prior



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