25th April 2015

Avoca Mixed 7s Hockey Tournament

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Avoca Mixed 7s 2015

In the week leading up to the event we were basking in glorious sunshine, however, the weather forecasters got it spot on for tournament day as it poured down! A massive thanks to Ian Wilkie, Nigel Kingston, Stephen Jenkins and Mark Meir for putting up marquees on Friday night to give us some much needed shelter on the day.

Looking at the teams prior to the tournament's opening match, it was great to see a varied mix of players from IHL Winner Lee Cole, ex-Irish Internationals Mark Cullen, Nigel Kingston and Dave Richardson, to a host of rising talent and stars of the future.

Group 1 Group 2
A - Glenageary Youth E - Wolverines
B - The Black Ninjas F - Boyne HC
C - POWSLD G - Bomb Squad
D - Glenageary Experience H - S CLub 7
Group 3 Group 4
I - Team TITS M - Team Shenanigans
J - No Direction N - 69ers
K - The Stragglers O - The Panthers
L - Team L P - Team Wicklow

Every match was keenly contested even in the opening group stage as advancing through to the elite Cup round usually required 2 wins. The chances to score were high and without goalkeepers, teams had to be continually on guard so as not to be taken by surprise from a sniper effort.

Black Ninjas got off to two wins from two and topped group 1 with a draw against P.O.W.S.L.D. who actually failed to qualify despite not losing a game. Glenageary Youth rebelled against their former team-mates and smashed 7 past Glenageary Experience to take the 2nd qualifying place.

In Group 2, Boyne H.C. got off to a flyer beating Wolverines 2-1, but found the going tough against Bomb Squad and S Club 7 losing 6-2 and 5-2. New side S Club 7 led by Frank Fennell soon began to emerge as one of the tournament favourites as they completed 3 wins from 3 to finish 1st. With the Wolverines beating the Bomb Squad and the Bomb Squad beating Boyne H.C. it was all level on points for 2nd spot. The Bomb Squad progressed through to the Cup on goals scored!

There was confusion on pitch 3 between The Stragglers and Team L in the opening match of Group 3 as all the players had the same colour! Apparently Team L only had 6 players on the pitch as well, but lost out 5-3 despite the arrival of 2 more key players. The Stragglers continued to impress and beat Team T.I.T.S. by the same score and went into their final match against No Direction knowing they had qualified. No Direction has also qualified with 2 wins and proceeded to top the group brushing the Stragglers aside with a 5-2 victory. Team L claimed 3rd spot with a solid 4-0 victory over Team T.I.T.S.

With news of the 69ers withdrawal from the competition on the morning of the tournament, this group was reduced to three teams. Captain Ziggy Agnew was very apologetic, but his team-mates had deserted him stating an array of excuses! This was unfortunate, but other teams rallied round and friendlies were played when the 69ers were supposed to have played. Team Shenanigans took pole position with 2 wins from 2 and were the only team not to concede in the group phase. The 2nd qualifying spot was taken by the Panthers edging out Team Wicklow by the odd goal winning 3-2.

Team L looked promising in the Shield knock-out rounds as they brushed aside Boyne H.C. 6-0 only to be narrowly defeated by P.O.W.S.L.D. 5-4. The Wolverines dispatched of Team T.I.T.S. 4-3 and then beat Glenageary Experience in the semis in the joint top scoring match of 7-5. This then set up a final against last year's Shield winners P.O.W.S.L.D. which saw the latter cruise home comfortably winning 6-2 with Eimear Linehan in sensational form bagging her third hat-trick of the tournament.

Team T.I.T.S. got a bye in the semi-final of the Trophy and were eventually rewarded with their first win of the day beating Team Wicklow 3-2 in a very competitive final match.

S Club 7 and Team Shenanigans were too much for the Stragglers and Glenageary Youth as the former two advanced through to the Cup Semis thanks to 9-1 and 9-2 scorelines. The Black Ninjas edged out the Panthers 4-3 in a much closer affair and No Direction completed the line-up in the top four of the tournament.

In the Plate semis, the Panthers lost out to a resilient Stragglers side who came back from behind to win 5-3 in the first semi while Glenageary Youth pipped the Bomb Squad 4-3 in the other semi. Buoyed on by their semi-final win, the Stragglers claimed the Plate with a marginal 3-2 victory over Glenageary Youth who put in a gallant performance, especially considering Glenageary Youth had played the whole tournament with no subs!

Team Shenanigans finally met their match in the Cup Semi Final as they came up against S Club 7 who were in sparkling form. The former had only conceded two goals in their previous matches but lost out 7-5 in a pulsating match. S Club 7 were joined by the Black Ninjas who knocked out No Direction in yet another thrilling encounter. While Team Shenanigans consoled themselves with 3rd place after beating No Direction 7-2, the Black Ninjas took on the S Club 7 for the title... Sophie Ryan and Angus Pickering scored for the Black Ninjas but goals from Ben Campbell, Richard Couse and a brace from Uilliam Blythman put an end to the contest and S Club 7 were crowned 2015 champions!

Ben Campbell (S Club 7) and Eoin Spencer (Glenageary Youth) were tournament top goal scorers on 13 goals each while Jenny Sykes (No Direction) was named Player of the Tournament by our panel.

Many thanks to the top class team of umpires who gave up a lot of time and energy to ensure matches were played on time and fairly: Alan Cuffe, Stephen McGrath, Ivan Meagher, Allan Richardson, Phil Smith and Ian Wilkie! Also thanks to Stephen Jenkins for stepping in when needed. Further thanks goes to Dennis O'Connor who looked after the BBQ and Hilary Murray who sourced the burgers and rolls. Lastly, many thanks to Tanya Chapple for managing the desk allowing me to have a few games which I thoroughly enjoyed and needed!

Finally, and most importantly, we raised €1250 for LauraLynn... A massive thank you to all who made this happen! See you again next year...

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