New look Antrim squad gear up for Irish Trophy showdown

WITH no friendly matches arranged for last weekend a full Club training session took place at the Paddy Marks Arena on Saturday in preparation for the rearranged Irish Trophy Final against Portrush.

The game will be played at the Lisnagarvey Hockey Club’s ground with a 12.30 pm hit off this coming Saturday.

Strict COVID-19 rules are being imposed and all the relevant information can be seen on line at https://lisnagarveyhockey.com/hi-finals-2019-20/

The Antrim match is one of four finals being played on Saturday.

Admission to each game is by ticket only, which must be purchased on line and costs £10.50.

All spectators must exit the ground after their match is over by a designated route.

Away back in March Antrim beat Limerick 3-1 in the semi final at the Ireland Sports Centre in Dublin and Portrush completed the Ulster double when they beat Mullingar 2-1 in the other semi final at the same venue and on the same day.

Since the restart after the COVID-19 enforced break that same Antrim team have lost no fewer than five players as well as another three who, for various reasons have just joined the action this past weekend.

But life goes on and under team coach Johnny McMeekin a willing band of youngsters has stepped forward to take their place.

Robbie and Matty Watt, Nathan Murdock, Steve Gammon, Mark Patterson, Thomas Allen, Robbie Monahan, Daniel Connelly, Josh Irwin, Josh Lavery, Chris Wilson, Ben Kennedy, Cameron O’Neill along with the more experienced Stuart Campbell, Andy Heatley, David Mailey, Adrian Murtland, Alan Mullan, Mark Smyth, Bryan Creighton and Lyle Kane they are ready and willing for the battles ahead.

Those unfortunate departures of course reduces the overall playing numbers but it is still the hope that more new players will be recruited and three teams will be able to compete in their relevant leagues again this season.

Saturday’s training session included an enjoyable game where all the players were involved and full use of the new quarter time breaks in play allowed the coaches to mix up the teams to try and find the best possible squad to play on Saturday.

The opening fixtures have been released this week and are as follows: 26th September – Firsts v Armagh (Home); Seconds v Annadale Fourths (Away); Thirds v Mossley 5ths (Home); 3rd October – Firsts v Portrush (Away); Seconds v CIYMS Seconds (Home); Thirds v Saintfield Seconds (Away); 10th October – Firsts v Ballynahinch (Away); Seconds v Banbridge Fourths (Away); Thirds v South Antrim Sixths (Home); 17th October – Firsts v CIYMS (Home); Seconds v Lisnagarvey Sixths (Home); Thirds v South Antrim Fifths (Away).

Randalstown Ladies fixtures have also been released and are as follows: 26th September – Firsts v Banbridge ((Home); Seconds v Pegasus Thirds (Away); Thirds v Civil Service Thirds; 3rd October – Firsts v Raphoe (Home); Seconds v Queens Thirds (Home); Thirds v South Antrim Seconds; 10th October – Firsts (Irish Cup); Seconds v Dromore Seconds (Away); Thirds v Saintfield Seconds; 17th October – Firsts v Queens (Away); Seconds v Ulster Elks Thirds (Away); Thirds v Mossley Thirds.

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