Abbeyleix junior hockey players and coaches are enjoying a well deserved Christmas/New Year break after a busy season to date.
Competing in the West Leinster league against clubs from Carlow, Newbridge, Naas, North Kildare and Tullamore, Abbeyleix have performed better than expected across U-8s to U-16 age groups.
U-16 West Leinster league
Defending the league title won in 2012/2013 was always going to be a huge ask especially after losing so many players from last season’s team.
A bright start against newcomers Carlow on a 3–0 scoreline was followed by two equally good performances against Naas and Tullamore but losing out to late goals in both matches has probably put paid to a repeat of last season’s success.
Coach Declan Stanley is building a good squad but may have too much to do for league honours and best chance of success this season may be the WL blitz in Kilkenny in March.
The squad includes Nicole Moynan, Fiona O Connell, Hen Hamilton, Alison Harvey, Kate O’Hara, Ruth O’Hara, Aoife Luttrell, Eliza Nuzum, Louise Cantwell, Ella Barrett, Laura Holohan, Peter Roe and Elisabeth Banks.
U–14 West Leinster
The U-14s have competed in the Tulllamore and Naas blitzes and fielded two 8-a-side teams and had a full 11-a-side match versu Tullamore before the midterm break.
With a lot of new players having moved up from U-12s, it has taken a little longer for Coach Michael Rafter to see players best positions and team may be better suited to the 11-a-side format in the new year. The squad has performed well winning five of their eight matches. The Cup competition begins at end of January and there is no reason why Abbeyleix U-14s cannot have a good cup run.
Squad: Ben Barrett, David Bell, Rachel Black, Roisin Dwyer, Amy Fingleton, Sara Fingleton, Tara Hyland, Emily Jacob, Sarah Jacob, Sorcha Moloney, Amy Moynan, Jack O’Connell, Melissa Odlum, Luke Ponsioen, Isobel Finlay, Marlese Ponsioen, Catriona Rafter, Leo Thompson and Tara Hyland.
U-12 West Leinster Blitz
Abbeyleix U-12s were definitely the surprise packets of the U-12 season so far in both Abbeyleix and Tullamore blitzes. Fielding three teams on both occasions winning 14, drawing two and losing two, Coach Ann Cantwell has certainly got the squad in shape and can look forward to further success in 2014, with blitzes in Newbridge, Naas, Carlow, North Kildare and hopefully finish off with one in Kilkenny at season end.
Team 1: Jessica Shirley, Maeve Weston, Colm Rafter, Inez Looney, Grace Kerfoot, Rachel Fitzpatrick, Emma Dunne and James Cooper. Team 2: Nicola Roe, Sarah Clegg, Alison Shaw, John Moynan, Aoife Finlay, Alison Kelly, Carol o Doherty and Emma Holohan. Team 3: Jessica Barrett, Andrea and Jane Caldbeck, Jeff Duke, Una Rafter, Olivia stokes, Clionadh O’ Brien Kenny, and Daisy Jay
U-8s and U-10s
Abbeyleix Hockey U-10s travelled to Naas and Kilcock for the WL blitz 2013-14 Season .All three teams have recorded victories and improved with each game.
The three Abbeyleix teams included players attending their first Blitz who adapted to the space and play with increasing skill. More experienced players gave a great display of hockey while working with and encouraging all players on their teams. Along with the teams from Abbeyleix were teams from Naas, Newbridge and Carlow supported by their team leaders and parents. Great credit to Marie Thompson and team leaders for their much appreciated help so far this season - Aileen, Deirdre, Mairéad, Sandra, and Pauline and Celine. The coaching sessions with U-16 players Alison, Nicole, Louise, Peter, Philip and Isobel have increased skill level and allowed young players develop accordingly.
Abbeyleix 1;Louise Moynan, Nathan Blundell, Niamh O Sullivan, Ellie Culliton, Orla McCorry, Orla Looney, Ruairí Phelan, Aislinn Tunney, Ian Caldbeck and Ava Shirley; Abbeyleix 2; Ruth Carroll, Amy Lacey, Carlos Fitzpatrick, Harry Peavoy, Jonathan Clegg, Ruth Shirley Jennifer Holland, Paige Moore, Jack Finlay and Sarah Talbot; Abbeyleix 3; Thomas Bradley, Amy O Halloran, Alannah Brennan, Feah Skillington , Adam Shirley, Eleanor Holland, Jennifer Holland, Clodagh Duggan and Mae Looney
The club had a very successful Christmas Coffee morning and raffle to raise funds to ensure continued growth of the Abbeyleix Hockey club. The club have been allocated lotto funding in partnership with tennis club to subsidise coaching and activity camps by the Dept of Children and Youth Affairs to promote physical activity and sport for the young. Further details of coaching and camps will be finalized in New Year.