26 October 2015

The last "Irish" hockey team in the Olympics

Yesterday I rather mistakenly said that it was the first time that Ireland took part in the Olympic Hockey tournament. I was wrong.

In fact in 1908 along with France and Germany there were representatives of the four nations of Great Britain and Ireland taking part.

Ireland Hockey team at the 1908 Olympics

The team was

GK Edward Peter Cowan Holmes b 25 Apr 1880 in Carrickfergus, County Antrim. He played for the Cliftonville team in Belfast.

Henry Joseph Brown b 1887 in Dundalk, Louth who played for Dublin University.
Walter Ernest Peterson b 7 Nov 1883 in Blackrock, Dublin who played for the Monkstown club in Dublin.

Half backs:
William Ernest Graham b 29 Jan 1886 in Dublin, who was another member of the Monkstown club.
Walter Islay Hamilton Verschoyle-Campbell b 14 Oct 1884 in Dublin who was another from the Dublin University team. He went on to become a Civil Engineer in Woolwich.
Harold "Henry" Lawson Murphy b 12 Dec 1882  in Notting Hill, London. Was a player for Three Rocks Rovers in Dublin.

Charles Frederick Power b 26 Aug 1887 in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, India was another from the Three Rocks Rovers team. In the official Olympic report he is mistakenly listed as E.F. Power.
Richard George Stanhope Gregg b 9 Dec 1883 Portsmouth, Hampshire, England the third member of the Three Rocks Rovers team.
Edward Percival Allman-Smith b 3 Nov 1886 in Balbriggan, Dublin he was studying medicine and playing for the Dublin University team at the time of the Olympics. He went on to a career as a soldier, serving in the Royal Army Medical Corps from 1912 though WWI and eventually retiring in 1949 with the rank of Brigadier after serving as Deputy Director of Medical Services from 1941-42 in Palestine and Trans-Jordan.
Frank Lubbock Robinson b 1886 in Rathdrum, Wicklow he was playing for the Malone club in Belfast, he died on the island of Jersey in old age.
Robert Lindsey Kennedy  b 31 Jul 1880 in Edenderry, Lisburn. He played for Banbridge but later emigrated to Canada.

Also listed as on the squad was Jack Peterson b 22 Jan 1880 in Dublin the elder brother of Walter who was also on the team.

In total the team played two matches the first of which was a semi-final against Wales. It was the third match to be played on the grass in the centre of the White City Stadium on the 29th October the second for the Welsh who had got proceedings under way

. The Official Olympic Report describes the match as follows.

In this match the Welsh halves and backs were seen to great advantage defence, especially during the early stages, Richards, Evans, Shephard, and Lyne being responsible for brilliant work. Turnbull also gave an excellent account of himself in goal, and despite clever combination on the part of the Irish forwards Wales held the lead until near the interval. When four minutes had elapsed the Welsh halves placed the forwards in possession, and good passing enabled Williams to reach the circle. Brown checked him, but before the ball was cleared Williams shot through. The Irish forwards then put their opponents to a severe test, and time after time Richards, Evans, and Shephard relieved their side. On one occasion Turnbull just managed to kick away from Gregg, who was close in, and a few minutes later a rush by the Welsh forwards was nullified by smart work by Holmes. Ireland continued to force matters, and a fine dribble, in which Gregg, Power, and Allman-Smith took part, ended in Turnbull saving at the expense of a corner, which proved futile. Then a penalty in front of the Welsh goal was cleared by Shephard, but Ireland quickly returned, and Robinson equalised from a pass on the right. This was quickly followed by another goal, a shot by Power glancing off Turnbull’s legs, so that at half-time Ireland led by two goals to one. On changing ends the Welsh forwards played well together, only to be intercepted by Peterson, Brown, and Campbell; and Holmes now and At the other end Robinson twice had an openagain saved fast shots. goal, and he missed the net by a few inches. Most of the play took place in the Welsh quarters, and, after Turnbull had kicked away from Robinson, Gregg credited Ireland with a third goal. From this point the game was of a more even character, the Welsh forwards passing in brilliant style, but there was no further scoring, and Ireland won by three goals to one.
Final Score Ireland 3 Wales 1

The final took place 2 days later on Halloween. Here is the report of that match:

At a quarter to two of a brilliant afternoon, on October 31, some six thousand spectators gathered in the Stadium to watch the final of the Hockey competition between England and Ireland. The ground had been well rolled, but had naturally suffered both from the constant use of the last few days and from the firework displays in the evenings, but in spite of this surprisingly few mistakes were made.

Ireland began in dashing fashion, and frequently looked dangerous, despite some splendid saving work by Noble. Five minutes passed by before England troubled their opposition for the first time, and then Logan shot wide from a good position. From the twenty-five yards’ bully Shoveller worked out to the right before hitting up a centre, which Logan just pushed out of the reach of Holmes, and registered England’s first goal. An Irish attack was broken up by Page, and at the other end a promising position for England was spoiled through Shoveller being penalised for turning in the ball—well inside the circle, too. Thirteen minutes from the commencement Robinson checked the Irish left wing beautifully, and going on, the Oxonian passed to Rees, who centred accurately for Logan to beat Holmes with a superb oblique shot. Nine minutes later Logan passed inside to Shoveller, who cleverly touched the ball for Pridmore to go through and find Ireland’s net at close quarters, England leading at half-time by three goals to love.

England received a startling surprise in the first minute after changing ends. Freeman stopped a hit by Gregg with his shins, from whence the ball rebounded into touch. The umpire gave a free hit, and Graham directed this so accurately that Robinson was enabled to score with a shot that gave Wood no chance whatever. Three minutes followed, and then Pridmore gave Shoveller a lovely pass. The Hampstead centre went through and shot at Holmes. Holmes saved, but failed to get the ball far enough away, and Logan nipped in smartly to increase England’s advantage. Next came a wonderful goal by Pridmore at an apparently impossible angle, but by this time England had taken command of the game and won with eight goals to one.

Final score England 8 Ireland 1

Ireland as a result won the silver medal.

It was to be the first medal in Olympic history that could be credited to Ireland though others had been won by Irish competitors before then. Though officially in the records this silver medal is listed as being on the four that GB won in the Hockey in 1908 Olympics, with Wales and Scotland both picking up bronzes for being beaten in the semi finals.

25 October 2015

Heading to Rio #TeamGB #TeamIreland

Yesterday GB's women gymnasts finished third in the team competition in the World Championships in Glasgow behind only the US and Russia. It is a performance that secures the team that narrowly missed out on team medals finishing 5th in London 2012. The men led the way after completing their competition on Sunday but with other nations taking part on Monday their qualification will not be officially made until every nation has completed.

Yesterday also say action at the Lee Valley White Water Centre. In the Olympic Trials David Florence took two wins in the C-1M and then pairing up with Richard Hounslow in the C-2M. It means that the pair who had the last run in the final in 2012 but were unable to unseat team mates Etienne Scott and Tim Baillie have provisionally booked the only spot in the event for Rio. The selectors will confirm the selection on 4 November.

Meanwhile a win for Australia today was enough to see Ireland's men's hockey team jumping for joy. The win for Australia over New Zealand in the Oceania cup final today means that the highest ranked team from the Hockey World League semi-finals in July yet to qualify for Rio secure a slot. The 11th place that Ireland's men secured in that event mean that for the first time Ireland will be represented in Olympic hockey.

Elsewhere, in Frankfurt, Scottish distance runner Callum Hawkins making his debut appearance in a Marathon finished 12th in a time of 2 hours, 12 minutes and 17 seconds. It means that he is only the second British man, along with Scott Overall, to have run under the Olympic qualifying time of 2 hours 14 minutes this year. Callum's elder brother Derek wore the blue of Scotland in last year's Commonwealth Games Marathon, while the younger sibling took part in the 10,000m. Derek, who is currently out with a foot injury will be inspired to have a chance of competing alongside his brother in Rio when he returns.