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Sport Northern Irelandv2

Irish Hockey League

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Railway enter top tier of Women's club hockey 2014

The news comes as a result by strong performances by those involved in recent years. Railway secured bronze in this year's Champion's Trophy, to add to their third place finish in the same competition which they hosted in 2011. Pegasus was Ireland's 2012 entry into the Trophy, hosted the event and won the tournament.

A tier down from that, in the Champions Challenge I, Ireland again had strong results. UCD won this year's tournament in Catania, Hermes won the same event in 2012 in Wettingen. In 2011 Loreto won the Champions Challenge II in Lille.

EuroHockey calculated these ranking points over the past three years of competition to give a final ranking for Ireland's two entries into next year's tournaments.

The results mean that Railway Union, as IHL Champions, have been promoted to the top tier of Women's competition, the EuroHockey Club Champions Cup. The elite competition will feature Netherlands and Germany's top two clubs along with sides from Spain, England and Azerbaijan.#

The tournament will take place from 18th to 21st April 2014.

Railway Union manager Ruth-Ann Kilty is excited at the prospect of playing against Europe's elite next season:

"We are absolutely delighted to be included in the EuroHockey Champions Cup for 2014. It's a testament to Women's hockey in Ireland at the moment with so many teams striving to compete at the top level. We were thrilled to get Bronze this year, and look forward to competing at an even higher level next. We know we have a lot more to offer."

"The Railway girls have worked hard to achieve this position and I am in no doubt a lot of it is down to Mick McKinnon who gave us 6 years of his coaching expertise and without him we would not be in this position."

Loreto will compete in the Champions Trophy in 2014. They qualify as runners-up of the IHL, after Railway also won the Irish Senior Cup.

On the men's side, Ireland have unfortunately lost their place in the EHL competition for 2014, and now have one slot in the Trophy and one slot in the Champions Challenge I.

Monkstown, as 2013 IHL winners, will compete in the 2014 Trophy against teams from Scotland, Italy, Wales, Austria, the Ukraine and Azerbaijan.

Banbridge compete in the 2014 Challenge I against teams from Croatia, Gibraltar, Czech Republic, Belarus, Azerbaijan and Switzerland.

For more information on European Club Competition for 2014, click here

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