| 14.4°C Dublin

boys in green fry up french

After hammering France in Le Touquet to retain the Celtic Cup for a third year, the Irish men's hockey team can afford to experiment in two further matches against France in Cookstown today and on Saturday.

With the Australian women's team currently in Dublin, it's a busy time for Irish hockey. The 'Hockeyroos' played the first of three matches against Ireland at UCD yesterday. They're in action again this evening and on Saturday.

Cookstown is the venue over the weekend for the U21 Celtic Cup, with boys and girls teams from Scotland, Wales and France taking on the Irish.

With the U16 Euro hockey Youth Nations Championships beginning in Barcelona on July 12, the U16 girls will play two matches against Wales at UCD. The first follows Ireland v Australia on Saturday with the second taking place on Sunday.

At the Celtic Cup, the new-look Irish men's team beat Scotland 3-1 in their opening match, and then dismissed Wales 4-0 before beating France 7-0, including a Mitch Darling hat-trick. Winning his 100th cap was captain Ronan Gormley.

Playing at a much higher level were the Irish women, who faced Australia, Germany and India in a four-nations tournament in Essen.

Against Germany in particular the Irish women showed considerable spark. An Emma Smyth goal had put the girls in green on level pegging at 1-1, while goalkeeper Mary Goode put in a powerful performance, before two Tina Bachmann drag-flicks gave Germany a 3-1 victory. They had lost 4-0 to eventual tournament winners Australia in their first match, but again weren't humiliated. Against India in their final match, the 30-degree heat combined with general exhaustion, saw the Irish women slumping to a 6-0 defeat.

Lisa McCarthy of Railway Union is the only Leinster player picked for the Irish U17 girls hockey team, which will play at the first World Youth Olympic Games in Singapore next month. Nine of the 14-strong initial squad come from Ulster, with three from Munster and one from Connaught. Two places remain to be filled.

In addition to girls hockey, Ireland will be represented in athletics, boxing, rowing, sailing, triathlon, tennis and modern pentathlon at the World Youth Olympics.