Saturday, March 31, 2012

Another cruel blow

MALAYSIA Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah was shattered in Dublin when Malaysia failed to qualify for the London Olympics, but he never expected another blow from his trusted lieutenant back home.
Just when he was getting over the Dublin disaster by picking up the pieces and start planning for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, MHC secretary Maninderjit Singh quit his post in a huff, throwing the MHC administration into turmoil.
"I never expected this (resignation) and it came as a shock to me as he (Maninderjit) never even approached me before sending me the quit e-mail.
"And after the e-mail, he did not come and see me to explain matters, so I will leave it at that and look for a suitable candidate," said a visibly upset Tengku Abdullah.
Maninderjit's sudden departure from the MHC has left hockey in the lurch as the Junior Asia Cup in Malacca on May 3-13 and the Azlan Shah Cup on May 24-June 3 in Ipoh are just around the corner.
The former international was appointed as General Manager of the Malaysian Hockey Federation in July 2009 and assumed the position of secretary of MHF in October 2010, simultaneously taking over the MHC secretary's post as well.
"Last year he did say that he wanted to quit and concentrate on furthering his studies, but was persuaded to stay on.
"I expected him to complete his term (end of the year) but he left by e-mail stating the same reason.
"I will leave the matter at this, and instead of dwelling on it, the search for a replacement has started," said Tengku Abdullah.
Malaysia will sit out the Olympics and World Cup for 16 years, as Sydney 2000 and Kuala Lumpur 2002 were their last appearances respectively.
"We have to start gathering the pieces from today, and work towards the Rio Olympics, and the Netherlands World Cup (2014). There is no use looking back, as I have many plans which need to be put into action immediately."

Friday, March 30, 2012

Raja Ashman dies

IPOH: Raja Kecil Sulong of Perak Datuk Seri Raja Ashman Shah Sultan Azlan Shah passed away at 1.30am Friday at his home in Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur. He was 54.
His body has been brought to Istana Iskandariah in Kuala Kangsar for burial at the Royal Mausoleum later Friday.
Raja Ashman leaves behind wife Datin Seri Noraini Jane Kamarul Ariffin, a son and two daughters. -- TheStar

Raja Ashman was a keen supporter for Malaysian hockey and knew the players by name.
And it was during halftime in the match between Ireland and Malaysia at the Dublin Olympic Qualifiers (17th March) that he left the VIP seats and sat amongst the Malaysian media so that he could shout encouragement to the Malaysian players.
He was a down to earth royalty and will be deeply missed by all.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Maninderjit Singh bows out of MHC

THE Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHF) administration was thrown into turmoil, when its secretary general Maninderjit Singh (right) sent in a shock resignation letter.
The former international wrote in officially to the MHC president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah on Friday, detailing the reasons for his sudden and unexpected resignation.
When asked, Tengku Abdullah confirmed it in an e-mail reply: "Yes, he did send in a letter of resignation, and it came as a surprise. But if you want to know the reason(s), maybe you should ask him."
Attempts to contact Maninderjit Singh were futile, as he did not answer his phone, sms or e-mail.
This is a first for Malaysian hockey, as never before a secretary had resigned before his term ended.
Maninderjit Singh, who last played for the country in the 2002 Kuala Lumpur World Cup, was appointed as General Manager of the Malaysian Hockey Federation in July 2009 and assumed the position of Secretary of MHF in October 2010, simultaneously taking over the MHC secretary's post as well.
Malaysia, who failed to qualify for the Olympics after finishing third in the Dublin Qualifier, will host the Junior Asia Cup on May 3-13 in Malacca and then the Azlan Shah Cup in May 24-June 3 in Ipoh.
The MHC are said to have accepted Maninderjit Singh's resignation, and a new office bearer will be appointed soon.

Subahan leads Selangor HA

In the recent Selangor Hockey Association’s Bi-Annual General Meeting held at Kelab Shah Alam, Dato Salamon Selamat, President for 12 years stepped down and Dato Sri Subahan Kamal, the Incumbent Deputy President was unanimously elected as President to lead the association with his team for the coming term.
Dato Sri Subahan, who was the Deputy President of Selangor Hockey Association (SHA) since 2009, has brought forth many changes positive changes and, as Competition Committee Chairman, Dato Sri Subahan personally saw to the revival of the Selangor hockey league with the introduction of more tournaments and competitions for various age groups as well as aggressive sponsorship procurement.
SHA also saw an improvement in the administration side of the Association with the introduction of the SHA Official Webpage ( and the building of the SHA Facebook page (
Dato Sri Subahan in his acceptance speech, thanked the Association for having the full confidence in him and his team to lead for the next term. He also thanked Dato Salamon for the 15 years in total he has contributed towards Selangor hockey. Dato Sri Subahan said there are many challenges facing hockey in Selangor but he is prepared to take them head on to bring back the former glory days of Selangor Hockey Association.

Full BGM Results

President YB Dato’ Sri Subahan Bin Kamal - unopposed
Deputy President Dato S.Sivasundaram - unopposed
Vice President (4)
1. Maj. Rtd V.Manisegaran
2. Mr. Noor Azman B. Surudh Ali
3. Mr. Jadadish Chandra
4. Mr. Brian G. Fernandez
Hon. Secretary
Mr. Kuganeson Poologasingam - unopposed
Hon. Treasurer
Mr. N. Ganeswaran - unopposed
Independent Member
Mr. P.Balamuraly - unopposed

Aim shifted to Rio de Janeiro

TOTAL OVERHAUL: Disappointed MHC president now dreams of 2016 Olympics

Bitterly disappointed at the national team finishing third at the Olympic Qualifier in Dublin last week, MHC president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah is looking into replacing the existing coaching staff, introduce new players, restructure the domestic league and send players on attachment to clubs overseas.

By K.N. Alagesh

THE national team's failure to qualify for the London Olympics could trigger a major overhaul by the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) in its search for a squad to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Bitterly disappointed at the national team finishing third at the Olympic Qualifier in Dublin last week, MHC president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah is looking into replacing the existing coaching staff, introduce new players, restructure the domestic league and send players on attachment to clubs overseas.
"There is a possibility of hiring a foreign coach but we are looking at other options. I am also planning to introduce a new breed of players and provide them with exposure in foreign leagues," said Tengku Abdullah whose dream is to see the national team play in the 2016 Olympic Games.
"Our domestic league might have to undergo a revamp. The MHC will also scout for young talent and introduce more youth-based programmes."
Tengku Abdullah confirmed he will be meeting with MHC officials in the next few days to discuss the future of the national team.
Speaking on the Dublin disappointment, Tengku Abdullah said he was especially upset when the team drew 1-1 with Ireland as he was hoping the team would make the final. Malaysia needed a win to make the final with South Korea but the draw against the hosts ended their dream. South Korea beat Ireland 3-2 to secure a berth in the Olympics.
Although the national team's Olympic hopes have been dashed, Tengku Abdullah sees light at the end of the tunnel with the presence of several young players who performed well in Dublin.
"They might be new but they blended well with the senior players and showed good determination. This is a positive sign as they will form the core of the team in the near future," he said.
Tengku Abdullah also disclosed that MHC is considering recruiting senior players, who wish to retire, as part time coaches to help nurture new talent.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Junior Asia Cup: India have Pakistan for company

PIC: K. Dharmaraj

MALAYSIA should cruise into the semi-finals of the Junior Asia Cup in Malacca on May 3-13, judging from the groupings released by the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF).

The hosts are in Group A with South Korea, Japan, Sri Lanka and Iran while in Group B are India, Pakistan, China and Bangladesh.
And Project 2013 coach K. Dharmaraj said his charges should have no problem playing in the semi-finals.
“We only have to beat Japan, Sri Lanka and Iran and should be in the semi-finals with a match to spare against South Korea,” said Dharmaraj who has set his mind on winning the gold medal in Malacca.
Defending champions India have qualified as hosts of the Junior World Cup next year, and they have traditional rivals Pakistan for company.
The AHF have yet to get the green light from the In ternational Hockey Federation (FIH) on how many teams from the Junior Asia Cup will be given berths in the World Cup.
“I will be in Barcelona this weekend to attend an FIH meeting and should get a confirmation from the parent body on how many teams from the Asia Cup will make a direct entry into the World Cup.
“And because India are automatic qualifiers, AHF will propose to the FIH to give our tournament three tickets to the World Cup,” said AHF secretary general Tan Sri P. Ala gendra.
Dharmaraj’s boys will play a series of matches against Pakistan and South Korea starting from April 5, and their last tune-up will be against an Australian club side.
“There is no use in targeting anything lower than the gold medal as we must make the World Cup at all cost. The Korean and Pakistan teams will be down for friendlies and I will use all 35 players I have with me in training to give every player a chance to prove himself before naming the final squad,” said Dharmaraj.
The Junior Asia Cup was supposed to be a 10-team tournament but Thailand withdrew due to domestic rea sons.
For the record, Malaysia have never won the Junior Asia Cup since its inception in Karachi in 1987, with their best being runner in 1992 in Ipoh.
The opening ceremony will be a spectacle to watch on May 2, as plans are afoot for the teams to sail along the Malacca River, past the VIP stands.

Dharmaraj has eyes fixed on gold

PROJECT 2013 won a refreshing gold in the Sultan of Johor Cup but their true test will come in the Junior Asia Cup in Malacca on May 3-13.
Coach K. Dharmaraj's charges finally landed the elusive international gold medal, immaterial whether at senior or junior level, when they beat Australia 3-2 in extra-time in the inaugural Sultan of Johor Cup.
For the record, Malaysia's other hockey gold medals were all won at the Sea Games.
And for the Junior Asia Cup, which also doubles up as a Junior World Cup Qualifier, the target is to finish in the top two and make the grade.
Defending champions India, as hosts of the Junior World Cup, snatched a spot while nine other teams -- Pakistan, South Korea, Japan, China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Iran, Thailand and Malaysia -- will make up the rest.
The top three finishers in Malacca qualify for the World Cup, but Dharmaraj wants the gold medal. "We must not only play in the final in Malacca but also win the gold medal because it is becoming increasingly difficult to play in the World Cup and Olympics as the standard among teams around the world is fast improving," he said.
His confidence stems from the fact that his players made short work out of Australia, South Korea, India, Pakistan and New Zealand to lay their hands on the Sultan of Johor Cup.
"I was fortunate to see for myself lower ranked teams like Ukraine, Chile and Russia play in the Dublin Olympic Qualifier and was shocked at how much they have improved," said Dharmaraj.
"They have strong basics and good dribbling skills, The only area they are lacking is penalty corner executions and also PC defence.
"They lost out in that two areas, but I believe in a few years it will be difficult to make the World Cup and Olympic grades if our juniors do not start having the winning attitude in them."
And that is why even if his charges need only to finish among the top three in Malacca, Dharmaraj wants the gold medal badly.
With the inclusion of brothers Faizal and Fitri Saari into the Project squad, the coach's target is not far fetched.
"Both will be of great help as they showed maturity in their touches in Dublin," said Dharmaraj.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

What's next Malaysian HC?

COMMENT By Vijesh Rai (left|)
(NST Sports Editor)

GOING by the silence since the 'Irish tragedy', it would seem that the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) hadn't expected the Olympic Qualifier to end the way it did for the national team.
Not only did Malaysia fail to make the Olympics, they couldn't even make the final of the Qualifier and one wonders which hurt MHC more.
Millions were spent preparing the squad but Tai Beng Hai's men 'emulated' their predecessors from the 2004 and '08 campaigns and will now have to watch the Olympics on television.
The question now is where does hockey go from here?
For sure, the national career of some players is over for MHC has no choice but to start rebuilding immediately for the 2014 World Cup, another tournament that Malaysia have not featured in since hosting the 2002 edition.
There are some who feel that the coaches must be "released" while others opine that MHC's big guns should also do the honourable thing and quit the national body.
One fan even said Malaysia should just forget about hockey -- all team sports for that matter -- as we are lagging so far behind that there is no hope of ever catching up, let alone regaining the lofty heights of once before.
The words may seem harsh to the MHC, especially as it was only about 18 months ago when the national team were lauded for winning silver in the Asian Games but this is the price that has to be paid for failure.
There are some who feel otherwise but the team failed and the onus is now on MHC to convince us that hockey can indeed fly the Malaysian flag high on the international arena.
The whole structure -- from the grassroots to the various national teams -- needs to be revamped and MHC is duty-bound to tell us how it is going to do so.
What it already knows -- after three failed Olympic campaigns -- is that full time training for the national squad doesn't work.
Prior to the Qualifier in Dublin, the national team were grouped together for extended periods of time, were sent on several playing tours but when it came to the crunch, they were found wanting on the competitive stage.
What is worrying is that the Project 2013 team, preparing for the Junior Asia Cup in May, are also in virtual full time training for a championship that doubles up as next year's Junior World Cup Qualifier.
This is an episode that has been repeated regularly over the last decade or so and with the senior team now without anything major to set their sights on for the next 12 months, the fear is the juniors could also join them on the sidelines.
Simply put, MHC has to find a different formula to ensure Malaysia are competitive enough to advance past Qualifiers or even win titles.
Locally, the highest quality competition the players have is the MHL and we know how competitive that is, so MHC has no choice but to set its sights abroad.
This is not a new suggestion but given the failure in Dublin, MHC is left with no other choice.
The silence has been deafening since last Saturday's failure in Dublin and one can only hope that this is because MHC is putting great thought into how hockey is going to rise again.
The real fear, though, is that it is waiting for the storm to subside and for Malaysians to forget that hockey will not, for the third consecutive time, feature in the Olympics.
That would indeed be a tragedy.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Coaches need help

CLOSE ENCOUNTER: This was how close was the South Korea-Ireland final. FIH pic..

HIGH TIME: Parent body must realise this if Malaysian game is to progress

THE Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) must come to terms that the current batch of hockey players need a better coaching set-up to win the next big assignment -- the Asia Cup in 2013.
The Asia Cup, whose venue has yet to be decided, is also the qualifier for the 2014 World Cup which will be held in the Netherlands.
MHC should realise that local coaches need a foreign consultant and must look away from our shores like India looked away from theirs and qualified to play in the Olympics.
No disrespect to the local coaches who handled the team in Dublin, but Tai Beng Hai and Nor Saiful definitely need help in certain areas to strengthen the team.
Most of the players will still be able to give their best, as they did in Dublin, but they need a foreign consultant or coach to take them to a higher level.
MHC president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, who is also the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) president, had said before the qualifier that that team need a foreign coach.
But MHC could not secure a good coach as the best were all tied down by contracts.
The failure in three straight qualifiers -- Madrid 2004, Kakamigahara 2008 and now in Dublin -- has made it much more difficult for Malaysia to wake up and play among hockey's elite.
However, all is not lost as the International Hockey Federation (FIH) plans to hold a series of world tournaments and scrap the tough qualifiers for the Olympics and World Cup.
Asia will be represented by South Korea, Pakistan and India in the Olympics, as Malaysia go back to the drawing board and hope the junior team make the cut for the World Cup by becoming champions in the Malacca Junior Asia Cup in May.
Tengku Abdullah has been extremely generous with funding to prepare this team for Dublin, giving them virtually everything they asked for, so it is only understandable that he got angry when the team failed to even make the final.
He left the University College Dublin in a foul mood after Malaysia drew 1-1 with Ireland and he then immediately flew home without watching the Malaysia-Russia match for third placing.
The MHC president has every right to be angry, but he accepted a hot-seat in 2008, knowing fully well that Malaysian hockey, more often than not, promises more than it delivers.
Meanwhile, South Korea snatched the Olympic Qualifiers gold medal from the Irish with only two seconds left, when Nam Yong Lee deflected home, at the University College Dublin grounds, to give his team a 3-2 win and a berth in the Olympics late on Sunday.
"It is good that three Asian teams have qualified for the Olympics, but it was very sad that Malaysia did not play in the final," said Korea coach Shin Seok Kyo.
"I watched the Ireland-Malaysia match on video to prepare for the final, and saw that one penalty corner which led to the Irish scoring, and one yellow card was unnecessarily flashed at Malaysia.
"That was the crucial moment which killed Malaysia's game."

Monday, March 19, 2012

South Korea in Olympics

By FIH -- Gold medal game: Korea 3, Ireland 2

It doesn’t get any more dramatic. With two seconds left in final game at the Electric Ireland FIH Road to London Tournament Korea’s Nam Yong Lee put in the game winning goal, sending his team to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Lee’s goal was the dramatic conclusion to a nail-biting, back-and-forth affair where both teams were fighting for their lives – and a berth to the 2012 Olympics.
The pressure was on the Koreans as they entered the both the game and the tournament as the big favorite, holding the sixth spot in the FIH World Ranking compared with Ireland’s #16 ranking. But the Irish have proven to be a tough opponent all week as #13 Malaysia learned in a 1-1 tie that knocked them out of the final game. Ireland also tied Korea in the earlier round robin meeting, 1-1.
Ireland’s Peter Caruth gave his team an early boost when he was in perfect position to put in a rebound on a penalty corner to give Ireland the 1-0 lead 13 minutes into action. With five minutes left in the half Nam Yong Lee slipped one in under Irish goaltender David Harte and put in the equalizer to make it a 1-1 deadlock at the half.
Korea dominated the opening of the second half as the ball stayed primarily on the Irish side of the pitch, but Timothy Cockram, who finished as the tournament’s top scorer with six goals, put in the go-ahead marker in the 56th minute firing the ball past Myung Ho Lee’s left side, giving the Irish a 2-1 lead.
But two minutes later Korea was awarded a penalty stroke which Hyun Woo Nam calmly converted to put things even at two.
It looked like the game was heading into overtime when the clock was stopped with nine seconds left deep on the Irish end. The Korean’s took full advantage of the precious last chance and stunned the sell-out crowd when the ball was fired in with two seconds showing on the clock. After a video review it was determined that the goal stood and Korean celebration began.
Korea can now look forward to joining the 10 teams already qualified to the London Games. Ireland can hold its head high once the sting of the loss wears off. The #16 team had a magical run on home turf and left it all on the field through the final whistle.

Third-place game: Malaysia 6 Russia 1

Malaysia made easy work of Russia in the third-place game with a convincing 6-1 win. For Malaysia the third-place finish was a silver lining in an otherwise disappointing tournament that saw them fall well short of vying for a place at the London Games.
Azlan Misron kicked off the scoring for Malaysia 2 minutes into action and Razie Muhammad Abd Rahim added two more penalty corner goals to give the Malaysians a comfortable 3-0 lead at the break. Malaysia was clearly underwhelmed by the domination as the goals brought little emotion from the team.
The second half was subdued with the biggest cheer coming from the crowd when Russia’s Nickolay Komarov scored his team’s only goal of the game with eight minutes left in regulation. Another two goals from Malaysia in the last five minutes of the game made the score a lopsided 6-1 final.

Fifth-place game: Ukraine 2, Chile 1

It was a moral victory for Ukraine, which picked up its first win of the Electric Ireland FIH Road to London tournament with a 2-1 win against Chile in the fifth-place match.
The Ukrainians were clearly pleased with their performance in the last game as they celebrated the win after the game. Meanwhile the Chileans were visibly deflated since they beat the Ukrainians just 24 hours earlier.
Artem Ozerskiy was the key to the win, putting in both of the Ukrainian goals on the penalty corner. His second goal broke a 1-1 deadlock with just seven minutes left in the game to seal the victory.
Ukraine entered the event as the lowest seeded team, ranked 29th in the FIH World Ranking, while Chile entered as the fifth-seeded team at 26th.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

1-1 draw shuts the door on Malaysia

IRELAND held Malaysia to a 1-1 draw to qualify for the final of the Olympic Qualifier in Dublin yesterday.
The Irish will play for the Olympics ticket against South Korea today.
Malaysia started aggressively, as they went looking for an early goal, in them and there was an air of confidence which was not evident in this tournament thus far.
However, Ireland won the first penalty corner of the match in the seventh minute, and the Malaysian confidence received a further boost when Shukri Mutalib easily slapped away the Irish flick.
Ireland dominated the match after that, but stout defending by Baljit Singh and goalkeeper S. Kumar keep the score at 0-0, with Malaysia relying on counter-attacks only.
Luck favoured the Malaysians time and again, as Ireland dominated but all their shots towards goal went wide to the amazement of the capacity crowd at the UCD grounds.
The Irish played one of their worst matches of the Qualifiers, and rode on their luck, as Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin's reverse stick 10 second from the first half break hit the post and went out.
Malaysia injected some hope into their campaign when just five minutes into second half, Nabil Fiqri scored off a goalmouth scramble and the match turned into a sizzler after that.
The ball went from post to post, while Malaysia look to increase their lead, while the Irish try to salvage their St Patricks celebrations as only 24 minutes remained in the match.
Ireland win their third penalty corner of the match in the 46the minute, but a super run-out by Baljit clears the ball.
Twenty-one minutes remain, and Malaysia hold onto the slim lead, but still, not a single penalty corner has been won by Tai Beng Hai's men until now.
An injury to Faizal Saari, and a green card to Madzli Ikmar reduces the strength of the Malaysian attack and defense as only 15 minutes remain in the match.
Ireland win their fourth penalty conrer in the 56th minute, but Baljit Singh runs out tlike a sprinter and takes the full force of the ball on his body. He is badly injured, but Malaysia stay alive.
Malaysia entered into troubled waters in the 60th minute, as Fitri Saari was shown the yellow card, to sit out for five minutes, and Ireland were awarded their fifth penalty corner.
That was what the Irish needed, and John Jermyn flicked home the equaliser and the tide turned on Malaysia after that.
Marhan Jalil was then flashed the yellow, and it further reduced Malaysia's chances to win the match as only five minutes remained.

FINAL: Ireland v South Korea (12midnight); THIRD-FOURTH: Malaysia v Russia (9.30pm).

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Do-or-die for Malaysia...

RESULTS --- March 10: Malaysia 5 Chile 1, Ireland 6 Russia 1, South Korea 8 Ukraine 2.
March 11: Malaysia 6 Russia 2, Ukraine 0 Ireland 12, South Korea 6 Chile 1.
March 13: Ukraine 1 Malaysia 5, Russia 4 Chile 3, Ireland 1 South Korea 1.
March 15: Russia 2 Ukraine 0, Malaysia 2 South Korea 3, Chile 0 Ireland 3.

March 17: South Korea 5 Russia 1, Chile v Ukraine (8.30pm), Ireland v Malaysia (11pm).
March 18: Final and placing matches.


P W D L F A Pts
S KOREA 5 4 1 0 23 7 13
IRELAND 4 3 1 0 22 2 10
MALAYSIA 4 3 0 1 18 7 9
RUSSIA 5 2 0 3 10 20 6
CHILE 4 0 0 4 5 18 0
UKRAINE 4 0 0 4 3 27 0

Korea book final slot..

Korea beat Russia 5-1 in their last pool match to confirm their spot in the final of the Olympic Qualifier in Dublin.

Is legend of St Patrick just a bit of blarney? He was a runaway tax collector turned slave trader, says expert

By David Wilkes (

LEGEND has it St Patrick came to Ireland in the fifth century to spread the word of Christ – and banish snakes from its shores.
But as St Patrick's Day is celebrated today, it seems the patron saint's motives for leaving Roman Britain may have been less selfless than previously thought.
Researchers claim that St Patrick actually fled to Ireland to avoid becoming a tax collector. Once there, however, it is claimed he took up an even more dubious occupation – as a slave trader.
Patrick's father was a Decurion, a Roman official responsible for tax collection in Britain. But he used a bail-out clause in Roman law that allowed him to leave his post by joining the clergy on the condition the job was passed to his son.
Dr Roy Flechner, an expert in ancient and medieval history from Cambridge University, claims that Patrick, alarmed at the prospect of taking on the unpopular job, decided to emigrate.
As well as collecting tax (with any shortfall coming from the Decurion's own pocket), duties included road maintenance and the recruitment of soldiers.
'In the troubled era in which Patrick lived, which saw the demise and eventual collapse of Roman government in Britain in 410AD, discharging the obligations of a Decurion, especially tax-collecting, would not only have been difficult but also very risky,' said Dr Flechner, whose research is based on a new analysis of St Patrick's writings.
Patrick was forced to find a way of retaining some of the family estate – in the shape of slaves – to pay for his new life in Ireland.
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Dr Flechner said Patrick may have become a slave trader because it was the only way he could transfer his wealth from England, as Ireland did not have a monetary economy at the time.
Slaves were a highly valued commodity and Patrick's writings mention that his family owned several.
Dr Flechner said: 'It may seem strange that a Christian cleric of Patrick's stature would own slaves, but in late antiquity and the early middle ages the church was a major slave owner.
St Patrick's Day is celebrated the world over. Here drinkers give a cheers at McSorley's pub in New York, in the U.S.
St Patrick's Day is celebrated the world over. Here drinkers give a cheers at McSorley's pub in New York, in the U.S.
'The only objections to slavery were cases in which Christian slaves were owned by non-Christians.'
Dr Flechner claimed that the traditional legend of St Patrick's arrival in Ireland was invented by the man himself because that is how he wanted to be remembered.
He also questioned the part of the legend that says before his arrival as a missionary St Patrick spent six years as a young slave in Ireland himself. 'The probability that Patrick managed to cross from his alleged place of captivity in western Ireland back to Britain undetected, at a time when transportation was extremely complicated, is highly unlikely,' he said.
'None of this is to say that Patrick was not a bishop or that he did not engage in missionary activity, but his primary motives for moving to Ireland were most likely to escape the poisoned chalice of his inherited position in Roman Britain.'

Saint Patrick's Day showdown

TODAY the whole of Ireland will be celebrating Saint Patrick's Day, and their hockey team will be banking on the luck of the Irish to make the Bank Holiday a memorable outing as well.
With South Korea virtually in the final, unless they do the impossible and lose to Russia, Malaysia and Ireland will be lining up for the second ticket, or pick up the crumbs when the dust settles at the University College Grounds in Dublin.
The Irish started celebrating last weekend itself when their rugby players beat Scotland in a Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, and the taps have yet to stop pouring to satisfy the merry makers.
And there is no shortage of entertainment outlets here in Dublin, as every shopping district has more than five outlets and they have their pints very early here.
Green is the colour of the Irish, and the celebrations today will paint the town green, so to speak, as revellers pour onto the streets for parades and the must-have pint of black gold in a chilled mug famous the world over.
The cold pebbled streets in Dublin, especially around the Temple Bar area, were already feeling the heat and weight of a celebrating crowd on Thursday and Friday nights, and none will be left out of the merrymaking this weekend.
But the early indications are that our national players would break the hearts of the Irish, the second most friendliest people in the world after Malaysians, on the most important day of their lives.
And they would not need the Irish luck.

Last chance saloon

MALAYSIA lost one "life" against South Korea but still have another shot at making the final of the Olympic Qualifiers in Dublin, provided they beat Ireland today.
The 3-2 defeat paved the way for South Korea to snatch the first final ticket, as they only have to beat Russia today to confirm a final appearance.
The second berth will be a toss between Ireland and Malaysia, and the Irish have the advantage of needing only a draw, while the national players must make sure of three points to play Korea again.
Ireland coach Paul Revington and assistant coach Arul Selvaraj are confident their players have the skills to beat Malaysia.
"It is unfortunate that it had to come to this (a toss between Ireland and Malaysia) as I will be planning to defeat the country of my birth.
"But it is my bread and butter to be professional and plot Malaysia's downfall on Saturday," said Arul, a former Malaysian international.
Arul was oozing with confidence, as the Irish feel this Malaysian side are weaker than the one that they beat 2-1 in the semi-finals of the 2009 Champions Challenge in Dublin.
"I noticed that the 2009 team were much more stronger but we sill beat them, so the confidence to beat them again is there," said Revington.
Malaysia started badly in all four matches, and only woke up in the second half of every match.
The Korea tie was no different, as the national players only started a fightback in the second half after being down 0-2.
And if this trend continues against the Irish today, Malaysia will be playing in the third-fourth placing match against Russia for sure.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The blogger in beautiful Dublin..


The day Malaysia lost their script


Malaysia lost 3-2 to South Korea and will now have to beat Ireland on Saturday to play in the final of the Olympic Qualidfier in Dublin. PIC BY FIH

Now for some Irish luck

RESULTS --- March 10: Malaysia 5 Chile 1, Ireland 6 Russia 1, South Korea 8 Ukraine 2.
March 11: Malaysia 6 Russia 2, Ukraine 0 Ireland 12, South Korea 6 Chile 1.
March 13: Ukraine 1 Malaysia 5, Russia 4 Chile 3, Ireland 1 South Korea 1.
March 15: Russia 2 Ukraine 0, Malaysia 2 South Korea 3, Chile 0 Ireland 3.
March 17: South Korea v Russia (6pm), Chile v Ukraine (8.30pm), Ireland v Malaysia (11pm).
March 18: Final and placing matches.


P W D L F A Pts
IRELAND 4 3 1 0 22 2 10
S KOREA 4 3 1 0 18 6 10
MALAYSIA 4 3 0 1 18 7 9
RUSSIA 4 2 0 2 9 15 6
CHILE 4 0 0 4 5 18 0
UKRAINE 4 0 0 4 3 27 0

Malaysia 2 Korea 3

MALAYSIA came back from being two goals down, but still lost 3-2 to South Korea in the Olympic Qualifiers at the University College grounds in Dublin yesterday.
The defeat now means Malaysia must beat Ireland on Saturday if they want to play in the final of the Qualifier.
Thirty seconds into the match, and Malaysia's stout defender Madzli Ikmar is brought down with a bloody nose, and Amin Rahim is brought in.
Unfazed, Malaysia press ahead and win their first penalty corner in the second minute, but the set-piece was weak and Korea mounted a counter attack, which saw Nabil Fiqri yellow carded for a rough tackle and he will sit out for at least five minutes.
Korea then won their first penalty corner in the fourth minute, and even though Baljit Singh stopped the first attempt, the Koreans went ahead when the ball was pumped back in for You Hyo Sik to tap home.
Malaysia looked like they were still not warmed up as Hafifi Hafiz first missed a sitter, and then the rebound also went to waste as Faizal Saari misjudged the ball in the 24th minute.
Nothing went right for Malaysia in the first 35 minutes of the match, as Madzli was yellow carded in the 34th minute, and they even failed to score off a last second penalty corner, and went into the dressing room a man and also a goal down, but with plenty of time for a fight-back.
Malaysia started on a more promising note, and led by a determined Baljit Singh, they started making inroads into the Korean semi-circle, something that was missing in the first half.
But Korea kept their cool, and a mistake in attack saw a counter in the 42nd and You Hyo Sik's reverse stick shot beat goalkeeper S. Kumar with ease for a 2-0 lead.
With 17 minutes remaining on the clock, it was Korea who did all the running and attacking, as Malaysia went into a shell and lost their confidence.
However, a cool Hafifi Hafiz started a Malaysian fightback in the 54th minute when he slotted home the first goal with a clever tap form close range to take his tournament tally to four goals.
And the spark was turned into a bonfire in the 59th minute, when Malaysia won their fourth penalty corner and this time, Amin Rahim's low push was deflected to the top of the net by Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin for the much needed equalsier.
But Korea were not in a mood to share the spoils, and with three minutes on the clock, Jang Jong Hyun's powerful penalty corner flick sailed in for the win.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

No lack of support before Korea cruncher

THE Malaysian delegate in full force at the University College Dublin pitch before the start of the Malaysia-South Korea match. Pic by S.S Dhaliwal.

THE Malaysian VIP list in Dublin, Ireland, to support the Malaysain hockey team's Olympic quest is nothing short of impresive.
Sultan Azlan Shah, Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, National Sports Council Director General Datuk Zolkples Embong, National Sports Institute CEO Datuk Dr Ramlan Aziz, Sports Minister Datuk Sabery Cheek...
And not forgetting the 23 Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHF) office-bearers and a handful of National Sports Council staff who are also here to lend support for hockey's moment of reckoning.
The University College Dublin stadium was teeming with Malaysians at every turn yesterday, as even the Malaysian students studying here have been gripped by the Qualifier fever, and the seating capacity is very small.
The stadium has a capacity of 510 seats, which are covered, while additional 1,000 seats have been added on behind the goalmouth.
It is quite small compared to the stadiums in Malaysia, and that is why all the tickets for the weekend as well as Thursday's matches were sold out.
An Irish fan tweeted: "Have seen it all now. People looking for tickets for an Irish hockey match on bulletin board".
Yes, we have also seen it all, as never in the history of Malaysian hockey, have so many officials left the country's shores to throw their support for any single event sport.

Malaysia in pictures...


All Pictures by FIH

Malaysia in driving seat

MALAYSIA will finally find worthy opponents in the Olympic Qualifiers when they square off in a do-or-die match against the South Koreans at the University Dublin College grounds today.
The national players have done what was expected of them when they beat Chile 5-1, Russia 6-2 and then Ukraine 5-1 in what could be considered as warm-ups before the big Korean test.
They lead the standings on nine points, but that could change like the unpredictable weather in Dublin, as Ireland still have an easy match against Chile on Thursday, while the Koreans another winner against Russia on Saturday.
Korea almost had the better of Ireland in a late match on Tuesday, but were held to a 1-1 draw which opened up the Olympic campaign.
Now Malaysia must beat the Koreans at all cost for 12 points, and then they don't have to worry about the Ireland match, as they would already be in the final with a match in hand.
"We came into the tournament knowing very well that we must beat the Koreans and to have a shot at the Olympics, and the script has not changed.
"The nine points can be considered as a warm-up for the two tough matches, and we still have a few surprises up our sleeves for the remaining matches here," said Malaysian coach Tai Beng Hai.
Malaysia have yet to show their true potential in this tournament, as they have been late starters in all three matches, but did just enough to score a handful for full points.
The fact that we have let in four goals against easy opponents is a point to worry about.
"The Koreans have a more systematic way of playing, and we know them as well as they know us and so the element of surprise could turn out to be a match winner," said Beng Hai.
Malaysia have a strong penalty corner battery with three sound flickers, and have yet to utilise their set-pieces in Dublin.
The Irish used a clever penalty corner set-pice to score against Korea and steal a point, and hopefully, Malaysia does more than that for an outright win against an experienced Korean side.

South Korean jitters...

SOUTH Korean coach Shin Seok Kyo felt butterflies fluttering in his stomach when asked how he rated his next opponents, Malaysia, in the Olympic Qualifiers in Dublin, Ireland.
"Oh! That is a very crucial match for us and I feel tension in my stomach just thinking about it. Malaysia are a very good side, and they have many good strikers who are very fast with the ball," said the coach who recalled three of his Sydney 2000 Olympics team-mates to beef up his squad.
"And I also believe the Malaysian coach is feeling just like me, as that match could make or break our Olympic dreams," said Shin.
Korean skipper Seo Jong-Ho and Yeo Woon Kon have played in three Olympics since making their name in the silver medal winning side in Sydney 2000 where they lost to the Netherlands on penalties.
Coach Shin was a then fullback in the silver medal winning side: "I know Tengku (Ahmad Tajuddin) and Faizal (Saari) are very talented strikers, and at the back Razie (Rahim) is not only a steady defender but also is a strong penalty corner flicker.
"And then, there is Amin (Rahim) who has little playing time in Dublin, but when he comes in, he scores and also controlls the midfield very well.
"Malaysia have three good penalty corner flickers and we have to be careful not to give too many PC's," said the Olympian.
Malaysia have a good recent record against the Koreans as we held them to a 2-2 draw in the 2010 Asian Games, and then beat them 3-1 in the Azlan Shah Cup last year, but the inclusion of the two three-time Olympians has somewhat changed the face of the team and past records would not matter on Thursday.

Arul Selvaraj's Irish calling..

HE has been in Ireland for five years, and holds three jobs, one of which does not pay much, but still, Arul Selvaraj is a happy and contended man.
The former Malaysian international's first love is hockey, so he teaches the sport at a local school, is the caretaker for the Three Rock Rovers Hockey Club and assistant coach to the Ireland national men's team.
There is never a moment in his daily routine when he is far away from the hockey field, as even his house is located at the clubhouse, and he is just a door away from the two artificial pitches.
"It is not easy as I have to juggle three jobs, but hockey is what I love most and so there is never a dull moment in my daily routine," said Arul after Ireland were held to a 1-1 draw by South Korea.
The Rovers HC men's side play in the Irish Hockey League and the women's team compete in the Leinster Senior League Division 1.
But surprisingly, the school and club jobs are the ones that put bread on his table, while being the Ireland assistant coach does not pay much.
"Hockey is certainly a minority sport here as rugby and Gaelic games (Gaelic football, hurling, handball and rounders) are the more preferred choice and is where the money is.
"The Malaysian hockey players and coaches are certainly very lucky because the MHC (Malaysian Hockey Confederation) and the NSC (National Sports Council) gives them a solid backing and money is never a problem.
"Here in Ireland, the players have to fork out much of the money, and if you are selected to the national side, you have to pay Euro 280 to confirm your spot," said Arul.
"Parents and clubs are the ones who are keeping the sport alive here, and if we qualify for the Olympics for the first time (in 104 years) I think, only then, will the sport be recognised here."
The newspapers and television in Ireland only give hockey a passing glance, and the coverage has been anything but poor.
And that is why the Irish players and their Malaysian assistant coach as well as chief coach, South African Paul Revington, are eager to prove a point by snatching the Qualifier gold.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Just a step away from the final

ALL Malaysia have to do now is beat South Korea and have a game in hand...

RESULTS --- March 10: Malaysia 5 Chile 1, Ireland 6 Russia 1, South Korea 8 Ukraine 2.
March 11: Malaysia 6 Russia 2, Ukraine 0 Ireland 12, South Korea 6 Chile 1.

March 13: Ukraine 1 Malaysia 5, Russia 4 Chile 3, Ireland 1 South Korea 1.

March 15: Russia v Ukraine (9pm), Malaysia v South Korea (11.30pm), Chile v Ireland (2am).
March 17: South Korea v Russia (6pm), Chile v Ukraine (8.30pm), Ireland v Malaysia (11pm).
March 18: Final and placing matches.


P W D L F A Pts
MALAYSIA 3 3 0 0 16 4 9
IRELAND 3 2 1 0 19 2 7
S KOREA 3 2 1 0 15 4 7
RUSSIA 3 1 0 2 7 15 3
CHILE 3 0 0 3 5 15 0
UKRAINE 3 0 0 3 3 25 0

Korea hold Ireland 1-1

Story and Pic by FIH

Ireland 1, Korea 1

It was the first major test of the Electric Ireland FIH Road to London tournament as unbeaten Ireland and Korea met in a highly-anticipated match. The game lived up to expectations has the squads battled for the full 70 minutes in a hard fought 1-1 draw.
Korea, ranked sixth in the FIH World Ranking and the favorite of this event, fell behind in the first half after Ireland’s David Ames scored the only goal of the period on a diving penalty corner tap in bringing the sell-out crowd to its feet.
Hyun Woo Nam has been the key to Korea’s offense and he was the player to get Korea on the board. After 41 minutes of frustration, Nam’s low shot evened the game at one and silenced the crowd. The teams battled throughout the rest of the half in the best end-to-end action that’s been seen at this tournament.
With seven minutes left in action there was a worrying moment when Ireland’s Conor Harte took a hit to the head and had to be led off the field on a stretcher. The Irish team tried to rally after the injury break, but couldn’t get past Korean goaltender Myung Ho Lee.
The outcome of today’s game leaves the field wide open for the top three teams at this Road to London tournament. Malaysia leads the pack with nine points in three games. But nipping at their heels are Korea and Ireland, which are also both unbeaten, but have fewer points because of today’s tie. The next big test for the top three teams will be on Thursday when Malaysia takes on Korea.

Russia 4, Chile 3

Russia netted its first win at this road to London tournament with a 4-3 victory over Chile. The win still leaves the coveted spot to London out of reach, but nevertheless, it was a moral victory for the 20th ranked Russians in the FIH World Ranking.
The game was up for grabs until Russia struck with two quick goals midway through the second half to bounce back for a 4-3 lead. Pavel Golubev and Alexander Zhirkov scored the critical answers to Chile’s second half surge and killed the momentum that Chile was building. The lead stood through a tense final minutes as Russia took its first points of the event.
Chile went on the board first after Ignacio Gajardo was in perfect position to tap in the ball after it bounced off the post. Three minutes later, Russia’s Aleksandr Platonov returned the favor after finding himself in perfect position to put in a rebound for the 1-1 goal. Platonov gave his team its first lead of the game two minutes later to send the teams into the warmth of the locker room at the break with Russia holding the one-goal lead.
Jan Richter and Alexis Berczely each scored two minutes apart to restore Chile’s lead making it a 3-2 affair, giving Chile the momentum, but Russia stayed composed setting up the go-ahead heroics and hanging on for the win.

Malaysia 5, Ukraine 1

Malaysia did its part to stay atop of the standings at the Electric Ireland FIH Road to London tournament making easy work of Ukraine in a 5-1 victory. The win gives Malaysia three wins in three games and leaves the Ukraine looking for its first points at the event.
Perhaps it was the chilly weather in Dublin, but it took Malaysia awhile to warm up its offense, taking more than 25 minutes to score its first goal when Faizal Saari set up Tengku for the roof shot. The 2-0 goal came eight minutes later and was threaded between the legs of Ukrainian goaltender Vovodymr Kurbatov giving Malaysia the slim two-goal lead at the break.
Malaysia opened the second half scoring with its first penalty corner of the game 18 minutes into the half, but Ukraine bounced back with the surprising counter and put in its lone goal of the game to keep the Malaysians on their toes with a 3-1 game.
With seven minutes left in the game, Malaysia all but sealed the win with the 4-1 goal when Faizal put in the insurance marker. A penalty stroke goal in the last minute of action brought the final to 5-1.
Tomorrow all teams are off, and then on Thursday Malaysia has its first real test of the tournament against top-ranked Korea. Ukraine will look for its first win against Russia.