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Scotland take laurels after spectacular final series in Antrim

Men’s Indoor International Series – game three
Ireland 7 (R Canning 4, O Kidd, J Jackson, J Duncan) Scotland 8 (J Golden 5, C Golden 2, P Christie)

Scotland snatched two goals in the final minute to land a series clean sweep against the Irish men at the Antrim Forum, grabbing the win despite trailing for 33 minutes of the contest.

Ireland looked in good shape for much of the contest as Jeremy Duncan’s drive and finish put the hosts one up in the first four minutes and Ross Canning first of four penalty corner goals doubled up.

Golden brothers Cameron and Jamie have been stand-out performers this week and they levelled matters by the 15th minute only for Canning to reply in kind with his second, ekeing out a 3-2 half-time lead.

Canning added another and Oliver Kidd nicked in to make it 5-2 but it proved a slender lead as Scotland regrouped with the Golden boys getting one each to cut the gap.

Indeed, Stephen O’Keeffe was enjoying a remarkable game between the posts for Ireland, sweeping one off the line having jack-knifed his body to clear the danger.

John Jackson’s breakaway goal again kept Ireland just in front as Patrick Christie got another back for Scotland; 6-5 at the three quarter mark.

Canning’s fourth was slightly delayed as he pinged the crossbar before finding the top corner from a set piece for a 7-5 lead. But Scotland finished the strongest with Jamie Golden scoring three in the last five minutes to turn things around in spectacular fashion.

He closed the gap from a corner and when Ireland went down to five players, he weighed in with two more in the closing minute for a personal tally of five.

It meant a third successive win for the Scots in this comeback series, the first in Ireland indoors since 1987.

Ireland: S O’Keeffe, J Jackson, R Canning, C Robson, N Glassey, J Duncan
Subs: R Patterson, J Haycock, D Howard, O Kidd, R Couse, M Crooks

Scotland: G McKenzie, M Ross, A McAllister, A Lochrin, C Golden, J Golden
Subs: P Christie, J Stephen, S Stewart, G Amour, A Wilson, M Taylor

Women’s Indoor International Series – game three
Ireland 5 (A Benson 3, O Fox, C Brown) Scotland 5 (E Dark 2, S Hinds, C Watson, R Blaikie), Scotland win shoot-out 3-1

Scotland took the final laurels in suitably dramatic style as they edged out Ireland in a shoot-out following a rollercoaster 5-5 draw in the best of three decider at the Antrim Forum.

It was end to end from minute one, Amy Benson’s looping lob opening the scoring only for Ruth Blaikie to equalise and Chloe Brown to retake the lead within seconds of each other. That gave Ireland a 2-1 lead which Benson augmented but Sophie Hinds’ neat finish had it close at 3-2 at half-time.

Benson completed her hat trick early in the second half but Scotland proceeded to grind away at that lead with two Emily Dark corners making the game level and they looked to have done enough to win it when Charlotte Watson made it 5-4.

Irish captain Orla Fox, though, equalised in the closing minute for 5-5, sending the series down to a shoot-out to decide the winners. There, Scotland were faultless in attack and Carmin Dow made the crucial save.

“I don’t know what we were expecting but the first indoor games in 34 years, we will look back on this in a few weeks and it will be really positive. It was annoying to lose on shoot-outs but we progressed really well throughout the series.” Buckley reflected on a dramatic week, citing the second game as one to take a lot from.

“With indoor, you can score in a matter of seconds. It just worked out we scored two goals straight after that save. The girls kept pushing and to get eight goals against a side ranked eight places above us is fantastic.

“The Euros are coming up pretty quickly and we have Scotland in our opening game! It’s something to really look forward to.”

Ireland: E Buckley, S Patton, S Barnwell, C Brown, A Benson, L Graham
Subs: O Fox, O Patton, R McMullen L Lloyd, M Power, B Maye

Scotland: L Camlin, M Steiger, R Blaikie, M Justice, E Wilson, E Dark
Subs: C Watson, C Hay, S Hinds, F Semple, K Stott, C Dow

Men
Tuesday, December 28:
Ireland 3 (M Crooks, R Patterson, R Canning) Scotland 7 (J Golden 3, C Golden 2, P Christie 2); Ireland 7 (R Canning 4, O Kidd, J Jackson, J Duncan) Scotland 8 (J Golden 5, C Golden 2, P Christie)
Wednesday, December 29: Ireland 4 (O Kidd 3, R Canning) Scotland 5 (C Golden 2, G Amour 2, J Golden);

Women
Tuesday, December 28:
Ireland 2 (S Patton, M Power) Scotland 3 (E Dark 2, M Justice)
Wednesday, December 29: Ireland 8 (C Brown 5, L Lloyd 3) Scotland 3 (M Steiger, E Dark, M Justice); Ireland 5 (A Benson 3, O Fox, C Brown) Scotland 5 (E Dark 2, S Hinds, C Watson, R Blaikie), Scotland win shoot-out 3-1

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Brown and Lloyd fire up women’s win; Irish men denied in nine-goal thriller

Women’s Indoor International Series – game two
Ireland 8 (C Brown 5, L Lloyd 3) Scotland 3 (M Steiger, E Dark, M Justice)

Chloe Brown and Lily Lloyd inspired Ireland to a blistering 8-3 win over Scotland to make it all level going into the third and final meeting of the sides at the Antrim Forum.

It came courtesy of a ferocious final quarter which they nailed four goals having earlier trailed 3-2 but also owed a huge amount to Emma Buckley’s diving penalty stroke save when the game was still in the balance.

Millie Steiger popped in a rebound off the post in the first minute to give Scotland a great start but Brown swapped the lead around by the end of Q1 with a pair of corners.

Emily Dark’s audacious dummy and corner got Scotland back on terms by half-time and they started the second half well, going in front when Margery Justice swooped on a loose ball.

Lily Lloyd equalised with a smart finish from a corner rebound and Brown’s third had Ireland with a slight edge going into the final quarter, 4-3, with Sophie Hinds denied by the post.

But the game blew open in a wild fourth quarter in which Dark pinged the crossbar and Lucy Camlin denied Lloyd an outrageous goal. Lloyd, though, did score her second from play for 5-3 before Buckley had to dive low to keep out Justice’s stroke.

It was a turning point as Brown and Lloyd both scored within 30 seconds of that stroke save, a potential 5-4 scoreline now reading 7-3. Brown closed out the scoring in the 34th minute, completing a run of four goals in two minutes of game time with that stroke in between.

Ireland: E Buckley, S Patton, S Barnwell, O Fox, O Patton, A Benson
Subs: K Kimber, C Brown, L Lloyd, M Power, L Graham, B Maye

Scotland: J Buchanan, M Steiger, C Watson, M Justice, K Stott, E Dark
Subs: R Blaikie, C Hay, E Wilson, S Hinds, F Semple, L Camlin

Men’s Indoor International Series – game two
Ireland 4 (O Kidd 3, R Canning) Scotland 5 (C Golden 2, G Amour 2, J Golden)

Scotland made it two wins from two at the Antrim Forum as they held off a concerted fight from Ireland with Ollie Kidd firing a hat trick.

The Scots burst into an opening 2-0 lead with Cameron Golden and Gordon Amour whipping home quickfire strikes in the first five minutes to get off to a flying start.

Ireland hit back with Kidd flicking their first corner into the roof of the net to make it 2-1 at the quarter-time break. Ross Canning levelled early in Q2 from another corner from the centre and that is how it remained up to half-time.

But another double blow from Golden and Amour in the third quarter put Scotland clear once more 4-2 going into the final phase. Kidd struck once more from a corner to set up a rousing finish but Jamie Golden scored the goal of the game from the left boards for what proved the crucial goal.

Ireland withdrew their impressive goalkeeper Jakim Bernsden and used the extra man to allow Kidd to complete his hat trick from play. As Ireland pushed, Canning hit the post from a corner as did Jamie Golden with another baseline effort but the Scots held on for a 5-4 victory.

Ireland: J Bernsden, J Jackson, J Haycock, O Kidd, J Lynch, J Duncan
Subs: N Glassey, R Canning, R Patterson, M Crooks, R Couse, C Robson

Scotland: M Taylor, M Ross, A McAllister, C Golden, G Amour, J Golden
Subs: P Christie, J Stephen, S Stewart, A Lochrin, A Wilson

Men
Tuesday, December 28:
Ireland 3 (M Crooks, R Patterson, R Canning) Scotland 7 (J Golden 3, C Golden 2, P Christie 2)
Wednesday, December 29: Ireland 4 (O Kidd 3, R Canning) Scotland 5 (C Golden 2, G Amour 2, J Golden); Ireland v Scotland, 2pm

Women
Tuesday, December 28:
Ireland 2 (S Patton, M Power) Scotland 3 (E Dark 2, M Justice)
Wednesday, December 29: Ireland 8 (C Brown 5, L Lloyd 3) Scotland 3 (M Steiger, E Dark, M Justice); Ireland v Scotland, 3.30pm

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Dark turns out the lights on Ireland in cracking women’s opening tie

Women’s Indoor International Series – game one
Ireland 2 (S Patton, M Power) Scotland 3 (E Dark 2, M Justice)

Emily Dark’s double saw Ireland succumb to a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Scotland at the Antrim Foym in the first of their three game international indoor series.

Ireland were in control at half-time, leading 2-0 after Sarah Patton and Mikayla Power goals but Dark’s pair either side of a Margery Justice finish saw the Scots win out.

Patton got the hosts off to a dream start when she burst down the right wing and flicked in by Carmin Dow ticking past the first minute.

From there, Scotland enjoyed more of the ball as Ireland played in a low dice and were thankful to some excellent goalkeeping from Emma Buckley, racing off her line well to shut down chances.

The one time she was beaten, Chloe Brown was wheeling across the goal line to clean up the pieces and she took a Scottish shot off the line.

On the ball, Lily Lloyd was a key figure with her dancing skills and Ireland went 2-0 up when 16-year-old tyro Mikayla Power reacted fastest to a loose ball and flicked in from mid-circle.

Patton seemed destined to make it 3-0 only for sub goalkeeper Jessica Buchanan to produce a remarkable diving save early in the third quarter. Emily Dark’s pin-point penalty corner, though, cut the gap in the 27th minute to put the contest back in the mix.

Both sides hit the post soon after before Justice levelled the contest in the 36th minute and Dark popped up with the winner in the closing seconds with an emphatic corner flick into the roof of the net.

Captain Orla Fox reflected on the tie, saying: “We have a lot of new caps today which has shown the growth of the game and it is so nice to play a home game but it is disappointing, losing it in the last quarter. These games are so useful for us ahead of the Europeans in January and we have a good chance to suss out what our opposition will be like.”

Ireland: E Buckley, S Patton, L Lloyd, O Patton, M Power, L Graham
Subs: C Brown, O Fox, R McMullen, A Benson, K Kimber, B Maye

Scotland: C Dow, R Blaikie, E Wilson, F Semple, M Justice, E Dark
Subs: M Steiger, C Watson, C Hay, S Hinds, K Stott, J Buchanan

Men
Tuesday, December 28:
Ireland 3 (M Crooks, R Patterson, R Canning) Scotland 7 (J Golden 3, C Golden 2, P Christie 2)
Wednesday, December 29: Ireland v Scotland, 10am; Ireland v Scotland, 2pm

Women
Tuesday, December 28:
Ireland 2 (S Patton, M Power) Scotland 3 (E Dark 2, M Justice)
Wednesday, December 29: Ireland v Scotland, 11.30am; Ireland v Scotland, 3.30pm

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Scotland’s Golden boys deny Ireland’s men

Men’s Indoor International Series – game one
Ireland 3 (M Crooks, R Patterson, R Canning) Scotland 7 (J Golden 3, C Golden 2, P Christie 2)

Scotland’s Golden boys made it a bittersweet return to indoor international action on home turf for Ireland after 34 years as the visitors landed a 7-3 win in the opening of three challenge matches at the Antrim Forum.

Cookstown’s Mark Crooks scrambled in an opener for Ireland in the second minute for a dream start but the Scots soon turned on the style.

Jamie Golden slotted a corner to level the game quickly and his older brother Cameron flicked in and Jamie got his second goal in quick succession to make it 3-1 in the fifth minute of a fast and furious encounter.

Stephen O’Keeffe was outstanding in this phase in the green goal but he could not keep out Cameron as the Golden brothers raced to reached their hat trick.

Ireland fronted up well in the second half with Rory Patterson’s smart finish cutting the gap while Ross Canning slotted a corner but two more goals from Patrick Christie and a peach of a finish from Jamie Golden meant the Scots were always out of range.

Reflecting on the result, Irish captain John Jackson said: “It’s bittersweet. To play any international hockey at this time is amazing, especially indoor which is such a special brand of the game and it is nice to showcase it in front of a home crowd.

“It was a step forward from when we played them two years ago in Santander and the new players have added something but we shot ourselves in the foot at times with some of our basics in the first two periods and gave ourselves a mountain to climb.”

The two sides meet again twice on Wednesday at 10am and 2pm.

Ireland: S O’Keeffe, M Crooks, R Canning, J Lynch, R Patterson, J Jackson
Subs: J Haycock, D Howard, O Kidd, C Robson, J Duncan, N Glassey

Scotland: G Mackenzie, M Ross, A McAllister, C Golden, G Amour, J Golden
Subs: J Stephen, P Christie, S Stewart, A Lochrin, A Wilson

Seasons greetings from Hockey Ireland

With Christmas being a time for reflection, Hockey Ireland can look back on a memorable year when our sport not only got back onto the pitch but brought the joy of hockey to new players and new audiences.

The vitality of our clubs, coaches, volunteers, supporters and sponsors has been emotional to witness in 2021 despite the many issues Covid-19 has created.

We have been heartened by the emergence of several new clubs bringing hockey to new regions while the growth of Masters Hockey and Hockey ID clubs shows the sport is becoming accessible to all, regardless of gender, ability or age.

Around 40,000 players across 164 clubs and 244 schools are now registered participants in our new membership system, helping form our wonderful clubs, provincial associations and flourishing schools game.

The summer’s Olympic Games provided the shop window with the Green Army competing on the Olympic stage before refreshing to qualify for another World Cup in 2022.

The senior men began their rejuvenation process in earnest with an emerging new line-up, featuring nine new capped players in green and some exciting developments in the pipeline for the new year.

Their progress has been enhanced by the development of the facilities at the Sport Ireland National Sports Campus with a state of the art video-analysis system, the latest addition to the Olympic standard pitch at Abbotstown.

Sport Ireland and Sport Northern Ireland have been crucial partners and we thank them directly for these provisions and their immense support for our high performance programs and beyond.

Our family of sponsors has also grown this year. We have welcomed Uniphar Group, Red Bull and AIB on board as significant sponsors to add to our current treasured partners SoftCo, Park Developments, Adidas and Saba.

Hockey Ireland has been busy, too, lobbying for capital funding and supports from various different bodies which are vital in helping us to grow the game and the hockey family.

Indeed, this week, we were delighted to hear of €350,000 being made available to the sport from the Covid-19 club support scheme which will hopefully benefit up to 38 different clubs/branches.

We have welcomed new staff on board to help spread the word further with Sarah Murtagh coming on board as our new Munster Regional Development Officer with similar roles in Fingal and Connacht in the pipeline.

It has also been a special year for Ulster Hockey, toasting their 125th anniversary with the launch of an exciting new strategic plan.

Our umpires and officials spread far and wide as European international and club competitions returned this year. We are also delighted to be represented in the European Hockey Federation by Inez Cooper as the continental vice-president and Keith Morrow on the EHF’s finance committee.

These elements have all helped shape and develop our vibrant sport we have in Ireland, from the top of the international game to the grassroots, community and family side which we hold so dear.

For that, we thank all of our clubs, schools, umpires and officials, administrators, supporters and volunteers for the 2021 we have enjoyed and plenty more to come in 2022.

Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Yours in hockey
Trevor Watkins
Hockey Ireland Chairman

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Under-18 Girls invited to national training camp

The following players have been invited for Under-18 Girls National training camps on January 2nd and January 4th 2022.

The Under-18 managers will be in touch with players regarding details of the sessions.

  NAME  SURNAME  PROVINCE   
1  Ella PASLEY  Leinster  
2  Ava  MALEADY  Leinster  
3  Georgie FOTTERELL  Leinster  
4  Alex GALLAGHER  Leinster  
5  Roisin  SEXTON   Leinster  
6  Sally  TRAYNOR  Leinster  
7  Mikayla  POWER  Leinster  
8  Rebecca  CARTHY  Leinster  
9  Martha  DUIGNAM  Leinster GK 
10  Katie  MOORE  Munster  
11  Ruby WALSH  Munster  
12  Jenny MCLAUGHLIN   Munster  
13  Kate  RYAN  Munster  
14  Robyn  MURPHY  Munster  
15  Holly  COMER  Connacht  GK 
16  Olivia   BEATTIE  Ulster    
17  Alex BYRNE  Ulster  
18  Anna  PIM  Ulster    
19  Eva GASTON  Ulster  
20  Darcy   MCGALL  Ulster  
21  Abbie   ROBINSON   Ulster GK 
22  Gabriella  SCOTT  Ulster    
23  Jodie  SIMMONS  Ulster    
24  Ella   BROWN  Ulster    
25  Sarah   KIRGAN  Ulster    
26  Emma  UPRICHARD  Ulster  
27  Enya  DARBY  Ulster GK 
28  Kaia  MOORE  Ulster  

The following 4 players are invited for a further assessment on January 2nd 2022(only) 

1  Aoibheann  COLLINS  Munster  
2  Zoe HANDCOCK  Leinster South   
3  Sarah  MCFARLAND  Leinster  
4  Jessica  MCCONN WALSH  Leinster  
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PRESIDENT’S NEWSLETTER – DECEMBER 2021

It has been a busy schedule since my last newsletter. On Wednesday 13th October, I was invited by the Minister of Communities, Deirdre Hargey, to a reception in the Great Hall Parliament Buildings, Stormont, to celebrate the achievements of Northern Ireland’s athletes in the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Out of the 12 athletes present, four were members of the Ireland Women’s Hockey Team – Katie Mullan, Shirley McCay, Lizzie Holden and Zara Malseed. Katie and Shirley were interviewed and spoke very well about their experience.

It was time for the European Hockey Federation World Qualifiers and on Thursday 21st October I travelled to Cardiff to support the Ireland Men in their tournament. I stayed in the Village Hotel, as did Ireland squad, which was approx. a 20–25-minute journey to Sophia Gardens.

Ann Rosa at Stormont with the Irish Olympic contingent

The players and support staff were in a bubble, ate their meals in a separate area and we just met if we were in the reception area at the same time. As a result, I was not able to congratulate and present Johnny McKee with his 50th cap on Thursday 21st and Shane O’Donoghue with his 200th cap on Sunday 24th. The team conducted themselves impeccably well during their stay and were a credit to Hockey Ireland.

In their first match, they played very well against a strong Russian team and were clear winners, 2-0. The Russians were only allowed to field 11 on-field players due to Covid restrictions, but this did not take away from the Irish victory. Our men deserved the win. The Irish players were quietly confident going into the Welsh game on Saturday, knowing that the winners would secure a place in the World Cup. However, it wasn’t to be and Wales won the shoot-out competition after an unfortunate umpiring decision.

The match to decide 3rd and 4th places took place before the final on Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, after taking the lead the Irish men could not hold off strong Austrian attacks. They had their chances, but another shoot-out competition, decided their 4th place. Wales came out winners of the tournament, beating France in a closely contested final.

As we cheered on the Irish men, we were wondering how we were going to be able to watch the women’s match online from Pisa. Sarah Campion, Hockey Ireland’s Media Officer, had the answer – she brought her lap-top to the side of the pitch and as she was multi-tasking and keeping Twitter feeds going, we were able see the women in action against Wales. We were delighted when the Irish girls held on to win and qualify for the World Cup.

On 30th & 31st October, I attended the WISE Hockey ID Festival at the Sport Ireland National Sports Campus in Abbotstown where seven teams took part. Harbourne and Wakefield travelled from England with teams from Botanic, Monkstown, Railway Union, Three Rock Rovers and Wicklow joining the event. Players and officials were delighted to meet the Irish Minister of State for Sport, Jack Chambers, who came to support the event on the Saturday morning.

As part of the event, there was a FIH Hockey ID Coaching Course with Norman Hughes, Grahame Mansell-Grace, Hans Pieter van Beek and Hugh Santos working with coaches over the weekend. Our thanks go to Dwyne Hill for organising this event and to all the volunteers who made it such a memorable weekend for all.

The Under 16, Under 18 and Under 21 Interprovincials are being played under a different format for this season only. On Sunday 14th November, I travelled to Three Rock Rovers to watch the Connacht Under 18 and Under 16 teams take on Ulster. Two very exciting games were played. Ulster came out winners of both matches with the Under 18s winning 4-0 and the Under 16s winning 7-0. The Connacht girls played very well in both matches and did not give up until the final whistle.

As President of Hockey Ireland, I was invited to Stormont on Wednesday 24th November, to celebrate the commencement of Ulster Hockey’s 125 celebrations and the launch of Ulster Hockey’s Strategic Plan, hosted by the Minister of Communities, Deirdre Hargey. The theme was ‘The Past, The Present and the Future’ and guests listened to speeches from Joan McCloy, and Terry Templeton who talked about key events in the past, Shirley McCay and Conor Savage the present, and Marc Scott, Ulster Hockey’s Executive Manager who outlined the future with the key elements of the Strategic Plan.

It was very disappointing for the Ireland Women’s Under 21 team when the new Covid variant resulted in the postponement of the Junior World Cup that was scheduled for Potchefstroom in South Africa from 5th – 16th December. So much work has been put into preparing the squad and producing a detailed and amazing online programme of 88 pages. It was an honour to write the introduction for this programme. We hope that it can be rescheduled in the not-too-distant future. The team travelled to Spain instead for a quickly arranged Four Nations tournament in Valencia from Wednesday, December 8 to Sunday, December 12.

I was an observer at Hockey Ireland’s EGM which was held online on Thursday 25th November.

On various weekends, I have enjoyed watching matches closer to home. On 16th October I watched the first half of Irish Trophy game between NICS and Queens at Stormont with Queens leading, then made my way to Lagan College to see the second half of the Irish Senior Cup match Annadale playing Pembroke. There was a good crowd of supporters for both teams, with Queens and Pembroke coming out winners.

With CEO Jerome Pels and Minister of State for Sport, Jack Chambers

On 20th November, I looked in at the EYHL 2 game at Queens Playing Fields to watch the home team play UNIG and come out winners 3-0, then went to Newforge to see a very close game with Pegasus drawing 3-3 with UCD in their EYHL 1 match. On 4th December, on a bitterly cold afternoon at Deramore, I watched a closely contested game between Belfast Harlequins and Muckross, with the home side coming out on top with a winning score of 2-1. On Sunday 5th December, after the online Hockey Ireland Board Meeting, I called into Lisnagarvey Hockey Club to see the Under 21 Interprovincial game between Ulster and Leinster with Leinster coming out the stronger side to take their chances in the circle and win 3-1.

A great crowd of supporters braved a damp and cold afternoon on Wednesday 8th December for the McCullough Cup Final, to watch a close and exciting match between Banbridge Academy and Wallace High School. Wallace took an early lead but Banbridge came back strongly and won this prestigious cup 3-1.

In a post-match chat, I was talking to one of the school Principals who congratulated Ulster Hockey and Hockey Ireland for the continuation of hockey in the current pandemic situation, as events like these are important to be kept running in the school calendar. I arrived home in time to tune in to the webinar for the Olympic Federation of Ireland’s EGM, as the voting delegate for Hockey Ireland.

Last Sunday, 12th December I was delighted to attend the opening of the newly surfaced hockey pitch at Dundalk Grammar School with Trevor Watkins and Shane O’Donoghue. Our thanks go to the Principal, Mr Jonathan Graham and to the Board of Governors for making us very welcome. We enjoyed watching the Senior Girls play against Boyne and must congratulate both teams on a very sporting and skilful game of hockey. A timelapse, showing the tremendous work that had gone into removing the former playing surface, that had lasted 27 years, to the laying of the new pitch, was an excellent idea and a two-minute video, shown during refreshments, summed up the work very well.

From Dundalk I travelled to the Antrim Forum to watch indoor matches and present the winners of the Under 18 Girls’ Tournament, Coleraine with the trophy. My congratulations go to all the teams that took part during the afternoon. I look forward to returning to the Antrim Forum on 28th and 29th December Ireland’s men and women in their international matches against Scotland.

Unfortunately in the build up to the festive season, we are back to online meetings but let us hope that our matches can continue uninterrupted.

May I take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a healthy and enjoyable 2022.

Ann Rosa

19th December 2021

At the opening of Dundalk GS’s new pitch

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Grainger to continue role as Hockey Ireland High Performance Director

Hockey Ireland are delighted to confirm Adam Grainger will continue in his role as Hockey Ireland High Performance Director.

“I am delighted to be reappointed as Hockey Ireland High Performance Director,” Grainger said. “It is a really exciting time for the sport and I am looking forward to working on the next Olympic cycles and taking on board all the learning from the Tokyo Olympics.

“I look forward to working with the senior and junior international players, coaches and multi-disciplinary personnel to maximise Ireland’s on-field performance and increase the likelihood of success.

“I would like to thank Sport Ireland, Sport Northern Ireland and the Olympic Federation of Ireland for all their invaluable, continued support of Hockey Ireland’s High Performance programs.

Grainger joined Hockey Ireland in 2017 on a fixed-term contract following successful spells in high performance at Sale Sharks, Saracens, London Wasps and UCD’s Ad Astra Elite Academy.

During his tenure in hockey, Ireland have contested both men and women’s World Cups with the latter winning silver in London 2018 before going on to qualify and compete at the Tokyo Olympics.

Speaking about Grainger’s continued role with Hockey Ireland, Chief Executive Jerome Pels added: “Adam has proven a key asset to our sport since joining Hockey Ireland four years ago with a deep understanding of the demands of high performance sport.

“We are pleased to have him continue to build on his good work in the coming years and put the structures in place for success on the world stage.”

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WATCH: All the goals from the Irish U-21 men’s indoor campaign

Ireland’s first Under-21 men’s EuroHockey Indoor Championship II campaign ended with a sixth place finish in Porto, running Denmark close in the final game 6-5.

Coach Kenny Carroll says that while a big result proved elusive, with extremely limited preparation time and the newness of the experience, it was a good place to start as Ireland looks to raise its standard on the boards.

Indeed, Ireland were competitive throughout, pushing their more experienced opponents at different turns while Oliver Kidd was the tournament’s second highest scorer with 11 goals from five games.

** You can see all the goals here** 

“Sunday was a big effort against Denmark and unfortunately we end up losing by a goal in the end in a fairly exciting match,” Carroll said. 

“Through the tournament, we improved from match to match which is all you can ask for. We are playing teams who play a lot of indoor hockey and, all in all, it was a successful tournament. 

“This team was about getting a team out there and competing with all the logistical difficulties and the preparation time. We couldn’t get indoors until October [due to Covid-19 restrictions].

“We had no issues with Covid which is great coming over and back. It will definitely make these players better and raise the standard locally. We have to start somewhere, our first ever Under-21 indoor team.

“We have another chance next year and should more and more preparation time with more younger players doing indoor hockey, they will get more experience going into the national setup. “

Hockey Ireland achieved Xcessible Bronze Award

Hockey Ireland is delighted to have achieved the Xcessible Bronze Award, run by Cara and Sport Ireland. Xcessible has been developed to help support and empower national governing bodies to provide opportunities positively and meaningfully for people with disabilities to take part, sustain participation and excel in sport and physical activity in a number of roles.

Reflecting on the success of Hockey Ireland in achieving the Xcessible Bronze Award; Cara’s Sport Inclusion Coordinator Odhrán Doherty said:

“Cara is delighted to recognise the outstanding work undertaken by Hockey Ireland in developing structures and strategies to empower the inclusion of people with disabilities within Hockey in Ireland by awarding them with the Xcessible Bronze Award. 

“It is clear to see the commitment and passion of Hockey Ireland towards inclusion and it is great to see the progress they made in 2021, particularly in how they are using the Sport Inclusion Disability Charter, Inclusive Coach Education, Inclusive Club interventions and Xcessible to drive their ambitions alongside innovative programmes to increase participation.

“We congratulate Hockey Ireland on their achievements so far and look forward to supporting them on the next stage of their journey in 2022.”

Xcessible is a three staged resourced pathway designed to ease an national governing body or local sport partnership into the area of Inclusion and supports them through the process of developing and increasing their capacity to support people with disabilities within sport and physical activity.

The main purpose of the programme is to enable NGBs and LSPs to function inclusively with limited support from specialist agencies and to enable them to realise their vision of inclusion and to understand and reflect on their current provisions and philosophy of inclusion for people with disabilities.