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Match Report. Ireland v Scotland 5-1 Victory

Ireland Claims 5-1 Victory Over Scotland in First of Two Match Series in Final Prep for Europeans in June.

15 May 2021

Ireland 5 (Duke, Upton, Malseed, Carey, Evans), Scotland 1 (Burnet).

A short period of scattered play got the match marked off in the opening minutes before Deirdre Duke managed to strike from just inside the top of the circle and catch Scotland’s keeper off-guard. Hannah McLoughlin had the next opportunity of the match, applying pressure in the Scottish circle, but failed to convert it to the scoreboard. However, a penalty corner to Ireland with less than two minutes left in the first quarter saw Evans insert, deflection from McLoughlin before an Upton goal increased the lead to 2-0.

Malseed increased the Irish lead again in the opening minutes of the second quarter, and it wasn’t long before she was back pressing on the Scottish circle again. Scotland’s Burnet returned the challenge on the Irish circle moments later, but McFerran saved and pushed the ball back up the pitch where Ireland was awarded a penalty corner shortly afterwards. This time a shot from McLoughlin was saved and pushed out by the Scottish goalkeeper.

Scotland’s Sabatelli managed to create a chance for herself in front of the Irish goal. McFerran dived to save but the strike went wide of the mark. Caoimhe Perdue and Sarah McAuley played well throughout the second quarter before Katie Mullan created a chance for Naomi Carroll which was ultimately defended out. A penalty corner for Scotland saw Jamieson’s shot defended on the line by Shirley McCay, but the Burnet found the rebound to finally put Scotland on the scoreboard ahead of the half-time whistle went with a 3-1 lead to Ireland.

O’Flanagan and Evans pushed hard from the whistle to attack the Scotland defence, however, the eventual shot on the goal went too high. Michelle Carey was on form with a number of precise interventions, stealing possession back from Scotland on a number of occasions. The third quarter provided several chances for both sides. A flurry of chances for Ireland failed to return a goal, while McFerran saved two attempts from Scotland. An eventual cross circle shot from Duke was met perfectly by Carey who tapped it over the line to bring the score to Ireland 4-1 Scotland.

The final quarter saw a Watkins shot bounce off the Scotland keeper before Evans secured the rebound making it 5-1 to the hots. Sarah McAuley made her presence known to the Scottish attackers deftly intercepting as they approached the Irish circle. Scotland failed to convert their final penalty corner chance, while O’Flanagan shot wide in Ireland’s last real chance of the game. Scotland pressed in the final two minutes, however, fumbled in the circle and McFerran was able to kick the ball from harm’s way. Full-time score Ireland 5-1 Scotland.

Ireland: M Carey, N Carroll, L Colvin, D Duke, N Evans, S Hawkshaw, Z Malseed, S McAuley, A McFerran, S McCay, H McLoughlin, K Mullan, E Murphy, A O’Flanagan, C Perdue, R Upton, C Watkins.

Scotland: M Bell, J Buchanan, F Burnet, L Camlin, L Campbell, R Collins, B Condie, E Dark, J Eadie, K Holmes, S Jamieson, H McEwan, H Howie, K Robertson, L Sabatelli, F Semple, B Shields, M Steiger, E Wilson, B Ward.

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Hockey Ireland U19 Teams Withdraw from European Championships

Hockey Ireland has announced its decision to withdraw the U19 Boys and Girls National teams from competing in the EuroHockey Federation (EHF) European Championships in Valencia this July. The 2020 U18 EHF Championships were postponed last year, and an additional year was added to the age-group for 2021, making it an U19 event. The EHF distributed the tournament Covid-19 protocols this week and requested a decision from each Nation regarding their ability to travel and compete. Hockey Ireland are aware that a number of other nations have now also withdrawn.

Each nation has different levels of risk within their home country, along with different transport and quarantine requirements. The COVID-19 protocols were restrictive for underage players and costly to all the competing nations. It has been a very difficult decision for Hockey Ireland to make. However, several key factors from the protocols could not be overlooked and has led to this decision:

  • Government Guidelines state that all persons in the Republic of Ireland are advised against non-essential travel to any country. Elite Exemption for travel has only been granted to Hockey Ireland Senior programmes and professional sports teams within Ireland. Unfortunately, our U18 squads do not have elite exemption at this moment in time and are not guaranteed that the elite exemption stance on the U18 squads will change ahead of the tournament.
  • In line with Hockey Ireland safeguarding protocols, underage player and staff welfare is a priority. Hockey Ireland have concerns regarding the length of isolation periods should a player(s) test positive during the tournament or become close contacts, coupled with the fact that many travelling athletes would be U18 and would require an appropriate member of staff to remain nearby the isolation location in order to ensure their welfare.

Speaking on the decision, Performance Director Adam Grainger said, “This matter has been given careful deliberation. This was not an easy decision but one that was made with the players welfare in mind.

Following the decision to withdraw from the EHF European competition, Hockey Ireland have been discussing with the Home Nations regarding matches in July. We will be discussing this further with the management teams and will distribute information as soon as possible.”

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Green Army take on Scotland in Final Home Preparations for European’s

The Green Army will take on Scotland this weekend, the 15th and 16th of May, in Queen’s University Belfast. The sides last met in July 2019, with Ireland coming away from the series in Stormont with two wins and a draw.

The uncapped matches will be part of the final home match preparations for this summer’s European Championships in Amstelveen, the Netherlands, ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games. Ireland will face Scotland as part of Pool A in the European Championships in June. Tournament hosts, and World Number One, the Netherlands will also play in Pool A of the Championship, with Spain completing the group.

With the EuroHockey Championships now an integral aspect of the World Cup qualification process, the 2018 silver medallists will be keen to ensure they maximise every opportunity to allow them to perform this summer in Amstelveen not only as a warmup for the postponed Tokyo Olympic Games but also to secure their spot in the 2022 World Cup.

The squad for these matches is as follows:

Carey Michelle Leinster                 Midfielder             Uncapped
Carroll Naomi Munster               Striker                     111
Colvin Lizzie Ulster                    Midfielder              196
Duke Deirdre Leinster                Midfielder               141
Evans Nicola Leinster                Striker                      198
Frazer Megan Ulster                   Midfielder                136
Hawkshaw Sarah Leinster                Midfielder                33
Malseed Zara Ulster                    Striker                      Uncapped
Matthews Hannah Leinster                Defender                 147
McAuley Sarah Leinster                Defender                 Uncapped
McCay Shirley Ulster                    Defender                306
McLoughlin Hannah Leinster                Defender                 14
McFerran Ayeisha Ulster                    Goalkeeper             100
Mullan Katie Ulster                    Midfielder               193
Murphy Elizabeth Leinster                Goalkeeper             13
O’Flanagan Anna Leinster                Striker                      207
O’Flanagan Grace Leinster                Goalkeeper             36
Torrans Sarah Leinster                Striker                      26
Upton Roisin Munster               Defender                 76
Watkins Chloe Leinster                Midfielder               226

Speaking on the announcement, Head Coach Sean Dancer, said “These are our final matches ahead of European selection. We’re really looking forward to getting some games under pressure in the lead up to a major tournament”.

These matches will not be lived streamed.

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Grace O’Flanagan, Darkness into Light.

“How do you manage to fit in all the practice and still be a doctor as well?” Daniel, aged 9, to Irish goalkeeper Grace O’Flanagan.

The hand-written letter landed in her mailbox at the end of a 14-hour shift before heading into a weekend of training with the Green Army.

The letter landed in February 2020 as she was working her way back into Olympic contention having taken a year out in the wake of the 2018 World Cup silver medal run.

As second choice goalkeeper behind Ayeisha McFerran, O’Flanagan’s role was an understated but absolutely crucial one. But it was perhaps her intervention a year before which was the most vital save of all, denying Rani Rampal from the penalty flick spot with her first touch of the qualifiers.

McFerran had been sent to the sin-bin and India were one up; lose and Ireland were likely set to sit out another major tournament. She guess right, Ireland fought back and the bandwagon’s wheels started to roll.

In the wake of London’s heroics, though, O’Flanagan had to take a year out to focus on her job as a surgical trainee, soon to be a specialist registrar, before thinking about whether or not to battle for a place in the Tokyo squad.

“Safe to say, [that letter] brought a smile to my face!” Indeed, it’s a question the Railway Union shot-stopper has been trying to work out for the guts of a decade, marrying an intense career on and off the pitch.

“I love to try and balance it all but the reality is I had jobs where the hours were too much, I wouldn’t make training sessions. It was looking after my mental health, there’s only so much you can do, so I took the decision after the World Cup to take a break because I had been doing so much.”

When the pandemic hit and Tokyo 2020 postponed, it meant all hands on deck and she spent six months working frontline in COVID hospitals.

Gradually, though, international hockey came back into view in the autumn and now, with the vaccine roll-out in place, O’Flanagan has been able to take the decision to take work-leave and solely play hockey for the coming months with June’s European Championships and the reset Tokyo dates a month later.

“My availability for work would have been too little really. I didn’t want to leave my colleagues stretched or short-staffed so the easier thing was that I would focus on training especially considering the quarantine issue every time we travel.

“It would have been just too much time out of work had I been in and out. I’m definitely glad I’ve made that decision, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. 

“I think I would always have looked back and wondered ‘what if’ if I hadn’t given it everything I have, so that was my thinking going in to this. I’m enjoying every minute of it, but I’m looking forward to getting back to work. But this is an opportunity I had to go for.”

As such, it puts her in line for another loop on the rollercoaster of emotions. Eighteen months before the World Cup, she was diagnosed with cancer in her neck.

Her medical intuition suggested it was more than tight muscles after a tough training block. It allowed her to a catch an aggressive type of soft tissue sarcoma — an epithelioid variant of myxofibrosarcoma to be exact — early enough.

“I knew the kind of cancer they suspected and knew it had a poor outlook,” she said of that moment. “All of a sudden, I went from being a healthy 26-year-old to maybe not being alive in five years’ time. That was daunting!”

It is why she has an empathy with the powerful Darkness Into Light message and the ability to come back from your lowest moments, a central reason why she is delighted to be among the Pieta House fundraiser’s ambassadors.

“When I was asked, it was something I absolutely jumped at it,” she said. “My experience as a doctor and an athlete gives me a unique insight into the importance of mental health. 

“It is definitely part of everyday life for me in work and in my sport. As athletes, we have to pay really close attention to our physical but also our mental well-being, looking at how our mood is every day, our sleep, all those things make a difference to our performance.”

At work, meanwhile, she spent the first six months of the pandemic working in COVID hospitals where she saw all kinds of strain among her patients and colleagues.

“I see a lot of patients with mental health issues coming into hospitals in crisis. The reality is most of us know someone who struggles from mental health issues, most know someone affected by suicide. 

“That’s the importance of Darkness into Light and Pieta, helping them. The idea of 200,000 people coming together at one time for sunrise to show support, to show we are standing up for mental health issues, to show we are fighting against suicide is a really important message.

“It has been a difficult year for healthcare workers, for the health service, for our patients and the general public. Thankfully, we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccines rolling out, numbers going down, things opening up. That’s really positive and we are seeing the relief in hospitals.”

Four out of ten people who access Pieta’s services cite loneliness as a trigger for seeking suicide prevention counselling, making it more important than ever to unite for ‘One Sunrise Together’ this weekend

Join Pieta, Electric Ireland and the thousands of people already signed up for Darkness Into Light this Saturday, May 8th by signing up now at www.darknessintolight.ie

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Hockey Ireland Covid-19 Update – 06th May 2021

Hockey Ireland Coronavirus (COVID-19) UPDATE regarding Changes to COVID-19 Restrictions.

06 May 2021

The following changes have been made to the Hockey Ireland Covid-19 guidelines given the latest announcement on Covid-19 restrictions made by the Irish (ROI) Government.

Please see the following link for more information: gov.ie – Level 5 (www.gov.ie)

Updated Guidelines:

Please note: These guidelines are applicable from 10th May 2021.

  1. Outdoor training for adults in pods of 15 (including a coach) may resume. This includes contact training.
  2. Contact training for underage players may also resume in pods of 15 (including a coach).

From 07th June 2021:

  1. Outdoor (non-elite and club) matches and competitions may recommence.
  2. These should be played behind closed doors, with only essential personnel in attendance.

Please be advised that the ‘Return to Training’ guidelines continue to apply.

For Northern Ireland (NI), there following guidelines continue to apply:

From 23rd April:

The following relates to non-elite level outdoor sport:

  1. Outdoor sport organised by a club, individual or individuals affiliated will be extended to include squad training.
  2. Competitive outdoor sport can be organised by a club, individual or individuals affiliated, with numbers (including participants, officials, management and essential support personnel) not exceeding 100 and no spectators permitted.

The ‘Return to Training’ guidelines should continue to apply.

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The SoftCo Bucket Challenge

  • The Challenge

    Using the hockey stick, the ball must be passed by all players in the air without it hitting the ground, with the last player passing the ball into the bucket (see age categories below for details on the number of players). Your Challenge must be recorded & timed. The winner is the team who complete the challenge in the quickest time. There can only be 1 entry per team, but a club or school can have multiple entries from different teams within the same age category.

  • Challenge Entry Dates

    Challenge is open to entries between April 30 to May 31

  • How to Enter

    Each recorded Video Entry must be posted on twitter or Instagram by an authorised teacher or coach with the hashtag #softcobucketchallenge and tag @softcogroup on Twitter and @softco_life on Instagram. The winners in each group (see age categories below) will be the team who complete the challenge in the quickest time.

Want to see how the GreenArmy handled the challenge? Go to: https://twitter.com/SoftCoGroup/status/1388099470550839301 

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Cees Koppelaar tribute

Kindly written and supplied by Stephen Findlater.

“The beauty of life is movement” – Cees Koppelaar

The Irish hockey community joined the wider world of Dutch sport to remember Cees Koppelaar last week following his death on Monday [April 26th] at the age of 81.

He could tell someone’s talent from the way in which they ran and he saw plenty of talent in his colourful life, one which brought him to Irish attention from 1987 to 1997 as senior men’s coach and, ultimately, Honorary Membership of Hockey Ireland.

Before that, Koppelaar had already achieved more than cult status in his homeland where he ran internationally in the 800m and 4x400m.

But it was in the coaching realm that he truly made his name, starting off at the Sagitta club, home to Fanny Blankers-Koen. Her husband, Jan, recommended his talents to Ajax coach Rinus Michels, initially with a second team that featured future legends Ruud Krol and Arie Haan.

After an initial trial of 10 sessions, Michels kept him on and he was soon refining the running techniques of Johan Cruijff all the way through to the 80s with Frank Rijkaard and Marco van Basten.

Cruijff would discover his hard but fair methods when he tried to move a training cone a little closer to shorten the pain in a running session: “You don’t steal from uncle Cees, you steal from yourself!” was the lesson.

He settled in Bloemendaal at the end of the 1970s where his passion for hockey was ignited, working with the village’s famous club, immersing himself in the game. He was installed as coach, bringing the club back to the upper echelons of the Hoofdklasse.

He had hoped to be co-opted to the Dutch national team but when his application for that role was turned down, Ireland stepped in. George Treacy had met him at coaching courses in the Netherlands and helped hatch a plan to bring him over to Ireland.

Along with Dixon Rose, they flew him over to Dublin and a deal was signed in the kitchen at Grange Road to make him the first paid men’s head coach in 1987.

Rose explained: “He wasn’t really thought of as a hockey coach in Holland, more of a physical trainer. His connection with hockey was tenuous.

“It was big for him to get [the Irish job] because he was frustrated not to get the Dutch job and he was hell-bent on proving to the Dutch that he could coach. That was why he was keen to take it and we really got the benefit from him!

“It was a seismic shift. Cees had a great personality. He wasn’t a hockey person per se but he had a major insight to Ajax and saw it like football with sticks. His legacy was he put Ireland on the map in European and world terms.

“He could tell when he saw a hockey player when he was running from behind whether he would be any good or not!”

Koppelaar was famed for his affability, his ability to tell a story and to engage with allcomers. And he was also known for what some called his distinctly Dutch way of calling a spade a spade, knowing his own mind and what he wanted.

“He could be a very volatile person,” Rose added. “When I initially told him George [Compston] was going to come in to join him as manager of the team [in 1988], he flew off the handle.

“He wanted to appoint his own manager; I said he could accept our recommendation or go back to Holland. I asked him just to try it, meet George, have the craic with him and see what you think.

“They just gelled immediately. George was perfect for him; he was pragmatic, quiet and very efficient and so they became the perfect partnership and that is when the success came.”

The outcome was plain to see; a place at the 1990 World Cup in Lahore and a fifth place finish at the European Championships in 1995.

And he relished helping Ireland land their first – and, still, only – win over the Netherlands, a 2-1 success in 1995 in Dublin. In total, he was head coach for 127 games, with 52 wins.

More than that, he travelled the length and breadth of the island to support the sport, running coaching clinics ­­wherever called for one.

Following his Irish stint, he returned to his original job as a running trainer with RKC Waalwijk football club and, always, with Bloemendaal and the Dutch national setup. In 2012, he was included in the KNHB’s Order of Merit, and he would remain involved at the highest level until just two years ago.

He famously gave the country’s best ever player, Teun de Nooijer, his first start at club level at the age of 15, and he encapsulated his influence.

“You read everywhere that Cees was a running trainer, but he was so much more than that,” de Nooijer said. “He was tactically strong and often acted as mentor to the group. He was someone with the gift of striking the right chord with players. 

“Hard, but fair. He had a perfect sense of what it took to get a team up and running again. He often saw from a distance whether someone was not feeling well. He immediately started working on it. Always with a lot of enthusiasm, anecdotes and humour, and with an enormous empathy.”

*Pictured about in his role as running coach with HC Bloemendaal and then back in the 70s with Johan Cruijff

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RIP Cees Koppelaar

Hockey Ireland are saddened to learn of the passing of Cees Koppelaar, former Hockey Ireland Men’s Coach from 1987 to 1997 and honorary life member. A member of the Dutch national team in the early 1960’s as an 800 meter runner and member of the 4 x 400 meter relay team, he came into soccer and hockey through athletics. Koppelaar was the first professional coach assigned to the Hockey Ireland job and guided Ireland to the World Cup finals in Lahore, Pakistan in 1990.

A further write up will follow. Our thoughts are with his loved ones at this time.

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Katie Mullan on the Upcoming Summer of International Hockey

Katie Mullan says how each nation adapts to their ever-evolving circumstances will play a key role in ultimate success or otherwise this summer with June’s European Championships and the Olympic Games only six weeks later on the horizon.

 

Speaking ahead of the Green Army’s four-game series against Great Britain, the Irish skipper was “super excited” to get these high-quality games against the reigning Olympic champions into the agenda.

 

Ireland were originally hoping to be in Tokyo this month, scoping out the Olympic venue and getting some high-humidity training under their belt. Restrictions meant that plan was switched to Malaysia, but that 19-day tour also bit the dust on the eve of departure. It is indicative of the difficulties in the current COVID-19 environment. But Hockey Ireland acted quickly to work with Great Britain – who also withdrew from the trip to Malaysia – to arrange this latest 12-day camp. Although Ireland played GB as recently as March in the SoftCo Series, Mullan is delighted to meet them again so quickly.

 

“GB play such a fast, exciting version of hockey and that’s what we want to do too,” she said. “We’re excited to play international hockey and hit the pace we need to prepare for the Europeans [in June]. In a perfect world, playing the same team is not how you would want it, but we are grateful to get the games and it is very good preparation to focus on ourselves.”

 

Indeed, she is grateful Great Britain are available to play with other options currently limited. Many of the big leagues in Europe are closing in on their end of season playoffs while some nations like Australia, New Zealand and China have not been given clearance to travel to date.

 

“Every nation has their struggles in terms of best preparing getting out of Covid. You can see how much quicker Australia and New Zealand got out of lockdown and were able to train. 

 

“In one sense, they got a couple of steps ahead. Now, they are not getting games which we are. 

 

“Every team has their own personal journey and it’s going to be whoever manages those ups and downs best who will be the successful teams this summer, especially so for the European teams who have to go and peak twice with this being a qualifier for the World Cup.”

 

That is a complication Sean Dancer’s side will have to manage carefully. It is something they struggled with in 2017 when the Hockey World League semi-finals – the key World Cup qualifier – was followed just a month later by the European Championships. Ireland excelled at the former to earn their ticket to London 2018 but were close to burn-out for the second tournament and it almost cost them their place in Europe’s top tier.

 

“It’s been something we’ve spoken about a lot, the double-peak and what we learned from 2017. The biggest thing is back then we weren’t used to being together as a group throughout the year like we are now. 

 

“We came into those tournaments for a very short, intense period of time but were not used to being in each other’s company as consistently. 

 

“The fact we are together now in a semi-professional environment every week for a couple of days, it puts us in a better position and better prepared for the intensity of two international tournaments in one summer. 

“It’s going to be a challenge and one we are very aware of. There’s lots we can do to prepare for it and have lots of expertise in the group to manage it.”

 

For the series at Bisham Abbey, coach Dancer has made a number of changes to the line-up from the SoftCo Series, one which will also be uncapped. There is the potential for UCC’s Caoimhe Perdue – a graduate of Ursulines in Thurles – to play her first minutes of senior international minutes following her inclusion.

 

UCD skipper Ellen Curran is also back for her first international camp since January 2020 when she scored Ireland’s most recent goal in a capped match, netting against Germany in Stellenbosch.

Lena Tice and Megan Frazer remain in Ireland as they manage injury concerns while Ayeisha McFerran stays in the Netherlands on club duty with SV Kampong.

 

The game against GB will not be streamed on this occasion.

 

Ireland squad for Bisham Abbey (April 22-May 2):  Michelle Carey (UCD), Naomi Carroll (Catholic Institute), Lizzie Colvin (Belfast Harlequins), Nicci Daly (Loreto), Deirdre Duke (Old Alex), Nikki Evans (Old Alex), Sarah Hawkshaw (Railway Union), Zara Malseed (Ards), Hannah Matthews (Loreto), Sarah McAuley (Muckross), Shirley McCay (Pegasus), Hannah McLoughlin (UCD), Katie Mullan (Ballymoney), Lizzie Murphy (Loreto), Anna O’Flanagan (Muckross), Grace O’Flanagan (Railway Union), Sarah Torrans (Loreto), Roisin Upton (Catholic Institute), Chloe Watkins (Monkstown), Ellen Curran (UCD), Caoimhe Perdue (UCC)

 

Remaining Match dates and times:

Tuesday 27 April: Great Britain v Ireland, 10am. Score GB 3 – 1 Ireland (O’Flanagan).

Wednesday 28 April: Great Britain v Ireland, 6pm

Friday 30 April: Great Britain v Ireland, 2pm

Sunday 2 May: Great Britain v Ireland, 1pm

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Sport Ireland announce €40 million investment in sports sector

Sport Ireland today announced an investment of €40 million to National Governing Bodies for Sport (NGBs), High Performance athlete support and to the network of Local Sports Partnerships (LSPs) for 2021.

Today’s announcement follows a year in which the sector has been significantly impacted by Covid-19 restrictions in place since March 2020. The funding of €13.8 million for NGBs is maintained from 2020. This funding, in addition to the recently allocated Covid-19 Grant Scheme, will provide stability and certainty to organisations throughout 2021. In line with previous years, a portion of the Core funding budget (‘Special Projects & Programmes’) will be ring fenced to assist with strategically important NGB related events and projects.

High Performance Programme funding will also be maintained for 2021 at €8,500,000. 2021 is anticipated to be an expensive year for high performance programmes as there remains a high level of uncertainty around competition and training camp plans due to Covid-19.  Sport Ireland will provide further support in 2021 to address the immediate and confirmed costs to high performance programmes in respect of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The investment in high performance sport is bolstered by funding of €2.68 million through the International Carding Scheme. The primary purpose of this funding is to support Irish athletes in reaching finals and achieving medals at European, World, Olympic and Paralympic level. The level of funding on this scheme has increased from €2.4 million in 2020. The International Carding Scheme has been amended to account for the challenges faced by athletes and NGBs as a result of Covid-19.

Budget 2021 saw a significant increase in funding for sport and physical activity, reflecting the commitment of Government and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media to support the sector in to 2021. The hard work and agility of the sports sector to adapt to the Covid-19 pandemic has been acknowledged by Sport Ireland and the Government, and today’s funding announcement further strengthens the commitment to the sector.

Funding of €9.5 million has been approved for the network of 29 Local Sports Partnerships, representing an increase of 15% on 2020 funding. This increase in investment provides an opportunity for Sport Ireland to support a locally led safe return to sport and to further build the capacity of LSPs, increasing their reach and impact across Ireland.

Hockey Ireland continue to be extremely grateful for this investment and commitment to the sport, as echoed by Hockey Ireland CEO, Jerome Pels, “We are very grateful to Sport Ireland for their continued investment in, and support for, hockey. It has been a challenging year at all levels of our sport and the continued investment by Sport Ireland will help us across the organisation, as we edge towards returning to the pitch in coming weeks, and as our Men and Women prepare for their summer encounters on the international stage.”

For full details of the Sport Ireland funding announcement, click here.