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Dancer focusing on development at FIH Women’s Hockey Nations Cup

With just a few weeks until Ireland Women take part in the Inaugural FIH Women’s Hockey Nations Cup, coach Sean Dancer has announced his squad. Ireland will travel to the Netherlands ahead of the tournament for some final preparation before arriving in Valencia, Spain for the competition which runs from December 11-17.

Ireland will be looking for a strong performance knowing that if they win the tournament, they win the opportunity to compete in the FIH Pro League. Dancer says his young team have developed since the summer and go into the competition with confidence despite some big names missing.

“The last few months have been an important development period for us as a group,” he says. “The Nations Cup presents a high-level tournament for us to use as a checkpoint on our progress. Results are important for us, and we will be focusing on managing games and doing the simple things well to give ourselves the best chance of being successful,” he added.

Dancer sees the forced omission of key players as a chance for other players to step up in the squad. “Ayeisha McFerran and Deirdre Duke are notable exemptions from the team lists; both have been strong performers for us this year and need this time to focus on work priorities,” he admits. “We look forward to having them back with us again early next year. This provides an opportunity for our squad to grow, with Lizzy Murphy already having strong performances in practice games and the first half of her club season in Germany. I am excited to see her step up to this challenge ahead,” he said.

FIH Nations Cup December 2022

1 Holly Micklem
2 Elizabeth Murphy
3 Róisín Upton (VC)

4 Elena Tice

5 Kathryn Mullan (C)
6 Sarah Hawkshaw
7 Naomi Carroll
8 Hannah McLoughlin
9 Sarah McAuley
10 Michelle Carey

11 Charlotte Beggs

12 Siofra O’Brien
13 Ellen Curran
14 Christina Hamill
15 Sarah Torrans
16 Caoimhe Perdue
17 Zara Malseed
18 Niamh Carey

All games can be watched live here Watch.Hockey

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Unbeaten Ireland march on to Nations Cup semi-final

Player of the match Shane O’Donoghue made it three goals in three games as his penalty corner drag flick separated Ireland and South Africa in their final group game in Potchefstroom, South Africa today. The set-piece goal was enough to ensure Ireland go into the semi-finals of the Nations Cup on Saturday in top spot in Pool A.

Mark Tumilty’s charges showed composure both on the ball and in defence, and in the end it was that composure that proved the difference between the two sides that had gone into this match unbeaten.

South Africa will look back at this clash and consider it an opportunity missed. Had they taken their chances and turned Ireland over, it would have been their first win against the boys in green. The host nation’s ill-discipline saw them reduced to 10 players four times during the match with three green cards and a yellow as compared with Ireland’s single green card.

Ireland began the game well, winning two penalty corners in the first quarter – the second of which they scored through veteran O’Donoghue. It was the striker-turned-defender’s third goal of the competition and 110th of his 203-game career. Ireland continued to dictate the pace in the opening 15 minutes and remained in front going into the break.

South Africa won their first corner early in the second quarter but Ireland dealt with it well, and it was Ireland who dominated those initial stages of the second period with sustained pressure on their opposition’s defence. But the host nation will be satisfied with how they dealt with the testing of their defence; they then had their best period of the game as Ireland were forced to defend South Africa’s second corner as well as bright passages from open play.

Ill discipline was the order of the day for South Africa as they squandered good attacking opportunities, and made it easy for Ireland when coming out of defence with unforced errors.

The third quarter featured plenty of entertaining individual skill, but as both teams tired, they tended to overrun the ball, losing it after taking on one too many defenders. The game became more physical, with injuries to South Africa’s Jethro Eustace and Ireland’s John McKee. Both umpires used their video referrals, as did both teams as Ireland had a yellow card overturned, and South Africa a goal disallowed in an action-packed second half.

The closing stages lacked the quality of the first half but Mark Tumilty was happy with how his team absorbed pressure in the final quarter by staying patient in defence and waiting for their opposition to make a mistake as South Africa pushed for an equaliser. “It was a tough game and it was good to get out the other side of it with three points,” said the Ireland coach.“I thought we created enough chances today, possibly, to extend our lead to make it more comfortable but it was pleasing that we defended well in the second half.”

O’Donoghue acknowledged that it was a scrappy match. “Both teams are very competitive, wanting to win, and it came down to fine details and I think we weathered their purple patch well. It was an absolute dog fight, no question about it, and we came out on top so we’re happy to progress to the semi-final now,” he said.

“These tournaments are all about momentum and getting better game on game; I think we have. We’ve made improvements, there are definitely areas still to improve and there are definitely some competitive teams in the crossover games,” O’Donoghue added.

Speaking after the game, defender Lee Cole said Ireland are used to close matches. “It’s been a very tough three games,” he admitted. “All of our games have gone down to the wire which is kind of the Irish way, especially today when we went up early and then defended for a lot of the rest of the game.”

Looking ahead to their semi-final, Cole says it will be another tight match. “We’ve had a couple of good battles against Malaysia over the years. They look pretty hot, especially in their last 15 minutes against Japan today – they seemed to really turn it on – so they’ll be another tough test.”

Ireland face Malaysia in the first of the two semi-finals at 11.30 am on Saturday, with the winner playing in the final on Sunday at 1.15 pm.

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EuroHockey Indoor Championships III

Ireland Men travel to Cyprus for the Eurohockey Indoor Championship III. The matches come thick and fast with Ireland playing twice on Friday against Cyprus and Serbia at 10.45 am and 4 pm respectively, and then Denmark and Greece on Saturday at 11.45 am and 5.15 pm respectively. Their final group game comes on Sunday against Italy at 11.30 am.

Squad List for EuroHockey Indoor Championships III:

Jakim Bernsden – YMCA HC
Ross Canning – Three Rock Rovers HC
Jack Haycock – Cookstown HC
Jody Hosking – Three Rock Rovers HC
David Howard  – Corinthian HC
John Jackston – Team Bath HC
Ollie Kidd – Lisnagarvey HC
Jason Lynch – Monkstown HC
Stephen OKeeffe – Railway Union HC
Ben OGrady – YMCA HC
Rory Patterson – Wimbledon HC
James Walker – Three Rock Rovers HC
Non Travelling Reserves
Richard Couse – Glenanne HC
Craig Mackay – Corinthian HC


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Ireland beat Pakistan to move one step closer to semi-final berth in Nations Cup

Ireland made it two wins from two in the FIH Men’s Hockey Nations Cup when they ran out 3-1 winners against Pakistan this morning. With less than 24 hours to recover after their opening match, Mark Tumilty’s team started a little slowly in the heat in Potchefstroom, South Africa. Pakistan went in front in the first minute of the second quarter and it was the wake-up call Ireland needed as they hit back almost immediately through Conor Empey. Ireland captain Sean Murray was the catalyst for the goal; he took a quick free and found Jeremy Duncan in the circle who passed first time to Empey who had the final touch.

Both teams looked tired as the first half went on, the heat and heavy legs starting to tell with mistraps and unforced errors. Pakistan looked dangerous in attack as Ireland defended a couple of penalty corners, the first adjudged too high and the second shot wide. Ireland’s forwards were making the right runs but the final connection just wasn’t there as the half drew to a close with the scores level.

Ireland came out with renewed impetus in the second half with several chances in the first few minutes, including, arguably, the play of the game. Kyle Marshall found Murray who passed first time to Empey in the circle, who squared immediately for player of the match Benjamin Walker. The speed of the move was what unlocked the Pakistan defence and gave Ireland the lead. Pakistan continued to threaten, their one-on-one skills particularly impressive when in the final third of the pitch.

The third quarter was end to end as both teams drew saves from their opposition goalkeepers. James Milliken was between the posts for the men in green, as Tumilty opted to rotate his keepers. Ireland retained their narrow lead going into the final quarter, and they showed their experience in the final stages, winning two more penalty corners, the second of which Shane O’Donoghue converted when he flicked home past the player on the right post to give Ireland some breathing room.

Not content to play the game out, Ireland continued to push and had chances to widen the gap but were unable to find the mark. Pakistan won a corner late on and a goal could have made the finishing stages interesting by reducing their deficit, but the shot went wide and Ireland closed out the match to win comfortably by three goals to one.

Speaking after the match, head coach Mark Tumilty was happy with how the match went. “I’m pleased with the result today. It was always going to be a tough challenge coming off the back of the France game and Pakistan offered something unknown to us. I’m delighted that we executed a penalty corner late on to get us a bit more comfortable towards the end. I thought that at times we played some really good hockey, and at other times it wasn’t so good but the second goal was a fantastic team goal which was really pleasing because it’s something we have worked on this past number of months. So, more progress was made with the group and we build towards the game with South Africa on Thursday.”

Player of the match Ben Walker felt the team still has more to give. “We responded well to going one goal behind, we equalised quite quickly. But there are maybe still some things we need to work on. We obviously have a rest day and we know we probably need a result on Thursday to guarantee progression to the semi-final so we are focused on that now,” he said.

Ireland’s final group game is on Thursday at 1 PM when they face hosts South Africa. The top two teams in the group of four move on to the semi-finals on Saturday.

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Ireland deliver crucial opening win in Nations Cup

Goals from Jeremy Duncan and Shane O’Donoghue handed Mark Tumilty’s Ireland an important win in their opening match of the FIH Men’s Hockey Nations Cup against France this morning.

After a rain shower during the warm-up in Potchefstroom, France started the game more brightly and looked more likely to score as they won a couple of early penalty corners. The dangerous Victor Charlet is always a goal threat but Ireland’s corner defence and goalkeeper David Fitzgerald in particular were able to keep him quiet.

While France looked dangerous from the set piece, Ireland showed glimpses of what they could do from open play and it was a field goal that came from a turnover in the centre of the pitch in the 22nd minute that put Ireland in front. Player of the match John McKee won the ball and drifted forward, beating several opponents before sliding a perfect pass into the path of the onrushing Jeremy Duncan who dived and lifted the ball over the goalkeeper to open the scoring.

Ireland didn’t retain the lead for long, though, as France piled on the pressure, launching a number of attacks before scoring from their fourth penalty corner of the match. Ireland were down to three outfield defenders as they broke the line for France’s third corner. France’s Victor Charlet made use of the extra space as he sent a flick like a tracer bullet between the right post and post player to see France’s level.

Benjamin Walker thought he had done enough to put Ireland back in front soon after when he was taken down in front of the goal and was awarded a penalty stroke, but Thieffry Arthur saved Shane O’Donoghue’s effort to keep the scores tied.

O’Donoghue made up for that miss in the third quarter. France had previously squandered another couple of corners before Ireland won a corner of their own and O’Donoghue’s powerful drag went under Arthur’s foot as the goalkeeper went from hero to villain for France.

A tense final quarter was end to end, with both sides throwing punches and France piling forward to try to retrieve a point from the game but it ended with Ireland in front on two goals to one.

Coach Tumilty was effusive in his compliments for his team. “I’m delighted with the win,” he smiled. “This group has certainly had a few tough days in the past and they’ve shown a real bit of character today to dig out that result. I’m very pleased with how they managed the game and how they executed the game plan which is a huge step forward for us.

“So now our focus turns towards the Pakistan game and seeing can we build towards achieving that semi-final berth. It won’t be an easy game but we just need to produce a performance similar to what we produced today and that’s the challenge going into tomorrow.”

Player of the match McKee knows there is still plenty to do if Ireland are to progress. “It’s a massive win, we were very happy. France are a very good team so it’s a good start for us but it’s only game one, so we’re focusing on the rest of the tournament now.”

Goal scorer Jeremy Duncan spoke after the game about how he put Ireland in front. “How did I score? I sprinted as fast as I could and tucked it away into the corner,” he laughed. “It was a nice team goal and a good quick counterattack; a nice way to start the game and start the tournament. We had to dig deep and defend the goal as best we could, we had to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and absolutely just fight for every single ball and we did that. We showed a fighting spirit.”

Shane O’Donoghue says that Pakistan are somewhat of an unknown quantity but that Ireland have done their preparation. “We last played them in 2015; they have a very different style of play which is something we’re not really used to as a team,” he said. “It’s a very young team we have away here but we have done our homework already, we’re going to debrief today’s game, take away some learnings and tweak a few things and make sure we’re ready for Pakistan,” he added.

Ireland are back in action again tomorrow at 9 am when they will face Pakistan in their second group fixture.

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Ireland blown away by World Champions Netherlands

Sean Dancer’s charges went down to a ferocious Dutch side that looked every bit of their number-one ranking spot this afternoon in Utrecht. Ireland was on the back foot immediately when player of the match, Yibbi Jansen, hit home to put her team in front in the first minute. The Dutch played at an immense pace under new coach Paul van Ass and went two goals ahead in the first quarter when Jansen was again on target – this time from a penalty corner.

Ireland recovered in the second quarter and defended well against the World Champions, but it was the Netherlands who scored after a number of missed chances, this time through JoosjeBurg. Ireland remained three goals behind going into the half-time break.

The girls in green grew into the game in the second half, entering the Dutch circle several times but without any end result. The third quarter was the best period of the match for Ireland as they held the Dutch scoreless, launching several attacks themselves. But the Netherlands came out with renewed determination in the final quarter with Jansen again on the mark from a broken-down penalty corner. Joosje Burg then put the game beyond any doubt when she scored her second of the afternoon, her team’s fifth and the final one of the match as the Dutch won by five goals to nil.

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Irish Hockey Internationals awarded Trinity Sport Scholars Awards.

Three Irish Hockey athletes among those at Trinity Sports Awards. Well done to all.

Trinity College Dublin Sport Scholars:

Katie Mullan – Hockey

Laura Noble – Hockey

Sam Hickmott – Hockey


Trinity Sport unveiled its sport scholars for the 2022 / 23 season on Monday, 21st November at an event for family and friends at the Dining Hall, Trinity College Dublin. This year’s awardees, comprising of 27 Trinity Sports scholars and 33 club academy scholars will represent Trinity this season in a wide variety of sports including rugby, basketball, GAA, rowing and cricket.

Maire Treasa Ni Cheallaigh presented the awards on the night and Trinity student-athletes Joe McCarthy (International Rugby player), Rebecca Stokell (International Cricket player) and Katie Mullan (International hockey player) took part in a ‘dual career: combining sports and studies’ panel discussion on the night.

Sadhbh Doyle, Gavin Hoey and Harry Sheridan were recognised as Trevor West Sport Scholarship athletes for their contribution to their respective sports at Trinity and outstanding performances. Giulia Anderlini and Niamh Kenny were recognised as K.O Lee Basketball sport scholarship athletes. This is award is in association with Trinity Meteors, this scholarship is in memory of K.O. Lee, Trinity alumnus and coach of the Meteors Ladies Basketball team in the 1970s.

Linda Doyle, Provost, Trinity College Dublin commented on the night, “I would like to congratulate all our student-athletes who are receiving scholarships. It is impressive to see how they balance their commitment to sports with their commitment to their studies. This takes a lot of hard work and dedication. The scholarships will enable our student-athletes to continue to pursue their passion for sport while also benefiting from the excellent educational opportunities at Trinity. I am delighted to celebrate the students’ achievements and award these scholarships in recognition of such exceptional sporting ability.”

Michelle Tanner, Director of Sport and Physical Activity, Trinity College Dublin commented on the night, “We’re delighted to be celebrating the strongest calibre of student-athletes that we’ve had for many years, certainly in the history of the Trinity Sport Scholarship awards programme. It is quite outstanding the number and level of student-athletes that we have in Trinity including international, senior county and academy pathway athletes. We’re very excited about their prospects and potential over the coming months and years.”

Prof. Catherine McCabe, Dean of Students, Trinity College Dublin commented, “To our student-athletes, congratulations on receiving a place on this year’s Trinity Sports Scholarship Programme. This scholarship recognises your achievements so far, and importantly, your potential to go even further. All of you here today come from a wide range of sports, including athletics, basketball, GAA, rowing, cricket, and rugby. It is our commitment to ensure all our student-athletes get the full support and backing of the University to compete regionally, nationally and at international levels while also being able to excel in your academic course.”

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Tumilty eyes opportunity at Inaugural FIH Hockey Men’s Nations Cup

Ireland men’s Head coach Mark Tumilty has announced his travelling squad for the Inaugural FIH Hockey Men’s Nations Cup next week. Ireland will compete in Pool A of the Nations Cup in Potchefstroom, South Africa from November 28th until December 4th.

Eight teams will contend for the top spot with the winning side qualifying for the next edition of the FIH Pro League. Joining Ireland in Pool A are France, South Africa and Pakistan with the top two in the group qualifying for the semi-finals while the bottom two play the corresponding teams in Pool B for rankings five to eight.

Coach Mark Tumilty sees it as a good opportunity for his charges. “I am really looking forward to the Nations Cup and the chance to qualify for the Pro League which has to be an ambition for hockey in Ireland,” he said ahead of the announcement. “It is an excellent opportunity to gain experience playing against the different playing styles of France, South Africa and Pakistan. We are focused on the first game against France as we look to produce a much better performance than we did against them in Calais during the European Qualifier,” he added.

Tumilty is pleased with how his team have prepared for the competition with a series against Spain and Great Britain. “We have had a good build-up with games against Spain and GB where we got the opportunity to embed some key areas. We will look to improve further in South Africa,” he said. “It is a really interesting tournament with all teams evenly matched, so if we can be at our best, I feel we can achieve positive results,” he finished.

FIH Hockey Men’s Nations Cup Squad 2022

James Milliken

David Fitzgerald

Luke Madeley

Lee Cole

Shane O’Donoghue

Kyle Marshall

Tim Cross

Peter McKibben

Jonny Lynch

Nick Page

Daragh Walsh

Sean Murray

Sam Hyland

Jeremy Duncan

Johnny McKee

Kevin O’Dea

Conor Empey

Ben Walker

Travelling Reserves

Mark McNellis

Charlie Rowe

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EY Hockey League Round 8 & EY 2 Recap

Round 8 of the EY Hockey League.

Here’s everything you need to know from Round 8:


Saturday 19th November

It was very much a case of keeping the status quo in the Men’s EY Hockey League this weekend with just Lisnagarvey dropping points in the top half of the table. Banbridge remained in the top spot with a narrow victory over Monkstown, winning by two goals to one. ‘Garvey stays in second, two points behind Banbridge, after drawing in a goalless affair at home against Annadale.

Glenanne were in the mood at home against Instonians, netting no less than nine times, Instonians scoring a solitary consolation goal. The win keeps the Dublin side in third place, while YMCA beat Pembroke six goals to two at home. It was one-all at the end of the first quarter but two second-quarter goals and a flurry of three in the final quarter with just one in reply from Pembroke put the result out of doubt.

The three points put YMCA into fourth place with 14 points, but in the fifth position with a game in hand are Three Rock Rovers who are in reach of third place if they win their refixed match with Cookstown.


Monkstown 1-2 Banbridge (Monkstown; R.Nichols ; Banbridge; J.McKee, C.Rowe)

YMCA 6-2 Pembroke (YMCA; G.Glutz x2, A.Walker, T.Kok, S.Ruttle, R.Henderson ; Pembroke; M.Treacy, A.Colton)

Cookstown v TRR (Postponed due to frozen pitch)

Glenanne 9-1 Instonians (Glenanne; S.O’Donogue x3, R.Couse, G.Shaw x2, G.Gibney, N.Byrne, J.MCormack ; Instonians; G.Leckey)

Lisnagarvey 0-0 Annadale 


In the closing stages of a cagey affair in Park Avenue, Loreto’s Sarah Torrans found herself with the ball on the end of her stick in acres of space on the top of the circle in the dying moments of the third quarter. The Loreto forward made the most of the chance and smashed it into the top left corner to break the deadlock and, eventually, to give her side a valuable three points.

It was round eight in the EY Hockey League, the final round of matches before the winter break, and in a high-paced affair that was the featured game of the weekend and streamed by Hockey Ireland, there were few chances for either team. Loreto had the better chances in the first half, winning two penalty corners that they failed to convert.

Ireland captain Katie Mullan looked lively for Railway Union in just her second game for the club after making the move down south last weekend. And, indeed, it was Mullan who won Railway’s first penalty corner in the third quarter, but the home side couldn’t make their set piece count.

Just six points separated these two fierce rivals before the game with Loreto in second and Railway in seventh and after big wins in round seven for both sides, they were each looking to continue winning ways going into the winter break. Loreto’s Sarah Torrans was a threat throughout causing trouble with her pace, and Siofra O’Brien looked to be through on Railway’s goal a number of times but for last-ditch tackles from the home team. But it was a snap pass from Loreto skipper Mia Jennings that found the unmarked Torrans at the top of the Railway circle, and the forward made no mistake with the gilt-edged chance.

There was still time for Railway to get a leveller with a full quarter to play and they pulled their keeper with five minutes to go, opting for 11 outfield players, but Loreto’s defence stayed resolute throughout and the youthful team showed experience beyond their years to make sure of the result. Player of the match Caitlin Sherin was at the centre of everything good that Loreto did and made several important interventions. Christina Hamill stood out for the visitors, too, while Lily Lloyd and Mullan looked dangerous for Railway and Emma Smyth was the most effective link for the home side.

This victory puts Loreto within a point of the lead in the EY Hockey League. Catholic Institute sit just a point ahead of the Beaufort team with 19 points. The competition takes a break for December and January as the national team ramps up to the FIH Women’s Nations Cup taking place in Valencia, Spain between December 11th and 17th.

Elsewhere, Old Alex and Pembroke Wanderers drew two all. It was one goal apiece at the half-time break, but Pembroke got their nose in front through an Erika Markey corner in the third quarter. Alex came back in the dying minutes of the final quarter, though, as Deirdre Duke salvaged a point for the home team. The last-minute goal keeps Old Alex ahead of Pembroke in the table, with the former in fourth with 13 points and the latter in fifth on 11.

Monkstown had a solid home victory against Ards, three points that saw them leapfrog Railway Union into seventh place on better goal difference, both teams on nine points. Monkstown were on the mark three times, the returning Chloe Watkins opening the home team’s account before young gun Emily Kealy netted home, followed in quick succession by the final goal from Claire O’Reilly.

UCD were in rare form as they romped home nine goals to the good against bottom side Belfast Harlequins. The win saw UCD climb to 15 points at the break, just four points adrift of league leaders Catholic Institute.

Old Alex 2-2 Pembroke (Old Alex; D.Duke, L.Tice; Pembroke; L.McGuire, E.Markey)

UCD 9-0 Belfast Harlequins (UCD;

Railway 0-1 Loreto (Loreto; S.Torrans)

Monkstown 3-0 Ards (Monkstown; C.Watkins, E.Kealy, C.OReilly)


Women’s EY 2A and 2B

Avoca and Muckross drew one-all in their tie at Muckross School, meaning they sit in first and second respectively on four points in EY 2A with one round left to play before the winter break. Ulster Elks opened their account with a clinical display against University of Galway, putting five past the Galway defence while keeping a clean sheet themselves.

On the other side of the table, Corinthian are well out in front after a single goal gave them all three points against Queens University. Cork Harlequins, meanwhile, travelled to Ballymoney and won away from home by two goals to one.

University of Galway 0-5 Ulster Elks

Muckross 1-1 Avoca

Corinthian 1-0 Queens

Ballymoney 1-2 Cork Harlequins

Men’s EY 2A and 2B

Railway Union won a spirited encounter at Park Avenue with Queens University. The home team scored five to Queens’ two to make sure of top spot in EY2A. Corinthian moved up into top spot, thrashing Cork Harlequins six goals to one. Indeed, Corinthian scored all their goals in the first half, with ‘Quins shoring up their defence in the second half, and even scoring a consolation goal in the final quarter.

In EY2B, Kilkeel beat the travelling Avoca by five goals to three; that win sees them move into second place ahead of UCD who are on the same points but have an inferior goal difference but a game in hand. The students were not in action yesterday, but top-placed South Antrim were and they travelled home from Bandon, happy with a one-goal victory and top spot in the group.

Corinthian 6-1 Cork Harlequins

Railway 5-2 Queens

Kilkeel 5-3 Avoca

Bandon 0-1 South Antrim

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Irish-based coaches selected for the EHF’s elite coaching program

Coaches 4 Europe (C4E) is a global coaching initiative. It is intended to inspire coaches to consider coaching philosophy via individual technical, individual tactical, and team tactics.

It is intended for coaches who have already advanced in their development and have the potential to become high-performing coaches in their chosen environment.

The following Irish-based coaches were selected:

Jack Kyle (Ireland)
Kay Gaffney (Ireland)
Leanne King (Ireland)

The EHF Top Coaches Programme (TCP) is a global coaching development programme. It is intended to get instructors thinking about elite coaching concepts.

The curriculum will aid in growing their goal to provide world-class performances, in addition to practical implementations ranging from on-field strategies to the philosophy of leading top teams.

The following Irish-based coaches were selected:

Eimear Cregan (Ireland)

Jason Klinkradt (Ireland)