Sport Ireland Women in Sport funding announcement for Hockey Ire

Sport Ireland today announced the recipients of Women in Sport funding for 2019/2020. Hockey Ireland is delighted to receive support of €150,000 towards our new Leaders in Hockey programme.

Sport Ireland’s commitment to increasing women’s sustained involvement in sport saw the Women in Sport Policy launched earlier this year. This policy has highlighted the following key areas where current gaps and future opportunities for women in sport exist:

  • Coaching & Officiating
  • Active Participation,
  • Leadership, and
    Governance and Visibility.
  • Sport Ireland re-launched the Women in Sport funding programme for National Governing Bodies and Local Sports Partnerships this year to activate their Women in Sport Policy. Recognising the significant role National Governing Bodies play in enhancing the landscape for women in sport in Ireland, and “that effective and sustainable programmes require a long-term approach”, the funding is granted over a two-year period.

Speaking on the announcement, Sue Haslam, Hockey Ireland National Development Manager, said “We are very grateful for the continued support from Sport Ireland. This funding will enable us to grow our leadership base while also engaging with and helping to facilitate women to reach their full potential as leaders.

“Hockey Ireland is delighted to receive this support in order to develop our Leaders in Hockey programme.”

The multifaceted programme aims to enable, encourage and empower females to become leaders, while focusing on 3 areas of leadership within our sport; Coaching, Umpiring, and Administration. Sport Ireland’s support through the Women in Sport funding is invaluable for assembling and delivering this programme.

The various elements of the Leaders in Hockey programme will be launched in the coming weeks and will impact leadership at a club level, as well as at a higher level through mentoring programmes. The ambitious plan will create a supportive leadership pathway for our coaches, umpires and volunteers, that will create new role models for the next generation of leaders.

Semi-Final Saturday! Come support Ireland’s Women’s Hockey Team

Safely topping Pool A and through to Saturday’s semi-final, an 11-0 win saw the Irish Women dominate play for the entire game against Singapore on Tuesday afternoon, with the visitors rarely managing to bring play down into the Irish half of the pitch. The majority of the game comprised of free moving, attacking hockey from the host nation, keeping Singapore under pressure throughout.

A win on Saturday secures an Olympic Qualifier spot for the coming Autumn meaning it’s still all to play for here in Banbridge. Speaking to BBC on the match, Roisin Upton said “We treat the next game as the biggest game each time around.” So there will be plenty of high quality hockey to see this weekend!

Thursday’s matches will see Scotland who were 2nd in Pool B will take on the Czech Republic, the winner of this match will then face Ireland in Saturday’s semi-final. Korea will then play the winner of Malaysia v France in the second semi-final later that afternoon to decide who will take to the pitch for the final on Sunday afternoon.

There is still time to get your tickets for this weekend and come support the Green Army on their road to Tokyo. Don’t miss your chance to see some spectacular hockey this weekend! Tickets are available at

Eric Brady Elected as the new Chair of the Hockey Ireland Board

At the recent June Board meeting Eric Brady was elected as the new Chairperson of Hockey Ireland. Eric, who first joined the Hockey Ireland Board in 2016 succeeds Bryan Caruth who stood down this May having served the maximum allowed term as a board member. Bryan who will continue his national involvement as Chair of the Competitions Committee was acknowledged at the recent AGM for his long and distinguished service to the Board and received well deserved thanks from the membership for his ongoing and unfailing dedication to the sport of hockey.

Following his election, Eric thanked his fellow board members for affording him the opportunity to take on this role at such an exciting time for the sport of Hockey in Ireland. He said “I look forward to working with the Board, Provinces, Clubs, Volunteers and Membership as a whole to increase participation and success at all levels within the sport”

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President’s Newsletter May 2019

Since the start of 2019 events have been moving on at a fast pace. While the EYHL was on a winter break during December and January, the National Indoor finals took place on January 27th at the excellent Antrim Forum facility where the Women’s Trophy was won by Railway Union and the Men’s Trophy by Three Rock Rovers. My thanks to Vice President Ann Rosa who presented the trophies on my behalf while I was laid up following knee surgery. Both Railway Union and Three Rock Rovers will represent Ireland in next years European Indoor Championships.

The All Ireland Schoolboys Championship was won this year by Newtown School, Waterford for the first time in their history. The 2109 Kate Russell was held this year in St Andrews College, Booterstown, Dublin on March 21 & 22 and the trophy was won by Crescent Comprehensive, Limerick. The John Waring was held this year at Friends School, Lisburn on April 10 and here the winners were Banbridge Academy. On the following day the hockey bandwagon moved on to Dangan Sports Facilities NUIG where the 2019 June Smith Competition was held and this was won by Mount Anville, Dublin.

The weekend of April 13 & 14 saw the Finals of various competitions taking place at Pembroke Wanderers and Three Rock Rovers. This year we were unable to play our Finals at UCD as the pitch is being relayed. On Saturday the 13th in the Irish Hockey Challenge the Women of Dromore beat Clonmel by 1-0 in a very closely contested game and in the Men’s Ballynahinch just got the better of Limerick in a high scoring game on a score line of 4-3. In the Irish Hockey Trophy (Women) Cork C of I came from being 2 goals down to Greenfields to rally in the second half and recorded a comprehensive 4-2 win. On Sunday 14th in TRR, Waterford won their first National title since 1922. They beat NICS by 3-1. This victory was made all the sweeter when you take into consideration that the club almost went out of existence 13 years ago. Only for the dedication of some of the older members in the club Waterford would not have been here today, so congratulations to those brave people who persevered. In the Irish Junior Cup (Women) UCD got the better of the holders Railway Union in a very tight game in which they came out on the right side of a 2-1 scoreline. In the Men’s Irish Junior Cup Three Rock Rovers had a comprehensive win over Instonians, winning by 4-1. This trophy has eluded TRR for the past 5 years and in fact is the first time they have won it since 1998.

April 27 & 28 saw the EYHL 2 Playoffs weekend which was held at Corinthians in Whitechurch Park., where there was a festive atmosphere with a BBQ on the go all weekend along with teas, coffee, sandwiches and homemade cakes available for the large numbers of spectators who turned up for the matches. Following two very closely fought Semi Finals on a windy Saturday UCD and Corinthians came through on the Men’s side while on the Women’s side it was also very close with Queens University and Catholic Institute through to the Final on Sunday. First up on Sunday was the Men’s Final where Corinthians came from behind to snatch a 2-2 draw and so went to the dreaded Penalty Shootout where Corinthians won on a score line of 3-2, thereby earning their place in the EYHL next season. Next up were the Women and in yet another very tight game Catholic Institute fought back to 3-3 against Queens University to send the game to another Shootout where Catholic Institute were the victorious team also on a score line of 3-2. So, EYHL for Catholic Institute also next season.

The weekend of May 4 & 5 was the EY Champions Trophy, played at Banbridge Hockey Club and also the 9th place play offs for next seasons league.
On the Women’s side we saw Muckross retain their EYHL spot with a narrow victory over Queens University on Sunday morning in Banbridge in a Shoot- Out. Also on Sunday, this time at Corinthians, Whitechurch Park, UCD got the better of Cork C of I following a high scoring game where it finished at 4-4 and in the ensuing Shoot -Out, UCD came out on top by 3–2 and so earned their spot in the EYHL league for next season.

In the Champions Trophy on Saturday Pegasus overcame Cork Harlequins by two goals to one in the first women’s semi final and Loreto beat UCD also by two goals to one in the second semi final to set up a Sunday Final between Pegasus and Loreto. Both these teams finished first and second in the League and we were sure of a tight battle in the final. As predicted, it was a very closely contested game and was no surprise when we had to go to another Shoot Out after the game finished 1-1 in normal time. Following the Shoot Out Pegasus came out on top on a score of 4-2 and so secured the double.

On the Men’s side Lisnagarvey had a comprehensive 6-0 win over Glenanne on Saturday while Three Rock Rovers also had a comfortable win over Banbridge on a scorline of 4-2. So, just as in the Women’s league the winners of the League, Lisnagarvey were up against second placed Three Rock Rovers in the Final on Sunday. This turned out to be a cracking game with Three Rock Rovers getting the better of Lisnagarvey with a 2-0 victory and so take the EY Champions Trophy for the third season in a row.

On May 11 for the second weekend in a row Lisnagarvey played Three Rock Rovers, this time in the Irish Senior Cup Final. This is the oldest Hockey Cup in the world, dating back to 1894. This game was played this year in Grange Road due to the no availability of UCD and yet again it was a very closely contested affair with TRR winning by the narrowest of margins on a 1-0 scoreline and so retain the trophy. TRR have now won this trophy 12 times in total.

In the Women’s Cup Final Loreto played Cork Harlequins also at Grange Road. Both teams were short some of their regular international players for this game. Loreto were the dominant team in the first half and led by 2-0 but in the second half Harlequins came back strongly to draw level at 2-2 and sent the game to Shoot-Outs. Harlequins won out on the shoot-outs on a scoreline of 2-1. This is only the second time in their history that they have lifted the Irish Senior Cup, the first time being in 2000.

And so on to the final domestic Competition for the 2018/19 season. We headed off to Cork for the Junior Interprovincials on the weekend of 18/19 May. This year the tournament was held in Cork Harlequins, up on the hill near the airport where the weather can be wet, cold and windy even in summer. However, Harlequins were excellent in all arrangements, even to the extent of getting the weather right, it was a beautiful sunny weekend. The hockey as you can imagine was very competitive both in the Women’s and Men’s sides of the tournament with the Munster Ladies coming out on top with a 100% record with 3 wins over the weekend. But in the Men’s side it all came down to the last game of the tournament with Ulster needing to beat Leinster and getting the required number of goals to overhaul Munster. However, they failed to do so and Munster completed the double on goal difference by 1 goal.

Overall, it was a very successful season on the domestic front, so now onto the Internationals until September when the 2019/20 will start again.

Park Developments to Fund Irish Women’s Hockey Bursary Scheme

Dublin, 20th May 2019: Park Developments, one of Ireland’s leading property development groups has announced investment in Irish Women’s Hockey over the next four years. Recently appointed Irish Women’s Head Coach Sean Dancer along with World Cup medallists Anna O’Flanagan, Roisin Upton and goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran were at Park Developments’ landmark office development, The Reflector Building to announce the investment that will be ring fenced for direct player support.

The Park Developments Irish Women’s Hockey Bursary will see an initial group of 23 players supported between now and the conclusion of the qualification period for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in December. The funding is guaranteed for four years and will supplement support provided to the Irish Women’s Hockey Team by Sport Ireland and Sport Northern Ireland.

Silver medallists at the 2018 World Cup last summer, the Irish Women’s Hockey Team’s first attempt at qualification gets underway on 8th June at an FIH Series Tournament in Banbridge. Ireland must reach the final of the Banbridge tournament to earn a place at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament later this year.

Speaking at the announcement Sales & Marketing Manager at Park Developments, Jilly Cotter said: “As a property development business, we aim to enrich the lives of future generations. Like so many, we at Park Developments were inspired by the performance of the Irish Women’s team at the World Cup last summer. We wanted to support the on-going development of the team and look to do so in an innovative way that could begin the process of transforming the supports available to Irish Women hockey players. We are delighted that the Park Developments Irish Women’s Hockey Bursary Scheme is now a reality and hope it will have a positive impact on the current squad on their journey to Olympic qualification.”

Irish Women’s Head Coach, Sean Dancer said “The Park Developments Irish Player Bursary Scheme is a very welcome start to my tenure as Irish Women’s Head Coach and its importance to the development of our programme cannot be underestimated. We go into camp on Thursday this week to prepare for the FIH Series in Banbridge, the beginning of an intensive six-month training and competition schedule as we try to build on the incredible performance last summer and do what no Irish women’s team has done before and secure Olympic qualification. Some of the other team’s looking to secure Olympic qualification have full time programmes. The Park Developments Player Bursary Scheme will go some way to providing Ireland’s top hockey players with some additional financial support given the likely impact on their work commitments representing their country on the world stage will have.”

World Cup Medallist Anna O’Flanagan said: “Last summer’s World Cup was definitely the highlight of my playing career to date. Having played for Ireland on 180 occasions, it was the culmination of years of training and competitive experience balanced with study, professional qualification and full-time employment. The reality is that competing with the world’s best requires a level of commitment that makes full time employment virtually impossible. The Park Developments Player Bursary is therefore a very welcome support in addition to the funding Sport Ireland and Sport Northern Ireland have provided over the years to us as a team and will facilitate more training time that is a necessity to give ourselves the best chance of securing our goal of qualifying for and competing at the Olympic Games.”

SoftCo wins Sports Sponsorship of the Year

Hockey Ireland will host FIH Series Finals for Women between June 8th and 16th 2019 in Banbridge Hockey Club. This tournament is the first step to Olympic qualification for the senior women’s team and will also be the first opportunity for the Irish public to watch the women play since winning a silver medal at the World Cup in 2018.

SoftCo’s sponsorship of the Irish Women’s Hockey Team, who reached the World Cup Final last August, was recognized as ‘Sports Sponsorship of the Year’ at the 2019 Irish Sport Industry Awards. The squad became the first Irish team to reach a World Cup final. These achievements were later recognized as the silver medal winning team were announced as 2018 Team of the Year at the RTE Sports Awards.

SoftCo faced strong competition for the 2019 Irish Sport Industry Awards Best Sports Sponsorship of the Year Award from:

– Vodafone and Irish Rugby
– Lidl and Ladies Gaelic Football
– Liberty Insurance and Camogie
– Allianz and Paralympics Ireland

In December, 2018 SoftCo announced the extension of its main sponsorship agreement for the Irish Women’s Hockey team up until at least 2021. The partnership with Hockey Ireland will incorporate the 2019 European Championships and the team’s qualification campaign to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“We are delighted to be recognized by The Federation of Irish Sport for ‘Best Sponsorship’. The heroics of the team at the 2018 World Cup was inspirational and we were thrilled to be a part of it.”

Susan Spence, Co-Founder, SoftCo


                                                                                         Women’s Irish Hockey Challenge Final

Dromore 1 (C Whan) Clonmel 0

Chelsey Whan’s sweet penalty corner finish propelled Domore to their second ever women’s Irish Hockey Challenge title as they edged out Clonmel at Serpentine Avenue 1-0.

The Challenge – formerly the May Costley Cup – is Irish hockey’s most unpredictable competition and Dromore became the tenth different winner in the last 10 years, adding to their success in 2008.

They did it in style, working lovely patterns in their forward lines while stifling Clonmel’s attacking threats for long periods with a controlled display.

Indeed, they bossed the first half but could not make that superiority count. Four penalty corners were charged down by the tight-knit Clonmel defence with Katie McDonald shooting over from the follow-up of their first corner 10 minutes in.

The interchanges between Emma Wilson, Hannah Buchanan and Emer Melville were causing problems but they kept running into defensive brick walls with Betty Barlow a key figure in shutting them out.

And, on the break, the Tipperary outfit did have their moments with Jill Shanahan the focal point of their attack. She raced through and turned on a six-pence to open up a shooting chance but it flashed wide of the right post.

The pick of the Dromore openings came two minutes before half-time but Ana Clarke could not get full force behind her shot and the confident Jenny O’Brien booted clear, leaving it 0-0 at half-time.

The second half followed a similar pattern with Dromore holding most of the play with their forward triangle causing problems but Susan Meaney’s side were resolute in their task.

Again, Shanahan almost latched onto breaking ball in the circle for Clonmel but they were eventually caught in the 51st minute.

It came following a wave of attacks which led to a penalty corner. Clonmel broke the line, reducing the numbers for the set piece, and Dromore cleverly worked the ball around the circle to Katie McDonald. She arrowed across from right to left where Whan was waiting to gleefully sweep home.

From there, they looked the more likely to kick on and make the game safe until the last five minutes when Clonmel produced a rousing volley of attacks with plenty of long balls wreaking havoc.

And they thought they had their equaliser from their sole penalty corner. It was switched to the injector by Barlow to Maeve Murphy who struck crisply first time but Eve Hughes brilliantly got across to save with her knee.

With that scare over, Dromore regained their composure to stay clear to the final whistle with some calm work, running down the time for a famous win.

Dromore: E Hughes, H Hanna, A Clarke, T Malcolmson, C Whan, S Wilson, N Laverty, E Mills, K McDonald, J Carson, H Buchanan, R Dougan, A Hughes, T Wilson, A McMullan, E Wilson, T Kelly, E Melville

Clonmel: J O’Brien, K Ronan, A Deely, B Barlow, E O’Dea, P Corcoran, R Boland, G Boland, S Meaney, M Mulcahy, B Ryan, R Moroney, K O’Sullivan, H Ronan, A Browne, M Murphy, C O’Connor, J Shanahan, N Boyle

Umpires: J Fisher, P Shields



Men’s Irish Hockey Challenge Final

Ballynahinch 4 (W Edgar 2, M Martin, S Leetch) Limerick 3 (V Biais 2, N Eacrett)

Willie Edgar produced two pieces of individual brilliance to win the men’s Irish Hockey Challenge final for Ballynahinch at Serpentine Avenue in a superb display of expansive attacking hockey against Limerick.

It saw them retain the title in style, making it three wins overall in this competition since 2012.

Intent from both sides was clear from the very start with Max Clein deflecting just wide for Limerick in the opening seconds while Hinch’s Alex Millar had two big chances almost immediately.

It went back and forth at break-neck speed with goals soon starting to flow. Limerick skipper Nathan Eacrett picked out a lovely diagonal ball into the path of Victor Biais who controlled on the spin to open the chance and then flicked in beautifully.

Hinch swapped the lead with barely 18 minutes gone as Matthew Martin’s thunderous shot equalised and then Scott Leetch finished off for 2-1 at the right post after a left-wing cross caused havoc.

Biais was not long waiting for his second goal, however, as Nick Lampp’s free just outside the 23m line opened the door and the striker picked out the top corner with a flick by Aaron Donnell – 2-2 at half-time.

The Ulster side, though, always look the more composed side with former Inst man Martin and Edgar having that touch of class to go with it.

The second half was slightly tighter but Hinch started to run up the corner count, necessitating lots of rearguard work from Justin Scheffel and his defensive team.

Limerick kept out seven set pieces but parity ended when Edgar went on a virtuoso run down the right channel and pulled off an audacious scoop which went in off the stanchion of crossbar and post.

That was with 13 minutes to go and he made it 4-2 a minute later, this time weaving his way out of traffic and selling the goalkeeper a dummy before rolling into an open net.

Nathan Eacrett slammed in a reverse from Limerick’s only penalty corner with five minutes to go, making things lively for the latter stages. But Ballynahinch had the nous to see out the endgame and lift the crown for a third time.

Ballynahinch: A Donnell, S Crean, T Crean, S Hunter, A Brown, L Harrison, R Coffey, M Martin, A Millar, W Edgar, J Campbell, S Leetch, L Curry, A Mulholland, M Brown, D Marshall, M Carney, J Higginson, A McIlwaine

Limerick: J Scheffel, S Lilburn, C Oggel, N Eacrett, Q Eacrett, A Smith, D Kelly, E Hannon, J Smith, C Duggan, B Smyth, N Lampp, A Khan, V Biais, M Clein, D Potts

Umpires: S Jenkins, D Pearson

Stephen Findlater


Women’s Irish Hockey Trophy final

Cork C of I 4 (H Honner 2, K Gaffney, K Coombes) Greenfields 2 (A McGovern, M Holden)

Cork C of I produced a remarkable second half comeback to win the women’s Irish Hocket Trophy for the third time, fighting back from 2-0 down to beat Greenfields 4-2 at Serpentine Avenue.

In truth, they were the stand-out side in the final, winning 13 penalty corners which they eventually made tell. It was a similar story in the semi-final when they trailed to NUIG before running out 2-1 winners.

The tie, indeed, looked to be one-way traffic in the opening stages as they ran up four penalty corners in the first four minutes but nothing would stick for them in a frustrating spell.

Then, out of the blue, Greenfields forged an attack through Rebecca Gilligan with the ball worked through to Alacoque McGovern alone around the p-spot. She took her time before shooting through the defences of Sarah Wrixon for a seventh minute lead.

Again, C of I went forward with purpose with Hannah Honner a livewire bursting down the right flank with Hollie Moffett and Mel Ryan driving things on.

Sarah Dunleavy and Aine Collins performed heroics at the back to stymie the waves of attacks and they once again took their chance when it came in the 23rd minute.

This time, Charlotte Elliott got off a shot that Sarah Wrixon got down brilliantly to deny but Meabh Holden followed up on her reverse to slide in for 2-0.

Things got worse for the Cork side when Holly Sweetnam was shown a yellow before half-time and a couple more attacking corners went awry.

Their frustrations continued in the early stages of the second half with Moffett and the influential Nicola Kerr planting shots into the chest of Sinead Collins.

Moffett’s deflected corner shot hit the front of the post but their breakthrough eventually did come when Kerr crossed and Honner scrambled home the ball, 2-1 with 24 minutes to go.

It released the floodgates and they were level with 14 minutes to go when they went the direct route from corner number 11, Kay Gaffney smashing home, skipping their usual array of switches.

Honner then gave them the lead with less than 10 minutes to go, a superbly worked corner move with a touch in front of Sinead Collins.

Greenfields almost sent the tie to shoot-out when Aine Collins cracked a shot off the crossbar but the game was killed off when Kirsty Coombes tore through the centre of the field and slipped home the fourth goal.

Cork C of I: S Wrixon, H Sweetnam, N Kerr, C Sexton, R Kingston, O Crowley, A Roberts, A O’Mahony, J Coyne, E O’Hara, H Moffett, S Baker, H Honner, K Coombes, M Ryan, K Gaffney, J Barry, L McHugh

Greenfields: S Collins, S Dunleavy, K Dunleavy, R Gilligan, A McGovern, C Moore, T Garrett, S Tierney, J Anderson, A Finnerty, E O’Connor, C Elliott, A Hennessy, M Holden, Z O’Toole, A Collins, S Burke, J Langan

Umpires: C Brophy, R Christie

Stephen Findlater

Freelance Journalist

Irish Senior Cup Venue Announced

With the teams confirmed for the Irish Senior Cup Lisnagarvey, Three Rock Rovers, Loreto and Cork Harlequins will battle it out on the 11th May 2019. While work is ongoing on the two new top-class pitches in Dublin, the National Sports Campus and UCD, Three Rock Rovers Hockey Club have taken up hosting duties for the Irish Senior Cup Finals day, one of the highlights of the domestic calendar. The central venue will provide an ideal location for the large number of supporters and spectators who regularly attend these finals.

Please see the schedule below:

Saturday 11th May 2019

13:30 Loreto HC v Cork Harlequins HC

15:45 Three Rock Rovers HC v Lisnagarvey HC

We are looking forward to seeing you all there to cheer on the clubs!

Hockey Ireland AGM 2019

Notice of the upcoming Hockey Ireland Annual General Meeting has been circulated as follows:

Date: 25th May 2019

Time: 11.30am

Venue: The Talbot Hotel, Stillorgan

Agenda and details for nominations can be found below:

Notice of Hockey Ireland AGM 2019.docx

Nomination Form for Election to Board 2019.docx