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Ireland to take on Great Britain in SoftCo Series

Green Army to take on Great Britain in SoftCo Series

2 March 2021

Hockey Ireland is excited to announce the SoftCo Series which will take place in Queen’s University Belfast, with the Irish Women taking on Great Britain on Saturday the 13th, Sunday the 14th and Tuesday the 16th of March. The uncapped series matches against Great Britain are the first international matches for the team on home soil since the Olympic Qualifier in December 2019.

Hockey Ireland are delighted to announce that all the matches will be available to view via streaming or broadcast. BBC Sport NI will be streaming all three matches on their website as well as the BBC iPlayer, while RTÉ will broadcast Sunday evening’s match live on RTÉ 2 with coverage starting from 16:30. Nigel Ringland will present BBC Sport NI’s coverage of the three matches and will be joined on commentary by former Ireland international Alex Speers; while Evanne Ní Chuillin will present RTÉ’s coverage, joined by Cliodhna Sargent and Gillian Pinder in studio, with match commentary from George Hamilton and Sarah Scott.

The announcement comes today on the 125th anniversary of the first ever women’s international field hockey match. A year after the establishment of the Irish Ladies Hockey Association, the match took place on the 2nd of March 1896 at Alexandra College, with the Irish Women recording a 2 – 0 victory over England, with goals from Johnson and Merton sealing the win.

The matches will provide the Green Army with the opportunity to play high quality international matches ahead of an intense international summer. 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.

Speaking on the announcement, Captain Katie Mullan said: “Given the past 12 months we are really excited to play these international matches at home. The squad has been training hard throughout which showed in our recent matches against Spain. They are a strong team and we recorded two wins and two draws out of the five friendlies, putting us in a confident position going into our next block of training.

These matches against GB will be great preparation for the EuroHockey Championships this summer ahead of travelling to Tokyo. As current Olympic gold medallists GB are an experienced and strong team, so this is a really good opportunity for us to put all the training into practice ahead of this summer.”

Match dates, times and where to watch:
Match 1: Saturday March 13th @ 2pm. BBC Sport NI website, BBC iPlayer. RTE Player TBC.
Match 2: Sunday March 14th @ 5pm. BBC Sport NI website, BBC iPlayer, RTE 2
Match 3: Tuesday March 16th @ 3pm. BBC Sport NI website, BBC iPlayer. RTE Player TBC.

First International Women’s Hockey Match:

The match took place on the 2nd of March 1896 at Alexandra College, with the Irish Women recording a 2 – 0 victory over England, with goals from Johnson and Merton sealing the win.
Picture below is the team who recorded this historic match and victory.

L Martin, Alex College; GK Capt E. Sealey, Dundrum; I Shaw, Donnybrook; A. Boyd, Merton; E. Obre, Merton; J. Boyd, Merton; F. Henshaw, Alex College; D. Johnson, Alex College (1); M. Obre, Merton (1); F. Martin, Alex College; A. Bell, Donnybrook.

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Saba Continue Support for Irish Women’s Hockey Team

The Saba Restaurant Group has announced renewal of their official partnership with Hockey Ireland.

Award winning Saba Restaurants and Saba To Go have announced that they will continue their Official Partnership with the Irish Women’s Hockey Team.

Saba will continue to fuel the teams training sessions and games as they prepare for the Tokyo Olympics 2021. For the last two years, the Saba team has worked closely with the team nutritionist and management to provide meals and nutrition for the players. At this level every detail matters.

Saba’s owner Paul Cadden has said: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with Hockey Ireland at this exciting time. We have got to know this inspiring group really well and we are thrilled to be part of their journey fueling the Green Army towards the Tokyo Olympics 2021.”

Hockey Ireland’s CEO Jerome Pels has said: “It is fantastic to have the continued support of Saba Restaurants and Saba To Go as an Official Partner. The Saba team have worked with our team Nutritionist to ensure that the meals provided to the team are ideal for their training and recovery as they prepare for a very demanding summer of international hockey in 2021. With the European Championships and the Olympics to prepare for, we are delighted to continue this partnership knowing that high quality nutritious meals are being provided to help the team prepare.”

SoftCo, Park Developments & Saba Restaurants Host International Women’s Day Lunch To Celebrate The Irish Senior Women’s Hockey Team 6/3/2020. Pictured is Chloe Watkins, Katie Mullan and Deirdre Duke
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Green Army Return from Friendly Spain Series

Ireland Women Return from Murcia Recording 2 Victories, 2 Draws, and 1 Defeat Against World Ranked Number 7 Spanish Side.



Ireland Women’s Hockey Team return from Murcia after a short warm weather camp which saw them take on Spain in a series of friendly matches.

Ireland took an early lead in the five match friendly series with a 4 – 1 win over their hosts. Spain scored in the opening quarter, however Evans hit the back post for the equaliser before half time. A steal from Mullan in the third quarter provided Duke the opportunity to give Ireland a goal lead. A Daly and O’Flanagan build up saw Duke further Ireland’s lead in the final quarter, before O’Flanagan’s strike from the top of the circle sealed a fourth and final goal of the match.

The second match of the series saw the hosts take the win by a single goal. Ireland went a goal up early in the first quarter with a strike from Niamh Carey after a turnover from Evans. Spain secured an equaliser from a penalty corner after an initial save from McFerran. A second penalty corner to the hosts gave them a 2 – 1 lead over the Irish team. A rebound from another penalty corner in the second half gave Spain a further lead, with Duke scoring for Ireland in the final quarter to bring the score to Spain 3 – 2 Ireland.

In a quick turnaround, the following day saw Ireland take a 2 goal victory with 2 late goals from O’Flanagan after a tight game. Ireland had a lot of circle entries but outcomes evaded them until the final five minutes. A strong Spanish side pressed aggressively but the final score remained Spain 0 – 2 Ireland after hard work on a hot day.

The fourth match in the series resulted in a draw between the two sides. A strong start from Ireland with a goal from Zara Malseed gave an early lead. A penalty corner to Spain in the second quarter gave them an equaliser, however Malseed delivered again in the third quarter with the assistance of Hannah McLoughlin to reclaim Ireland’s lead. The equaliser came again in the final quarter from Spain’s Gigi to close the match Spain 2 – 2 Ireland.

The final match of the series saw the sides draw level again. Spain secured the first goal of the match in the opening quarter. While the second quarter of the game became a goal fest. A goal from Spain’s Gigi after some great skill in the circle Ireland was met with an almost immediate response from Malseed. Spain secured a penalty corner strike a minute later. Ireland responded again with a tap in from Duke after a great build up from Malseed and O’Flanagan. Spain replied again with another penalty corner strike. After 5 goals from the sides within 6 minutes the half time score was Spain 4 – 2 Ireland. A penalty corner for Ireland saw Lena Tice reduce the hosts lead in third quarter, before securing the equaliser in the final quarter with another flick from a penalty corner.

Speaking about the matches, Head Coach Sean Dancer said, You can train all you want, but nothing beats playing International hockey again. Not just for the competition, but also the mindset of the group. It has been a tough year for everyone, everywhere and we are very lucky that we are able to continue some quality development towards our Tokyo goals.

We travelled with our full current squad, providing all players the opportunity to get some game time again. Even though our performances where not consistent, we did shows periods of high quality play, including scoring field goals in every game. Always pleasing to see development in key areas that you are working hard on.

We will review the series and reassess the programme for our next steps, taking away some good lessons from our Spain series, not just on the field.”

Performance Director Adam Grainger said “A huge amount of planning and effort went into making sure these matches could go ahead. Sport Ireland and Sport Northern Ireland have been essential to the organisation of this trip. Each member of the team was tested prior to leaving for the camp, followed by an isolation period before travelling, and will face testing again on return to Ireland.

It was great to see the team back on the pitch playing international hockey, there’s a great energy in the group. The whole squad have been meticulous in following the appropriate COVID protocols which has allowed us to do this successfully.”

The matches were played as part of a friendly unofficial series and were therefore uncapped matches. Spain are currently ranked 7th in World just above Ireland. The sides will face each other at European’s later this year.



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Hockey Ireland Announce Women’s 2021 Panel

Irish Women’s Head Coach, Sean Dancer, has announced a reduced panel of 23 players for 2021. The team has been training both regionally and nationally throughout the past number of months, playing a series of inter-squad matches in order to remain in top shape despite restrictions preventing them taking on other international squads.

The panel sees a mix of internationally experienced players, with several World Cup medallists included, while also incorporating some young and upcoming talent with the inclusion of two uncapped players. The panel is as follows:

PLAYER                                 Region               Position               CAPS

BARR, Beth                               Ulster                    Defender                30

CAREY, Michelle                      Leinster                Midfielder             Uncapped

CARROLL, Naomi                   Munster               Striker                     111

COLVIN, Elizabeth                  Ulster                    Midfielder             196

DALY, Nicola                            Leinster                Midfielder             189

DUKE, Deirdre                         Leinster                Midfielder             141

EVANS, Nicola                         Leinster                Striker                     198

FRAZER, Megan                      Ulster                    Defender               136

HAWKSHAW, Sarah               Leinster                Midfielder             33

MALSEED, Zara                       Ulster                    Striker                   Uncapped

MATTHEWS, Hannah            Leinster                Defender               147

McCAY, Shirley                         Ulster                    Defender              306

McFERRAN, Ayeisha              Ulster                    Goal Keeper         100

McLOUGHLIN, Hannah        Leinster                Defender               14

MULLAN, Kathryn (C)           Ulster                    Midfielder             193

MURPHY, Elizabeth               Leinster                Goal Keeper          13

O’FLANAGAN, Anna              Leinster                Striker                    207

O’FLANAGAN, Grace             Leinster                Goal Keeper          36

TICE, Elena                              Leinster                Defender                109

TORRANS, Sarah                   Leinster                Striker                     26

UPTON, Roisin                       Munster               Defender                 76

WATKINS, Chloe                   Leinster                Midfielder              226

WILSON, Zoe                         Ulster                    Defender                103

Speaking on the selection, Head Coach Sean Dancer said “This has been a tough process, reducing the number of athletes on the panel. We’ve seen some new talent come in and make an impression, which is a great sign for the longer term vision of the sport here in Ireland.

I’m confident we have a really good mix of experience and talent in this panel. They’ve all been working incredibly hard and it’s been quite challenging over the past number of months with restrictions.

I’m looking forward to the next few months and excited that we’re getting closer to Tokyo 2021.”

Irish Women’s Captain Katie Mullan said “2020 has been a challenging year for everyone but over the past couple of months we have trained incredibly hard. With a very competitive cohort we have made some great progress, despite all the challenges COVID has presented. All our training has been in a safe environment which is credit to our staff and the players for adhering to all rules put in place.

We are very excited for 2021 with 2 major international competitions on the calendar, Europeans and the Olympic Games. However, first and foremost we just cannot wait to play some international test matches again in the New Year.”

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Hockey Ireland Announce National Boys Development, U16 and U18 Coaches.

Hockey Ireland are delighted to announce the appointment of an array of experienced coaches to the Boys Junior Age Group Squads.

Former Hockey Ireland international Joe Brennan has been appointed as the National Boys Development Coach and U21 Boys Head Coach. In the absence of a specific U21 Boys programme in 2021, Joe will take over the U19 Boys team later this year with Niall Denham stepping away from the programme in May for a sabbatical period. The former international player is also a former Assistant Coach to the Senior Women, as well as previously holding Head Coach roles in Muckross, Three Rock Rovers, and Glenanne.

Simon Lowry takes over as Head Coach to the Boys U18 squad, with Simon supporting Joe Brennan as they set their sights on the U18 EuroHockey Championship in Valencia in July, facing Germany, the Netherlands, and Russia in Pool B (to which Hockey Ireland are sending U19 squads).

Ronan Hickey will take over the Boys U16 squad as Head Coach as they focus on an Easter Five Nations (Covid 19 dependent).

Speaking on the appointments, High Performance Director Adam Grainger said, “It’s fantastic to be able to announce these appointments. Between international playing experience, and coaching at domestic and international level, the knowledge and experience these individuals will bring to the squads will have a lasting impact on the development of underage boys’ hockey in Ireland for years to come.”

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Lisa Jacob appointed as Manager to International Women’s Team

*Pictured: Lisa Jacob (R) with Sharon Hutchinson (L) of Cork Harelquins at the 2019 Hockey Ireland WIS conference


Hockey Ireland Announce Former International, Lisa Jacob as Women’s Manager


Hockey Ireland is pleased to announce the appointment of former dual international athlete Lisa Jacob as Manager to the International Women’s Hockey Team. Lisa amassed 139 caps and scored 17 goals for the Irish Women’s Hockey Team between 2006 and 2014. She became the first Irish woman to be professionally contracted by a Dutch Hoofdklasse club, playing for Stichtsche Cricket en Hockey Club (SCHC) in 2013. After almost a decade playing international hockey, she then took up a contract to play with the Irish Women’s Rugby 7’s squad for 18 months.

“I am delighted to join the Green Army as they go into a very exciting and demanding year ahead,” said Jacob. “I hope in my role I can support the players and staff to prepare, perform and fulfil their ambitious goals.”

Lisa has previously worked as a Coach developer with Hockey Ireland and has been assistant coach to the Irish U16 and U18 girl’s hockey teams. She boasts a wide array of experience from her international playing careers in Hockey and Rugby, as well as a background in Executive Coaching.

Director of High Performance, Adam Grainger said, “Following on from the significant contribution that Arlene Boyles made as Senior Women’s Team Manager, the appointment of Lisa Jacob is welcomed.  Lisa’s wide variety of high performance skills and hockey experiences will add to their programme as it intensifies towards the European Championship and Tokyo Olympics participation in 2021.  The players and the staff look forward to working with Lisa.”

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Hockey Ireland Coronavirus (COVID-19) UPDATE No. 10 regarding Level 5 COVID-19 Restrictions

As of midnight, on Wednesday 21st October, the Republic of Ireland is moving to Level 5 COVID-19 restrictions. These restrictions will remain in place for a period of 6 weeks. The effect of these restrictions on Hockey activity have been highlighted below.

These restrictions will apply to all Clubs in the Republic of Ireland.

Under Level 5, individual training only is permitted, and no matches are to take place. The exemptions to this are:

  1. Non-contact training can continue for school-aged children, outdoors in pods of 15. This means that at no point during the session should a player come within 2m of another player. Exercises involving tackling (such as 1v1s), marking or match play should not be undertaken.
  1. Elite sports* are permitted to continue behind closed doors – For Hockey this has been defined as the National Senior Men’s and Women’s Programmes. They are permitted to train and play behind closed doors.

*Please note: This category has been defined by the ‘Return to Sport Expert Group’ which has been established by the ROI government to provide guidance to Ireland’s sporting bodies to prepare for the phased return to sporting activity.

Facilities & Travel:

It is permitted to open outdoor sports facilities for training sessions and scheduled matches for the exempted categories of sport, i.e. high performance.  It will also be permitted to open outdoor sports facilities for structured training sessions by school aged children, i.e. those aged 18 years and younger, in pods of no more than 15, under the supervision of designated coaches and in compliance with approved COVID-19 protocols and all relevant public health guidance.

During these training sessions, it will only be permitted for participants and relevant coaching and support personnel to be present. In the case of children’s sport, parents will be permitted to attend for child safeguarding purposes, however they will be required to comply with social distancing and other public health advice.

Under Level 5, while domestic travel restrictions do not allow movement outside of a 5-kilometre radius of home, it is permitted to take school-aged children to club training sessions. Club coaches may also travel to training sessions.

Northern Ireland

Ulster Hockey has advised that all hockey club training is suspended until 14 November 2020.  This coincides with the timing of the NI Executive’s current restrictions. Please check the Ulster Hockey website for the latest guidance.

Hockey Ireland will continue to follow the developments and will respond as soon as possible to any changes in the situation. Hockey Ireland would like to thank all branches and clubs that worked hard to get hockey competition back under the strict protocols.  We hope we will be back again as soon as possible.

The Hockey Ireland Return to Play and Competition Protocol will be updated shortly and available at https://hockey.ie/covid-19/

Please see below for current clarification on Level 5.


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Hockey Ireland Announce Men’s Head Coach

Hockey Ireland is pleased to announce the appointment of Mark Tumilty as Head Coach for the Irish Senior Men. The appointment comes as the squad looks ahead to the European Championships next August.

Tumilty was initially appointed to the Head Coach role for the Irish Senior Men’s squad on a short term basis as they faced into their final weeks of preparation for their Olympic Qualifier against Canada last October. However, the position was extended into 2020 in line with a normal Olympic cycle. With European Championships scheduled for August 2021 and the World Cup qualification process getting underway in early 2022, Tumilty has used the past year to widen the Men’s panel and provide some younger players with the opportunity to step up, with the aim of making the squad more competitive.

Speaking on the announcement, Head Coach Mark Tumilty said, “It is an honour and privilege to be given the opportunity to coach the Irelands Senior Men’s team. I am really excited by the players we have available and look forward to developing those players over the next period. I want to develop an attacking style of hockey and to create an environment for all players to fulfil their potential during our preparation for the 2021 European Championships.”

Hockey Ireland Performance Director, Adam Grainger, had this to say on the announcement, “Hockey Ireland High Performance is delighted to reappoint Mark Tumilty as Senior Men’s Head Coach. Despite the disappointment of the unsuccessful qualification for Tokyo 2020, it was very clear from existing players and staff feedback that the leadership of Mark was well received leading into Vancouver qualifiers and subsequently. To date, 2020 has not allowed regular programme activity for the Senior Men, yet Hockey Ireland is very much looking forward to working with Mark, his Management Team and the players as they move forward towards their 2021 European Championships and beyond”.

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Hockey Ireland Announce Renewed Partnership with Queen B Athletics

Hockey Ireland and Queen B Athletics are delighted to announce after an extremely successful first year as partners, that they are extending their current partnership with the Irish Women’s Hockey Team for another four years. The renewed sponsorship includes “Green Army” limited edition Queen B “Daisy” leggings for the current squad, along with the now iconic Official “Green Army”  Sports Bra.

The initial partnership was struck up at a 20×20 event, when a conversation between the two parties lead to the simple but powerful question being asked, “Why doesn’t an Official Sports Bra Sponsor exist?”

Hockey Ireland and Queen B made waves last year when they announced their partnership a few weeks ahead of the Irish Women’s Olympic Qualifier success in Donnybrook last year. The team went on to make history becoming the first Irish Women’s Hockey team to qualify for an Olympic Games. However, they had also made history a few weeks beforehand, becoming the first national team to have an Official Sports Bra Supplier; an official supplier for what is considered an essential piece of kit to all active females, whether it is at elite international level or someone taking their first steps on a Couch to 5k programme.

“Sports bras are not underwear, they are kit. I think this partnership is part of a bigger picture. It’s part of a movement that recognises the importance of truly functional kit for women. Women deserve all of their kit to be considered essential. Hockey Ireland share this belief and together we can use our platforms to promote the Green Army, women in sport, an increase in participation and spectatorship.” said co-founder Brid Ryan.

With this in mind, we’ve created the first of its kind, a Supporters Sports Bra. Similar to the squad’s official sports bra, we’ve created a Supporters Sports Bra and will be making it available for fans to purchase on Wednesday September 30th from www.queenbathletics.com. While the squads Sports Bras are plain navy with little green accents, Ireland is stitched on the front, with the Hockey Ireland and Queen B logos on each side, and “Green Army” is present on the back, the Supporters Sports Bra has emerald green straps and features the Hockey Ireland logo on the front. The all-important “Green Army” is stitched into the back to seal the deal on the first ever OFFICIAL Supporters Sports Bra.

“Since we announced the partnership last year, we’ve definitely seen an increased interest in teams approaching us for customised sports bras. It’s such an important aspect of your kit and we make sure it’s designed and fitted perfectly for your team,” continued Brid.

The announcement ties in well with the current chapter of the 20×20 campaign, #ThinkItAskIt. “Why doesn’t an Official Sports Bra Sponsor exist?” Now there it does. What next? The Supporters Sports Bra. The Green Army is recruiting. And We Want YOU! #NoPlaceForAPrincess

Women’s National Development Squad Program Update

The Easter and summer programme of development (U23) and U21 matches have been postponed or cancelled due the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic. These included a trip to play Great Britain three times at Easter, a busy June period with warm weather camp in North Carolina which included 6 matches against the USA and a home 6 Nations Tournament (with Canada, Chile, Germany, India and Netherlands) at UCD. The EHF have now also confirmed the cancellation of their U23 six nations that was scheduled for Cardiff in mid August.

Commenting on the programme Head Coach David Passmore commented “while completely understandable given the current priorities we had put a lot of work into developing a programme for the year that would prepare a group to move into the senior squad post Tokyo. The health of everyone is, and should be, our priority right now and these measures are appropriate. The management team and I have been exceptionally impressed with the attitude of the athletes during the past 6 weeks and each has pushed hard to develop the physical side of their game under the auspices of our talented S&C Coach Orlaith Curran. We will give the athletes a short break once the lock down is over and then hope to start preparing for some matches in the late autumn once we have the domestic calendar confirmed”.

The 6 Nations U23 tournament planned for UCD 20-27th June will now take place in June 2021 and all teams have indicated they would still like to take part. The squad also plan to go to America in 2021 as was planned this year and discussions with US hockey are ongoing. With the Tokyo Olympics also moving by a year this will provide an ideal platform for development of this talented group of youngsters for the post games period. An U21 team has also been entered into the Indoor Europeans set for Croatia in January which provides a further stimulus for the group.