Director and Chair, nominated by Glenanne Sports Club
Eric is the RCSI Hospital Group’s HR Director, responsible for 12,000 employees within its seven constituent hospitals. He previously held senior management positions in HR, Transformation, ICT, Estates /Facilities Management within the Irish Prison Service (IPS) and formerly senior HR positions in An Garda Siochana and Bank of Ireland.
Eric has significant ‘Board’ experience having sat on the Boards of the RCSI HG, IPS, Athletics Ireland, Irish Olympic Handball Association (IOHA) and for a time was President and Chair of the Boards of the Irish Universities Athletics Association (IUAA) and Psychological Society of Ireland.
Interested in all sports Eric represented UCD at Intervarsity level in Athletics, Olympic Handball, Rugby and Archery. He continues to compete in Masters competition finishing 9th in the Throws Pentathlon at the Europeans in 2010. A captain of the UCD Athletics and Handball clubs he has also captained the IUAA and Irish Olympic Handball teams. He currently holds University records for Track & Field team titles (24) and men’s Varsity appearances (105). A provincial schools rugby captain he was twice trialled for Irish Schools. He has won national and provincial titles in Athletics and Handball and also holds a National Hurling League winners medal and provincial titles at minor and schools levels.
A qualified Sports Psychologist he worked with the OCI during the 1990’s helping prepare athletes and teams for Olympic Games. He was also a selector for Athletics for the World Student Games and managed the team at the 1995 Universiade in Fukuoka, Japan. As part of his role with the OCI he facilitated sport psychology sessions for the Irish U.16 Hockey squad and was also an invited speaker at the 1994 World International Hockey Coaching Conference.
Both of his daughters play hockey with Loreto College, Stephens Green. Eric’s only foray into competitive hockey was while a student in UCD. He was persuaded by friends in the Ladies club to turn out for a mixed team in the Club’s annual October Bank Holiday tournament. As luck would have it they won the tournament at the first time of asking and reached the final again the following year.
Director and Treasurer, Nominated by the Munster Branch
Keith took up hockey when he went to Villiers School in Limerick in 1977. Towards the end of his time there he turned out for LPYMA. In 1983 he went to Trinity College and played there for four years before moving to Three Rock Rovers HC, whom he represented until the mid-1990’s when a back injury forced him to hang up his stick.
From 1987 until the European Championships in Dublin in 1995, Keith served as Media Co-ordinator of the IHU, keeping the media fed with information on the international team and Irish club and provincial competitions. During that time he also travelled with the Irish team to a number of international tournaments reporting on their matches for newspaper and radio.
After a break of ten years or so from the sport, Keith picked up on coaching the U14 Boy’s Team in Limerick HC and also served as Chair of the club for a number of years, during which time Limerick were one of the first clubs to be awarded Clubmark.
Director, Nominated by Loreto HC
Paula Cunniffe is CEO of Mark Pollock Trust, whose mission is to cure paralysis in our lifetime. A key part of this role is managing a global run series called Run in the Dark with 25,000 participants taking part in 50 cities around the world.
She spent 4 years as a strategic communications specialist working on communications projects with a focus on digital marketing and events in Department of the Taoiseach. Prior to working in the public sector, she produced TV & radio documentaries broadcast on Setanta Sports, Radio 1, Newstalk and Lyric FM. She graduated with first class honours from Journalism and Irish degree in DIT and completed a Master’s at University of Florida having been awarded a scholarship and lecturing role.
She is the former President, and former Communications Officer of Loreto Hockey Club.
Director, Nominated by Cork Harlequins Hockey Club
Sharon started her hockey life in Catholic Institute, Limerick at the age of 11. She moved to Cork 3 years later continuing her hockey at school and taking up her new position in goal. She first joined Cork Harlequins in 1986, followed by a stint in UCC where she completed her Ph.D in Chemistry.
She has played for Ireland at U21 and Senior level achieving her first cap in Cork Harlequins against Scotland in 1992. She retired from the game in 2000 after winning the Irish Senior Cup with her club. In 2008 she returned to Cork Harlequins in a coaching capacity helping out with the underage section. With 1 daughter and 4 sons playing in the club, Sharon served as Child Officer for 3 years and she has been an integral part in the development of the underage section over the last 10 years. During this time she was also involved with Kinsale Hockey Club, a new junior club in Munster founded in 2012.
Founder of the website sportswomen.ie Sharon played her part in the positive development of the women’s sporting landscape in Ireland from 2015-2018. She learnt more about how the sports industry works and has been able to bring her new skills into the position of Club Manager in Cork Harlequins which she started in September 2017. Sharon made a return to goal, playing with the 5ths team this season, she felt she would be long enough NOT playing. This season she also developed the Cork Harlequins Goalkeeping Academy for young goalkeepers and the Mini Quins catering for 3-5 year olds in the club.She spent 4 years as a strategic communications specialist working on communications projects with a focus on digital marketing and events in Department of the Taoiseach. Prior to working in the public sector, she produced TV & radio documentaries broadcast on Setanta Sports, Radio 1, Newstalk and Lyric FM. She graduated with first class honours from Journalism and Irish degree in DIT and completed a Master’s at University of Florida having been awarded a scholarship and lecturing role.
Director, Nominated by Monkstown Hockey Club
I have been involved in hockey in many roles over 5 decades. A former outdoor and indoor International and Hockey Ireland Level 5 coach.
I have held top coaching posts for clubs (Muckross, Avoca and UCD) for all age groups and Senior Interprovincial teams in Leinster, National indoor coach and women’s U’22 coach.
I hold a diploma in Sports Psychology and EHF indoor coach qualification . I have managed provincial and national teams and have been instrumental in development of youth hockey in Leinster.
I was a member of the Elite Player Pathway Group and has served on different selection committees in Hockey Ireland.
In business I have over 20 years experience in the Corporate Governance, Compliance and Regulatory environment and in developing a team culture to deliver success.
I am currently Chair of Leinster Hockey, President of Monkstown Hockey Club and Chairman of Unifund VC, a venture capital company assisting graduate startups.
Director, Chair High Performance Committee
Steve Hiles was nominated to the Board after being appointed as Chairperson of the High Performance Committee in October 2019.
He has held a number of positions in Irish hockey and was Manager of the Irish u21s & Senior Mens squad for over a decade competing at several Europeans, World Cup and Olympic qualification tournaments finishing up in Auckland when the men missed out on qualifying for 2008 Beijing Olympics. During this period central strength and conditioning programmes were established and the appointment of the first High Performance Director in 2005 that are now key cornerstones of the High Performance Programmes
He took up hockey at a very young age on the grass pitches in his hometown of Comber playing hockey and cricket at North Down. There he completed his umpiring badges whilst aged 16 and was appointed to the Ulster womens senior league umpires panel in 1990 and at the time the youngest umpire in Ireland to attain their badges and umpire a senior league match.
Whilst attending Queens University he was very active on and off the pitch in sports administration fulfilling various captaincy, coaching, and office holder positions in both the hockey and cricket clubs and was awarded a Queens Blue along with representing Ireland at University level in cricket.
Now based in Dublin and still a very active volunteer you will find him at Railway Union Hockey Club in Sandymount coaching the junior under age teams and generally instilling a love of the game of hockey in the next generations.
Since 2000 he has maintained the Senior mens international caps records and working together with Antrim hockey club stalwart Drew Francey they re-developed the database in 2015 to include every Irish mens appearance since 1895 (over 14,000 individual appearances in nearly 1,000 matches over 125 years) in what is considered the most complete set of international hockey records in world hockey.
Director, Nominated by Connacht Branch
Aisling Keogh is from Galway City. She has been working in the HSE for nearly 20 years and has recently been promoted to the role of Communications Officer.
Aisling is a retired FIH Umpire representing her country at the highest level at a number of tournaments including the Euro’s in 2013. She is a National and European recognised umpire coach and Technical Officer having completed the necessary training as well as being a National Umpire Assessor,
Aisling loves to give back to the sport she loves and a sport that gave her so much in life.
Following 3 years as President of Connacht hockey, Aisling joined Hockey Ireland’s Board of Directors.
Aisling strives daily for acceptance, growth, innovation, and a work / life balance. Aisling is a lover of Nature and a published amateur poet.
Aisling is actively involved in gaining equal access to multi sports facilities in the West of Ireland.
Director, Nominated by Ulster Branch
Billy began hockey at school in 1969 and has played the majority of his club career with Cliftonville Hockey Club, which is now re-named CIYMS Men’s Hockey Club and he stills plays for the 2nd XI alongside a mostly teenage squad.
In 2000, along with a small group of Irish Masters, he embarked on the first ever Masters Hockey Home Nations Tournament in Cardiff and has been a stalwart of the Ireland Masters squads ever since, playing in European and World Cups and other International events, he currently plays for the Men’s Masters Over 65s Squad!
He is widely known for administering the ‘Ireland Masters Hockey’ Facebook social media page for both the ladies and men, he also serves on the men’s higher age groups organising Committee managing communications.
Billy is an avid worldwide hockey traveller and has played masters hockey in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Korea and all over Europe. He has 120+ Ireland Masters caps, proudly gaining his 100th Cap in the 2018 Ireland Men’s Over 60s Celtic Cup win in Lille.
Complete with his ‘green shamrock suit”, Billy recently travelled to Bhubaneswar, India Men’s World Cup in 2018 and to the Ladies World Cup in London 2018, to cheer on Ireland!
He a keen amateur sports photographer, regularly covering ladies and men’s hockey at all levels in Ulster and Ireland to help promote the sport he is most fervent about.
Billy was privileged to be taking photographs close to the pitch in the Energia Park Stadium, on that historic weekend in November 2019 when the Ireland Ladies qualified for Toyko Olympics 2020/21
Billy had a very successful management career in the defence and aerospace industry responsible for major €100M+ level contracts. He is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), an accredited Project Manager with an MBA and Business Honours Degree. He’s passionate about professional management and has tutored Open University MBA and been Chair of the CMI in Northern Ireland for 12 years.
Billy was elected the Ulster Hockey Management Board in 2016, and became Chairperson in 2017 responsible for overall governance matters. He is also a Director of the Guysmere Trust Charity. Both Billy’s 2 daughters played hockey at his alma mater, the Queen’s University Belfast and he actively supports the ladies teams at ‘The Dub’.
Billy’s second sport is golf and he is a Member at The Royal Belfast Golf Club and a Past Captain and Member at Helen’s Bay Golf Club.
Director, Nominated by Three Rock Rovers
I started playing hockey at school in Dublin, didn’t really take it any further until I moved to London where I joined a leading club based in Wandsworth. After a number of years there I soon started to see that there were many ways that hockey could/ and was developing, this was the start of me gaining an understanding of the beautiful game beyond a regular Saturday league match. I suggested a number of ways to move forward at the start of the digital age to current club in Wandsworth, resulting in me setting up London Edwardians Hockey Club – and yes it was named after me! The Ed’s have now grown to 12+ teams and delighted to say their Men’s 1st play in the National League in UK. I also act as Club President for The Ed’s.
The role of marketing, sponsorship and communications evolved at a high pace, I really enjoyed working for England Hockey shaping their sponsorship and marketing strategies whilst still playing for Rover Oxford. On the work side I came back home to Dublin in 2006, and continue to play league hockey with Three Rock Rovers HC, where I currently captain M4’s and am a past Club Captain. My role at Three Rock is in part to bring on and develop the next generation of hockey players, to play decent hockey to enjoy post match, but I also umpire where possible, and coach (most recently coached Avoca Ladies 3rd to a winning and promotional season).
Since 2019 I have taken over the Captaincy and Management for Hockey Ireland Masters Men’s 50s. Together with Iain Kelly we have raised the benchmark re standard of play, we have widened player pool, reached the semi finals of the Europeans in 2019, and keenly await the resumption of future tournaments including our World Cup which now looks like being 2022.
There is so much more we can give back to Hockey, and look forward to working with the Board of Hockey Ireland in these challenging times.
Bios will follow for Board Members below:
Iain Kelly, Rosita Wolfe
Hockey Ireland Head Office
Newstead, UCD, Belfield, Dublin 4 Ireland
Phone: + 353 (0) 1 716 3261