Irene Johnston served as Irish President of the Irish Ladies Hockey Union from 1993-1995. Irene played a very important role in the organisation of the 8th Women’s World Cup which was hosted in Dublin in 1994. Born in Dublinm, Irene attended The Bertrand & Rutland High School where she played on the 1st XI and was capped for Leinster Schools.
On leaving school Irene joined Pembroke Wanderers Hockey Club and played on the 1st XI from 1958 to 1976. During this time she captained her side to many Leinster League and Cup wins and has five Irish Senior Cup medals.
She was awarded her first International cap against New Zealand in Belfast in 1959 and went on to play for Ireland on 24 occasions, captaining the side in the seasons 1969/70 and 1973/74. She played on the Irish Touring teamin the 1963 IFWHA Tournament in Baltimore, USA, and captained the Irish Touring team in the 1967 IFWHA Tournament in Cologne, Germany.
Pembroke Wanderers made her an Honorary Life Member in 1978 – an honour she greatly values.
On retiring from Senior hockey she took up umpiring and in 1987 was awarded her FIH International Badge. She has umpired at the European Club Championships in Holland and at the 1987 European Cup in London. She moved into the technical side of the game and acted as judge at European Club Championships both indoor and outdoor in Holland, Austria and England.
She held the IHU Standard Coaching Award and coached a Junior girl’s side in Wesley College, Dublin. She played recreational hockey with Pembroke Wanderers for many years and coached Castlepark Ladies, a group of women who met every Wednesday morning throughout the season.
Irene comes from a very sporting background. Her brother, Harry Cahill, was probably the best hockey goalkeeper ever to play for Ireland. He notched up 107 international caps, 35 of them for Great Britain and played in three Olympics, 1960, 1964 and 1968. Her other brother, Cecil, was a fine amateur soccer goalkeeper and was capped several times for Ireland. Her husband, David, played rugby for the Welsh U19 team against France and England and toured South Africa that same year. When not involved in hockey affairs Irene enjoyed golf, playing off a handicap of 10 in Foxrock Golf Club.