In Memoriam: Dr Moira McKelvey (née Hopkins)

Hockey Ireland joins Ulster Hockey in sadness as it learns of the death of Dr Moira McKelvey (née Hopkins) who passed away peacefully on Thursday 11th January 2024. 

Moira had a very distinguished hockey career which started off at Victoria College, Belfast. When she was at school, she won her first full international cap for Ireland at the age of 17. Her sister, Thelma, who was a year younger, was also on the team. Ireland played Wales on that occasion and won the match 2-1, with Moira scoring Ireland’s first goal and Thelma the second. 

Moira had 15 Irish caps from 1953 to 1971 and represented Ulster in Interprovincial matches from 1952 to the late 1970s. After she graduated from Queens University in Medicine, she played for Victorians from 1958 to the late 1980s when she was nearly 50 years of age. A newspaper article, written in the Belfast Telegraph by Artie O’Neill in February 1981, had the headline, ‘Victorians owe a lot to Moira’, saying the young squad had the benefit of the maturity of former international Moira upfront and ’the speed that Moira moves on the field certainly belies her age’. 

Off the pitch Moira contributed greatly to hockey in Ulster. She was President of the Ulster Women’s Hockey Union from 1981-1983 and sat on the Ulster Women’s Hockey Committee for many years. She was President of Victorians Ladies Hockey Club from 1985 to 2007 and was actively involved in the club as a player and an official for 49 years.  

At this sad time we remember how much Moira gave to hockey over the years. Our condolences go to her husband, Jimmy, son Bill, grandsons Ben, Matt & Nick and her sister Thelma, who is in Canada.