SoftCo Extends Partnership with Hockey Ireland to end of 2025

Olympians Katie Mullan and David Harte comment on their short term goals as well as the continued rise of Irish International Hockey


19 February 2024, Dublin: SoftCo, the global leader in Procure-to-Pay, today announced the extension of its lead sponsorship for the Ireland Women’s and Men’s Senior Hockey teams and the Ireland U21 development squads to the end of 2025. SoftCo will also extend its support for the ‘Goalie Club’, which is supporting the development of the next generation of world class Goalkeepers and Coaches with digital training content.

The announcement was made at SoftCo’s headquarters in Leopardstown by two of Ireland’s hockey Olympians Katie Mullan, captain of the Women’s senior team and David Harte, Ireland Men’s goalkeeper and two-time world goalkeeper of the year.

SoftCo’s partnership with Hockey Ireland started with the 2018 World Cup, where the Women’s Senior team famously won a silver medal. In 2022, SoftCo extended its commitment to include the Men’s Senior Team, who have just qualified for the Paris Olympics and who are playing against the world’s elite nations in the FIH Pro League series 2023/24, currently in India. This extension will take the current partnership with Hockey Ireland up to the end of 2025.

Susan Spence, co-founder of SoftCo, commented,

“We are thrilled to extend our support as Irish hockey is growing and experiencing great success at international level.  In a reversal of last time, the men qualified in a nail biter, and it was heartbreak for the women. However, there is a new generation coming through which is really exciting for the future.  We love supporting these fantastic teams.”

Anne McCormack, Hockey Ireland CEO, said:

“SoftCo exemplifies what it means to be a great partner. They have supported us when it mattered and they joined with us building for the future and identifying areas for specific support and positive impact. Multiyear commitment allows us to plan, manage our growth and set goals. We are playing at the highest level of the international game and we want to maintain and improve on that.

“It’s the support of our partners and sponsors that allows us to remain so competitive. Currently, we are focussed on the Men’s participation in this year’s Paris Olympics, we are looking to have our Senior Women qualify for next season’s FIH Pro-League but we are also planning for the future so we  can continue to compete at the highest possible level, including LA 2028.”



On the occasion of the signing of the SoftCo sponsorship extension until the end of 2025, we had the chance to sit down with David Harte and Katie Mullan and get their thoughts and comments across a number of different current hockey topics.


DAVID HARTE: Ireland Senior Men’s Hockey Goalkeeper, Olympian and FIH goalkeeper of the year


Q: On getting to his second ever Olympic games:

A: “If anybody was asked about any athlete across any discipline, the goal is to play at an Olympic games. It’s what dreams are made of “


Q: On the FIH Pro League:

“These matches are going to be invaluable, the 8 matches in India are going to be invaluable and the other games in Antwerp and in London.”

Q: On the draw for the games:

A: “You look at the  draw and you are recognising in Pool B you are playing against the best teams in the world.  Some might say the other side of the draw is more difficult. At the end of the day when you’re at an Olympic Games playing against the top teams in the world, Pool A or Pool B, it doesn’t matter. It’s the most difficult teams to play against in World Hockey.” 


Q: On Olympics targets:

A: “Getting out of the first phase of the Pools and try to target  the quarter finals again. We were a bit too much in Rio that we’re just here to compete but we must be targeting a spot in the last eight of the Olympics now we want to get over there and really mix it with the top teams.”


Q: On having previous  experience of the Olympics within the squad:

A: “Having a core group who were at Rio, we will be able to give tips to the players who have not experienced a games before life in the Olympic Village and other things that happen off the field that are unique to the Games and the things you need to prepare bringing the learnings from the last Olympic cycle will be crucial.”

Q: On knowing the opposition:

A: “There are some countries you play against and others that you rarely come up against. For the players playing professional club hockey in Europe though, you rub shoulders with players from other countries  at club level. You get to understand your team mates who at international level will be your opponents. You learn their strengths and weaknesses  All of this information could prove vital in the FIH Pro League, The Olympic Games or future tournaments.”  

Q: On the task of playing India in their home twice in this round of the FIH Pro League:

A: “If you are going to play any team in their home country in front of a packed stadium it will be India. This will be a memory for their lives. I remember playing against them there in 2013 and the stadium was only half full and I couldn’t hear myself never mind communicate with my team mates. Moving to the next stage Rourkela they will be playing in the largest purpose built hockey stadium in the world. It will be an experience for not just hockey but a life experience.”


Q: On the immediate future:

A: “I am still loving my hockey, I am still competing over in the Dutch League. I’ve extended my contract with Kampong for another 12 months. Having Paris six months away and then the European Qualifier and what would be considered a Home World Cup after that in Netherlands and Belgium, I am obviously going to give those a go. I haven’t really thought about retirement per se even though I am well aware of the age I am at.”


Q: On being an Athletes representative in recent years:

A: “Athletes need representation and I’ve always believed in having the opportunity to have a say. Rather than being a hurler in the ditch. There is no sport without athletes, I have experienced the best of facilities provided to perform at and some of the worst facilities and conditions. The best way to articulate issues for athletes is to get involved. That’s the idea of those Athletes commissions you have performers from different disciplines people from individual sports and team sports. I have been involved with European Olympic committees. For me it’s a big learning perspective.” 


KATIE MULLAN: Ireland Senior Women’s Hockey Team Captain

Q: On the extension of the Softco Sponsorship:

A: “We have had a long standing very loyal relationship with Softco, so it’s fantastic that they are continuing their sponsorship for another two years. We know that their support has been invaluable on our journey allowing us to train and compete at the very top level with extensive backing.”


Q: On the disappointment at the recent Olympic qualifiers:

A: “The last couple of weeks have been a very difficult time, High performance sport involves some incredible highs but also some challenging lows. We have been working through that the last few weeks. There’s still plenty for us in 2024. There’s an Opportunity to qualify for the Pro League in a few months. I have no doubt that the group going forward will be stronger for that.” 


Q: On the Men’s participation in FIH PRO League:

A: “It’s been brilliant to see the men competing in the Pro League. It’s the competition that all nations want to be in. It’s great to see the men over there in India. No doubt they will learn a lot from this phase of the competition that they can use in the latter rounds in Belgium and England. We’ll be watching them very closely and supporting them from home.”


Q: On the Women’s National team’s  campaign to reach the FIH Pro League:

A: “It’s very much a short term focus and we have to concentrate on getting that ticket to the Pro league. The qualifiers are due to take place in Spain in June. We have a nice little run in now with training and getting the group back together ahead of that. We have a fantastic group and fantastic  staff group as well. We have been pushing hard in training the last few months. We are really in a good spot as a group and we have youth on our side as a group as well.” 


Q: On the importance of the club game to members of the International squad:

A: “You get back from the disappointment of not qualifying for the Olympics. Club hockey is where a lot of us find out why you play the sport. Club hockey gives myself and the girls the opportunity to do that. Get the stick in your hand on home soil and remind yourself of why you love the game. You get to play with the younger players coming through at your club.”