IRELAND LACROSSE is thrilled that their sport is back on the Olympic programme in Los Angeles 2028 for the first time in 120 years. The 11 a-side game, likened to hurling except that the ball is carried on a net on the end of the stick, featured in the 1904 and 1908 Olympic Games. An Irish man, Paddy Brennan, whose family emigrated to Montreal when he was three, actually captained Canada to gold in 1908. Lacrosse has been an exhibition sport several times since but now it’s back in a new pacey, six-a-side format (‘Sixes’).
Sonja Egan, who has already played in two World Cups, summed up Irish internationals’ reaction, saying the news is:
“Amazing! It’s a fast enjoyable spectator sport and deserves this opportunity on the world stage. “Sixes, which is the approved Olympic format, lessens the complexity and improves the overall accessibility of the game. “I hope this Olympic exposure will raise the profile of the sport internationally and encourages the growth of Lacrosse here in Ireland, building on our collective foundations for success well into the future.
“I took Lacrosse up in college and it’s given me lifelong friends, teammates and some of the best memories at tournaments, from grass roots right up to my international caps. “Congratulations and thank you to World Lacrosse on the time and effort invested in adapting to the game to bring about this phenomenal result,” Egan added.
Ireland has had a national lacrosse league since 2009-2010. The birthplace of the Irish game was Newtownards, Co Down in 1872. After several previous iterations the national men’s side was re-established for the 2001 European Championships and the Irish women’s team was re-established in time for, and won, the 2005 European Newcomers Tournament. Ireland’s U21 women finished fifth in their European Championships in Prague last July. It is expected that a World Sixes Championship (men/women) in 2026 will serve as an Olympic qualifier and a European Sixes Championship in 2025 will act as a qualifier for that. The sport originates from the indigenous people of North America.
The sport originates from the indigenous people of North America. A national team of the Iroquois – a confederation of Six Nations peoples who reside in a treaty-defined area straddling the Canadian and USA border – play internationally under the name of the Huadenosaunee Nationals and are among the best in the world. Lacrosse’s international federation recognises them as a national team but, because they were not among the IOC’s officially recognised NOCs then, they were initially omitted from the World Games in America in 2022. Lacrosse Ireland caught world-wide attention and praise for their selfless and sporting reaction to this. They waived their spot at the tournament and canvassed for the Iroquois to be included which proved successful.