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SPORT IN FOCUS: HOCKEY IRELAND TAKEOVER

April 1, 2020

As part of our Sport in Focus we have a full day dedicated to Irish Hockey.

Thanks to our friends (especially Emma Porter) in Hockey Ireland for compiling a comprehensive review of Irish Hockey, from competitions to international teams to participation and education.

Enjoy!

About Us.

It’s a Hockey Ireland Take-Over today, here’s a little bit about us to get started! Today we’re going to tell you a little bit about the competitions side of Hockey Ireland and focus on our International teams. There’s lots more happening in Hockey Ireland around Participation, Education, etc. At the end of our International focus today, we’ll also provide you with the information of how to get involved in Hockey closer to home!

Hockey Ireland at the Olympics.

From 1908 to 2020(1). Did you know Ireland had a Hockey team at the 1908 Olympics? The first-time field hockey was played at an Olympic Games. In more recent times, the Irish Men qualified for the Rio Olympic Games in 2016, while the Irish Women succeed in qualifying for their first Olympic Games last November and are now preparing for the Tokyo 2020(+1) Olympic Games!

The Build-Up. 

The FIH Series Finals were a vital part of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Qualifying process. The top 2 teams from each Series Finals would secure a spot at an Olympic Qualifier event later that year. The Irish Women had a home advantage with teams travelling from as far away as Korea to play in Banbridge in June. Meanwhile, the Men travelled to France for their respective tournament. Both teams finished in their FIH Series Finals, securing their spot for an Olympic Qualifier in the Autumn of 2019.

Before Vancouver

We caught up with a determined Irish Men’s  Hockey Team before they travelled to Vancouver for the qualifiers.

Vancouver

Ireland took a two-goal lead going into the second leg of their Olympic qualifier against Canada. In a tough match there were strong performances from several Irish players, both experienced and newer members of the squad. Both teams put everything on the line. While the final result is not what the Irish Hockey community was hoping for the team, we are incredibly proud of their performance.

Donnybrook

Back in Ireland, the Women continued their preparations for their Olympic Qualifier, also against Canada. This was the only Olympic Qualifier to be held in Ireland last year. This was also the first time in Ireland that a Rugby pitch had ever been converted into a Hockey pitch! Big Stadium Hockey came to Dublin.

The Big Stadium

A Night to Remember

Record breaking crowds two nights in a row! The most people to attend a Women’s International Sporting Event in Ireland. 6,137 people came out to support the Irish Women for their Olympic Qualifier, while TV views peaked at 379,300!

Shirley McCay receives her 300th cap for Ireland, making her the most capped Irish Sports Woman ever.

It rained heavier than we thought it could, even in Ireland!

A nil all draw in the first match of the Qualifier made sure everything was left to play for on night two!

The whole community came out to support in so many different ways.

We witnessed a penalty shoot-out for the history books! An atmosphere unlike any other. A ticket to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games was secured, and history was made.

What Next?

Many of the team are continuing to train in isolation during this period due to current COVID-19 concerns around the country. They’re getting creative with their training in order to stay fit and work on their skills.

Our Junior Age Group players travelled to Lilleshall in February to gain some valuable international exposure. We’ll take a look at how they go on next, hopefully we’ll see more of them in the green jersey in years to come!

The Future

Our U16 Boys and Girls and U18 Boys and Girls travelled to Lilleshall earlier this year. Here’s a quick look at how they got on!

Find out more:

Today we only looked at our International teams. Hockey Ireland does so much more! You can find more information on Clubs, Education, Competitions, Cups, and much more at www.hockey.ie we hope you enjoyed watching!

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