Hockey Ireland secured its place at the Olympics last October but has left it closer to the Games to make as significant progress on funding.
With a well timed run however it has significantly closed a major gap in what it is costing to prepare Ireland’s first team sport representation at the Olympics in the modern era.
The Olympic Council of Ireland announced yesterday that it was to provide €50,000 of discretionary funding to support the team’s progress in the final ten weeks of preparation.
Hockey had benefitted from additional support in the last two Olympic cycles but that particular measure of support for 2012 to 2016 was channelled towards the Women’s Rugby 7’s who have their own date with destiny and a potential Olympic place on the line in Dublin next month.
“The OCI are delighted that Irish Hockey will be competing at an Olympics Games for the first time since 1908 and will be the first team of any sport to represent Ireland at an Olympic Games since 1948,” said OCI President Pat Hickey.
“I’m delighted for the team, and Hockey Ireland. It will create a new team dynamic within Team Ireland and we very much look forward to helping them maximise their potential in Rio.”
This money will be added to the near €40,000 raised so far from within the Hockey support community through an innovative ‘Obsessed’ campaign on crowdfunding site Pledge Sports.
In a hat trick of wins this week Hockey Ireland has also secured backing from Ballsbridge Energie Fitness Club for next week’s International Series against Korea at Rathdown’s new Merrion Fleet Arena in Dun Laoghaire.
Hockey is a well connected sport and with the potential to expand under the spotlight that the Olympic participation will deliver.
EY came on board as partners in a revamped National League last year and as a sport which has equal appeals and profile in the Men’s and Women’s game it is well placed to exploit growing brand interest in sports that are rising in popularity such as Cricket, Hockey, Gymnastics and Pentathlon.