Hockey’ Moment in the Sun at Donnybrook

This weekend is the biggest that Hockey in Ireland has ever experienced on home soil.

The Women’s team that captured the hearts of the nation last year when making it to the World Cup final in London will face Canada in Energia Park in Donnybrook with a place in the 2020 Olympic Games on the line.

The game will be played in front of what looks to be a complete sell out and it will be the biggest crowd that has ever gathered here to watch the sport.

Momentum when it comes to taking a major step is huge and this is the momentum moment to lock down the benefit gained from last year’s exploits.

One decision by the referee in Canada last weekend cost the Men’s team a place at the Games and this weekend it is the same country standing in Ireland’s way but on the other side of the Atlantic.

Both of the games will take place on a new pitch laid at Leinster Rugby’s venue and the two sports have been working together to get as big a crowd as possible.

It comes on the final weekend of the mid term but taking place in the heart of Dublin’s hockey heartland that is unlikely to impact on the crowd that will make their way to support the team.

The names of Katie Mullen, Deirdre Duke and Gillian Pinder will be familiar from August 2018 and from winning the Team of the Year in a public vote as part of the RTE Sports Review of the Year.

It has to be hoped now that they can fuel the fire of enthusiasm by securing a place in Tokyo and giving themselves another nine months in the spotlight.

The 6,000 fans that are in the ground and the many more that will watch live on RTE Television are looking to be inspired. It has to be hoped that the right result, and an excited reaction will lift the sport to a place beyond anything it could have dreamed of as being possible only eighteen months ago.

Come on Ireland.

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