It was a weekend of the highest highs and the lowest lows for Irish Hockey with the Men’s team securing their place at the Olympics this summer but the Women losing in a penalty shoot out against Spain and then in the final 3rd place play off at the qualifiers against Great Britain.
In Tokyo it was the other way around but with Paris being almost a home games and with full travel and crowds this will be a huge blow to a wonderful group of players and their families.
The sport was in celebration mod e24 hours later though when the men who had lost out at the last stage themselves for the last games, won through in a high scoring 4-3 win over Korea, also in Valencia Spain.
“We’ve done it,” said Head Coach Mark Tumelty straight after the game.
“I had a lot of belief in this group. I did think though it might come down to this final game before the tournament. The guys have delivered and we are on our way to the games.”
“Very pleased for the players, we had to rebuild the squad after Vancouver and this a reward for all the work they put in and all the sacrifices they have made to get there.”
So it is another team to represent Team Ireland at the Paris Games, joining the Men’s and Women’s Rugby Sevens and the Equestrian teams already travelling.
This was also a win for sponsors Softco and EY who had their branding on the kit throughout the qualifiers that were shown over the weekend on the RTÉ News Channel and on News bulletins.
They won’t have the same branding on the games in Paris but they will be able to take advantage of access to the squad and management over the next six months.
Both companies are in the high value world of IT and management consultancy, selling to a small number of individuals rather than a consumer audience.
As such the character and the leadership shown by the players will be invaluable and some key internal gatherings with existing and potential clients will be one of the hot corporate tickets of the spring.
Anne McCormack, the CEO of Hockey Ireland will be joining us on stage at The Sporting Year Ahead with Teneo at the Alex Hotel in Dublin this Thursday morning to recount the weekend and look ahead.
Join us for our first major event of the New Year when we will gather with a host of sporting and business leaders to look ahead to what 2024 holds in store.
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