Uniphar is to be the new sponsor of the Irish women’s Under-21 and Development programme – known as the Junior Green Army.

The partnership will be in place ahead of the Irish team’s participation in next month’s Junior World Cup in South Africa, and will run through to a Six Nations tournament taking place in Ireland in 2022.

The team got a late call up for South Africa as a first reserve following the withdrawal of Australia and New Zealand due to continuing Covid restrictions.

With its headquarters in Dublin’s Citywest and employing over 3,000 people globally, Uniphar has become a major international healthcare services company over the past decade.

“Women’s hockey has enjoyed a surge in popularity in recent years and this young squad is playing an important role in helping bring it from minority status into the Irish sporting mainstream,” said Uniphar CEO Ger Rabbette.

“The under-21 team truly embodies the meaning of ‘high-performance’ – competing and winning at the very highest level internationally. The Junior Green Army are our next generation of hockey greats, and not only do they excel in their sport but they are also important exemplars of successful high-achieving young women in sport. Uniphar is delighted to support them on the exciting journey ahead.”

The Junior Green Army is one of the key development pathways to the senior women’s international team.

Eight of the panel that travelled to the Olympics followed this route in the past four years while a dozen of the Irish team that qualified for the 2022 World Cup through a qualifier in Pisa in October did likewise.

“This sponsorship allows us to professionalise the programme and has made many programme aspects so much easier for the players,” said U21 Head Coach Dave Passmore.

In a sign that the sport remains funded at least in part by the players themselves to a greater extent than many, he added that “we are hopeful that there will be no parental contribution required for the trip to South Africa.”

“Furthermore, to have Uniphar in addition to both SoftCo and Park Developments moving into next year’s Europeans, which is also a World Cup Qualifier, it allows us to plan along with our philanthropic donor to develop a programme to maximise player development and team performance..”

Sport for Business Perspective

The Irish Women’s Hockey division continues to be an attractive sponsorship proposition to companies that have not been attracted to sport beforehand. The enthusiasm of the players and their performance on the pitch have brought them into the mainstream.

It does hit slightly the wrong key though when there is still a gap between funding a national team trip to a World Cup out of the players pockets, even it it was a last minute invitation.



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