World Girls’ Hockey Day in Ireland may have been missing a few things – an ice rink and numbers – but it certainly wasn’t lacking in enthusiasm and passion, two things our sport can’t live without.
On Sunday, the 2nd October, 2011, in honour of this international day to promote and celebrate girls who play hockey, the IIHA held a Learn-to-Play session at the Ballyfermot Leisure Centre in Ballyfermot, Dublin 10 from 10am to 12pm. Equipment was provided for the girls, who were shown all of the basic skills of hockey, including skating, stick handling, passing and shooting, by the IIHA’s Dean Kelly. They also took part in a friendly scrimmage at the end of the session. A number of girls from very young to grown adult attended this Learn-to-Play Session and had a fun day, confirming to the coach that they would be back again and would bring more of their friends to try it out! This is exactly the result we had hoped for!
After the Learn-to-Play Session, several of the more experienced female players in Ireland took to the Court for a training session run by the Senior Women’s Irish National Team’s Head Coach, Vytautas Lukosevicius, and then a friendly 3-on-3 match. Needless to say the girls were exhausted by the end of it, but the competition was fierce and was an exciting look at how competitive the up-and-coming Ladies Inline League will be this season.
The players who attended this session were: Sonya McEneaney, Shona Higgins, Gabriela Vlasankova, Jane McMullen, Seánna Conway & Lorna Hoey. The girls were very thankful to both Riley Gatensburg and Dean Kelly, who played in net for the match!
Perhaps what was most special about this day was the fact that all over the world, 19 other countries were also participating in this event, and girls all around the world were enjoying the greatest sport in the world. Please check out the following coverage on the IIHF’s website for a note of all of the countries who participated, Ireland included: http://www.iihf.com/iihf-home/sport/women/world-girls-hockey-day/2011.html . Ireland’s participation in World Girls’ Hockey Day also got a mention on the IIHF’s Twitter site!
The IIHA would like to take the opportunity to thank the Dundalk Bulls, the Flyers IHC & the Molly Malones for coming together and making this event happen. Without all of the efforts by these clubs and their members, the event would not have happened. We should also thank everyone involved in different teams and clubs who couldn’t make it but sent their best for the day.
Last, but certainly not least, the IIHA would like to thank Sean Pepper for attending this event and taking some amazing photos of the day. Sean’s photos were featured on IIHF.com and on Twitter. Please see the following link to see some of Sean’s photos from the day: http://www.iihf.com/iihf-home/sport/women/world-girls-hockey-day/2011/photos/page/0/team/IRL.html
Well done to all participants and please watch www.iiha.org for more events like this on the way!