Hockey Ireland has landed a groundbreaking deal with SoftCo, inking a fresh sponsorship with the Irish men and adding to its support of the women’s national team. The deal sees hockey become one of the first sports in Ireland to enjoy gender parity from a sponsor.
Hockey Ireland says that the men’s deal with SoftCo, the financial software outfit, is a significant expansion of their long-standing support for hockey after first sponsoring the Green Army four years ago.
SoftCo will now become the main sponsor to the men’s senior programme in their bid to reach Paris 2024.
Ireland record goalscorer Shane O’Donoghue hailed the deal after 11 years in the programme. He said: “Good things come to those who wait they say… we have never had this level of support.
“Of course, we have always been extremely grateful for the support we have received over the years from Sport Ireland, Sport NI along with others but to have an official partner to support our journey ahead is huge.
“Over the years, we have had to pay player levies out of our own pockets as well as numerous crowdfunding events to help compete in international tournaments. This always proved to be a major distraction when trying to prepare, compete and qualify for major international events such as the Olympics and the World Cup.”
Susan Spence, SoftCo’s co-founder, said: “We have had fantastic fun over the last four years with the women’s team and hopefully we can replicate that success.
Irish men’s head coach, Mark Tumilty, said of the sponsorship: “We have a young side that has grown quickly in 2021 after 18 months out of action with Covid and this is the perfect boost to our program to add serious momentum.”
In 2022, the Green Machine will compete in August’s EuroHockey Championship qualifiers in Calais, as well as making their debut in the FIH Nations Cup.
The events are key stepping-stones in the qualifying process for the Olympics after Ireland narrowly, if controversially, missed out on Paris 2024.
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