Saturday, July 20, 2024

Irish para hockey champions meet Taoiseach after Special Olympics gold

Ireland’s Hockey Intellectual Disability team have enjoyed a memorable week since taking gold at the Special Olympics National Games in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

On the way to the finals, Ireland’s 10-strong team pulled off a number of stunning victories including against hosts The Netherlands, winning 5-1 and the Czech Republic.

The team faced a strong German side in last weekend’s finals. Germany struck quickly, scoring two goals in the early stages of the first half. Two penalty goals and then, in the dying seconds of the game, Ireland successfully converted a penalty, sealing a dramatic 3-2 victory.

The team were invited to meet with both Taoiseach Simon Harris and Tánaiste Micheál Martin at Government Buildings this week.

Next up for the team will be a trip to Bulgaria in August as well as a home hosting tournament in Dublin soon after that. Next year the team will travel to Germany for the EuroHockey ID Championships.

Taoiseach Simon Harris with HockeyID Ireland tream in Government Buildings. PIC: Government Information Services.

Head coach Scott Mulligan said: “This gold medal isn’t just about individual talent; it’s about the incredible teamwork and camaraderie this group has built. They played for each other, on and off the pitch. It’s been an honour to coach such a special group of athletes and I look forward to seeing the amazing accomplishments they achieve in their future”.

HockeyID is a complementary version of Hockey played by athletes with intellectual disabilities and is part of Hockey Ireland’s Hockey4All programme, an initiative across Ireland supporting Hockey Clubs as they build greater inclusion in the sport.

Anne McCormack, CEO Hockey Ireland, added: “We are so happy for the Players and how well they represented Ireland. But also, how this story will spread across the hockey community and increase the number of Clubs and teams participating in our Hockey4All inclusion programme.”

Total Hockey

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