Ireland get lifeline in bid to play in Champions Challenge


HOCKEY:THE IRISH Hockey Association have offered the men’s national senior team a lifeline in their bid to play in next month’s Champions Challenge I in Argentina.

On Tuesday, the association declared their intention to withdraw the side from the tournament, citing the lack of a coach and manager as the main reason for the decision. It led to a backlash from the players and the wider hockey public, leading to yesterday’s rethink with the IHA offering an “unreserved apology to all fans of Irish hockey public and, in particular, to the senior men’s squad for the upset, disappointment and anger caused by the announcement”.

Yesterday’s statement placed financial concerns at the centre of their original reasoning for withdrawing from the competition, a move that would have seen Ireland fined up to €12,500 as well as taking a severe hit in world ranking points.

As such, the IHA have set a fundraising target of €45,000 to support the trip with assurances needed they can reach this amount by next Tuesday, the cut-off date set by the International Hockey Federation to confirm whether Ireland will compete. To this end, online donations passed 10 per cent of this tally inside four hours while funds from the association’s mega draw will be allocated directly to this fund.

“As we plan for the last quarter of the financial year it is evident that the association will finish the year with a significant deficit if the trip to Argentina goes ahead without additional income being generated,” the statement said.

Irish captain Ronan Gormley thanked the Irish hockey community for their “unreserved support” since the initial decision was announced on Tuesday morning.

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