New Zealand's Smith is new coach

 

WOMEN'S HOCKEY: Irish Hockey has announced Darren Smith as the new women’s national coach. A New Zealand native, Smith takes up the role following six years as assistant coach to the New Zealand men’s team who recently finished ninth at the London Olympics.

Smith’s coaching experience with New Zealand included participation at Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, World Cup and Champions Challenge.

He represented New Zealand on 212 occasions as a player, earning a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002.

The men’s and women’s Irish teams lost their coaches this summer when they narrowly failed to qualify for London 2012.

“I am absolutely delighted at the appointment of Darren and I am really looking forward to working under his world-class leadership,” said Irish captain Alex Speers.

“He is coming into the ladies squad at a very exciting time and I have no doubt his wealth of coaching and playing experience will guide the squad to consistently perform on the world stage.”

Smith will officially take up the role in January 2013 following his upcoming marriage and will be based in Ireland.

“My fiancee Beth and I will be moving to Dublin in January to immerse ourselves in Irish life,” said Smith.

“We are both looking forward to the adventure. The first challenge on the table is World League Two to be held in Spain in late February.

“We will need to be at our best to finish in the top two of that tournament to push towards World Cup qualification.

“All of us want to see Ireland competing in the World Cup and Olympic Games.”

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