Ladies masters make tournament debut

** Words from Helen Johnston **

The Irish women’s masters (over 40s) played their first tournament last weekend, taking part in the Masters Home Countries International Hockey Championships in Swansea, Wales.

Due to the sterling efforts of the men’s masters co-ordinator Andy Nye and the women’s co-ordinator, Alison Pigot. a squad of 13 was assembled for the competition.

Following a couple of training sessions, a team who had not played together before, faced a strong Scottish team peppered with ex-internationals.

As the English, Welsh and Scottish teams were also fielding Over 45s teams their Over 40s teams comprised players aged 40-44, so the Irish team (fielding players across the 40s decade +) felt the early pace.

The half time score was 0-2, with a full time score of 0-3 – by which time the Irish team had settled, adapted to the pace of the game and were starting to play well as a team.

This form carried into the next game against Wales, Ireland scoring their first goal through the hard running Edwina Mulcahy after good approach play by the impressively skilful Aishling Schutte.

Wales worked hard to equalise and go ahead but, despite only having one outfield sub and playing their second match of the day, the resilient Irish team raised their game in the last 10 minutes to get an equaliser through a good team goal, finished off by Schutte.

The following day Ireland took on a strong English Over 40s team, who needed to win by six goals to win the tournament ahead of the Scots.

With loud support from the Irish men and the Scots, the Irish team battled hard in the Welsh heat.

The Irish goalkeepers saved two strokes and captain Alison Pigot calmly slotted home an Irish stroke.

The final score was 5-1 to the fast and skilful English side, but it was a moral victory to the Irish in rewarding the support of the Scots and in making a credible start for the Irish Women’s Masters team.

The Irish players of the tournament were goalkeepers Sinead Guilfoyle and Margie Loughran.
The next event for the Irish Women’s Masters team is a Home Nations ‘Plus’ tournament hosted in Ireland by Lisnagarvey Hockey Club from August 21 and 23.

The Irish Women’s Masters are looking for players – so if you’re over 40, still playing hockey and would like to get involved go to www.irelandmasters.com where you can contact the women’s co-ordinator Alison Pigot.

Ireland Ladies Masters (over 40s): Sinead Guilfoyle (GK – Pembroke), Margie Loughran (GK – Navan), Maura O’Neill (Three Rock), Bromwyn O’Donnell (Loreto), Helen Johnston (Railway), Paula Jenkins (Three Rock), Alison Pigot (Captain – Pembroke), Clare Ryan (Navan), Nikkey Cullen (Avoca), Edwina Mulcahy (Pembroke), Aishling Schutte (Pembroke), Mairead Lyons (Three Rock), Bernie Barry (Pembroke).

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