Denis Pritchard has been announced as the interim coach for the Irish senior women’s side following a decision by the IHA’s High Performance Working Group and formally approved by the Board.
Pritchard (pictured left), an FIH-qualified coach, steps up from the assistant coach role he held for the past five years with Gene Muller and steps into the role with immediate effect until the end of the Champions Challenge I in early October.
He brings experience from his time working as Munster senior coach along with a successful stint at Cork C of I, winning an All-Ireland Club Championship in 2003. He was also the Irish men’s assistant coach in 2005 and 2006.
An IHA statement said of his appointment: “Denis was the natural choice for this position given the time he has spent with the squad over the past few years. He is best placed to further develop the technical development and style of play that saw the team produce a great run of results in the lead up and to the final of the Olympic Qualifier.
“Having worked as the assistant coach over the past five years he has detailed knowledge of the opponents the team will face, without much preparation to their forthcoming competitions.”
Despite Ireland missing out on Olympic qualification, they still have a series of tournaments over the summer, starting with the Investec Cup in London – a pre-Olympic test event – in early June along with the Celtic Cup later that month.
But the year’s key event is September’s Champion’s Challenge I, one which carries with it world ranking points and Pritchard says he is keen to build on the recent final appearance in the London qualifiers.
”The summer series of games gives us another opportunity to compete against some of the world’s top teams. We must build on the hard work that has been done and progress the squad towards our goal of world tournament qualification.
“I am honoured to be asked to lead on an interim basis; working in this environment is a great challenge and working with high-performance athletes is a huge privilege. The journey continues unabated.”
In the backroom staff, an assistant coach will be named in the coming weeks while current manager Sally Ann Fanagan will stay on in her role until June until a long term replacement is appointed. Karen Coughlan steps down as physio. The full-time coaching position will be advertised in late July with a view to appointment in mid October.
11 Responses to “Pritchard appointed women’s interim coach”
April 20, 2012 11:39 am Tom dunne says
Is this a joke?
April 23, 2012 6:53 pm Time for Questions says
Oh Christ Surely a Clearout was whats required. No progress made in last 6 years how will this be any different, a total change in staff required + back to a regional development model. Need to strengthen the leagues and develop the team for 4 years time! A fair squadc where everyone has a chance of being selected rather than a fixed panel based in Dublin which has no competition from outside, too insestuous!!!
April 24, 2012 11:08 am flo says
I’m sure Denis is a fine coach but I find this news so depressing. I completely agree with the above comments. It seems the appointment is a vindication of previous setup…that we are on the right track. The previous program failed after a copious amount of time and cash resources were put into it.
Wouldn’t it be great to give it to a fresh person for a while for a trial period, similar to what the English have done in rugby. The squad needs the be rejuvenated at this stage on not just forced to plod along!
April 24, 2012 12:45 pm interested says
A decision by IHA Working Group and formally approved by the Board prior to the review process post Olympic Qualifier. I wish him every success. It is difficult but not impossible to put your own stamp in such a short period on a National Team. Honest to indicate “…..lead on an interim basis….a huge privilege …..The journey continues unabated”.Fitness alone is not a pre-requisite. More of the same will not do.
April 24, 2012 8:01 pm The Future says
Yet another poor decision by the IHA can we please have some vision ,who is afraid to make brave decisions?
We should be immediately looking towards Rio ,why are we having more of the same which hasn,t worked?
Critical questions being answered with the normal lack of vision.There are enough good coaches to fill the interim space while preparing for the next challenge.Heaven knows what the players think!!
April 25, 2012 12:50 pm eggz_eleven says
I’m a little perplexed by all of these comments to be honest. First of all we regularly get people lambasting the IHA for appointing foreign coaches to coach our National teams. This appointment sees an Irish coach take on the job for the first time in quite a while. The fact that he has spent the last number of years gaining the required experience while involved with this bunch of players only goes to show that he knows them.
People are questioning the decision to appoint from within the existing setup, please explain where else the IHA are meant to get a coach to take on the job on an interim basis who has the required international experience? Perhaps I’m wrong but I personally can’t think of a huge number of coaches who have that experience.
As I see it the only way to gain the required experience is to be involved and learn that way. Surely this is the obvious pathway?
I’m sure that Dennis will not just rehash the ideas that have been used over the last few years, every coach is different, he will put his own stamp on the team and on the job. Personally I wish him all the best!
April 25, 2012 1:39 pm Time for Questions says
Perhaps they could have looked at the following:
All of whom have experience at International level and whom could have brought a freshness to the program which will now be sadly lacking over the summer.
They are also all home developed coaches and would not have allegiance to the group of players currently representing ireland, so there would be the chance to bring in fresh new ideas and make the system competitive again, something which CPP has taken away making it extra hard to play for your country. As A) you have to be based in Dublin and B) named squad and if your not in it how do you get to play.
Fresh ideas are needed, very backward move my the IHA, but that is what one comes to expect in their treatment of the ladies program…
April 25, 2012 4:25 pm Cart before the horse says
The confusing thing to me is that they made this decision before they did the review of the program.
Surely that is a premature, rushed, very poorly planned and clearly not thought out decision because what did they base the decision on?
April 25, 2012 11:45 pm Outsider says
As an outsider with senior international experience,it takes time to learn ‘how’ to get things done at this level. Success at Irish club level or provincial level is simply not the same.
You now have a coach, who understands what it takes to compete at this level. No progress in 6 years? You must have a sense of humour,so I’ll indulge you. Irish hockey has improved immensely in a short space of time. The Olympics were,lets be honest, a pipe dream in the past. Now, I sense people believe its within reach. Thats the goal for 2016. By all means get fresh talent in; look at your u21 squad and the like.
All assistant coaches have their OWN ideas. To expect a Gene clone is simply way off the mark. I will address centralisation as its a sore point. Why do coaches do it? So they can increase contact time with players. Its a fairly common practice in other hockey nations as well ie England/GB. Do some athletes lose out? Yes, the ones not willing to commit to relocation. Then you gotta ask yourself, “How badly do you want it”?
Perhaps they rushed the appointment? Its not as if,he is not the first assistant coach to be promoted. The man has not even started coaching yet and already the wolves are lining up. If he fails, you can line up and throw stones. Until then,let him coach. He might surprise you.
April 26, 2012 9:00 am Time for Questions says
Perhaps you have not seen the ladies results for the last six years where Dennis Pritchard has been an integral part of the set up and one would assume could bring his ‘own’ ideas to that role also, so perhaps these ideas are the same, and stale and freshness is required. Are you suggesting that he was just a Yes man for gene?
“You must have a sense of humour,so I’ll indulge you. Irish hockey has improved immensely in a short space of time.” You make the statement above, I think your confusing the mens results with those attained by the women, they are not the same and six years is not a very short space of time.
Why should athletes relocate, we are a small country where it takes 4 hours to get from one end to the other, whats the major advantages of cpp and how can we measure those? State your case. they dont just get better by being located together, the coaching is a key element and the last 6 years proved that gene and Dennis underperformed in this capacity! They selected the players and tactics etc, Coaching does count! You will see I have not criticised the players here, I believe they deserve better so giving them some of the same is just insulting!
April 26, 2012 9:06 pm Tom dunne says
I was the first on this blog to question was this a joke but I feel I should qualify my comment. Denis is a fine coach and has all the badges and experience to be an international coach…no doubht about that. The issue I have with his appointment is the simple fact that he’s part of the coaching structure they have decided to do away with. To believe that he will take his new role with a clean slate of views on players and Coaching is naive at best. I hope u all join me in wishing him well and success either way.
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