The 2015 year gone by will be remembered long into the future as the year the Irish men finally ended a lengthy wait for Olympic qualification and this is reflected in the most-read stories on The Hook.
The other popular story lines of the year were generally the ever-popular Leinster schoolgirls competitions with High School’s maiden victory in the Senior Premier league and St Gerard’s Senior Cup featuring heavily.In total, the site saw over 805,000 page views with 460 news stories posted during the year. I would like to take this chance to thank you for all your support of the site during the past 12 months.
I especially would like to thank those who have directly supported the site in a number of ways; those who have donated their time to send me match reports and details; the four people who have donated financially to the site’s upkeep; our supporters Smart Training and Secure Host and, finally, to our regular advertisers All-Star Hockey Camps and Ed Sports.
2016 promises to be another famous year for Irish hockey, one which can hopefully have a transformative effect from the top down to grassroots. Hopefully, I will be in situ to cover the main events in as much depth as possible.
Anyway, here’s the most-read stories of 2015!
1. Australia lay out Road to Rio for Ireland’s men (October 25 – 3,834 views)
Ireland’s men are on the Road to Rio 2016 as they recieved the favour they required from the other side of the world to finally have their ticket stamped after a three month wait. It means that an Irish team will play in the Olympics for the first time since 1908.
2. High School produce stunning comeback to land maiden senior Premier League crown (January 30 – 3,806 views)
High School produced an ice cool series of penalties to land their first Leinster Schoolgirls Senior League title, storming back from two goals down to deny St Gerard’s at Grange Road, played out into a bumper crowd of over a 1,000.
3. Teenager Tice set to be Irish dual international (October 29 – 3,777 views)
St Gerard’s schoolgirl Elena Tice will add to her long list of representative honours next week following her inclusion in the Irish women’s senior squad to play Scotland three times in Glasgow.
4. Tice drags St Gerard’s to maiden girls Senior Cup victory in front of bumper Grange Road crowd (March 5 – 3,413 views)
Lena Tice’s low bullet three minutes from time saw St Gerard’s win the Leinster Schoolgirls Senior Cup title for the first time, defying Alexandra College at Grange Road
5. Where Ireland stand now; the current Road to Rio (July 5 – 2,956 views)
Ireland’s fifth place finish at World League Round 3 in Antwerp put them in great shape to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games but there were still plenty of variables that have to play out over the next four months. This article laid out the various permutations.
6. Video: St Gerard’s vs Alexandra College (March 5 – 2,876 views)
The Hook tested a new live streaming service for the St Gerard’s vs Alexandra College match in the Leinster schoolgirls Senior Cup final; it drew a large audience for St Gerard’s historic first win in the competition.
7. Bloodied and bruised Gleghorne embodie fighting Irish spirit (August 30 – 2,740 views)
If ever there was an image to embody the performance of the team, Paul Gleghorne’s slinged up arm with blood dripping from his knuckles captured it; his and Matthew Bell’s reaction to what was a mighty week for Irish hockey
8.OPINION: When is a ban not a ban? (November 9 – 2,330 views)
Ulster-based journalist John Flack talks about how the EY Hockey League has impacted on media coverage in Ulster since its introduction this season.
9. Video nasty as Ireland fall to hosts, setting up Australia date for qualification (June – 2,277 views)
The basics – Ireland were left to play Australia in the quarter-final of World League Round 3 with an Olympic berth on the line following Belgium’s late win in Antwerp. Less quantifiable was what might have been but for a trio of baffling video umpire decisions.
10. Anatomy of a bronze; Fulton’s charges play waiting game after epic 18-month rise (August 31 – 2,210 views)
After bronze was won at the Euros, all eyes turned to October 25 – the date almost indelibly marked on the minds of the Irish hockey public after one of the most thrilling years for the sport. Craig Fulton’s side had “done all they can do” to achieve a first ever Olympic qualification thanks to their exploits in Antwerp and followed it up with a maiden bronze medal at the European championships.