For the first time since Masters Hockey started just over 10 years ago, Ireland fielded four teams at the annual women’s Home Nations Championships.
Ireland were represented at Over 40, 45, 50 and 55 age groups with the Ireland 40’s coming home with the title and some silverware. The 40s squad had seven new players this year, showing that Masters is continuously growing and attracting more players back to the sport every year.
Ireland played Scotland on Friday and after battling through three scoreless quarters, they finally broke the deadlock with two short corner goals from Emma Glanville and Clara Chamberlayne.
On Saturday, the squad knew they would have to have a different game plan against England who have won the Home Countries at this age group each time since its inception 10 years ago.
Ireland scored early in the game, albeit against the run of play, from a short corner with the goal coming again from Chamberlayne.
Ireland had to weather the storm in the last quarter when England threw everything at the Irish defence to come out with three points, including the proverbial kitchen sink, when the Irish had to defend a corner right on full time .
The win set Ireland up needing a draw from the final game against Wales. This game proved to be the opposite of the game against England and Ireland were the team with all the play.
Try though they might, Ireland hit the post, had a stroke saved and numerous chances but the ball refused to go into the net. The final whistle brought with it a sense of relief as much as anything else and the Over 40’s had the title and the cup.
Ireland will be hosting the Home Nations next year at all ages and the 40’s will be hoping to retain their title.
Ireland Over-40s squad: Tara Browne (Capt), Emma Glanville, Clara Chamberlain, Noreen Dockery, Kerry Johnson, Nikki Dignam, Wendy Moffett, Clodagh McMoreland Lynch, Gillian Garrett, Trish Garret, Fiona Connery, Annie Murphy, Natalie Patterson, Ali Farrell, Nicki McMullen, Nichola Thompson.
Coach: Ross Harding
Manager: Lyndsey Phelan