Grange Road will this week host hundreds of Masters hockey players in the Home Nations tournament when seasoned internationals and World Cup winning players from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales descend on Dublin to compete for the title of Home Nations Champions.
The tournament is the largest ever gathering over Over-40 hockey internationals on the island and will see Ireland’s hockey legends competing for five trophies in front of a passionate home support at Three Rock Rovers Hockey Club.
The Irish women’s over 40s Masters will be battling to maintain their Home Nations crown which they won off rivals England last year. Last year was the first time since the tournament started 10 years ago that Ireland’s over 40s took home a trophy.
It will be the first time fans will be able to watch Ireland’s World Cup over 50s Masters finalists play on home turf since they won a silver medal in Australia at the 2016 World Cup.
The quality squad reached the final off the back of a flawless group stage, but were narrowly beaten by the host nation in the dying minutes of the final.
Former internationals such as Fiona Connery, Tara Browne and World Cup top goal scorer Cathy Johnson will be amongst the star-studded Masters teams lining out for Ireland over the weekend to bring home trophies against England, Scotland and Wales. Also amongst the ranks is former Arsenal and Irish football international Siobhan Collins.
The number of Irish players competing in the tournament has grown from just 13 players 10 years ago to more than 250.
The tournament will run from Friday, June 23 to Sunday, June 25 and will see over 350 players from 19 teams compete for the title of Home Nation Champions.
“There are going to be battles fought out on the pitches over the weekend. It is such an honour to play for Ireland and especially to do it with world-class players and friends by your side.
“It is especially exciting to be playing on home turf. I know the over 40s will throw everything we can at this to retain the title,” said Kerry Johnson, spokesperson and member of the over 40s Masters.
“As far as I am concerned we are all already winners. The amount of commitment, enthusiasm and hard work we put into the training for province and country whilst juggling jobs, family and anything else life throws at us is phenomenal.”
Ireland Home Nations squads
Over-55s: Helen Roche, Colette Mannix, Maggie Hunter, Dee Mooney, Marge Hughes, Sandra Bannon, Karen Wilkins, Julie Wilson, Dymphna Hill, Pat Stewart, Nancy O’Driscoll, Tricia Lane, Frances Keegan, Deirdre Clear, Margaret McKenna, Ursula Harper
Coach: Gordon Watkins
Manager: Sarah Kavanagh
Over-50s: Sinead Guilfoyle, Pam Chittick, Orla Galvin, Julie Doak, Jane Salter, Maura O’Neill, Linda Jenkinson (Captain), Annie Lawlor, Ali Pigott, Cathy Walsh, Ann Snoddy, Joanne O’Grady, Kathy Shaw, Marian O’Brien, Roly Burke, Maria Wheeler, Julie Shaw
Coach: Phil Mills
Manager: Gill Jackson
Physio: Helen Kilroy
Over-45s: Mary Harkin, Noreen Dockery (Vice Captain), Aisling Field, Elayne McDermott, Clodagh Lynch, Deirdre McDermott, Shelly Lyons (Captain), Lynn Mills, Nicola Thompson, Kathryn Henderson, Anne Young, Dara McDermott, Ash Schutte, Aoife O’Farrell, Susan McCourt, JR Fisher, Shirley Moore, Karen Harris
Coach: Guy Garrett
Team Manager: Nikkey Cullen
Over-40s: Niamh Spratt-O’Shea, Anne-Marie Cave, Clara Chamberlayne, Emma Glanville, Fiona Connery, Fiona Walshe, Gillian Garrett, Kerry Johnson, Marissa O’Flynn, Nikki Dignam, Nikki McMullen, Norma Brady, Siobhan Collins, Tara Browne, Trish Garrett, Wendy Cullen
Coach: Ross Harding
Team Manager: Lyndsey Phelan