Seventeen teams and a wealth of indoor hockey fans will descend on Gormanston Park to enjoy the inaugural PSi Showdown this weekend as the event reaches its climax.
In addition to 43 quickfire matches on the boards, the event has also attracted a series of stars to take part in an All-Star game at 2pm (free entry for all) which will provide the highest quality indoor hockey event in Ireland for many years.
Chief among them is Bjorn Kellerman, a Dutch international who won the 2015 Indoor World Cup and the 2017 outdoor European Championships. In between, he has won the Dutch club title twice with David Harte at SV Kampong as well as the Euro Hockey League in 2016, scoring spectacular goals at every turn.
He is joined in Dublin by Kampong team mate Sjoerd de Wert, another Indoor World Cup winner, as well as Irish legend Ronan Gormley and Ross Canning. All three players lined out for All-Star teams at the PSi in Cape Town last December.
The game will provide a focal point to Saturday’s action. The Showdown, itself, will see five girls teams playing a straight round-robin in the first years girls section with the Wicklow Wasps, the South Dublin Vikings, the Kildare Swans, the North Dublin Knights and the Belfast Bears battling it out.
In the girls Sixth class section, there are eight teams with the Kilkenny Cats joining the party for two groups of four while there are four teams – the Cats, Vikings, Knights and Bears – involved in the Under-15 girls section.
Matches will start at 9.30am on Saturday and run through to 6pm running in parallel to a great social programme in with most children staying at the venue overnight.
At the top class Gormanston Park venue in north Dublin, there will also be an Obstacle course bouncing castle, Target shooting inflatables, Chill zone to relax on Beanbags.ie, Giant Jenga, Giant competitive naughts & crosses, 3v3 Bubble suit soccer, Ten pin bowling and a DJ providing music.
Sunday sees the competitions notch up a gear, building toward the finals in the afternoon. It follows six weeks of indoor clinics and challenge matches for each franchise over the last few months, preparing for the Showdown.
Looking forward to the weekend, PSi founder Simon Martin said it is the starting point of what can grow to be a major event in the Irish hockey calendar: “The inaugural PSi Showdown in Dublin is the first building block of creating something incredible together that we hope will serve Irish hockey and provide exciting opportunities for young players all over Europe to benefit from.
“Why can’t teams from all over Europe travel to take part in the PSi Showdown each year? Dreams can fly!
“PSi is not only an indoor tournament but also an opportunity for children to learn valuable life skills such as being part of a team, dealing with disappointment of losing and learning to be humble in success.
“It’s equally important not to ignore one of the most valuable aspects of the event, building friendships as ultimately there are what last a lifetime.”
For Kilkenny Cats founder Eric Comerford, he cannot wait to test his sides against their counterparts at Gormanston Park.
“The Kilkenny Cats team are really proud of what we have established in a short couple of months. Hockey in general is really a minority sport down here and indoor hockey is virtually unknown.
“We took a risk with starting up the PSi Kilkenny Cats in a hurling dominated county but it has truly paid off. The kids love it and having something like Showdown (and a weekend away from the parents) had the kids hooked from the start!
“Parents have been super receptive from the beginning, they are now 100% behind us and want more of the same going forward.”
There is an additional bonus to come from the weekend, too, with a junior and senior team selected from the competition who will have the opportunity to travel to Cape Town, South Africa to play in a PSi event.
Girls First Year section (round-robin): Wicklow Wasps, South Dublin Vikings, Kildare Swans, North Dublin Knights, Belfast Bears
Girls Sixth Class section
Pool 1: Wicklow Wasps White, South Dublin Vikings Yellow, Kildare Swans, North Dublin Knights Green
Pool 2: Wicklow Wasps Blue, South Dublin Vikings Blue, Kilkenny Cats, North Dublin Knights Grey
Girls Under-15 Section (round-robin): South Dublin Vikings, North Dublin Knights, Belfast Bears, Kilkenny Cats