Hockey nerd Meeke says World Cup start of something special

For the Green Army’s most ardent and self-professed “hockey nerd”, Sunday’s final was like all of Ali Meeke’s Christmases rolled into one.

Ali Meeke celebrates her shoot-out goal. Pic: Frank Uijlenbroek/World Sport Pics

In the wake of the decider, she said it was a dream come true to face the Dutch in front of 10,600 fans in spite of the final result.

“I’ve always said Holland are one team I would absolutely love to play. To do it is phenomenal, thoroughly amazing experience. It may as well have been in Ireland!”

It was something she always dreamed of having been inspired a dozen years earlier to pursue playing at the very highest level.

“Four years ago, I was sitting in Amsterdam watching the World Cup. Last time the Europeans were in Ireland [in 2005], when I was really young, I was running around getting autographs and I was chatting to Caitriona Carey and she asked ‘are you going to play for Ireland?’ Straight off the bat, I said ‘yes I am’ – I always wanted to be here!”

The Loreto player will be welcomed back to her club on Sunday at 4pm along with Hannah Matthews, Nicci Daly and Sarah Torrans and Meeke hopes the heroics in London will be the start of something even bigger.

“We are like a family. I know I could call these girls up in the middle of the night and they would be there if I needed something and vice versa. That connection has carried us through the tournament.

“It is without a doubt the start of something special and the talent coming up behind us is unbelievable. This is the start of great, great things. If we look at who we played tonight and the sheer intensity of the game.

“We have to try and attain those standards and it is in our locker. It’s being able to mentally push ourselves to that place and then doing it week-in, week-out. That has to start at underage levels and we can see even more special things.”

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