Pamela Glass has been reflecting on her decision to retire from first team hockey after a glittering career with club and country spanning a quarter of a century, writes John Flack.
The Pegasus and former Ireland defender hung up her boots in stylish fashion with two typically impressive displays at the EY Champions Trophy last weekend when the club completed a Champions Trophy-regulation season title double.Now 39, she made her Pegasus debut at the tender age of 14 and went on to win every trophy on offer, completing the clean sweep at Banbridge on Sunday.
Her list of achievements makes hugely impressive reading with, in addition to her weekend swansong, seven all Ireland titles under the old format, six Irish Senior Cup winner’s medals, 13 Ulster Shield successes, 12 domestic league triumphs and numerous inter-provincial crowns at U21 and senior level.
Glass also excelled on the wider stage, having played club hockey in Europe on eight occasions, winning two gold medals in the process and represented Ireland 52 times.
She quit the international arena at the age of just 22 after playing at the 2002 World Cup in Perth, Australia.
Her retirement marks the end of an era on that front as she now becomes the last player from the class of 2002 to stop playing first team hockey.
Glass explained: “I had been in the Irish squad for five years and the commitment required was huge so although it might have seemed a young age to quit international hockey, I have no regrets.”
“I had taken a year out of university to play for Ireland and was planning at the time to start up my own business so something had to give and, having played at a World Cup and in two European Championships, I certainly had a good innings.”
After the trip to Australia, Glass concentrated all her efforts on her club hockey with her beloved Pegasus, having joined them at the age of 13 and gone on to have a stellar career with the club.
She added: “There have been so many highlights and playing in my first Europeans and scoring my first Pegasus goal at the age of 14 were just two fond memories.”
“The most satisfying achievement was on Sunday though, having previously come in 2012 when I won an Irish Cup – all Ireland league double playing alongside some of my best mates in Arlene Boyles, Sharon Moffett, Nadine Graham, Claire McMahon and Suzanne Beaney.
Glass admitted she had toyed with the idea of retirement several times in recent years but always discovered a motivating factor to continue playing.She explained: “What kept me going was not being satisfied with how the previous season ended and then training hard during the summer and staying fit in order to get better.”
“Then when one of my best friends, Shirley McCay, arrived at the club, that was another reason to stay on for another two seasons and playing alongside her and Stephanie Thompson in the Pegasus defence has been a privilege.”
However, Glass won’t be lost to the game entirely as she will play down the club as she prepares to continue a new career at veterans’ level.
She explained: “I made my veterans debut a fortnight ago playing for Ulster over 40s as, with my birth date, I was eligible and it was nice being the baby of a team for once.
“I also still want to play with my mates and Suzanne and Nadine are on Pegasus seconds, so I plan to join them next season.”
“I’ll always try to give something back to Pegasus, as the club have given me and my dad so many happy memories.
“It’s the best club in Ireland for so many reasons and that’s why I’ve been there for so long. It’s more than just a club – a bit like Barcelona FC.”