Irish Hockey is mourning Hall of Famer Anne Laing who passed away last Friday.
In a long and illustrious international career, Anne played as goalkeeper for Ireland 32 times between 1961 and 1974.
A player with tremendous anticipation and positional sense, she was a formidable opponent for strikers to beat.
Anne always remained composed and unruffled while under pressure and her long clearances relieved many dangerous situations. One of her career highlights was in 1973, defeating England 2-1 at Wembley Stadium.
Anne was inducted into the Irish Hall of Fame in 2008.
Anne had a life-long association with Larne Grammar School both as a former pupil and member of the Board of Governors and the Anne Laing Shield was contested for House hockey in the school. A Life Member of Ulster Hockey, Anne played for Instonians.
Former team-mate Jenny Redpath (née Givan) played alongside Anne and provided the following tribute:
“I was deeply sad to hear of Anne’s passing.
“To me, she was a true legend of our game both as a player and a person. She possessed so many lovely qualities, not least a great sense of humour.
“Her greatest sporting achievement was undoubtedly in 1973 in Ireland’s 2-1 historic victory over England in front of 60,000 screaming school girls.
“Anne was truly outstanding that day, a colossus in goal which kept England at bay. Not just her reflex saves but her unique ability to kick the ball half way down the pitch, no doubt relieving our defence and intimidating the English forwards! Route 1 in the modern game!
“I’ll never forget her performance that day and her comment that she did it with the assistance of her four leprechauns positioned at each of the four corners of her goals!
“As a youngster entering the fray of top international hockey, she was extremely supportive both on and off the pitch.
“She possessed such a calm and reassuring manner and encouraged me to go out, enjoy and just play my game to the best of my ability. Wise words that really stood by me in the years ahead as a player and coach.
“Finally, Anne was a very good friend of my mother’s family from Magheramorne and indeed we all loved to hear the craic when they all met up in Islandmagee for the monthly church Bingo! Great fun and great times.
“It was a great privilege to know you Anne. Thanks.”