Despite Ireland missing out on an Olympic place, Ireland will be represented in Beijing in the hockey arena with umpire Carol Metchette and umpire’s manager Ray O’Connor both appointed to hockey’s showpiece event.
O’Connor is one of three selected to manage the Men’s Hockey Umpires at the Beijing Olympics 2008 and will add to his impressive CV which includes umpiring finals at the World Cup, Olympics, Europeans and Champions Trophy.
For Metchette, this will be the biggest stage she has whistled upon, after just six years of umpiring at international level, having previously officiated at the European Championships in Manchester last year and then taken part in the controversial Olympic qualifier in Baku – where Spain were cleared after two initially positive drugs tests.
Metchette said the appointment came “totally out of the blue” but was “a nice surprise”, admitting to the Hook recently that she never thought about umpiring during an impressive career with Old Alex.
“Coaching is the way most ex players go. While I was playing senior hockey my club Old Alex were looking for people to sit the umpiring badge and I thought why not. Then I umpired some lower league matches and it took off from there.
”When I was selected for my first International tournament in Holland I thought it was amazing and I realised it is a great way to stay involved in top level hockey and have lots of fun too.”
Metchette is part of a team of 15 umpires to umpire in the women’s tournament which gets underway at 1.30am (GMT) on Sunday with the meeting of Japan and New Zealand.
* You can also see an in-depth interview with Carol Metchette by the IHA by clicking here