This year’s event featured the title of “Hockey – A Sport for Everyone”.
The event in Ireland was used in order to help promote hockey within the younger male population. Currently, the gender split in Ireland in hockey is 65% female and 35% male.
In some geographical areas of Ireland, men’s and boy’s hockey faces an uncertain future due to various issues.
The event was held at the National Hockey Stadium at University College in Dublin and was run concurrently along with the men’s national club championships held over the same weekend.
Coverage of the Marathon was multi-faceted, being highlighted on the Irish Hockey Association website, www.hockey.ie, and also covered by national press in the Irish Times, Irish Independent and the Irish Examiner newspapers.
The IHA achieved representation at the event form clubs all over Ireland from Cork, Banbridge, Cookstown, Dublin and Wicklow and turned out to a great success.
The group of boys were addressed by Ireland men’s coach Dave Passmore before the event commenced and the reaction of the participants was extremely positive.
Each boy taking part received a Canterbury Irish Hockey – Get Hooked t-shirt, poster and club championship programme.
The below extract is from a report given by one of the Under 12 boys that took part in the day.
“I really like hockey because it is very fast and helps me to stay fit. I am able to hit the ball really hard and like shooting at goalkeepers. It was good to play against different teams today and I would like to play more teams in a bigger tournament. I would like to be coached more and would like to learn how to drag flick like Stephen Butler. I like my t-shirt that I got today, some of my friends really want one”
The IHA recognise the importance of the global hockey family and, following the success of this event, we will endeavour to support the Youth Hockey Marathon in future years.
All those that attended have been invited back to a further national event tying in with the Eurohockey Youth Nations Championships in Dublin from 11-16 July 2006.
This event will involve coaching in a clinic format coupled with mini-hockey matches. Again, this will be hosted at UCD in order for those participants to also experience and watch the Nations Championships.
Provincial mini-hockey days are then planned to take place in Belfast, Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kilkenny and Limerick during the 2006/07 season with a national day planned for Easter 2007.
National Development Officer, IHA