Athenry FC has come to the rescue of Kinvara Hockey Club, which has been left without a training ground following the removal of the 2g astroturf surface in Oranmore.
And they are not the only ones who rowed in to help. Fiona Rodgers, president of Kinvara Hockey Club, says Ardrahan GAA Club and Athlone Hockey Club both offered their facilities to ensure the club can continue training for the Connacht leagues as a result of the county council's decision to replace the existing pitch with a 3g surface unsuitable for hockey.
“I would like to thank Athenry FC, Athlone HC and Ardrahan GAA for their help,” says Fiona Rodgers. “We are grateful to them for supporting our girls and extending such a warm welcome to our club. It’s another example of Misneach Le Cheile in action.
"Training at Athenry FC’s facility will allow us to develop the skills we need to compete in the Connacht leagues. It’s a two-hour round trip to Athlone, and a 60km round trip to Athenry from Kinvara for our training sessions. That’s tough on parents, coaches and players, but, with the help of our hosts at Athenry FC, we are determined to make the best of it.”
She says Connacht Hockey’s campaign, Misneach Le Cheile, is gaining momentum in its struggle to access facilities in Galway city and county, and across the province.
Kevin Keane, Connacht Hockey president, says hockey is a growing Olympic sport at which Ireland excels on the international stage.
“One of the three high-level goals of the National Sports Policy 2018-2027 is to have Irish athletes and teams systematically and fairly achieving world-class results at the highest level of international competition. Hockey has delivered silver medals at the last World Cup and is poised to deliver again at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.
"Now is the time for Government to back its own policy, and for politicians at national and local level to get behind us and support hockey and women in sport in the West. Connacht girls, like those at Kinvara Hockey Club, must have access to suitable playing facilities. They must be given an equal chance to aspire to wearing that Irish jersey.”