The National Hockey Stadium, UCD will host an exciting week of international hockey with the Ireland’s senior women facing Japan four times in the SoftCo Series as part of final preparations for July’s World Cup.
In addition, the venue will also host the Uniphar Under-23 5 Nations tournament with Ukraine, the Netherlands, USA and India competing, making for 17 international fixtures between June 18th to 26th. Uniphar CEO Ger Rabbette said ‘Uniphar is delighted to be able to support a tournament that gives talented young players the opportunity to compete at international level at a great venue like the National Hockey Stadium, UCD. We’re excited to see how the home team fares, of course, but more importantly, we’re looking forward to seeing some fast-paced world class hockey,’
Senior women’s head coach Sean Dancer is thrilled to get top class opposition in Japan, currently 10th in the world and two places above Ireland. They bring a fast, attacking style which will make for a thrilling series.
“With all the hockey being played around the world, it has been difficult to host matches in Ireland in recent times so we are delighted to be able to play these at home,” Dancer said.
“It has been a difficult couple of years with Covid and the girls are excited to see home crowds and the legendary Irish support back out in force.”
The four senior matches are played on Saturday, June 18th (4pm); Sunday, June 19th (4pm); Wednesday, June 22nd (5pm) and Thursday, June 23rd (7pm).
The series runs in parallel with the Uniphar U23 5 Nations event which features junior world champions Netherlands and fourth place finishers India along with USA, Ireland and, significantly, Ukraine.
The Ukraine team will be hosted by Ireland as they were not able to attend the FIH Junior World Cup in South Africa in April.
Coach David Passmore commented: “Thanks to the support of Uniphar, this is ideal preparation as we head into the top European division in the summer and it is great to have non-European teams in India and the USA.
“We are delighted to host the Ukraine team given we should have played them in South Africa and to show our solidarity with their plight. With numerous players moving up to the senior squad and others now overage for the summer, it’s the ideal forum to assess other players in a competitive tournament environment.”
The 5 Nations will consist of round robin matches in which three of Ireland’s matches precede senior matches and then a finals day on Sunday 26th June.
Hockey Ireland Interim CEO Richard Fahey commented: “It will be great to have full stands back to support our national teams on home soil after the difficult Covid period and this could not come at a better time for our teams heading off to the World Cup and European Championships.
“We hope the hockey community will come out in force and get behind the Green and Junior Green Armies with tickets now on sale through the Hockey Ireland website”
Tickets can be purchased at https://hockey.ie/buy-tickets/