The year 2020 will long be remembered for the impact that Covid 19 has had on us all. For many the year has required a huge change to our everyday habits – both within our families, socially, mentally and physically. For those of you who have lost loved ones this year, on behalf of the Leinster Hockey Board, I offer our sincere condolences.
The year started well with much excitement building towards the business end of the season – leagues being finalised, cup finalists confirmed, development programmes being rolled out, provincial and national panels training when suddenly in mid-March, everything stopped.
It was heartening to see the return of hockey at the beginning of September, albeit, with protocols in place and wonderful to see some leagues commence.
We know that this has been a frustrating time for clubs, players, administrators, volunteers, umpires and coaches alike, when we see other sports back on the field, however, we are required to follow the regulations as laid out by Sport Ireland and the Government. But with the launch of the vaccines now imminent along with a better understanding of Covid, we hope to see more of our sport return to competition in the New Year.
Rest assured that while we may not have had competitive competition over the last couple of months, our Committees and Working Groups have been working tirelessly putting plans in place for our sports’ return and Club Committees have done trojan work ensuring facilities and training sessions are Covid compliant. There has been underage development training and we recently advertised for a new Development Programme Manager whom we hope to have in place in the new year. We are also in discussions with Local Sports Partnerships to investigate possibilities of co-funding development officers going forward. The introduction of the new “Volunteer of the Month” awards has proved hugely successful and I want to congratulate the winners to date.
2021 promises to be an exciting year for hockey both in Leinster and Ireland with our Women’s team taking part in the Olympics over the summer and we hope to see a number of programmes run in conjunction with this milestone. We also hope to see the launch of the Hockey Ireland Strategic Plan in the new year which we are asking all our clubs to actively engage with for the growth of our sport.
In closing, I’d like to thank everyone for their work over the last twelve months and wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy & Healthy New Year.
Chair – Leinster Hockey Association