2023/24 Season Welcome Message from the Club President 

The 2023/24 season is upon us, so I thought that this would be a good time to introduce myself, let you know what has been happening over the summer and share some thoughts on the future. 

Like many of you, I got introduced to Hockey (over a decade ago) when my eldest daughter joined the youth section. (I now have 3 daughters playing – Aela, Tess and Millie). Turned out that I was one of those parents that stayed at every training session and found myself getting interested in both the sport, the club and its great people- slowly but surely, I got more and more involved. 

I’ve had numerous roles in the club and have helped design the strategy that has brought us to where we are today. Avoca Hockey Club has become a passion. 

Avoca Hockey Club has a rich history and more importantly, huge potential. Over the last few years, we have focussed on structure, culture and growth – we will now focus on getting stronger, developing our product and embracing our members. 

The club leadership team never stop working and what you may not know is that the beginning and end of the summer are the busiest parts, where we close out one season and organise ourselves for the next. This year was exceptional, with the significant upgrade in Newpark: replacing the pitch surface and replacing and upgrading the fencing. This is being led by Ben Geoghegan and Ian Keogh. We have also completed a brand refresh process and launched a whole new kit design. The magic of the redesign was that it was driven by our members with almost 60% of the club getting involved and sharing their views. 

The key theme, or mission, of Avoca HCs current strategy is to be Irelands Premier ‘Hockey for All’ Club. This meant expanding the mindset from a focus on performance primarily, to providing hockey for all levels of ability and to offer an avenue into our sport to as wide a spectrum of the local community as possible. To this end we now have 6 Senior Teams in both Men and Women’s, 3 Women’s Vets and 1 men’s masters, social hockey for parents, u18s Hockey and Hockey ID for people with disabilities. We are now planning the introduction of Walking Hockey for the over 65s. This is all on top of our burgeoning youth section and the Give Hockey a Go! Campaigns. Mix in the summer Hockey club offerings for adults and the camps and we have the whole year covered – no downtime in this club!

So..onto the future. I’ll be working with the Club Team and our members to define what our strategy will be for the next 5 years and endeavouring to ensure that the club is set up to maintain its current success. 

Our 2 top teams successfully maintained their national status and retained their positions in the EY2 (IHL DIVISION 2) leagues, with a core focus of maintaining that position and driving higher over time. Key to this is enhancing the coaching team. Graham Shaw will continue his Elite Performance Director role for the coming season and will continue to work with both Trevor Dagg and Noelle Farrell, who are both working hard to strengthen their sides. I will be focussing on our coaching and player development models over my term. 

We also continue to increase our youth success at representational level in both Ireland and Leinster – the successful attainment of national status helps us strengthen these players as we work hard, build from within and push up. 

On the senior side we attracted a huge number of new players last season and expect to do the same this year. The level of interest took us a little by surprise. Feedback indicates that we have a very special vibe in this club – we have a very friendly, warm and supportive culture – you are welcomed with open arms and supported no matter your level of ability. Our social scene is also attractive – and we’ll be doing more in this space. 

Our youth section is thriving, and we have doubled our young players over the last 5 years through expanding our pitch footprint to include St Andrews and increasing the numbers in each age group. So that’s 5 pitches in use every Sunday. The u18s girls both got to their finals last year with the As taking gold. 42 have signed up for it this year so far. A huge success and something Avoca fought hard for within Leinster. 

A big one for us was all of our 6th class teams reaching semi-finals last year with a couple going on to take gold – this means that we are getting the team balancing and league level entry right – which makes for happy kids!

The boys section is at record levels with the u16s taking gold last season. We want more boys – so get your brothers, sons and friends involved!! It’s a brilliant sport. 

I want to talk about what we need from you, our members, players and families. Our club has grown, and, with our new Vice President Bernadette Keogh, I will be focussing on 2 areas that require some hard work- fundraising and volunteers. To continue delivering a quality experience and improving your Club we need all the support that we can get. Over the last while we have attracted some sponsorship, you will see an increasing number of pitch signs etc. This is one key part to funding our club and offering a quality product to our ~1200 players. We have purposefully held off on fundraising but will be getting into it in a big way over the next year – more on how you can help soon. 

We will also be looking at enhancing our approach to volunteering. We want to get families more involved in club life and get more people involved in coaching kids…. And yes, you’ll be supported and coached too – many parents are nervous and feel they can’t help because they don’t have a hockey background …. Neither did I! 

While we get all this in place, feel free to reach out and help in any way you can. Simply talk to someone in the club. 

Nearly done. 

I’d like to just mention the new club leadership team, the great people who make it all happen:

New Vice President Bernadette Keogh – New, Parent, took up hockey again after many years. 
Treasurer: Celine Furey. Parent – not a hockey player. 
Club Development Leo Sex; parent, player 
Head of Youth Hockey: Chris Stewart – Player, Coach 
Men’s Captain: Andrew Ramsey – player
Women’s Captain’s: Molly Cole and Jess Whelan – player/coaches 
Primary Girls Chair: Mait O’Faolain Parent and new to hockey player
Secondary Girls Chair: Niamh Kennedy Parent player
Boy’s Chairs: Belinda Crous – parent and player and Nathalie Carroll – parent 
Al Robinson- Secretary- Parent and Hockey all rounder

We also have an excellent board of directors, chaired by Dennis O’Connor. 

One exciting event that is being planned is our Newpark Pitch opening extravaganza. We plan to get the whole club involved! Keep an eye out for news on this soon. 

I am excited for this season and really looking forward to working with the team, the coaches, the volunteers and I hope to meet as many of you as possible over the year. 

So on behalf of the Club Team and the Board, please have a great season.


Paul Cronin

Pitch Update 2

We’re making good progress on the pitch project in conjunction with Newpark School. It was important we didn’t impact the leaving and junior cert exams so the project went into full swing early July.

Since then the majority of the fencing has now been removed for repair and upgrading.

The old carpet has been taken up and ready for removal with some of the cuttings being taken by members so they can practise at home in the garden!

The new pitch has been manufactured and is due to arrive next week which is very exciting! The contractor is currently preparing the surrounds and underlay in preparation for the new pitch to be laid this month!

We’ve also moved the blue container to help improve the viewing area on the left hand side as you walk into the pitch grounds.

We’ll be keeping everyone posted later this month and promise to post some more pictures when the new pitch goes down!

Ayeisha McFerran

A great suggestion for your summer reading! Great Irish Sports Stars: Ayeisha McFerran has been selected as part of The Summer Reading Challenge 2023 which aims to encourage children aged 4 to 11 to enjoy the benefits of reading for pleasure.

The inspirational story of Ayeisha McFerran: Olympian, Hockey World Cup Goalkeeper of the Tournament, Winner of Four All American Awards

Growing up in Larne in County Antrim, Ayeisha was fearless. If she wasn’t climbing trees, she was playing soccer, Irish dancing or throwing the javelin. When Ayeisha discovered hockey, she was hooked.

This is the inspirational story of one of the best hockey goalkeepers in the world.

Available from all good bookshops and The O’Brien Press!

Find out more details and how to get involved in the Summer Reading Challenge 2023

Pitch Update

We are really excited to see the installation of our new high performance hockey playing surface at Newpark School start this month! There was a comprehensive research and tendering process, headed up by long standing member and past first team player Ian Keogh, with the support of outgoing club President Ben Geoghegan and project team. “Edel Grass” has been chosen as the surface of choice and we will be installing their premium and highest spec surface called “Edel ID”; special thanks to all the clubs we spoke to while doing our research – your insights and experience were invaluable.

Why is this good for players?
The “Edel ID System 15” surface is designed for the best players which everyone can enjoy! Players should look forward to a very quick pitch with outstanding playing characteristics such as being highly consistent with straight ball roll and bounce. We are also completely replacing the underlay and shockpad so the pitch should be soft and promote much greater 3D skills. The surface will be extremely dense which will add to the feel of the ball and not take the skin off fingers like some other pitches! An interesting fact is there will be more yarn in this pitch than any other laid in Ireland at 1.5 million filaments per square metre. It has a double backing to make it strong and long lasting.

For more information on the Edel ID pitch go here.

Why Edel Grass
Edel Grass has over 30 years of experience designing high quality surface systems for sports and leisure. They are a preferred producer of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and continuously work with hockey professionals, coaches and top players to design the best pitches. Their core focus is around performance, durability and sustainability which aligned to our goals and requirements.

What colour will the pitch be?
The surface will be an “Olive Green” with a lighter “Summer Green” surround. There was a lot of debate about switching to blue however we had concerns how this might impact the residents that overlook the pitch and the potential of objections that could delay the project. It was agreed to keep the traditional green with the contrast of the surround to give players and spectators the best experience possible.

Who else uses this type of pitch?
This will be the only type of Edel pitch in Ireland! There are numerous installations at top clubs across Europe but probably the closet example would be Surbiton Hockey Club who recently laid two Edel pitches and recently hosted the England Hockey Premier Division finals.

Other great hockey clubs include: Wimbledon HC (England), TSV Mannheim (Germany), GHNC Haren (Belgium), Rotterdam HC, Kampong, Bloemendaal and Orange Rood (Holland), CD Terrassa and Real Club de Barcelona (Spain), and now Avoca HC!

Here are some pictures of the Rotterdam pitch:

Huge Thanks
Newpark School have been our very supportive partners as always in this redevelopment project and we hope more can be done in the future. Huge thanks to Headmaster Eoin Norton, Deputy Principle Andrew Adams, the board and everyone involved from the school.

Pitch updates!
Our plan is to post updates and pictures over the summer so you can see how the project is going! Once the junior and leaving certificate exams are over in June (and best of luck to all our younger members involved with that) our installation contractor will get started. The plan is to have the new pitch in place by the end of August and although this will slightly impact pre-season preparations, it will give players something really special to look forward to!

Ireland Women v USA

Watch Ireland Senior Women take on the USA in a three game series on the 10th, 12th and 13th June.

Seeing Ireland playing live in person is really important for young hockey players. As hockey is rarely shown on TV the live experience and watching the best hockey players in Ireland up close and supporting them is to be strongly encouraged.

UCD is easily accessible via public transport. The match on Saturday is free admission for all. Monday and Tuesday tickets are only €5 for U18s. Tickets can be purchased here

USA will be the highest ranked team Ireland play at home this year so it is a marquee series and we are asking the entire hockey community in Leinster to support the Green Army as they prepare for the European Championships and Olympic Qualification tournament later this year. 

Special Resolution for AGM

Dear Members

Following the decision of the Club’s Board to adopt a new kit design and colour set the Board would also like to get the members approval to insert new clauses in our Articles as follows:

2.3.6 We vest in the members the right to determine the Club Crest. The Club Crest is presented in Appendix 1, and that its use is governed by the Avoca Brand book, which is approved by the board.

2.3.7 We vest in the members the right to determine the Club Colours. The Club Colours are white, black, and brown, and these are to be used for home playing kit with a white Jersey with brown trim, black shorts or skort and black socks as set out in the Avoca Brand book. The Club Crest will be represented on all items of playing kit as set out by Avoca Brand book and that all players representing the club will wear the same playing kit.

2.3.8 Clauses 2.3.6, 2.3.7 can only be changed by a special resolution.

These amendments will be voted on at our AGM on 29th May

Yours in Sport

Dennis O’Connor


Avoca Hockey Club Clg

Avoca AGM

Avoca Hockey Club Clg

Annual General Meeting (AGM)

Monday 29th May 2023, 8 pm, The Club Room, The Wishing Well, 20 Newtown Park, Newtownpark, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, A94 A6Y6.

Please register in advance with clubsecretary@avocahockeyclub.ie so that you can receive documentation in advance of meeting. Copies will also be available at the meeting.

All members & parents of Junior members are welcome. The Agenda for the AGM is

1. Welcome from Chairperson, Dennis O’Connor

2. Apologies

3. Minutes of AGM held on 24th May 2022

4. Matters arising

5. Report of Club Finance Director & Treasurer, Celine Furey

6. Report of Club President, Ben Geoghegan

7. Election of Directors & Executive Committee

8. Appointment of Auditors

9. A.O.B

Dennis O’Connor


Give Hockey a Go 2023!

After a very successful 2022 Give Hockey A Go is BACK… We plan this season to be even BIGGER and BETTER for 2023..

It’s starting Tuesday 2nd May in Newpark at 7:30pm till 9pm and will run for 4 consecutive weeks finishing up with a fun mini tournament and BBQ on Tuesday 23rd May.

We will welcome you and make you feel at ease throughout the entire time. This could be your perfect way to introduce yourself to hockey or reignite your love for this super sport..

All are very welcome from Mums and Chums and Dads and Lads.. The best part is it’s all FREE at no cost for the 4 free coached sessions…

What do I need to bring I hear you ask:

A stick if you have one -pls note, we can loan you a stick, so pls don’t go and buy a stick just yet!

Shin Pads, really important.

And most importantly a gum shield.

This is for Avoca Club Members and Non-Members, if you played Social Hockey or Vets Hockey you are all very welcome to come along…

If you have any queries pls contact Naomi Murphy on 087 23 20 360

Book here to register your interest.