Give Hockey a Go 2021: I’m Loving it!

Over 4 Monday Summer Nights in June, 48 Mums & Chums /Dads & Lads gave Hockey a Go at Sion Hill. Of these, just under 40% were trying it for the first time ever with the balance split evenly between those returning to the sport after a long absence and those who were more recent returnees. While the Mums & Chums significantly outnumbered the Dads & Lads everyone thoroughly enjoyed the mix of skill sessions and small sided games sandwiched between Emma Meirs’s warm-up and cool down program. On the 4th and final night 3 mixed ability teams (Whites, Blacks and Reds) played short 11-a-side games with Senior Men’s Keepers Conor Murphy and Sebastian Perciavalle as the last lines of defence under the expert eye of Club members & EY umpires Stevie Jenkins and Peter Agnew. On the field all three matches were close with two 1-1 draws (Blacks vs Whites and Black vs Reds ) and a 1-0 win (Reds vs Whites). Gina Meagher, Julian Moroney, Isobel Curtin, Michelle Ritchie and Lisa McCarthy scoring goals and Player of the Match performances from Gina Meagher, Emily Delahunty, Eimear Walsh and Ben Deverall. Off the field a BBQ provided by Patricia Martin & Ian Wilkie’s Catering team was enjoyed by all in the evening sunshine.

This is the 3rd year Avoca has run the Give Hockey a Go programme and has helped form new Men’s 4s and Men’s 5s teams and a 2nd Ladies’ Vets team from those who have decided to keep playing. So far more than half of this year’s group have said they intend to keep playing and we look forward to them wearing the Avoca colours next season.

This year’s programme would not have been possible without the voluntary effort of the following :

Paul Cronin for his creative posts, Coaches: Herbie Hudson Fowler, Sophie Kavanagh, Emmet Lande, Oisin O’Sullivan and Emma Meir under the guidance of Director of Hockey Rudi Wortmann. Managers Naomi Murphy, Sandra Boyle and Tiggy Hudson. Catering team of Patricia Martin, Ian Wilkie, Isobel Martin and Megan Geoghegan.

Dennis O’Connor

New Membership system

A notice of changes to the membership fees for the 2021/22 fees to be introduced after the Hockey Ireland AGM on 20 May 2021 has been circulated to the Clubs. Some important changes to the fee structure are going to be introduced:

Following an extensive consultation process with the Branches and Clubs, the introduction of a new online membership system has now been achieved, with the result that we have a national database for the sport of hockey with the capability to gather reliable and accurate information about those who participate in hockey in Ireland while ensuring all GDPR requirements are being adhered to. Over 30,000 playing members are now registered on Hockey Ireland’s membership system.

The next phase of rollout will see added functionality enhancing day-to-day management and administration benefiting clubs, branches, and ultimately all our members.

This added functionality will provide accurate national player information which is crucial to the development of the sport across the island of Ireland, in supporting Hockey Ireland’s sport grant applications and to also assist in marketing and commercial sponsorship.

To read more about the new membership system, click here

Great Coaching Opportunity

We are seeking dynamic, ambitious and forward-thinking 2nd team coaches who have a particular focus on player development. Reporting to the club’s New Director of Hockey (Rudi Wortmann) and working directly with the first team coaches, the successful applicant will possess a competitive nature, strong relationship development skills, and be able to develop match day strategies. The roles begin with pre-season training and friendlies prior to the start of the league.

For full details, see here.

Avoca HC – Introduction and update

Hi fellow club members.

It is a great privilege for me to send you this note in the role of Avoca Club President.  Avoca has been a core part of my formative years and my more recent return to hockey has been a fantastic and rewarding experience.  I joined Avoca as an ambitious teenager keen to build on my short schoolboy international experience and immerse myself within a club to learn and grow.  I happened to join a team growing in talent and with a pedigree that went on to be exceptional. Those glory days included 3 European championships, multiple cup and league successes as well and a bond with friends that has far outlived the on pitch achievements.  The running of the club was not on any radar – it ‘just happened’ and I enjoyed it fully!

Fast forward a ‘few years’ and my two daughters started playing hockey.  I ended up on the side lines and it didn’t take long before ‘crossing the white line’ again.  I’ve been playing with the Men’s thirds for the past few years and have loved being back in the heart of the club.  It’s a club that has gone through significant change and over the past 2 years I have been getting involved in every side of the club as Vice-President alongside the exceptionally talented Caroline Daly who recently passed over the chain of office.  Recently Caroline was awarded Leinster Volunteer of the month – richly deserved recognition for the endless support and help which she generously shared across the club – high standards to follow.

I wanted to share these points to introduce myself and commit to you and all club members that I will do my best within this role and beyond.  Hockey is growing and Avoca is part of this however we need to do this in a way that brings benefit to all members and their families.  Success on the pitch is important yet success within your own club and attachment to it is critical.  We all want Avoca HC to be something we are part of and proud of.

On the pitch
This weekend many teams returned to competitive matches and I’m sure like myself, many are feeling aches and pains after an over-enthusiastic return.  Training was always a means to an end for me – important yet a warm up for match day which I have always loved! Fortunes in the Men’s and Women’s groups were successful ahead of a breath of Junior matches across so many junior teams on Sunday.  It’s been brilliant to see and hear about the smiles and passion on show over the weekend.  I am sure everyone loved it as much as I did.

Avoca AGM
At the end of May we held a wide ranging AGM which included an extensive update from our Committee representatives, noticeable award winners (congrats all) and took steps towards changes in our future operations.  Despite missing out on so many games and training sessions, your committee has been working harder than ever to plan, adjust and plan again (and again!) to navigate through what has been an exceptional period for all our members.  This time has also highlighted the importance of sport and community for all of us and the challenges have brought us closer together.  The final piece of the AGM – a proposed change to our Club structure and formation brought healthy debate and an adjournment to incorporate feedback before a second meeting last week.  While there was positive support for many of the proposed changes this was short of the 75% of members support required.  The Board and Committee are now looking at how best we can provide information and guidance for club members so they can fully support these changes in the future.  It’s been a great exercise and will only lead to a better future outcome for us and our club.

Thank you
Avoca is run by an exceptional group of volunteers.  Today’s committee and board would be the envy of many board room and the parents and club members who generously give of their time to support hockey and it’s development in our club are exceptional.  I will not call out anyone (for fear of leaving anyone out!) but do want to say a big thank you for your contribution to our fellow members, our community and our club.  Over the past years we have attempted to broaden this group so as to share the workload and continue to raise our standards.  We have also invested in exceptional talent to run critical parts of our club – which I am sure you will agree is paying dividends across the club.  In the coming weeks we will be running sessions to share more about your club and encourage you to join in.

Looking ahead
Over the coming weeks we will continue to support our club members with a breath of ways to get involved and back to the game we all love.  Summer hockey continues with some fantastic competitive matches to look forward to, juniors will wrap up before the summer break and volunteers will renew their energy and passion before the season ahead.  We have a broad and diverse membership with a love for the game of hockey and together we will achieve exceptional results.  We also have ambitious plans for the future of our club – outlined in our club member’s developed 5 year plan – and are working to exceed these both on and off the pitch.  Exciting times ahead and I’m delighted to have so many on this adventure together.

Finally, I would love to hear from you on any topic – about your thoughts and ambitions for the future, areas you would like to help / contribute, ideas and suggestions as well as the things you love about your club.  Today we are specifically looking to bring in a new Women’s Club Captain following Kate’s brilliant work – shout if you are interested in contributing here.  As a husband, parent and busy with work commitments etc, volunteering at Avoca is rewarding yet there is never enough time in the day but as above, I commit to do my best.

Yours in sport,

Ben Geoghegan
Club President, Avoca HC

Ben Geoghegan
Ben Geoghegan

EuroHockey Championships

The EuroHockey Championships starts in 2 days and our mighty girls in green take on the hosts Holland on Saturday 5th June at 2.30pm. All the matches are being shown on RTE2.

Look out for number 17 Hannah McLoughlin and number 30 Sarah McAuley in particular who started their hockey career at Avoca Hockey Club.

It’s going to be a tough encounter as the Netherlands are the World Cup Holders; but this is excellent preparation for the Olympics next month when the two sides meet again in Tokyo!

Ireland Ladies on RTE2
Ireland Ladies on RTE2

Give Hockey a Go!

Last year some 42 Mums & Chums/Dads & Lads gave Hockey a go and many signed up to play hockey at Vets (Over 35s for Men, Over 30s for Women) level and some signed up for regular senior Hockey. Unfortunately, due to Covid19 no competitive matches were played but the growth in player numbers allowed us form a 2nd Ladies Vets team and a 5th Men’s Senior team. Starting 7th June for 4 consecutive Monday nights we are running another mixed Mums & Chums & Dads & Lads programme at Sion Hill from 8 pm to 9.30 pm each night. See more here.

Free Zumba Classes O55s

During the month of May and as part of the Bealtaine Festival, Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Sports Partnership in partnership with Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council are holding a number of free online taster activity sessions for the over 55s. Please see the flyer attached to view all the available classes.

These free online classes take place each Monday at 10am during May. Next class is Zumba on Monday 10th May at 10am. To book or for more information:

COVID-19 eLearning Course

Sport Ireland have updated their ‘Return to Sport COVID-19 eLearning Course’ and it is now available on their website.

The course, which can be accessed here, aims to continue supporting clubs to return to sport in a safe & practical manner.

The course is structured similarly to the previous version with additional lessons included to reflect updated guidance. We would encourage all club Covid-19 Compliance Officers to complete the course, as well as active volunteers and members in your club.

The course should be completed and interpreted in conjunction with the Governments latest public health measures provided at along with the public health advice provided on the Health Service Executive Coronavirus webpage.

Updated Sport Ireland COVID-19 eLearning Course Content:

  • Introduction to the Sport Ireland COVID-19 Return to Sport e-Learning Course
  • Protect yourself and others from COVID-19
  • Hand hygiene
  • Equipment hygiene
  • Face coverings
  • COVID-19 Medical Considerations for Sports Activities
  • Safe Return to Sport and Physical Activity Checklist
  • Recommendation for specific populations
  • Stay Safe in the Outdoors
  • Sport Ireland COVID-19 Officer Return to Sport e-Learning Course
  • Recording Attendance at Activities
  • How to manage a participant with COVID-19 symptoms?
  • Stay Informed

John Sharpe

John Sharpe (pictured back left)
JOHN SHARPE (pictured back left)

One of Avoca’s most inspirational figures sadly passed away last Friday. John (James ) Sharpe was a terrific hockey player and represented the school and club at all levels .

Having won two consecutive Minor Cups, followed by Junior and Senior honours he will be remembered for scoring many goals by diving headlong on the old grassy surface at Newpark.

His bright and jovial outlook, combined with a passion for life was an inspiration to all that were lucky enough to know and enjoy his company. Sadly we have lost another truly committed Avoca man.

May he rest in Peace

NK/ 10th May 2021