The grant will substantially boost the team’s preparation over the next two years – a key period in the run-up to the London Olympic qualification tournament.
The OCI financial support aims to enhance the team’s effort at the 2009 Champions Challenge Cup which is currently being held in Dublin, the 2009 European Championships in Wales and a World Cup qualifying tournament (venue tbc) in November next.
Pat Hickey, President of the OCI said, “The Olympic Council has negotiated this special team sport grant through an International Olympic Solidarity programme in order to assist the Irish Hockey Association’s goal of qualifying an Irish men’s team for the first time at an Olympic Games”
Angus Kirkland, Chief Executive of Irish Hockey Association said, “This grant will greatly enhance our athlete support and preparation programme in a very important year for our sport. It’s a very welcome boost and we look forward to working closely with the OCI to achieve our objectives”
Stephen Martin, Chief Executive of the OCI said, “It is vital that the national men’s team regain European A status this year. It is also critical that Ireland qualifies for the 2010 Hockey World Cup in India if Irish men’s hockey is to have serious aspirations to be part of the London 2012 Olympic Games”.