Eimear retire due to injury after amassing an outstanding 171 caps in the green shirt over the past ten years. Cregan’s outstanding drive, determination and sheer hard work saw her become Ireland’s most capped player of all time.
Cregan has suffered from a degenerative, arthritic condition in both knees for the past six years and her decision to retire has been extremely difficult. “For the past 6 years, I have managed to play through the pain barrier to overcome this degenerative condition but unfortunately I am no longer able to train at the appropriate level required for international competition. It is with deep sadness that,in consultation with medical staff, I have had to consider the long term implications of continuing to train and compete at this level and have been forced into retirement”
Cregan’s impressive International career began in 2001 winning her first International cap against Wales at the young age of 19. Cregan was chosen to represent Ireland by then Coach Riet Kuper and thanks her for the opportunity and providing her with the “hunger for International hockey.” Cregan went from strength to strength and earned her 100th cap against Italy in 2007 and was later awarded the prestigious title of captain in 2008. Her 150th cap was in Kazan against Belgium at Champions Challenge II in 2009.
Coach Gene Muller comments on Cregan’s retirement saying “I am very sad that Eimear is retiring from international hockey. It was a privilege for me to work with Eimear over the last few years. She is a true legend of Irish sport. I loved watching her play hockey. She was exciting, powerful, and unpredictable. She always lead through example, and took her role of captain very seriously. My hope is that her legacy of motivation and passion will continue to live on in the team. I wish her only the best for the future.”
She expressed her sincere thanks to all who have supported her over the years “I would like to thank my family for their endless encouragement and support in allowing me to follow my dream. I would also like to thank my employer, Sr. Berchmans in Ursuline Convent Thurles, Co. Tipperary who has been hugely supportive of the Central Preparation Programme. I must acknowledge my previous employerAedín Ní Bhriain (Laurel Hill Coláiste F.C.J.) for their support over the last two years. To both employers, I am very grateful.”
Cregan also recognizes the contribution in terms of resource and commitment from the major sports agencies “The Irish Sports Council, the Irish Institute of Sport, Sports in Northern Ireland, and the Olympic Council of Ireland.
She also takes the time to thank Coach Gene Muller for his “unending dedication and determination to Irish Women’s hockey. Gene has invested huge time and effort into the creation of the Central Preparation Programme with a view to bringing this squad to the next level.”She added “All the management of the Women’s squad for their huge effort and commitment to hockey. A special mention must go to Karen Coughlan (physio) who has had to provide me with constant physio over the last 5 years”
“I wish you all the very best in your quest to qualify for the Olympics in 2012. I have no doubt that if all of you continue to work as hard as you are doing right now you will achieve that goal and I will be supporting each of you every step of the way.”
All in Irish Hockey and the Olympic Council would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank Eimear for her outstanding contribution and commitment to Irish Hockey over the past number of years. We wish Eimear the very best for her future.