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Ladies Hockey - a lot learned from a tough season

Published: 12th June 2018

This time last year, Dublin University Ladies Hockey Club (DULHC) were on a high after winning Leinster Division 1 and gaining promotion to the premier EY League.

Twelve months on, their league campaign may have ended in relegation but there remains plenty of reason for positivity.

Three first team players - Sally Campbell, Erica Markey and Rachel Burns - represented Ireland at U21 level this year and according to Rachel, competing in the EY League and having club teammates in the squad were beneficial in helping them fit it..

“I have found it much easier to transition into the set-up since having players from my own club there. It's a great support system to have.

“I would say the standard in the EY League is higher than the U21 due to the presence of the very experienced club players and senior internationals. The pace of the game at U21 rivals that of the EY, it just takes longer to play cohesively as a group which can hinder the standard somewhat.”

Rachel has been part of the Irish hockey set-up since U16 and the mathematics student has just finished her first year with DULHC.

Despite the team's relegation, she remains confident about the future following the experience of playing at the highest club level in Ireland.

“It was a tough season without a doubt but I feel we learned an awful lot of important lessons as a group which will help us going forward. We, at times, showed flashes of a fantastic team but were, as young teams can be, fairly inconsistent in producing.”

That’s an opinion shared by coach Brian Scully who is already looking forward to the battle to regain EY League status, with preparations in place since the end of this season.

“We are extremely determined. We made great improvements over the season, we just did not perform anywhere near our true ability in that game (relegation play-off) and were beaten.

“A few senior players have graduated and moved on, but this is all part of the natural flow of a university side. Recruitment of players into the club is reliant on CAO. We already have an excellent squad to face into next season and we will get a few more players in August.”

Having international representation such as at U21 is key, in Brian’s opinion, to making the club more attractive to prospective players.

“It’s a fantastic situation to have multiple players in the Irish squad. It will undoubtedly help us as the players will come back to our squad at an even higher level.

“The exposure for the club is also extremely positive - the hockey community will recognise Trinity as catering for players at the highest level and this is good from a recruitment perspective.”

Photo: Rachel Burns in action for Trinity Ladies Hockey at Santry this season.

  • Both Sally Campbell and Erica Markey are with the Ireland U21s who travel to Lilleshal to take on England (June 16, 17) before they take on Wales (June 29, 30, July 1) at Trinity’s own Santry Sports Grounds