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Energia Park announced for Olympic Hockey Qualifiers

Energia Park in Donnybrook will be used as a pitch for the two-legged Olympic Qualifiers, announced by Hockey Ireland.  Leinster Rugby has given Hockey Ireland the go ahead to use the pitch for the 2nd and 3rd of November, for the Women’s qualifiers against Canada. This is a huge step for the fledgeling sport in Ireland, as moving to the 6,000 seater venue in Donnybrook is far bigger than any other options: which included UCD Hockey Stadium. 

Hockey Ireland CEO, Jerome Pels, revealed at the announcement, how they plan to install the Polytan roll out pitch. “This Polytan pitch is identical to the one which will be used in Tokyo, ensuring a smooth transition and maximising home team advantage with the benefit of a huge and noisy home crowd.” 

He also explained how important having the Qualifier on home grounds will be too women’s sport and to its promotion. 

“An Olympic Qualifier on home soil is a unique event – the only one in Ireland this year. We are delighted that Leinster Rugby share our excitement and ambition about the potential for bringing Big Stadium Hockey to Energia Park and exploiting the benefits of existing infrastructure to raise the profile of Women’s sport.

Kevin Quinn, representing Leinster Rugby, also attended the event and voiced his delight. “This is another hugely positive step for us in Leinster Rugby to showcase our ability to offer a facility like Energia Park to other governing bodies and organisations. To be able to host international sporting occasions in any code and at any level is something we take huge pride in and I know our two partners in Energia Park, Old Wesley RFC and Bective Rangers FC, feel the same way.”

In interviews with other members of Hockey Ireland, regarding the news and reasoning of using the rugby pitch, they too agreed that it was hugely beneficial. 

Irish women’s rugby player, and former hockey player, Jamie Deacon, said how she looked forward to the qualifiers in November. “To have this chance to make it to the Olympics and to have that opportunity at home, in Energia Park, it’s massive.”

“The Olympics, it’s the pinnacle of hockey, so I’ll be there in November and hopefully we can fill this place for them to make sure they have that 12th man in the stand.”

The event will air on RTE, at 7pm on Saturday, and 7.10pm on Sunday. Tickets have been on sale for the event since October 1st.

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