Player dies after sudden collapse on hockey pitch
A POPULAR young sportsman who represented Ireland in hockey and cricket at international level died suddenly after collapsing on a pitch just before a match.
Tributes from the Irish hockey and cricket worlds poured in yesterday for player-coach Andrew Chambers (31) of the Cork Church of Ireland (Cork C of I) club. Mr Chambers died suddenly on Saturday after collapsing on the hockey pitch at Garryduff in Cork.
The popular club man, a father of one from Ballea Road near Carrigaline, Co Cork, had just issued his final instructions to his players in advance of their Irish Senior Cup tie against visiting Kilkeel when he collapsed shortly before 2pm.
The club's defibrillator was in use within minutes and two nurses, who had accompanied the players of the Kilkeel team, worked on Mr Chambers tirelessly for more than 40 minutes. However, he failed to respond to the treatment.
Mr Chambers played hockey at under-21 level for Ireland, and also represented his country in cricket at under-19 level. He retired from playing at the end of the 2008/9 season and was acting as assistant coach. However, after the departure of several squad members during the summer, he decided to return to the C of I team.
Mr Chambers was also a hugely talented cricketer who represented Cork county during the late 1990s and went on to play for the Munster Reds.
Past-resident of the Munster Irish Hockey Association and honorary lifelong member of the Cork Cof I John Rose said words could not express the sadness felt by all who knew Mr Chambers.
"I had lunch in the club with Andrew and his family before the match yesterday and he was in top form," he told the Irish Independent.
"We are absolutely devastated by his passing. He was an absolutely fantastic person and a loyal club member
"He will be sorely missed by the Cork C of I. He was a friend to everyone. Words cannot express how sad we are to have lost a valued friend and talented sportsman."
The draw for the second round of the Irish Senior Cup, due to take place in Garryduff, was postponed in the wake of the tragedy.
Church of Ireland Bishop Paul Colton wrote on his Twitter page: "Yesterday was a day when my and others' prayers were not answered. It's hard to pray again today. Club is heartbroken. Andrew Chambers, RIP."
Mr Chambers is survived by his parents Tom and Gwen; by his partner Catherine; and by the couple's 18-month-old son Matthew. His brother Philip plays hockey with city rivals Cork Harlequins.