Hockey: Fan fundraising gets green machine going
Ireland will be represented at the men's Champions Challenge event in Argentina next month after a remarkable fundraising campaign.
Just a week after the Irish Hockey Association (IHA) announced that their squad was being withdrawn, a statement has been issued confirming the about-turn.
The reversal was prompted by a flood of corporate support and donations from supporters, which pulled in more than €50,000 in just three days. The IHA board of management originally pleaded lack of a coach for the controversial opt-out. But it quickly emerged that finance was the real reason and hockey enthusiasts lost no time in making up the shortfall.
It is expected that the new coach, almost certain to be a foreigner, will be appointed before the end of the week to succeed Paul Revington.
Irish captain Ronan Gormley, currently playing in the German Bundesliga, declared that the wave of support shown through the 'Get Green Machine Going' fundraising drive was inspirational.
"What has taken place over the last week is simply remarkable. On behalf of the Irish men's team, I would like to thank, from the bottom of my heart, all those who have contributed," Gormley said.
He and his team-mates will now take their place along with Canada, Korea, Poland, Japan and South Africa at the tournament in Quilmes on November 24.
The line-up also includes Malaysia, now coached by Revington, as well as hosts Argentina.