Monday 14 October 2019

Women's Series Finals move to Banbridge

'Banbridge hosted round one of the Euro Hockey League in 2016' (stock photo)
'Banbridge hosted round one of the Euro Hockey League in 2016' (stock photo)

Six months after Dublin was announced as the host for the Women's Hockey Series Finals, Hockey Ireland has now confirmed Banbridge's Havelock Park as the venue for the key event in the Olympic qualifying process - Ireland need a top-two finish there to advance to the direct qualifiers for Tokyo which take place later this year.

Belfield was the preferred venue but work on the ground there began only last week. Abbotstown's National Sports Campus was also mooted as an option, with a pitch due to laid there in anticipation of it becoming the high-performance base for Hockey Ireland.

Work was initially announced as starting straight away back in December but the sod has yet to be turned.

Speaking about the switch, Hockey Ireland performance director Adam Grainger said: "While our preference was to hold the tournament in Dublin, it was not possible for the pitches to be completed within our time frame.

"We are confident both pitches will be worth the wait and will only add to the sport of hockey in the future. It is important we get the pitch correct at the National Sports Campus."

Banbridge hosted round one of the Euro Hockey League in 2016 - the first and only time the elite competition has come to these shores, bringing the biggest crowds to Ireland since 2012's Olympic qualifiers.

The Co Down club had been due to host the 2018 EY Champions Trophy last May but that had to be relocated to Three Rock Rovers after the contractor went into administration before work was completed.

Irish Independent

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