Former Irish hockey international Angela Platt is backing the success of the Irish squads at the European Hockey Championships in Antwerp.
As Executive Manager of the Ulster Hockey Association, the 75 time capped international has high hopes for both participating Irish contingents.
“We are watching both teams very carefully given the vast number of Ulster players involved with the Irish squads”, said Platt.
“With eight Ulster representatives staring in the men’s team and three in the women’s, it’s fantastic to see so many competitors come through the player programmes that the association has put in place.
“The Ulster players who are participating in the Championships this month have benefited from the programmes we initiated four years ago.”
Platt highlighted Irish and Ulster women’s hockey star, Shirley McKay, who received her 150th international cap in the recent Four Nations tournament held in July.
“Shirley is performing really well in this year’s Championships and we are delighted that she is due to start employment with the association when she returns from her European campaign.
“As one of our talent coaches, Shirley’s role is representative of how the association seeks to employ international players who have come through our system as players and then return to work alongside us.”
Integrating internationals who compete in renowned tournaments such as the European Hockey Championships within the Ulster Hockey sphere appears to be a crucial part of Platt’s development strategy.
“It is important that we provide role models within the sport to give younger players an insight into the high level of competition associated with hockey.
“Players who are experienced on the European and international stage are vital to our promotion of the sport in and around the Ulster province”, Platt said.