Following an unprecedented call for help, the Irish Hockey Association has been overwhelmed by the response of the greater hockey fraternity after exceeded an appeal for funds by an unbelievable 15,000 euros - and the money is still pouring in.
It is less than four days since the appeal for financial help went out to raise the necessary 45,000 euros to send the Irish Senior squad to attend the Champions Challenge in Argentina in November and as we went to press last night, the amount was in excess of 60,000 euros.
Outgoing IHA Chief Executive, Angus Kirkland, said: “Everybody has responded in a magnificent way and we are back on track.
“Naturally we were disappointed that we had to announce that we were withdrawing from the tournament, as it was a decision not taken lightly.”
But the IHA can never afford to be in this position again, something Kirkland agreed with: “This has to be a one-off as this is something that should never be allowed to happen again.
“There is a massive goodwill factor out there and I don’t think we could call on it again or should need to.”
So, what is going to happen to the additional funds?
“The figure of 45,000 euros was a cost neutral figure and we expect it will cost slightly more to send the team to Argentina,” said Kirkland.
“The balance will be ring-fenced for the men to help send the team to the second round of the World League in India.
“Next year will be another expensive one, as we will be playing in several competitions and it takes approximately 50,000 euros per tournament and with a dwindling funding environment, any additional funds are welcome.”
The IHA will also reduce its usual entourage of officials travelling to the tournament.
“We can only reduce it by so much as there is quite a lot of work to be done at these tournaments,” he added.
“Normally we send six or seven officials but this time we intend to send four or five.”
At the minute Ireland are without a coach and Kirkland hopes to make an announcement over before next week.
“Things are still being finalised and there are a number of options,” he revealed.
“We hope to be making an announcement over the next four to five days. I am not involved on the interview panel but there is a possibility that a new coach will be in place before Argentina.”
It is far from a satisfactory scenario in which a chief executive would wish to end his tenure and Kirkland readily agrees.
“No it is not, but I have enjoyed my time here,” he said.
“It was disappointing not qualifying for the Olympics but these things happen. I have nothing but appreciation for everyone at the IHA, the staff and the volunteers for the last four and half years.”
But the final word should go to Irish captain Ronan Gormley, who described the response to the appeal as “remarkable”.
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,” he said.
“We have been told that we have inspired people through our performances... right now we are truly inspired by you!”