Co Armagh twins, Bethany and Serena Barr, have been hailed champions as part of the winning Ireland Women’s Hockey team which qualified for the Olympics.
The 24 year old Lurgan girls are still on a high after their success in Dublin at the weekend.
The pair were part of the team which beat Canada and thrust the team to the Olympics in Tokyo next year.
Both girls, daughters of Dr Dickie and Janice Barr, have been steeped in hockey most of their life and were part of the Lurgan College All Ireland winning team.
Indeed, while both have just finished university, they did their degrees in the USA with hockey scholarships.
Later Beth just completed Masters jointly at Dublin’s UCD and Trinity in International Development while Serena completed Masters in Dietetics in Leeds Bradford.
Both girls, who play for Harlequins, only made their Ireland debut this year and were crucial to winning the qualifying game against Canada.
Beth spoke of how their love of hockey was inspired by a teacher at Waringstown Primary School, Audrey McCollum.
“She got us started and we have been playing hockey ever since,” said Bethany. “It has brought us a lot of joy over the years.”
She said they are just delighted at the win last weekend and are looking forward to going to Tokyo.
Bethany revealed that they will be spending the next few months training with their local club and then in January training for Tokyo will begin, including warm weather training.
Bethany is now working for Latin Link, a Belfast-based mission charity which does a lot of work in Latin America.
She reveals that she is lucky to be able to work part time at the charity and also work part time with hockey.
“Only for the sponsors, we wouldn’t be able to do it. We are only part time but other big teams like GB and Holland are on full time programmes,” she said.
She said she was overwhelmed by the great support, particularly last weekend in Donnybrook, Dublin at the final.
And she was full of praise for her parents Dr Dickie and Janice Barr. “Dad rarely misses a game. He was a bit annoyed he wasn’t able to get to my first cap earlier this year but it was in Chile so a bit farr away.