Spiralling costs force Ards to kill off European hockey adventure
Ards are set to pull out of the European Indoor Championship next year due to the prohibitive cost of a trip to Russia for the third tier event scheduled for February.
The Ulster Premier League outdoor hockey champions were to have represented Ireland on the continent for the fourth year in a row but their decision to withdraw is expected to be rubber-stamped at a club committee meeting tonight.
"The decision is purely a financial one as the cost of obtaining visas just pushed it beyond everyone's limits." explained team captain Naomi Elliott (pictured).
"The trip has always been funded by the players but this extra cost has proved too much as we would have to raise £3,000 to £4,000 before February to make the trip viable which isn't achievable.
"Our club also needs to raise a substantial amount of money this year (for outdoor hockey) and getting funds for both is too difficult in this financial climate."
Ards are one of three Ulster women's clubs who are competing in the Irish Hockey League in the new season and that will be a drain on the club's coffers as it will involve trips to Galway, Dublin and Cork for the 18-match home and away campaign. Queen's University were runners-up in last year's Irish Indoor Championship and could be invited to take Ards' place in Russia.