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Olympic build-up will be hit unless Irish Hockey chiefs fight to restart: Passmore



Dave Passmore wants to get going again

Dave Passmore wants to get going again


Dave Passmore wants to get going again

A vastly experienced and highly respected coach has appealed to Hockey Ireland to urgently address the current hiatus in the sport and do all in their power to get the top-flight EY Irish Hockey League (EYHL) back up and running again.

Dave Passmore argues that with virtually all of Ireland's Olympic squad playing in the national league, the ban on training and playing will ultimately damage the team's chances of preparing properly for the Games in Tokyo.

The Englishman, who is currently in charge of Catholic Institute and the Ireland Under-23 women, believes that more should be done by the governing body to redress the situation.

With the Republic soon entering week two of a six-week hockey break under Level 5 restrictions, time is of the essence while other sports continue. In Ulster, the ban on group training and competitive hockey is due to extend until November 14.

When stricter measures to combat Covid were introduced, hockey lost its 'elite' status which allowed the season to start last month as the sport is now following government instructions.

However, Passmore disagrees with the premise behind the move and is urging the authorities to take action.

Catholic Institute have written to Hockey Ireland expressing their concerns.

Former Ireland men's boss Passmore said: "I am pointing the finger at Hockey Ireland because they are our representative body. I am looking at them to fight for us, to say we are elite. There is a general feeling we weren't consulted.

"We all want to support the battle against Covid but what I can't understand is why sports have been treated so differently without a rationale.

"Inter-county GAA and the FAI League of Ireland women's leagues are going ahead yet the EYHL has been halted with no training allowed either.

"The programme that (Ireland coach) Sean Dancer has built for the women going to Tokyo fully included the EYHL matches as part of that and yet it has been stopped at a key time.

"There is no evidence of either hockey training or matches adding to the spread of the virus, and this will ultimately affect the development of the team towards the Tokyo Olympics.

"Some big questions need to be asked around these disparities and hockey is being left behind. Hockey Ireland need to stand up and ask these difficult questions."

Belfast Telegraph