‘Hockey is booming in Coleraine’ says captain

Coleraine First XI v Randalstown, in pre season friendly
Coleraine First XI v Randalstown, in pre season friendly

Coleraine Hockey Club Captain Pearl McCartney says that the new facility at Rugby Avenue has been a ‘catalyst’ for hockey in Coleraine.

Speaking to Times Sport this week, as the firsts prepare for their first season in Senior 3, the hockey club stalwart says that there is a great buzz about Sandel Lodge.

“The firsts got promoted last season following a fantastic 18 unbeaten league run.

“They are busy training in preparation for the step up to Senior 3.

“It’s a big challenge, but they have retained all of their players from last year and have made a few additions. The squad consists of a core of experiences players like Alice McGill, Sharon Kennedy and Sue Nutt, then we have Niamh Tweedy, Grace Bradley and Kelly Watt and young Helen Tweedy who is stepping up to the firsts for the first time, she is a great young prospect, who played on the Ulster Under 16 side.”

Pearl, who looks after the thirds complemented the management team at the Club.

“We have Johnny Black who has been excellent, and this year we are pleased to get Phillip Tweedy on board. Phillip has an athletics background, so he and Johnny will look after the strength and conditioning side of things, then Stephen McCartney will look at after the playing side as Head Coach.

“We have a great team, and it worked well last year. The seconds also have a new coach this year, as William McAdam comes into the frame, so it’s great for them to have a dedicated coach.”

Speaking about the new Council sports facilities at Rugby Avenue, Pearl went on: “ We have been crying out for facilities like this.

“We are getting big numbers at pre season and the junior section and development programme is also booming.

“There is no doubt that the new facilities have been a catalyst for hockey in the area, there are over 100 juniors playing every Saturday morning, there’s a big interest.”

Pearl also pointed out that Coleraine is one of very few league teams that can boast three teams that compete every Saturday.”

Pre season for the seniors continues every Tuesday night from 7pm to 8.30, whilst junior hockey will commence on Saturday, August 29 (P3 to P7) from 9.30 to 10.30. The development squad for year 8 to year 11 girls will start on September 15. Registration for the junior and development squads will take place at the Rugby Club on Thursday, August 27 from 6.30pm to 8pm.