Preparation programme helping Alex improve her game

SIGNIFCANT progress has been made by the Irish Senior Women’s Hockey Squad since the creation of the Central Preparation Programme (CPP) according to ESB and The Irish Hockey Association. 

The programme aims to assist the squad by enabling the girls to train together in a central location, Dublin, which has meant a significant move for six Ulster-based members of the squad including Alex Speers who is originally from Banbridge. 

The squad was announced in September 2010 and the programme is designed to prepare Ireland’s Senior international hockey players for the 2011 EuroHockey Nations Championship where they will also seek qualification for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Captain, Eimear Creegan said “The CPP has been fantastic for the Irish Senior Women’s Team. It has boosted team morale and confidence as well as enhancing our quality of training. All players are striving to perform better and this can only benefit the team as a whole.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank ESB for all of their support, without whom this would not be possible.” The next big event for the girls is the recently announced Champions Challenge which will take place in UCD from June 19-26.

The event is for teams ranked 7th to 15th in the World and will feature nations from around the world including, Japan, India, USA, and South Africa; Ireland are currently ranked 15th in the World.  

The event is perfect timing for the CPP and will provide invaluable experience and also the opportunity to improve world rankings, which may be important should the team end up in a play off for the Olympics.

Padraig McManus, Chief Executive, ESB said “We are delighted with the progress of the CPP to date.  The girls have put in huge effort into their new highly intensive training programme, with some of them relocating from around the country.  Gene Muller (National Women’s Coach) keeps us updated on the progress of the team and we are very proud to be sponsors of Women’s hockey in Ireland.  I would like to take this opportunity to wish them luck over the coming months and we hope they will reap the benefits of this new programme.”

National Women’s Coach, Gene Muller said “The formation of the CPP has put Ireland on a par with many top international nations.  It has helped to address critical technical and tactical weaknesses.  We are three months into our Central Preparation Programme aimed to qualify the women’s national team for the 2012 London Olympics.  This programme sees our team train together as a whole in excess of 20 hours per week for 10 months a year.   ESB have supported this initiative from the very beginning and continue to be fantastic supporters of the Womens national team.   We are truly grateful to be associated with ESB and the extent to which they are involved with our progress and committed to our success.”