President's Page

President's Page
President of the Ulster Hockey Union 

Having come in to office in late May I experienced a busy period when there were a series of Under 15 Finals mostly for Girls' Competitions. 

The three that I attended were all held at Playball and were staged expertly by Andrew Brown.  The standard of hockey was excellent, the crowds large and enthusiastic, and the matches competitive with the outcome in doubt throughout. 

When the "vacation months" came along I had a Hernia procedure to look forward to scheduled for the end of July which fitted in rather neatly with hockey's largely "lay period".  However an infection meant that I had to be re-scheduled for early September and so rather than travel to Loughborough for the UK School Games I was contemplating a "day at the Ulster Hospital"!  Vice President Adare Brady stepped in to the breech and with the Boys' Squad coming 2nd and the Girls 3rd enjoyed a very successful "baptism".

As it happened Kilkeel "Opened" their re-laid pitch at Macauley Park (Kilkeel High School) on the Saturday (2nd September).  This was a nostalgic trip for me as I had been at the Meeting in 1971 (I think) when what was initially Kilkeel High School Old Boys was formed.  Great weather, great hospitality, good crowds -- in short lots of "buzz" and the chance to catch up with many old acquaintances made this a very memorable first "senior outing" of my year.

Otherwise my hockey viewing had been restricted to 2 trips to The Aurora, Bangor firstly for the Brian Davis Memorial Cup game v North Down, and then for Bangor's Home Linden Cup match v Raphoe. 

Last weekend it was off to Dublin for the Under 16 and Under 18 Boys' Inter-provincials.  As I am still in recovery mode I travelled by Train (at her Majesty's expense of course!) and stayed with family rather than in the "Tournament Hotel". This worked for me and I enjoyed the company of the other Provincial Presidents and Irish Hockey dignitaries. It was a fantastic Tournament , all the games being closely contested and the standard of play most impressive. 

With large crowds in attendance throughout and mainly benign weather it really couldn't have gone much better.  From the "parochial" point of view the Under 18s loss to Munster (1-2) on Sunday morning meant that Leinster's late 4th goal in their 2nd Munster match meant that we didn't complete a double but the performance of the Under 16s in holding off a most impressive MUNSTER challenge was outstanding.

So that's it so far but I suspect it's going to get a whole lot busier very soon!

Chris Harte
Ulster Hockey Union

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