Nikki Evans, Katie Mullen and Roisin Upton joined Cliona Foley on Off The Bench to discuss their upcoming Women’s Hockey World Cup in London, starting this week.
They talked about what made them start hockey, the importance of the world cup and if hockey is still seen as a ‘posh person’ sport.
“David Gillick was just coming into the start of his great career, so I used to get a fifty or one hundred metre start. It was, 'I can’t let him catch me'. It wasn’t until I went to secondary school that I picked up my first hockey stick at 12”, Nikki said.
Katie spoke about what got her started in the sport.
“For me I just grew up playing Camogie and Gaelic. I played hurling with the boy's underage, when it got to under-16 level they were getting too fast and physical. I played with the women’s camogie senior team and we won the All-Ireland in 2010. I started playing in grammar school. I suppose hockey was the main sport for the girls there.
“Aside from the Olympics, the World Cup is the number one major tournament in hockey. The stadiums sold out 15’000 people. It’s definitely the pinnacle in the hockey world. I’d say right now, we’re probably not quite there yet, but I see a transition in how people are viewing females as elite.
“I just think going back, it wasn’t maybe the most attractive thing to be seen as being strong and physical. Whereas, I think there is a transition there, in school especially, you can see the kids now are more getting into the gym. That wasn’t seen when we were in school. Strong is the new skinny."
Like her team mates, Roisin was also a late starter to the sport but has always been a fanatic. Here's what she had to say.
“I only started playing hockey in first year in college. Before that growing up with two older brothers, I was playing soccer. So, I played with the boys as well. I remember the hockey coach being adamant you can only play hockey matches when it came to cup time. I was still soccer mad. We won the Munster final and I got trials.
“It’s been fantastic the last couple of years. We’ve been looking for sponsorship and I think it’s just a great fit. Soft Co have supported us. I missed out on getting my first cap a couple of times, I thought it would never come. I ended up having to get double hip surgery”, said Roisin.