AT THE Olympic Games in Rio this summer, Ireland will have a hockey team competing for the first time since 1908.
However, although on the rise, hockey is far from an elite sport in Ireland – who have not been represented in any team sport at the Olympics in 60 years – and as such the ‘Green Machine’ are struggling to make ends meet.
The large majority of the 27-man squad are amateur players trying to balance a professional level of competition with work or studies – and the strain is beginning to take its toll.
Two players – Jonny Bruton and Stephen Dowds – have already given up their dream of playing at the Olympics as they are unable to commit to the level of preparation required without subsidies.
Hockey Ireland estimate a shortfall of €225,000 in their financial requirements to complete their preparation for Rio sufficiently, and they have devised a number of ways the public and businesses can help their cause: