As we continue our journey towards the final EHCC in AH&BC Amsterdam 19-22 April 2019, let’s meet another Ambassador. This time first timers Loreto’s Hannah Matthews.
Whilst it might be Loreto’s first venture to the EHCC, Hannah has quite some experience, not only as a hockey player but with her father and grandfather (her mother’s father) both having played rugby for Ireland, sport runs through her veins!
She has played club hockey for Loreto since she was 8 years old! 11 of those in the senior squad.
We asked Hannah how she feels Loreto’s will cope with the ‘step in’ in terms of the quality of the opposition “It will be a huge step up for us of course but the team is relishing the opportunity to play against the best clubs in the world.”
You are a part of the Irish International team – since your recent World Cup silver, how has life changed for you both on and off the pitch?
“I think other countries are more wary of us now and we don’t have the luxury of being an underdog or a dark horse in any competition anymore. One of the biggest advantages to winning the silver medal is the ranking points gained, we have now put ourselves in the best position we could hope for with regard to potentially qualifying for the Olympics in Tokyo.”
Apart from hockey, we asked Hannah about her passions:
“I love sport in general and I love learning new skills, something I really want to do when I retire from hockey is take up a new sport like squash or maybe going back to tennis. I am also a primary school teacher and I can honestly say I love my job, every day is different and it is so important to me to have something in my life that is totally removed from sport.”
Your first game in the EHCC is against the ‘eternal Champions Den Bosch’ – have you played them before and how do you prepare for a side you don’t know well?
“I have never played Den Bosch before. Although it seems like a daunting prospect we are so excited about playing them. When you go to Europe you want to play against the best teams in the world and we will! In terms of preparing for playing them, we will obviously have to have a strong defensive performance but we will also watch as much video as we can so we’re aware of what we will be facing.”
Rumour has it that a huge contingent is coming from Dublin, how helpful will that be to the team on the pitch?
“Loreto love nothing more than a tour so Amsterdam may never recover! I’m biased but they are the best supporters. They have a huge influence on me when I play, I want to be the best I can be for my club because they are so supportive and so passionate when it comes to our team.”
How important, do you think, is it for women to watch and support women’s sport?
“I think it’s important for everyone to watch and support women’s sport. The more support a sport gets the more visible it becomes. I think we need to promote sport to young girls and show them that there is a wealth of amazing female athletes to admire and aspire to be but it starts with young girls realising that high-performance sport is attainable, representing their country is attainable and the only way they will believe this is if they see it themselves.”
Thanks, Hannah so much for taking the time to chat with us! All the games will be live streamed so you can see how Loreto gets on against ‘Den Bosch”!