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Hannah Matthews Ready For First Olympic Venture

Team Ireland Olympic Hannah Matthews
25 June 2021; Hannah Matthews fashions the away equipment throughout a Tokyo 2020 Team Ireland Announcement for Hockey within the Sport Ireland Institute on the Sport Ireland Campus in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile *** NO REPRODUCTION FEE ***

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Ireland Women’s hockey star Hannah Matthews is wanting ahead to the aspect’s first-ever Olympic enterprise on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic video games.

The aspect will play their first-ever Olympic match on Saturday once they face South Africa of their pool stage opener.

Sean Dancer’s aspect is seeking to take this event one sport at a time moderately than fear in regards to the larger image.

“At the moment, it’s just taking one game at a time. This is all really new to us, we’ve never been to an Olympics and we are one of the few teams [in the tournament] who have never been to an Olympics before,” stated Matthews.

The Olympic call-up will likely be a particular reminiscence for the 30-year-old defender however it is usually a bizarre one.

Matthews explains the unusual label she has placed on the expertise by noting that the aftermath was totally different to what a call-up would have meant earlier than the pandemic.

It felt bittersweet as there have been gamers who skilled with them that missed out on a spot and there was no risk of a giant celebration, with it solely kicking in for Matthews on equipment day.

“It was really emotional. I’m obviously so delighted, it’s a dream come true but it was really hard to believe that it was actually happening.”

The trainer has been allowed to commit herself totally to the nationwide hockey preparations for the event after occurring a profession break.

The profession break was extra to do with contractual obligations, in keeping with Matthews, however she feels she has benefitted from it and added that the college she works at has been actually supportive.

Their preparations have included an underwhelming EuroHockey Nations Championship marketing campaign within the Netherlands.

The aspect was knocked out of the group stage on targets scored and suffered an embarrassing 5-1 loss to England, ending sixth and lacking out on an FIH 2022 World Cup qualification spot.

“I think we were definitely disappointed – more so in our performances. We just felt like we didn’t really represent how well we’ve been playing and how well we’ve been training.”

However, Matthews did word that it was the very best Olympic preparation they might have requested for as they performed towards prime sides all through their time within the event.

The defender cited the improved efficiency towards the Netherlands, in comparison with their World Cup remaining loss, and hopes that the aspect will maintain enhancing.

They come into the Olympics ranked ninth on this planet and Matthews feels that a part of that’s all the way down to their close-knit group, each on and off the pitch.

Many of the gamers have been a part of the 2018 FIH World Cup marketing campaign, together with Deirdre Duke, and have grown shut to one another over time.

“It’s a massive thing for our squad. It’s always going to be a benefit when you’re in such close quarters for that long.”

However, their households will be unable to journey to cheer the women on on the Olympics in Tokyo.

The Loreto captain lamented that some households could miss gamers’ final video games in the event that they retire.

But, the Dubliner doesn’t imagine that the dearth of crowds will have an effect on the Irish aspect as they’ve performed in empty stadiums earlier than.

 “The support we had against Canada [in the Olympic play-off] and in the World Cup was incredible, I’ve never experienced anything like it. But, we also have experience of playing to absolutely no one and empty stands unfortunately so I guess we’ll draw on that…It’s something we’re used to so I dont think it’ll affect us that much.”

She takes consolation in realizing that everybody is in the identical boat.

Dancer’s Ireland go into this event with others cautious of what they’re able to after present New Zealand boss Graham Shaw led them to a World Cup silver medal in a event the place they have been outsiders.

Matthew and co. additionally don’t have anything to match the expertise of taking part in on the Olympics too however the defender has confidence they will do effectively, noting that something can occur in event hockey.

“You have to believe in yourself or it’s no use to anyone.”

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