The Irish Women’s Inline Hockey Team has just returned from their first major competition, the European Inline Hockey Championships in Charleroi, Belgium, which ended 31 July.
If you are unfamiliar with inline hockey, the main difference between it and ice hockey is that inline hockey players wear skates with wheels as opposed to skates with blades.
Inline hockey is played on a hard, smooth surface, as opposed to ice and use a plastic or rubber puck with elevated bumps to help it move on the floor. The game is played with 2 teams with 5 players, including the goalie, per side.
Ireland’s Inline Hockey women program started in 2019 as they initially planned to to compete at the Inline Hockey World Championships in Colombia 2020. However Covid-19 restrictions postponed their plans, and the team continued with the program with their eyes set on the Worlds in Argentina in 2022.
The team was unable to travel to the Worlds in 2022 in Argentina due to the large huge cost associated the competition and as a non-traditional sport, they receive minimal funding and have to self finance. Inline Hockey Ireland took the opportunity to compete at the European Inline Hockey Championships and get their first major competition under their belts.
At the Euros, fourteen nations participated: Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Great Britain, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Namibia, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland in Charleroi, Belgium. However, the senior women division is an eight team competition where teams are seeded into 2 groups.
Ireland competed against the top three teams in the world: Spain, France and Italy. Ireland finished in seventh overall and scored their first international goal against Belgium.
European Inline Hockey Championships Team Ireland: